The Japanese Embassy in London Will Screen Eizo Sugawa’s “River of Fireflies” on March 30th

The Japanese embassy screens films once a month and I used to report on them because many of these titles are the type that never leave Japan. I stopped once I actually arrived in Japan and became a huge tourist but now I’m getting back into writing about films I want to alert people to the latest screening before it disappears!

Here’s the information from the embassy’s events page:

River of Fireflies   Hotarugawa Film Poster


Release Date: February 21st, 1987

Running Time: 115 mins.

Director:  Eizo Sugawa

Writer: Eizo Sugawa, Kyohei Nakaoka (Screenplay), Teru Miyamoto (Original Novel)

Starring: Rentaro Mikuni, Yukiyo Toake, Choichiro Kawarasaki, Takuzo Kawatani, Tomoko Naraoka, Takayuki Sakazume, Tamae Sawada, Ken Teraizumi,


This film was directed by Eizo Sugawa who is famous in the West for the crime film The Beast Shall Die (1974) and the musical You Can Succeed, Too (1964) which was included in a season of Japanese musicals programmed by Japan Society New York (which I published an article about almost a year ago to this day). It is based on the Akutagawa Prize-winning novel of the same name which was written by Teru Miyamoto. It’s a story of the friendships and first love of a fourteen-year-old boy and, according to the site, the title is literal since there is a “a spectacular scene of millions of fireflies brings the film to its climax.”

No trailer…

Hotarugawa Image

Synopsis from the embassy’s site: The story is set in beautiful scenery in Toyama prefecture, Japan’s Hokuriku region. During the winter of 1962, a junior high school boy, Tatsuo, is distracted from preparing for his high school entrance exams by thoughts about his dream girl, Eiko. To make matters worse, creditors descend upon Tatsuo’s house as his father, Shigetatsu, once a prosperous merchant, has failed in business. The family now lives in poverty. On a snowy day in April, Tatsuo and Eiko stroll together, repressing their burning desire for each other. Eiko remembers a piece of folklore she once heard from Shigetatsu: If heavy snow falls in April, a huge swarm of fireflies will appear at the upper reaches of the river which flows through the town, and any man and woman who chance to witness the scene together must eventually marry… Spring arrives in the north, but it robs Tatsuo of the two people closest to him.

The event takes place on March 30th at 6.30pm. The location is the Embassy of Japan in the UK, 101 – 104 Piccadilly, London W1J 7JT and you can find out how to book tickets with this link.

5 thoughts on “The Japanese Embassy in London Will Screen Eizo Sugawa’s “River of Fireflies” on March 30th

  1. Do they have a nice area for viewing movies at the embassy?
    I have to wonder if anyone would show up at the American embassy if we started screening Seth Rogen and Amy Schumer movies.
    : )

    1. The movies are free to watch so it’s a good excuse to have a night out! Get some drinks at a bar later and talk about the film!

      The American embassy can screen films by Hal Hartley!

      1. Better idea. Hal and i grew up exposed to the same educational films, TV shows and movies. We would be able to have entire conversations only using “Gilligan’s Island” metaphors.
        : )

      2. I am only vaguely aware of Gilligan’s Island but I would still be interested in witnessing this conversation and even taking part in it! Also, great to see someone interested in American indie cinema. You always struck me as a chap with interesting taste!

      3. I used to go to a lot of indie/foreign films back in college. “Pink Flamingos” “The Bicycle Thief” etc. Although to be fair I have forgot most of them, just like everything else I learned in college.

        “You should have known me back when I was alive, I was a funny fellow” – Elvis Costello in “God’s Comic”

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