June 7-28 at the Japanese canadian cultural centre

The annual Toronto Japanese Film Festival brings top stars, filmmakers and premieres to Toronto for its seventh year.

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Chihayafuru Part 3
© Tatsuhiko Yamagami, Mikio Igarashi / Kodansha

(C)2018 映画「ちはやふる」製作委員会 (C)末次由紀/講談社

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The Scythian Lamb and A Beautiful Star – Daihachi Yoshida

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Sekigahara Director Masato Harada

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© 2017 TOHO CO., LTD. / Asmik Ace, Inc. / SUMITOMO CORPORATION / DENTSU INC. / East Japan Marketing & Communications, Inc. / KINOSHITA GROUP / J Storm Inc. / The Asahi Shimbun Company / THE MAINICHI NEWSPAPERS / JIJI PRESS, LTD. / WOWOW INC. / HANKYU TRAVEL INTERNATIONAL CO., LTD. / Tokyu Agency Inc. / Nihon Eiga Broadcasting Corporation / GYAO Corporation / NIPPON SHUP- PAN HANBAI INC. / THE CHUNICHI SHIMBUN / KOEI TECMO GAMES CO., LTD.

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Color Me True
© 2018 “COLOR ME TRUE” Film Partners


Running from June 7 to 28, the Toronto Japanese Film Festival is now North America’s largest showcase of Japanese cinema with 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. Screenings are accompanied by musical performances, sake tastings, martial arts demonstrations, art exhibitions and, of course, lots of sushi.

The fest opens with the Canadian premiere of Takashi Yamazaki’s Destiny – The Tale of Kamakura and the North American premiere of The Last Recipe, directed by Yojiro Takita (who is also known for directing Departures).

This year’s special guests

Superstar actor and filmmaker Takumi Saitoh visits for the Canadian premiere of his acclaimed feature directorial debut blank 13. The film received the Asian New Talent Award for Best Director at the Shanghai International Film Festival.

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blank13 Director/Actor Takumi Saitoh  ©SHINJI OKAWA

One of Japan’s most talented and in-demand young actresses, Mayu Matsuoka, joins the festival for two films: her Tokyo International Film Festival Audience Award-winning Tremble All You Want and Chihayafuru – Musubi.

Masato Harada’s samurai battle epic Sekigahara makes its Canadian premiere with director Harada in attendance.

Director Daihachi Yoshida brings the North American premiere of his new thriller The Scythian Lamb as well as the Toronto premiere of A Beautiful Star.

Hiroshima survivor and 2017 Nobel Peace Prize recipient Setsuko Thurlow will host a screening of a restored version of Hideo Sekigawa’s 1953 classic Hiroshima.

“For our 2018 festival, we have worked hard to find a wide range of films that represent the broad spectrum of great cinema created in Japan,” say programmers Aki Takabatake and James Heron. “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 2018 Toronto Japanese Film Festival

Color Me True (North American premiere) Hideki Takeuchi’s (Thermae Romae) funny, heart-warming love letter to the movie stars Haruka Ayase and Kentaro Sakaguchi.

It is the 1960s and aspiring young director Kenji dreams of making films while spending his days at his favourite theatre, the Romance Gekijo, watching old black-and-white films. He’s particularly infatuated with Princess Miyuki, a character from a forgotten film. One night, lightning strikes the theatre and the princess miraculously steps off the screen and into Kenji’s world—still in black and white. Kenji takes her out to introduce her to the beauty of colour.

Yocho – Foreboding (North American premiere) Kiyoshi Kurosawa’s follow-up to Before We Vanish again deals with aliens travelling to Earth on a reconnaissance mission in preparation for mass invasion. Etsuko learns that the head doctor at a local psychiatric hospital is an alien who has taken over a human host, leaving his victims stripped of their humanity—or dead. Etsuko must fight back against the invasion. A scary and thoughtful suspense film from one of Japan’s finest directors. Starring Kaho, Shota Sometani and Masahiro Higashide.

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Yocho – Foreboding © 2017 “Yocho” Project Partners

Mixed Doubles

(North American premiere) In Junichi Ishikawa’s tale of laughter, love and ping-pong we meet Tamako. She is 28 and a member of the corporate ping-pong team. When her handsome teammate and boyfriend Ejima dumps her for beautiful Airi she returns to her shabby hometown ping-pong club to train for the National Championships in the mixed double category. Can they win? Will Tamako defeat Ejima and Airi and find the man of her dreams? Find out in this hilarious, lighter-than-air box-office smash. Starring Yui Aragaki, Eita, Koji Seto and Mei Nagano.

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Mixed Doubles © 2017 “MIXED DOUBLES” Film Partners

Other films include Sion Sono’s Tokyo Vampire Hotel, Katsuyuki Motohiro’s Laughing Under the Clouds, Wishing Chong’s Yakiniku Dragon, Yukihiro Morigaki’s Goodbye Grandpa!, Su-Yeon Gu’s Miko Girl, Masaharu Take’s We Make Antiques, Junji Sakamoto’s Ernesto, two films by Ryuichi Hiroki: Miracles of the Namiya General Store and Side Job, Takeshi Kitano’s Outrage – Coda, Nobuhiko Obayashi’s Hanagatami, Masaaki Yuasa’s anime masterpiece The Night Is Short, Walk On Girl, and Yoji Yamada’s What a Wonderful Family 2. TIFF encore screenings include Kazuya Shiraishi’s Birds Without Names and Hirokazu Kore-eda’s The Third Murder.


Toronto Japanese Film Festival

Japanese Canadian Cultural Centre, 6 Garamond Ct., North York
416-441-2345 | jccc.on.ca/tjff/