Japan Foundation Touring Film Programme 2022 – What Lies Beneath The Intricate Representations of a ‘Dark Mind’ in Japanese Cinema

Colorless Yuka Tanaka (Ruka Ishikawa) and Shuji Oyamada (Daichi Kaneko) 2

The Japan Foundation Touring Film Programme goes physical for in-person screenings in its 2022 edition. In arthouse cinemas across the UK, from  February 04 to March 31, audiences in the region will be able to see a selection of 20 films that have been selected to fit this year’s theme, “representations of dark minds.”

Here are trailers for the films:


Will I Be Single Forever?ずっと独身でいるつもり Film Poster

ずっと独身でいるつもり? Zutto dokushin de iru tsumori?

Release Date: November 19th, 2021

Duration:94 mins.

Director: Momoko Fukuda

Writer:Fumi Tsubota (Script), Mari Okazaki (Original Manga),

Starring:Minami Tanaka, Yu Inaba, Eri Tokunaga, Takumi Matsuzawa, Sayuri Matsumura, Miwako Ichikawa, Mariko Tsutsui,


Synopsis: Honda Mami is 36, single, and struggling to replicate her success of ten years ago when she published an essay on the happiness of women, which became a big hit. Despite having some fame and success and appearing on TV, she is dogged by the worries of people around her who are concerned that she will be single forever. This, despite the fact that she is in a relationship with her younger boyfriend with the intention of getting married. However, the difference in their values makes her anxious and angry and forces her to try to find her own form of happiness.


Eternally Younger Than Those IdiotsEternally Younger Than Those Idiots Film Poster

君は永遠にそいつらより若いKimi wa eien ni soitsu-ra yori wakai

Release Date: September 17th, 2021

Duration: 118 mins.

Director: Ryohei Yoshino

Writer:Ryohei Yoshino (Script), Kikuko Tsumura (Original Novel)

Starring: Yui Sakuma, Nao, Seiichi Kohinata, Sho Kasamatsu, Yo Aoi, Kokoro Morita,


This is based on a prize-winning novel and played at the Tokyo International Film Festival back in 2020.

Synopsis: Sayo Horigai is an ordinary young woman merely waiting for the day she graduates from university and gets employed in the area of child welfare. This is when she falls in with a girl named Inoki, a fellow student. A unique friendship springs up but Sayo begins to sense violence and sadness dog her heels. This leads to a story of painful revelations of hidden histories, all of which emerge after a friend dies…

First LoveFirst Love 2021 Film Poster

ファーストラヴFa-suto Rabu

Release Date: February 11th, 2021

Duration: 119 mins.

Director: Yukihiko Tsutsumi

Writer: Takeo Asano (Script), Rio Shimamoto (Original Novel)

Starring: Keiko Kitagawa, Tomoya Nakamura, Kyoko Yoshina, Yosuke Kubozuka, Itsuji Itao, Saki Takaoka, Yoshino Kimura

Website IMDB

Synopsis: Yuki Makabe (Keiko Kitagawa) is a psychologist who is commissioned to write a book about Kanna Hijiriyama, a student who murdered her fatherAfter interviewing Kanna and other connected to herYuki sees a lot of similarities to herself when she was younger and this unlocks memories that were buried deep in her mind.

The Voice of SinThe Voice of Sin Film Poster

罪の声Tsumi no Koe

Release Date: October 30th, 2020

Duration: 142 mins.

Director: Nobuhiro Doi

Writer: Akiko Nogi (Script), Takeshi Shiota (Original Novel)

Starring: Shun Oguri, Gen Hoshino, Meiko Kaji, Mikako Ichikawa, Junko Abe, Yutaka Matsushige, Ryudo Uzaki, Kanji Furutrachi, Yukiko Shinohara,

Website IMDB

Synopsis: Around the end of the Heisei era, newspaper reporter Eiji Akutsu (Shun Oguri) is tasked with looking into the largest unsolved case in the Showa era. 30 years ago, a group of people extorted several companies for money by sending cassette tapes with threats recorded on them. The threats were made with the voices of three children. Meanwhile, Toshiya Sone (Gen Hoshino), a tailor living in Kyoto, finds a cassette tape in his late father’s possessions. He plays the tape and hears his own voice…


Kiba: The Fangs of FictionKiba The Fangs of Fiction Film Poster

騙し絵の牙Damashi-e no kiba

Release Date: March 26th, 2021

Duration: 113 mins.

