“Nowhere Man” (1991) will be screened at the Japanese Embassy on September 27th

The Japanese Embassy in London is continuing to screen Japanese films from the ‘90s and this one sounds absurd because it involves a guy who sells rocks. It’s based on a manga of the same name. The event is free to attend but anyone interested in being part of the audience must book in advance to secure a place (which you can do through this link).

Here’s the information:

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The 1983 Anime Adaptation of “Barefoot Gen” will be Screened at the Japanese Embassy on July 25th

The Japanese Embassy in London will screen the anime adaption of Barefoot Gen which was released in 1983. I have not seen the film or read the manga but I have visited Hiroshima and it is a wonderful city. The museum dedicated to the atomic bombing is full of heartbreaking exhibits. While I don’t discuss politics here, I think that nuclear weapons are evil and any nation that has a stockpile should decommission them. If anybody disagrees, perhaps seeing this film and seeing people who have suffered the consequences of their use might change their minds.

The event is free to attend but anyone interested in being part of the audience must book in advance to secure a place.

Here’s the information:

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Shinji Somai’s “Moving” will be Screened at the Japanese Embassy in London on June 23rd

The Japanese Embassy in London has a 16mm print of Shinji Somai’s 1993 film Ohikkoshi and there will be a free screening of it on June 23rd. This film is a touching story about a girl dealing with the divorce of her parents and while it is floating about on the internet, nothing beats seeing films as part of an audience and on a screen bigger than a laptop/PC. There is also a special talk which will make the screening even more interesting.

The event is free to attend but anyone interested in being part of the audience must book in advance to secure a place (which you can do through this link).

Here’s the information:

Ohikkoshi Film Image

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Yoji Yamada’s “A Class to Remember” Screening at the Japanese Embassy in London on May 23rd

The Japanese embassy in London regularly screens films that are hard to find in the West and they are an eclectic bunch. The latest one programmed is one from the venerable director Yoji Yamada. It’s called A Class to Remember and it’s from the 1996 and was Japan’s submission to the 69th Academy Awards for the Best Foreign Language Film category but it was not accepted as a nominee (source: Wikipedia).

Here’s the information and here’s the link to the embassy’s page:

A Class to Remember 2: The Learning Circle   Gakko II Film Poster

学校IIGakko II

Running Time: 122 mins.

Release Date: October 19th , 1996

Director: Yoji Yamada

Writer: Yoji Yamada (Screenplay),

Starring: Toshiyuki Nishida, Hidetaka Yoshioka, Masatoshi Nagase, Ayumi Ishida, Pinko Izumi, Takashi Sasano, Ayumi Hamasaki,

IMDB

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The Japanese Embassy in London Will Screen “Night Train to the Stars” on May 18th

The Japanese embassy in London regularly screens films that are hard to find in the West and they are an eclectic bunch. This one features the story of the Japanese literary giant Kenji Miyazawa and has animation. It’s from the 1990s but despite its vintage there were no trailers.

Here’s the information on the embassy’s film website:

Night Train to the Stars    Night Train to the Stars Film Poster

わが心の銀河鉄道 宮沢賢治物語 Waga kokoro no ginga tetsudou miyazawa kenji monogatari

Running Time: 111 mins.

Release Date: October 19th , 1996

Director: Kazuki Omori

Writer: Machiko Nasu (Screenplay), Kenji Miyazawa (Life Story),

Starring: Naoto Ogata, Tetsuya Watari, Maki Mizuno, Yoshihiko Hakamada, Ryuji Harada, Yuriko Hoshi, Sayaka Osawa, Yuki Saito, Kippei Shina,

IMDB

Synopsis from the embassy’s site: A biographical film of Kenji Miyazawa, Japan’s most popular fantasy novelist.

