A Preview of Japan Cuts Hollywood 2019

Japan Cuts Hollywood Header 2

JAPAN CUTS Hollywood is a 3-day film festival organised in cooperation with JAPAN CUTS in New York. There is a unique slate of titles different from the New York fest (except for Melancholic) and some short films and a History Channel documentary called Defending Japan. Guests will also be in attendance.

Here’s what is programmed:

Bento Harassment    Bento Harassment Film Poster

今日も嫌がらせ弁当  Kyo mo Iyagarase Bento

Release Date: June 28th, 2019

Duration: 106 mins.

Director: Renpei Tsukamoto

Writer: Renpei Tsukamoto (Screenplay), Ttkk (Kaori) (Original Story)

Starring: Ryoko Shinohara, Kyoko Yoshine, Rena Matsui, Kanta Sato, Ryuta Sato,

Website IMDB

Ryoko Shinohara has been announced as a guest for this film.

Synopsis: Kaori (Ryoko Shinohara) is a single mother raising her daughter Futaba (Kyoko Yoshine) alone. Futaba has entered her rebellious phase and ignores her mother so Kaori decides the best way to communicate with her daughter is by creating messages in the bento meals Futaba takes to high school.

complex x COMPLEX    complex x COMPLEX Film Poster

こんぷれっくすxコンプレックス  Konpurekkusu x Konpurekkusu

Release Date: September 16th, 2016

Duration: 25 mins.

Director: Miyuki Fukuda

Writer: Miyuki Fukuda (Screenplay/Original Creator), 

Starring: Kanae Hayashi, Seigo Agatsuma, Fuka Haruna, Haruka Yamaguchi, Masataka Okada, Mina Hiroe, Naoto Takeda,


Website ANN

This is an anime made using Flash and it was produced and edited by Shinichiro Ueda (One Cut of the Dead). It won last year’s Best Animation Film award at the Annual Mainichi Film Awards.

Synopsis: Yui Kitani is a middle schooler who has a complex she daren’t reveal to others: she has a thing for boy’s armpit hair. Her classmate Masato has arm pit hair which is the thickest. Masato has his own complex: he’s ashamed of his armpit hair. In this film, armpit hair could be the start of a beautiful relationship?

A Stranger in Shanghai    A Stranger in Shanghai Programme Image

ストレンジャー~上海の芥川龍之介~  Sutorenja- Shanhai no Akutagawa Ryunosuke

Release Date: December 28/29th, 2019

Duration: 80 mins. (2 episodes, 40 minutes each)

Director: Taku Kato

Writer: Various (Screenplay), Ryunosuke Akutugawa (Shanghai Yuki)

Starring: Ryuhei Matsuda, Takashi Okabe, Kim Scar, Yuri Nakamura, Nao,


This drama, mingles Akutagawa’s Shanghai Yuki (a newspaper report on his trip to the city) with the writer’s literary universe. Ryuhei Matsuda (The Miracle of Crybaby Shottan) takes on the role of the famous writer.

That’s a great shot of Ryuhei Matsuda looking enervated as Ryunosuke Akutagawa in the poster. It’s a historical piece from long-time director of NHK dramas, Taku Kato. He helmed KURARA -the Dazzling Life of Hokusai’s Daughter which won the Grand Prize of the Japanese Agency for Cultural Affairs Arts Festival and was screened at fests like Nippon Connection. He will be at this special free screening presented by NHK WORLD-JAPAN with executive producer Natsuko Katsuta for a Q&A.

Synopsis: Ryunosuke Akutagawa worked as a reporter for the Osaka Mainichi Shimbun and, at the age of 29, travelled to report on a city which was dominated by western powers after the fall of the Qing dynasty. Turmoil, poverty, exploitation and revolution are in the air as Akutagawa tries to navigate the environment of a fallen world power and understand its culture through his own sensitive and intelligent analysis.