Director: Daihachi Yoshida

Writer: Ichiro Kusuno (Script), Takeshi Shiota (Original Novel)

Starring: Yo Oizumi, Shinya Tsukamoto, Shiro Sano, Takumi Saitoh, Mayu Matsuoka, Elaiza Ikeda, Jun Kunimura,


This film is based on a novel by Takeshi Shiota. The author wrote his work with actor Yo Oizumi in mind as the lead – his easy-going personality and smooth talk giving off a lovable vibe while he secretly has “fangs.” The novel became a best seller and now a movie has been made.

Synopsis:Like many other companies in the publishing industry, Kunpusya Inc. is suffering from the recession and sales are down across books and magazines. More misfortune follows with the death of the CEO. A power struggle arises over who will take his place with executive manager, Tomatsu (Koichi Sato) trying to overhaul the company. He tasks an editor of a struggling magazine with reviving their fortunes, This editor is Hayami (Yo Oizumi), and he is a smooth talker. Hayami, together with rookie editor Takano (Mayu Matsuoka), go out to recruit new writing talent from rival publications for their magazine but lies and betrayal litter the way.

Spaghetti Code LoveSpaghetti Code Love Film Poster

スパゲティコード・ラブ SupagetKo-do Rabu

Release Date: November 26th, 2021

Duration: 96 mins.

Director:Takeshi Maruyama

Writer: Naomi Hiruta (Script),

Starring:Yuki Kura, Toko Miura, Hiroya Shimizu, Rikako Yagi, Furuhata Nino, Yuzu Aoki,


This is the debut feature film of Takeshi Maruyama, director of MONDO GROSSO’s one-shot music video “Labyrinth.” The “Spaghetti Code” in the title of the film comes from programming slang for code that is difficult to understand and extend so it becomes impossible for other programmers to collaborate on the project (source).

Synopsis:13 young people living in Tokyo find themselves connected by chance or circumstance as they search for love and light in tough circumstances. Some of these stories include a singer-songwriter who has given up on her dreams and now spends time lazing around with friends, a delivery worker aiming to make 1000 deliveries in order to kill his feelings for his favourite idol, an escort who can’t seem to find love, a high school couple pondering suicide, a photographer desperate to make it big and getting crushed by a celebrity, and a part-time worker hopelessly attached to a married man. Each character is struggling to overcome their limitations, each intertwined by the same desire for love, understanding and connection. 

AristocratsAristocrats Film Poster

あのこは貴族Ano ko wa Kizoku

Release Date: February 26th, 2021

Duration: 124 mins.

Director: Yukiko Sode

Writer: Yukiko Sode (Script), Mariko Yamauchi (Original Novel)

Starring:Mugi Kadowaki, Kiko Mizuhara, Kengo Kora, Shizuka Ishibashi, Rio Yamashita, Yukiko Shinohara, Kei Ishibashi,

Website IMDB

Based on Mariko Yamauchi’s novel of the same name, it follows two women with different lives who live in Tokyo.

Synopsis: Hanako Haibara (Mugi Kadowaki) is in her late twenties and is from a well-to-do background (perhaps cloistered) in Tokyo and is looking for a man to marry. After getting dumped by her boyfriend Koichiro (Kengo Kora), she hits the dating scene but she questions her path in life. Meanwhile, Miki Tokioka (Kiko Mizuhara) is from a less affluent background having come from Toyama prefecture but studied and worked hard to get to into a prestigious university and, after tough times where she questioned the meaning of everything, she now works at an IT company but is also uncertain about life. These two different women are brought together by Koichiro.

Tomorrow’s Dinner TableTomorrow's Dinner Table Film Poster

明日の食卓Ashita no Shokutaku

Release Date: May 28th, 2021

Duration: 124 mins.