Night Train to the Stars Film Image

Kenji is an idealist from an early age, forming a utopian vision with his friend Kanai Hosaka that inspires them to work for the happiness of farmers, although his pawnbroker father, Masajiro, objects to such idealism. Kanai is expelled from school for outlining his revolutionary plans in an essay. Meanwhile, Kenji develops a devotion to the Nichiren sect of Buddhism and goes to Tokyo. While proselytising on a voluntary basis, he continues writing his fantasy stories at night. Kenji urges Kanai to join his group but Kanai refuses, saying that it will not benefit the farmers, and makes a decisive break from Kenji. On top of this, the death of his biggest supporter, his beloved sister Toshi, hits Kenji hard. Subsequently he regains contact with Kanai, who is now farming in Yamanashi prefecture and has gone a long way toward realising their original vision. Encouraged by what Kanai has achieved, he returns to Iwate prefecture to start his own experimental school in the family summer house. A tragic rainstorm hits the northern area of Japan and ruins most of the crops as well as many of those at Kenji’s school. His efforts to develop new farming methods and help poor farmers only serve to undermine his health, forcing him to close the school. Kenji dies at the age of just 37. It is only after his death, through the help of his family, that his writings become widely read. The film was made in 1996 to commemorate the centennial of his birth.

The event takes place on May 18th at 18:30pm. 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.

私はいろうな友達と東京でぶらぶらする好きです

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:

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The Japanese Embassy in London to Screen “Summer Holiday Everyday” on June 21st

Summer Holiday Everyday is the next film to get screened at the Japanese embassy in London and it’s a gentle comedy that looks at middle-class mores and social order when a seemingly respectable family fall apart. It is adapted from a comic book written by Yumiko Oshima, one of Japan’s best comic artists for girls and the story involves subjects like school bullying and corporate conformism. The director, Shusuke Kaneko, has worked across genres and I am most familiar with him from his work on Necronomicon: Book of Dead (segment “part #2: The Cold”) and the Death Note films. It looks like a gentler version of Tokyo Sonata or Wild Berries.

Here are more details on the film:

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The Japanese Embassy in London will Screen Kei Kumai’s Film “Darkness in the Light” May 12th

The Japanese Embassy in London will Screen Kei Kumai’s Film Darkness in the Light on April 12th at 18:30. Doors open at 18:00 and you will need to register before heading in.

Light in the Dark Film Image 2

Kei Kumai is probably most well-known for the period drama The Sea is Watching (2002) which got a DVD release in the UK (it’s in my local library) although Darkness in the Light is completely different since it offers a take on a tragedy in contemporary Japan, the sarin gas attacks that took place in 1994. It played at the Berlin Film Festival in 2001.

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The Japanese Embassy in London will Screen Shinobu Yaguchi’s Film “Adrenaline Drive”

This month’s film screening at the Japanese embassy is Adrenaline Drive which is a late ‘90s comedy action flick directed by Shinobu Yaguchi. Shinobu Yaguchi has made family friendly films as well as experimental ones. Waterboys (2001), Happy Flight (2008), Swing Girls (2007) and, most recently, Wood Job! (2014) are what I would see as broad comedies designed to appeal to wide audiences but as good as these are (and they are good) it’s his early experimental film The Rain Women which has me most intrigued after I wrote about it screening at the Berlin International Film Festival this year.

Adrenaline Drive Film Image

Anyway, this is a parody of action and romance movies and it contains slapstick comedy. It is held together by likeable performances from lead actors Masanobu Ando and Hikari Ishida.

Masanobu Ando should be familiar to J-film fans from his incredible performance as Shinji in Kids Return (1996) and Kiriyama in Battle Royale (2000). He has appeared in many other cult films and worked with a variety of directors and has proven himself to be a great leading man, so it is a shame he isn’t used more… Hikari Ishida is another underused actor although I must admit that the only other film I have seen her in is Séance (2000)…

Here are the details:

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The Japanese Embassy in London to Screen Acacia Walk on March 22nd

Acacia Walk is the next film to get screened at the Japanese embassy in London during the free screening on March 22nd and it’s a tough tale talking about the growing problem of providing nursing care for elderly parents. It does so through a tale of abuse created by isolation and pressure that filters down from mother to daughter and back again. Director Joji Matsuoka is famous for the Shinya Shokudo dorama and movie.

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