Preview – The Japan Foundation Touring Film Programme 2018, Februrary 2-March 28


The Japan Foundation Touring Film Programme returns to the UK from February 2 to March 28 to bring audiences another taste of the cinematic delights of the Japanese film world. It is the most vital festival in the UK for audiences who want to see Japanese cinema and this year’s selection promises to be its biggest and best. Taking the theme ‘(Un)true Colours – Secrets and Lies in Japanese Cinema’, the tour boasts a programme of 16 films with titles stretching from the Golden Age all the way to the most current festival sensations.

The 2018 edition will launch in London before bringing a selection of its programme to audiences in places such as Belfast, Edinburgh, Bristol, Stirling, and further afield (a full list of the venues is at the bottom of this post). Opening night takes place at the ICA in London on February 2 with the UK premiere of Gukoroku: Traces of Sin (2016). Highlights of the programme include Miwa Nishikawa’s drama The Long Excuse (2016), Masahiro Ando’s high tension chanbara anime Sword of the Stranger (2007), and Yu Irie’s serial-killer thriller Memoirs of a Murderer (2017). This year’s programme is all about secrets and lies, and how filmmakers use this aspect of human nature to create compelling stories. As the organisers explain:

With diverse cinematic voices, The Japan Foundation Touring Film Programme 2018 features some of the best examples of cinema from Japan and will look at how the country’s filmmakers have been drawn to portraying the “(un)true” colours of human nature. The twists and turns of life portrayed in the programme are at times heart-rending, at other times hilarious, but always enthralling.

There will be three guests coming from Japan to take part in this year’s Japan Foundation Touring Film Programme and two have already been revealed by the organisers.


The first guest to be announced was Kosuke Mukai, a writer, cinematographer and editor, known for writing for an array of Japanese television series and films, including the acclaimed Shinya Shokudo (2009-present) and Linda Linda, Linda (2005). He was awarded the Ryuzo Kikushima Award in 2007 for his work as screenwriter for The Matsugane Potshot Affair (2007) and was the winner of the Best Screenplay Award at the 71 annual Mainichi Film Concours Film Awards for his screenplay for the film Satoshi: A Move for Tomorrow (2016). His most recent feature Gukoroku: Traces of Sin was shown at Venice Film Festival in 2016. He will attend screenings at selected venues (ICA, London: February 2 and February 6; Watershed, Bristol: February 4; MacRobert Arts Centre, Stirling: February 5).


The second guest to be announced was Masahiro Motoki who will attend the screening of The Long Excuse at ICA London on February 3. He is probably best known internationally for starring in Departures (2009), which won the 81st Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film, but has been known to Japanese audiences since the early 1980s when he started as a music idol before moving to acting. His credits include Sumo Do, Sumo Don’t (1992), Shall We Dance? (1996), The Bird People in China (1998) and The Emperor in August (2015).

Full programme:

 After School (Dir. Kenji Uchida)

Birds Without Names (Dir. Kazuya Shiraishi)

The Dark Maidens (Dir. Saiji Yakumo)

Gukoroku – Traces of Sin (Dir. Kei Ishikawa)

Initation of Love (Dir. Yukihiko Tsutsumi)

Japanese Girls Never Die (Dir. Daigo Matsui)

Joy of Man’s Desiring (Dir. Masakazu Sugita)

The Long Excuse (Dir. Miwa Nishikawa)

Memoirs of a Murderer (Dir. Yu Irie)

The Mole Song: Undercover Agent Reji (Dir. Takashi Miike)

Mumon: The Land of Stealth (Dir. Yoshihiro Nakamura)

Oh Lucy! (Dir. Atsuko Hirayanagi)

Room for Let (Dir. Yuzo Kawashima)

Sing My Life (Dir. Nobuo Mizuta)

Sword of the Stranger (Dir. Masahiro Ando)

Where I Belong (Dr. Shinji Azuma)

It’s a packed event and will appear at the following venues as it runs from February 2 to March 28:

February 2-11, ICA, London

February 3-13, Watershed, Bristol

February 3-March 25, Firstsite, Colchester

February 4-March 25, Queen’s Film Theatre, Belfast

February 5-March 26, Macrobert Arts Centre, Stirling

February 6-March 13, Pheonix, Leicester

February 6-March 28. Showroom, Sheffield

February 9-February 11, QUAD, Derby

February 12-27, HOME, Manchester

February 16-March 28, The Brewwery Arts Centre Cinema, Kendal

February 20-March 27, Exeter Pheonix, Exeter

February 21-March 14, Depot, Lewes

February 24-March 3, Dundee Contempoary Arts, Dundee

March 2-March 9, Filmhouse, Edinburgh

March 5-March 28, Eden Court, Inverness

March 10-March 27, Midlands Arts Centre, Birmingham

March 11-March 25, Storyhouse, Chester

March 16-March 23, Broadway, Nottingham

Further details available at the Japan Foundation website.