5th annual Toronto Japanese Film Festival Announces 2016 Line-Up And Special Events


24 premieres to screen June 9 – 23, 2016 at the Japanese Canadian Cultural Centre

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Opening Night Film – North American Premiere of


“The Toronto Japanese Film Festival is quickly becoming the most important window of Japanese cinema toward the world. The selection is impeccable with the dynamic of the true international film festival.”

-Masato Harada (Director: Kakekomi, The Emperor in August, Chronicle of My Mother)

A machine gun wielding high school girl-yakuza boss? Time travelling samurai? Sexual awakening in the final devastating days of WWII Tokyo? The true story of “the Japanese Schindler?” That can mean only one thing: the Toronto Japanese Film Festival is back.

The Japanese Canadian Cultural Centre’s 5th annual Toronto Japanese Film Festival will be held from June 9 to 23 and features 24 films including many International, North American and Canadian premieres.

Special Events June 12: Director in attendance Cellin Gluck, PERSONA NON GRATA, 7PM June 13: Chef Tak will be preparing fresh “Kirin Kiki-approved” dorayaki at the screening of SWEET BEAN, 7PM June 15: Performance by RAW (Raging Asian Women) Taiko Ensemble Preceding the screening of FLYING COLORS, 7PM June 17: Performance by koto-based indie jazz-pop trio The Jessica Stuart Few Preceding the screening of BITTER HONEY, 7PM June 18: Demo by Parasyte foley artist Goro Koyama Preceding the screenings of: RUROUNI KENSHIN – Kyoto Inferno, 1PM RUROUNI KYOTO – The Legend, 4PM June 19: Turkish food reception following the screening of KAINAN 1890 – 125 YEARS MEMORY, 7PM Now in its fifth year, the Toronto Japanese Film Festival showcases the finest Japanese films that have been recognized for excellence by Japanese audiences and critics, international film festival audiences and the Japanese Film Academy. The festival’s program includes popular genres such as historical (samurai) jidaigeki, contemporary dramas, comedies and action, literary adaptations, children’s, art-house and anime films. All films shown are International, North American, Canadian, or Toronto premieres.

“For our 2016 festival, we have worked hard to find a wide range of films that represent the broad spectrum of great cinema created in Japan.”, said James Heron, Executive Director of the Canadian Japanese Cultural Centre. “We have an exciting line-up this year; we invite you to be a part of this stunning festival, and enjoy some of the best that Japanese film has to offer”.

Some highlights of the 2016 Japanese Film Festival include:

The festival will open with the North American Premiere of Yoji Yamada’s NAGASAKI – MEMORIES OF MY SON: the story of a mother who is visited by the ghost of her son, a young medical student killed in the atomic bombing. The film was nominated for 12 Japanese Academy Awards including Best Film and the top acting awards; one of the Top Ten films for the Year by Kinema Jumpo. Featuring a haunting score by Ryuichi Sakamoto, the film stars Sayuri Yoshinaga, Kazunari Ninomiya, Haru Kuroki, Tadanobu Asano.

The Canadian Premiere of PERSONA NON GRATA: the true story of the Japanese Consul in Lithuania who saved 6000 Jewish lives in WWII at extraordinary personal risk.

Director Cellin Gluck will attend the festival to introduce this major international co-production.

The Canadian Premiere of THE EMPEROR IN AUGUST: Voted best film of the year at the Association of Japanese Film Journalists Awards, Masato Harada’s (Kakekomi, Chronicle of My Mother) powerful political drama tells the little known story behind Japan’s surrender in the Pacific War. Starring Koji Yakusho, Masahiro Motoki, Tsutomu Yamazaki

The Canadian Premiere of BEING GOOD. Award-winning director Mipo O’s (The Sun Shine Only There) moving and unforgettable contemplation on child raising and compassion.

The International Premiere of NOBUNAGA CONCERTO: Hiroaki Matsuyama’s adaptation of the mega-hit manga and television series beat Star Wars at the Japanese box-office and asks the question: “What if one of Japan’s most important historical figures was in fact a time traveling teen from the present?” Spectacular action, gorgeous visuals and an all-star cast enliven this wild mix of samurai drama, comedy and time travel. Starring Shun Oguri, Kou Shibasaki, Takayuki Yamada, Kiko Mizuhara.

The Canadian Premiere of PARASYTE (Parts 1 and 2): Takashi Yamazaki’s hit adaptation of Hitoshi Iwaaki’s popular manga in which a high school student and his alien-inhabited shape-shifting right hand battle to save humankind from extinction by an alien invasion of cannibalistic parasites. The new film from the director of The Eternal Zero is a big-budget sci-fi thriller with a healthy dose of humour, an all-star cast and some mind-blowing special effects. Starring Shota Sometani, Eri Fukatsu, Sadao Abe, Ai Hashimoto, Masahiro Higashide, Nao Omori, Kazuki Kitamura, Tadanobu Asano

The International Premiere of Nobuo Mizuta’s SING MY LIFE: a charming remake of the Hwang Dong-hyuk’s Korean box office smash comedy about a 73 year-old women who, mysteriously finding herself in the body of her 20 year-old, decides to pursue a childhood dream. Starring Mikako Tabe, Mitsuko Basho, Satomi Kobayashi.

