The Japan Foundation Touring Film Programme 2017 Line-Up


The good folks at The Japan Foundation announced the titles that will be screened across the UK in their Touring Film Programme for 2017 and it’s an eclectic bunch of films connected by the theme of odd obsessions! The idea is to look at Japan through movies that depict desires, hopes and impulses and these cinematic delights stretch across many mediums and genres from anime romances to a documentary on a fish market.

Audiences across England, Scotland, and Ireland will get the chance to see all of this at various points from February 03rd to March 29th as the tour takes in fifteen cities with events kicking off in London at the ICA (see below for the full list of venues).

The programme is stacked with interesting titles which I will detail below:

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Japan Foundation Film Talk – The Legacy of Composer Toru Takemitsu on January 22nd

Toru Takemitsu was a self-taught musician and composer who contributed the scores to many highly-regarded, even classic, films from the 1960s and beyond. More than ninety films received his work such as many New Wave titles like Hiroshi Teshigahara’s most important films (Pitfall, Woman in the Dunes, The Face of Another) and Masaki Kobayashi’s Kaidan and Harakiri. Not only those, he worked with Akira Kurosawa (Ran), Shohei Imamura (Black Rain), and Nagisa Oshima (Empire of Passion). Here’s an example of his work:

His work melded Eastern and Western influences and his inspirations ranged from Debussy to John Cage. His work became highly regarded around the world and he won many awards. Here’s an interesting article on The Guardian website from 2013.

On Sunday, January 22nd, the Japan Foundation is hosting an event that looks over his legacy, which comes ahead of a special event where NHK Symphony Orchestra will perform his work at the Southbank Centre’s Royal Festival Hall in March. The talk will take place at King’s Place, Hall Two, 90 York Way, London, N1 9AG.

Here’s the information on the Japan Foundation event plus a link to the NHK concert which was sent out by the organisers: Continue reading “Japan Foundation Film Talk – The Legacy of Composer Toru Takemitsu on January 22nd”

Japan Foundation Free Talk – Anisong The Musical World of Anime on January 18th

Following on from last month’s Japanese avant-garde music talk with Koichi Makigami, The Japan Foundation in London has lined up another great free talk involving music and Japan only this time it’s the World of Anisong, which is probably something easier to get into but no less interesting. It’s a free event and it takes place at Foyles Bookshop on January 18th at 6:45pm. There will be an actual singer/seiyuu at the event, a certain Aya Ikeda (My Anime List profile) who I’ve never heard of since she’s involved with the girl’s anime Precure!

Here’s a video of Aya Ikeda in action:

This event is free! So if you have the time and you like Japanese culture, this is a must-attend, as far as I am concerned.

Here’s more information from the organisers:

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Genkina hito Says Goodbye to 2016 and Hello to 2017 – New Year’s Resolutions

Welcome to my last post of 2016.

I am writing this in Japan. It has been one of my long-term goals to get to Japan. It has, in fact, been a dream since childhood. It hasn’t been an obsession but it has been a major facet of my life. I have made friends from Japan and learned some of the language. So much of my everyday life has centred around Japanese media. I just naturally gravitate towards things like anime and video games, music, and films and that has matured into high culture and a vague goal of becoming a part of Japanese society in some way. I have been doing that from Britain with the nebulous plan of getting to Japan. Now I am finally living in Japan. Following dreams really does work!

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Genkina hito’s Christmas in Japan

Hello dear readers.



I have been very slack writing posts for the blog because I have been working on various project and exploring Tokyo. I finally made it to Japan. Some days I become blasé about certain things but then I remember that I am on the other side of the planet and in a country I have always been interested in. It’s amazing. I have gotten used to commuting in and around Tokyo and following train etiquette, I use chopsticks without having to think about things, and I am picking up Japanese words at a fair clip.