Way To Find the Best Life    Way To Find the Best Life Film Poster

最高の人生の見つけ方  Saiko no jinsei no mitsuke kata

Release Date: October 11th, 2019

Duration: 115 mins.

Director: Isshin Inudo

Writer: Isshin Inudo, Taeko Asano, Hiroyoshi Koiwai (Screenplay)

Starring: Sayuri Yoshinaga, Yuki Amami, Tsuyoshi Muro, Hikari Mitsushima, Kento Kaku, Ayaka Sasaki, Shiori Tamai,

Website IMDB

Synopsis: Sachie Kitahara (Sayuri Yoshinaga) is a devoted housewife and mother while Mako Goda (Yuki Amami) is a career woman who has set up a successful hotel chain. The one thing they have in common is that they are both diagnosed with terminal illnesses and have a short time left to live and both feel emptiness in their lives. When they meet in a hospital they also encounter a 12-year-old girl who has written a bucket list. When the girl is rushed away in an emergency, they have that list and decide to fulfil it and they begin to feel happiness entering their lives again.


It Comes   Kuru Film Poster

来る Kuru

Release Date: December 07th, 2018

Duration: 134 mins.

Director:  Tetsuya Nakashima

Writer: Tetsuya Nakashima, Hideto Iwai (Screenplay), Ichi Sawamura (Original Novel)

Starring: Junichi Okada, Satoshi Tsumabuki, Haru Kuroki, Nana Komatsu, Takako Matsu, Munetaka Aoki, Taiga, Rie Shibata, Miho Ninagawa, Eri Ishida,

Website IMDB

Get hyped for this one! Excellent director and excellent cast. Tetsuya Nakashima is back after making The World of Kanako and he brings some of the stars from that film, Satoshi Tsumabuki (Rage, Gukoroku) and Nana Komatsu (Samurai Marathon and the lead actress in The World of Kanako) as well as Takako Matsu (Dreams for Sale) and Junichi Okada (The Fable). I’m desperate to see this one.

Synopsis: Newlyweds Hideki and Kana Tahara are awaiting the arrival of their first child, a girl they plan to name “Chisa” and life seems to be going smoothly but everything is thrown out of whack when a mysterious person visits Hideki’s workplace and leaves a note with the cryptic message, “about Chisa-san case”. Now, Hideki and Kana are the only ones who know what they plan to name their daughter so that’s odd but stranger things happen when the colleague who passed Hideki the note is killed and Hideko and Kana’s home is attacked… To protect his family, Hideki asks for help from a journalist named Nozaki and a prestigious exorcist because what they are dealing with is something totally unnatural and mind-blowing...

Brave Father Online – Our Story of Final Fantasy XIV  Final Fantasy XIV Dad of Light Film Poster

ファイナルファンタジーXIV 光のお父さん  Fainaru Fantaji- XIV Hikari no Otosan

Release Date: June 21st, 2019

Duration: 114 mins.

Director: Teruo Noguchi (live-action), Kiyoshi Yamamoto (game)

Writer: Kouta Fukihara (Screenplay), Mighty (Original Blog)

Starring: Kentaro Sakaguchi, Kotaro Yoshida, Yui Sakuma, Maika Yamamoto, Ryuta Sato,


Kotaro Yoshida takes over from Ren Osugi in portraying a man who reconnects with his son through playing Final Fantasy XIV on the PlayStation 4. 

Synopsis: Akio (Kentaro Sakaguchi) knows a lot about his virtual “friends” in the realm of Eorzea. The players behind the avatars in Final Fantasy XIV are happy to share their daily details, especially after a big win together. But his own father, Akira (Kotaro Yoshida), remains a mystery, as he has been ever since Akio was a small boy. The distance between the workaholic salaryman and his now-adult son seems greater than ever when Akira, on the verge of a big promotion and raise, suddenly announces his retirement. Recalling his fondest childhood memories, bonding with his dad over 8-bit victories in the earliest Final Fantasy games, Akio hatches a plan. He’ll convince his father to take up gaming, befriend him anonymously within the online world, and rebuild their connection. Operation Dad the Warrior of Light is a go! But real life isn’t a game, and Akio can’t be sure of his surefire moves…


メランコリック  Merankorikku

Release Date: August 02nd, 2019

Duration: 113 mins.