Director: Takahisa Zeze

Writer: Tomoko Ogawa (Screenplay), Michiko Yazuki (Original Novel)

Starring: Miho Kanno, Mitsuki Takahata, Machiko Ono, Soko Wada, Maho Yamada, Makiko Watanabe, Shun Sugata, Shohei Uno,

Website IMDB

Synopsis: This drama surround three women who each have a 10-year-old son with the name of Yu Ishibashi. One woman is Kana Ishibashi (Mitsuki Takahata), a 30-year-old single mother living in Osaka who makes a living working part-time. Another is Asumi Ishibashi (Machiko Ono), a 36-year-old housewife in Shizuoka. The final one is Rumiko Ishibashi (Miho Kanno) who, at 43 years old, works as a freelance writer and is married to Yutaka, a freelance cameraman. They lead busy but happy lives, but when a trivial incident occurs, their lives begin to come apart at the seams and their frustration and anger are directed at their sons.


BLUEブルー   Blue Film Poster


Release Date: April 09th, 2021

Duration: 107 mins.

Director: Keisuke Yoshida

Writer: Keisuke Yoshida (Script),

Starring: Kenichi Matsuyama, Fumino Kimura, Tokio Emoto, Masahiro Higahide, Pistol Takehara, Ayuri Yoshinaga, Shinichiro Matsuura,


Synopsis: Nobuto Urita (Kenichi Matsuyama) and Kazuki Ogawa (Masahiro Higashide) are two boxers at the same gym but leagues apart in talent as Kazuki is a top fighter while Nobuto is a loser. They are also connected another way: Kazuki is engaged to Chika Amano (Fumino Kimura), Nobuto’s childhood friend and his first love…


Ora, Ora Be Goin’ AloneOra Ora Be Goin' Alone Film Poster

おらおらでひとりいぐもOra Ora de Hitori Igumo

Release Date: November 06th, 2020

Duration: 137 mins.

Director: Shuichi Okita

Writer: Shuichi Okita (Script), Chisako Wakatake (Original Novel)

Starring: Yuko Tanaka, Yu Aoi, Masahiro Higashide, Gaku Hamada, Amane Okayama, Machiko Washio, Kankuro Kudo, Munetaka Aoki, Tomoko Tabata,

Website IMDB

Shuichi Okita, director of A Story of Yonosuke (2013), The Woodsman and the Rain  (2012), gathers together a great cast to bring to life a story that looks a little like a tear-jerker.

Synopsis: Momoko (Yuko Tanaka) is seventy-five-years old and lives alone in Tokyo. It wasn’t always like this. In 1964, Momoko (Yu Aoi) arrived in Tokyo and met a handsome man named Shuzo (Masahiro Higashide) who she married. An increase in their family soon followed as she gave birth to two children but then her husband dies and Momoko is left bereft in life. Then, she begins to go to a library and finds solace and companionship in the books on offer. As an older woman, she looks back on her life with voices of loneliness offering comments. 

colorlesscolorless Film Poster

猿楽町で会いましょうSarugakuchou de aimashou

Release Date: June 04th, 2021

Duration: 122 mins.

Director: Takashi Koyama

Writer: Takashi Koyama, Yu Shibuya (Screenplay), 

Starring: Daichi Kaneko, Ruka Ishikawa, Shuntaro Yanagi, Sakurako Konishi, Ikuma Nagatomo, Hitoe Ookubo,

Website IMDB

The winner of 2018’s Unfinished Movie Trailer Grand Prix MI-CAN where filmmaker’s can win a cash prize based on a trailer around 3 minutes, this takes place in Sarugakuchou in Shibuya and looks at the lives of two young people drawn to that area of Tokyo who meet there and embark upon a stormy relationship. Here’s more about the area from Tokyo Weekender.  

You can read my review of the film here.

Synopsis: A young blonde-haired guy named Shuji Oyamada (Daichi Kaneko) is struggling to make it as a fashion photographer but when an editor throws him an assignment taking profile shots of a struggling amateur model named Yuka Tanaka (Ruka Ishikawa), he finds his muse and the one he thinks will be the love of his life. She is pretty, coquettish, like any number of ingénues drawn to Shibuya. Behind her glittering façade and good looks is a deceitful woman but her deceit comes from a fractured background.

The Lone Ume TreeUmekiranu Baka Film Poster

梅切らぬバカ Umekiranu Baka

Release Date: November 12th, 2021

Duration:77 mins.