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At the Terrace (2016) テラスにて Dir: Kenji Yamauchi

I have been a bit quiet lately because I have embarked on a new project on another website (more on that) and I have moved to another city in Japan for a couple of weeks. I have also been hanging out with friends who took me to an onsen and then a maid cafe. Despite a hectic schedule I managed to watch one film, At the Terrace. My review for the film At the Terrace is up over at V-Cinema. Here’s a preview with trailer and images following:

At the Terrace

Terasu ni te テラスにて

Release Date: October 2016 (Tokyo International Film Festival)

Running Time: 95 mins.

Director: Kenji Yamauchi

Writer: Kenji Yamauchi (Screenplay),

Starring: Kei Ishibashi, Kami Hiraiwa, Ryuta Furuta, Kenji Iwaya, Hiroaki Morooka, Takashi Okabe, Atsushi Hashimoto,


Playwright and director Kenji Yamauchi premiered his film At the Terrace during the 2016 edition of the Tokyo International Film Festival where it garnered positive buzz from critics for its mix of sensuous and caustic comedy. Based on one of his plays, Trois Grotesques, Yamauchi refuses to cleave away too far from his source and keeps things simple with a film shot in a single location with a cast of seven actors, all of whom were players in the preceding play itself. Perhaps because of their familiarity with the material, the director and his cast bring about a film that, while not being particularly cinematic, proves to be awfully amusing and painfully funny as it explores some bitter feelings and bad behaviour bubbling away underneath polite Japanese exteriors of a group of acquaintances.

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Japanese Films at the London International Animation Festival 2016

The London International Animation Festival is due to launch at the end of the week and it lasts ten days (December 02nd to December 11th). There are over 200 films getting screened and many of them are Japanese. The titles are spread across competitions and special screenings and there is a wide variety of Here’s a preview based on a press release and information from the festival site:

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Avant-garde Musician Koichi Makigami Talk and Performance in London December 03rd

It’s a grey day today and snowing in Tokyo. I have to go out into the cold to get more clothes fit for winter. It makes me think of home back in the UK which is also cold as winter gets a grip over there. That won’t stop me writing about events related to Japan and here’s one that has been in my email inbox for a while. The avant-garde Musician Koichi Makigami will give a talk and performance in London on December 03rd. I had to look up his work and it seems like fun based on the first couple of videos I found:

Here’s the information from the organisers:

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Metrograph in New York to Screen Takeshi Kitano Movies throughout November

People in New York have a nice winter treat since Metrograph will play host to a series of movies by the genius that is Takeshi Kitano. This event will see most of his major works screened on 35mm prints from November 17th to November 25th. It features highlights such as Sonatine, Boiling Point, A Scene at the Sea and Kids Return. There’s also one of his weaker efforts, Getting Any?, a comedy that wears out its welcome after 30 minutes… Otherwise, this is a stellar selection of films.

Kikujiro Takeshi Kitano Masao Yusuke Sekiguchi
Kikujiro Takeshi Kitano Masao Yusuke Sekiguchi

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Japan Foundation Documentary Event: Ogawa Shinsuke and Ogawa Pro: Collective filmmaking and the culture of dissidence

At a time I am currently working on a documentary in Japan I get an email about a cool season of Japanese documentaries filmed by indie creatives. The Japan Foundation and Institute of Contemporary Arts have teamed up for a retrospective of the documentaries of Shinsuke Ogawa and his acolytes. The event starts on November 17th and lasts until December 11th and it features films that chart the tumultuous period of the ‘60s and ‘70s when there were many student protests and a lot of social change as Japan modernised itself and controversial defence treaties were signed with the US which was embroiled in the Vietnam war. This is the best line-up of Japanese documentaries I have seen in the West so far and so it’s a great chance to learn more not just about Japan but filmmaking. I have written about one of these films (the Narita airport one) and recognise a couple of others but Japanese documentaries are a blindspot I have yet to watch any listed here so this I would have loved to see. Here’s a trailer:

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