Director: Seiji Tanaka

Writer: Seiji Tanaka (Screenplay),

Starring: Yoji Minagawa, Yoshitomo Isozaki, Mebuki Yoshida, Makoto Hada, Hiroko Shinkai, Keiji Yamashita, Takanori Minagawa

Website IMDB

Seiji Tanaka’s debut feature Melancholic won him a share of the best director prize in the Japanese Cinema Splash section at last years Tokyo International Film Festival (Masaharu Take also won for his film, The Gun (2018)) and one can see why as it manages to combine a number of tones and genres to create a film that feels fresh and original as well as socially conscious as it looks at differences between generations to the workplace and it has a great performance by Yoji Minegawa. It’s a real treat with a great lead performance from Yoji Minagawa. It played at this year’s Japan Cuts where it went down well with audiences. Here’s my review.

Synopsis: Kazuhiko (Yoji Minagawa) graduated from the prestigious halls of Tokyo University you would expect him to be in some high-flying job but since leaving academia he has moved back home with his parents and lived the life of a slacker. A chance encounter with a girl he knew at high school at a bathhouse leads to him taking a job there as an attendant and he quite likes it, not least because he can talk to the girl. However, what seems like a normal onsen turns out to be a killing space for yakuza-ordered hits and when Kazuhiko stumbles upon this he ends up getting dragged into the criminal underworld…

Talking the Pictures    Katsuben Film Poster 1

カツベン!  Katsuben!

Release Date: December 13th, 2019

Duration: 129 mins.

Director: Masayuki Suo

Writer: Shozo Katashima (Screenplay)

Starring: Ryo Narita, Yuina Kuroshima, Masatoshi Nagase, Kengo Kora, Mao Inoue, Naoto Takenaka, Eri Watanabe, Fumiyo Kohinata, Yutaka Takennouchi, Shoji Masui, Motoi Sasaki, Takao Tsuchimoto, Kazuhito Amano,

Website IMDB

This one is currently at the Busan International Film Festival.

Synopsis: It is the era of the silent movies and benshi (narrators who appear live in the cinema) are in demand. Shuntaro lives in a small town and he has had dreams of becoming a benshi ever since he was a child and his dreams are about to come true just as (it gets better) he is also reunited with his first love. He is, however, tasked with pleasing tough crowds as well as doing the chores and he also gets involved in a police case where they are tracking thieves and political activists…

His Bad Blood

いつくしみふかき  Itsukushimifukaki

Release Date: 2019

Duration: 108 mins.

Director: Koichiro Oyama

Writer: Koichiro Oyama, Fumiya Yasumoto (Screenplay),

Starring: Ikkei Watanabe, Yu Toyama, Sakura Enomoto, Ryo Ushimaru, Naoki Goto,

Website IMDB

Synopsis: When a stranger with conflicting values joins a village whose inhabitants are closely knit, communal harmony may be affected. This is the case with Hiroshi. When he takes off with the family nest egg, just when his wife is giving birth to their first son, the villagers chase him down and violently beat him. He’s only spared at the last minute by the Reverend’s good graces. Thirty years later, Hiroshi’s scars are still present, except now they’re being borne by his son Shinichi. Depressed, traumatized and lazy, even his family sees his father’s bad blood within, persecuting him to the point of banishment from the village. He seeks shelter with the same Reverend who saved his father’s life years ago. Meanwhile, not far away, the latter continues his degenerate life. As the head of a small band of hoodlums, Hiroshi commits petty con jobs. One failed job too many forces him to hide out at the Reverend’s too. Shinichi and Hiroshi are totally clueless about their shared lineage and the man of the cloth plans to keep it that way, if only to move one and reason with the other.

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