Director:Kotaro Wajima

Writer:Kotaro Wajima (Script), 

Starring:Mariko Kaga, Muga Tsukaji, Ikkei Watanabe, Yoko Moriguchi, Reiko Takashima,


Synopsis: Tamako (Mariko Kaga) is a popular fortune teller who lives with her adult son, Tadao, due to his intellectual disability and autism. While he does spend time at a workshop designed to help him develop the ability to live independently, neighbours still complain about his unpredictable behaviour and so when Tamako is informed that a room is available in a group home owned by the workshop, she decides that this is Tadao’s best option. However, moving out is not easy for Tadao… 


The Confidence Man JP: The MovieThe Confidence Man JP The Movie Film Poster

コンフィデンスマンJP Konfidensu Man JP the movie

Running Time: 116 mins.

Release Date: May 17th, 2019

Director:  Ryo Tanaka

Writer: Ryota Kosawa (Screenplay),

Starring: Masami Nagasawa, Masahiro Higashide, Fumiyo Kohinata, Yuko Takeuchi, Haruma Miura, Lisa Oda, Yosuke Eguchi, Atsuko Maeda,


Synopsis: Dako (Masami Nagasawa), Boku-chan (Masahiro Higashide) and Richard (Fumiyo Kohinata) are professional con artists who have travelled to Hong Kong to attempt to steal a diamond from Ran Riu (Yuko Takeuchi), a member of the Hong Kong triad. They have a rival in a handsome conman Jessie (Haruma Miura) who tries to get in on the action.


Iwane: Sword of SerenityIwane Sword of Serenity Film Poster

居眠り磐音 Inemuri Iwane

Running Time: 121 mins.

Release Date: May 17th, 2019

Director:  Katsuhide Motoki

Writer: Yuki Fujimoto (Screenplay), Yasuhide Saeki (Original Novel)

Starring: Tori Matsuzaka, Fumino Kimura, Kyoko Yoshine, Tasuku Emoto, Pierre Taki, Akira Emoto, Naomi Zaizen,


Synopsis: Iwane Sakazaki (Tori Matsuzaka), Kinpei Kobayashi (Tasuku Emoto) and Shinnosuke Kawade (Yosuke Sugino) are childhood friends who have risen to the rank of samurai together. Their bond is strengthened by the fact that Kinpei’s younger sister Mai is married to Shinnosuke and Iwane will marry Nao (Kyoko Yoshine). Their bond is shattered when Shinnosuke kills Mai after hearing allegations of an affair and then Kinpei takes revenge. The final act is to be Iwane Sakazaki executing his friend…


Life Untitled Film Poster

Life: Untitled

タイトル、拒絶 Taitoru, kyozetsu

Release Date: November 13th, 2020

Duration: 98 mins.

Director: Kana Yamada

Writer: Kana Yamada (Screenplay)

Starring: Sairi Ito, Yuri Tsunematsu, Reiko Kataoka, Denden, Aimi Satsukawa, Kokoro Morita, War Marui, Aika Yukihira,

Website IMDB

Synopsis: Based on a stage play by the director, this film stars Sairi Ito (Love and Other Cults) as Kanou, one of a number of young women working in a Tokyo escort service operating from a rundown office where the women all wait for calls and becomes a witness to others between their visits to local love hotels.

The House of the Lost on the CapeMisaki no Mayoiga Film Poster

岬のマヨイガMisaki no Mayoiga

Release Date: August 27th, 2021

Duration: 105 mins.

Director: Shinya Kawatsura

Writer: Reika Yoshida (Script), Sachiko Kashiwaba (Original Creator)

Starring:Mana Ashida (Yui), Sari Awano (Hiyori), Shinobu Otake (Kiwa), Mikio Date (Kappa of Toyosawagawa), Sally Amaki (Zashiki-warashi),

Animation Production: David Production

Website ANN MAL

Synopsis:Two people from Iwate going through a tough time encounter a traditional Japanese house named “Mayoiga” (named after the Japanese folkloric concept of an abandoned yet well-kept home). One is Hiyori, an 8-year-old girl who lost her parents, and the other is Yurie, who is fleeing a violent situation. They both meet an old woman named Kiwa who invites them to stay at the legendary house. During their stay, their hearts feel ease and this is when yokai visit…

The Sound of GrassThe Sound of Grass Film Poster

草の響きKusa no Hibiki

Release Date: October 08th, 2021

Duration: 116 mins.

Director: Hisashi Saito

Writer:Hitomi Kase (Script), Yasushi Sato (Original Novel),

Starring:Masahiro Higashide, Nao, Shunsuke Daito, Kaya, Yuki Mine, Shigeru Muroi, Yuta Hayashi,


This is based on a Yasushi Sato story. He was a writer from Hakodate who committed suicide but left behind a body of work that has inspired many a film including And Your Bird Can SingOver the Fence, and Sketches of Kaitan City.

Synopsis: Kazuo (Masahiro Higashide) and Junko (Nao) are a married couple who live in Tokyo. A huge upheaval comes when he suffers from a mental issue and he returns to his hometown of Hakodate in the far north. A psychiatrist recommends that he jog everyday and so, following his doctor’s advice, Kazuo takes to jogging. Whatever the weather, he jogs around the city and he soon regains his mental equilibrium but he also has strange interactions he meets during his runs. Meanwhile, Junko, a native of Tokyo, tries her best to adjust to life in a new environment.

Liar x LiarLiar x Liar Film Poster

ライアー×ライアーRaia- x Raia-

Release Date: February 19th, 2021

Duration: 117 mins.

Director: Saiji Yakumo

Writer: Yuichi Tokunaga (Script), Renjuro Kindaichi (Original Manga)

Starring: Hokuto Matsumura, Nana Mori, Yuta Koseki, Mayu Hotta, Ryosuke Takei, Shoko Aida,

Website IMDB

Synopsis: Minato (Nana Mori) and her stepbrother Toru (Hokuto Matsumura) are both university students. While he is handsome and popular with the opposite sex,  she is mousy and hates his womanising ways. One day, Minato’s friend gives her a makeover as a high school girl and she goes out in public. When Toru sees her, he doesn’t recognise her. No, instead he falls in love… 

The Hunter’s DiaryThe Hunter's Diary Film Poster

猟人日記Ryojin Nikki

Release Date: April 19th, 1964

Duration: 123 mins.

Director: Ko Nakahira

Writer: Tatsuo Asano (Script), Masako Togawa (Original Novel),

Starring: Noboru Nakaya, Masako Togawa, Kazuo Kitamura, Yoko Kozono, Yukiyo Toake,


Synopsis: Ichiro Honda (Noboru Nakaya) has a diary and in it he puts his sexual encounters in great detail. It is less to do with a bad marriage and more to do with the fact that he is a misogynist and philanderer. When he leaves his wife in Osaka and goes to Tokyo for work, he starts to fill his ‘hunter’s diary’. However, when the women he has slept with start winding up dead, it seems that Ichiro is the only suspect…


Shrieking in the Rain  Shrieking in the Rain Film Poster

雨に叫べば Ame ni Sakebi ba

Release Date: December 16th, 2021

Duration: 102 mins.

Director: Eiji Uchida

Writer: Eiji Uchida (Script), 

Starring: Marika Matsumoto, Serena Motola, Kiyohiko Shibukawa, Chika Uchida, Toshihiro Yashiba, Ruka Ishikawa, Eri Fuse, Yoshiyuki Morishita, Gaku Hamada,

Website IMDB

Synopsis: It is 1988, a time when sexism and power harassment is rife, and Hanako Hayashi (Marika Matsumoto) has finally made it into the directors chair after a long struggle. However, on the set of her debut feature film, the struggle continues as she faces hostility from the male members of her crew, melodramatic actors, a script that sucks, producers trying to save money, and censors at the studio who want to trim the erotic aspects of the project to get a friendly audience rating. Can she fulfil her artistic? It’ll be a battle all the way to the finish!

To keep up to date with the Japan Foundation, you can check out their websiteFacebook page, and Twitter account.

2 thoughts on “Japan Foundation Touring Film Programme 2022 – What Lies Beneath The Intricate Representations of a ‘Dark Mind’ in Japanese Cinema

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