The International Premiere of SAILOR SUIT AND MACHINE GUN – GRADUATION: a blood-soaked, tongue-in-cheek “spiritual sequel” to Hiroko Yakushimaru’s cult 1981 yakuza satire. High school student and yakuza mob boss Izumi Hoshi (J-pop star Kanna Hashimoto) attempts (unsuccessfully) to resume ordinary student life after wreaking bloody revenge on the people who murdered her yakuza boss father.

The International Premiere of Gakuryu Ishii’s BITTER HONEY 「蜜のあわれ」: Playfully surrealistic, gorgeously photographed and lavishly costumed, this sensual literary fantasy is based on poet and novelist Saisei Muro’s 1959 masterpiece. The great poet and voluptuary – informed of approaching death by his doctor – experiences a final great firing of the imagination. He is visited by a manic pixie girl – actually a goldfish in human form – who vies for his romantic attention. Her rivals are the ghost of his past lover and a young war widow. This gleefully opaque but never-the-less engaging and breathtakingly beautiful contemplation on sex, death and literature.

The International Premiere of Yoshihiro Nakamura’s THE MAGNIFICENT NINE 「殿、利息でござる」: An all-star cast leads Yoshihiro Nakamura’s comedy adaptation of a story from the novel Mushi no Nihonjin by Michifumi Isoda. In the 18th century the residents a poor town lead a miserable existence: mired in poverty, forced into manual labour and heavily in tax debt to their feudal lord. Nine townspeople, led by Juzaburo, cook up with a cunning financial scheme to turn around their fortunes. They will sell everything they own, anonymously lend large amounts of money back to the samurai estates, then distribute the resulting interest to the villagers. But the plan is not without its risks: if they are discovered, they will lose their heads – literally.

The Canadian Premiere of Mitsutoshi Tanaka’s KAINAN 1890「海難1890」: This blockbuster Japanese-Turkish production was nominated for Japanese Academy Awards in 9 categories including Best Film, Best Director and Best Male and Female Performances. The film links two significant historical moments in the relations between these two countries: the wrecking of the Ottoman frigate Ertuğrul off the Japanese coast in 1890 where more than five hundred sailors were drowned with the survivors being salvaged through the extraordinary efforts of Japanese locals; and the rescue of 215 Japanese nationals from Tehran by a Turkish Airlines team during the Iraq-Iran War in 1985. A moving tale of international.

Other films include Yoshihiro Nakamura’s THE INERASABLE, Ryosuke Hashiguchi’s THREE STORIES OF LOVE, Keishi Otomo’s RUROUNI KENSHIN – KYOTO INFERNO and RUROUNI KENSHIN – THE LEGENDS ENDS, Nobuhiro Doi’s FLYING COLOURS, Haruhiko Arai’s WHEN I WAS MOST BEAUTIFUL, Tomoake Akune’s HANA’S MISO SOUP and Yukihiro Tsutsumi’s THE BIG BEE.

Guests will include Director Cellin Gluck (Persona Non Grata). Additional guests to be confirmed.

All films at the Japanese Film Festival are screened at the Japanese Canadian Cultural Centre in Toronto.

The Toronto Japanese Film Festival’s mandate has been carefully aligned with that of the Japanese Canadian Cultural Centre. In the 53 years since the opening of the JCCC, film has been an important tool in creating friendship, understanding, and exchange between the Japanese and broader Canadian community. Ticket sales from the festival also help to drive our heritage programming which shares the important lessons of cultural acceptance and human rights, implicit in the Japanese Canadian experience with all Canadians.

Location: JCCC – Japanese Canadian Cultural Centre – Kobayashi Hall
6 Garamond Court, Toronto, ON, M3C 1Z5

Tickets: Admission per film: Non-member $12 / Member $10

150 5-film passes are available. Purchasers receive a SHISEIDO beauty package as a gift. Non-member $45 / Member $40

50 10-filmpasses are available. Purchasers receive a deluxe SHISEIDO beauty package as a gift. Non-member $90 / Member $80

*Pass holders can watch any 5 or 10 films at the Toronto Japanese Film Festival. One pass cannot be exchanged for more than one ticket for the same film.

*All films are presented in Japanese with English subtitles

*From May 2nd 2016, all tickets and passes can be purchased at JCCC reception or call (416) 441-2345 to purchase by Visa, MasterCard or American Express.

Also available online through Ticketweb at www.ticketweb.ca.

For full program, ticket and box-office info go to: