Toronto Japanese Film Festival

Now in its sixth 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. Screenings are accompanied by musical performances, sake tastings, martial arts demonstrations, art exhibitions and of course, lots of sushi.

Some highlights of the 2017 Japanese Film Festival include:

FUELED – THE MAN CALLED PIRATE – 2016- Director, Takashi Yamazaki - Canadian Premiere

Opening Night: Thursday, June 8, 7:30pm

The festival will open with the Canadian Premiere of FUELED – THE MAN CALLED PIRATE, an epic tale of Japan’s post-war rebuilding from director Takashi Yamazaki, creator of some of Japan’s most popular films such as The Eternal Zero, Always: Sunset on Third Street and Parasyte. With a workforce decimated by the war, and foreign governments sealing oil transportation routes, maverick oil company president Tetsuzo Kunioka risks international incident by commandeering a large scale oil tanker and secretly sending it to Iran, earning himself the moniker “pirate.” A thrilling true story and study of the Japanese spirit of resiliency featuring an all-star cast including Junichi Okada, Haruka Ayase, Shota Sometani, Shinichi Tsutsumi, Kaoru Kobayashi. With Director Yamazaki in attendance.

SATOSHI – A MOVE FOR TOMORROW - 2016 - Director Yoshitaka Mori - Canadian Premiere

Sunday, June 11, 7pm

The true story of Satoshi Murayama, the shogi (Japanese chess) master who died of an intractable disease at age 29. Satoshi devoted his life to fighting not only the disease but also his rivals, feverishly pursuing the highest title, at risk to his life. Kenichi Matsuyama intense central performance was nominated for a Japanese Academy Award. With Director Mori in attendance.

THE HONNOJI HOTEL – 2017 - Director, Masayuki Suzuki - North American Premiere

Thursday, June 15, 7:30pm

The North American premiere of box office hit THE HONNOJI HOTEL mixes history, comedy and samurai action. A young woman mysteriously time-slips from her Kyoto hotel to the 16th century court of Oda Nobunaga, one of Japan’s most important historical figures, on the night before his final battle and overthrow. Should she help and change history? With charismatic performances from some of Japan’s favourite stars including Haruka Ayase (Our Little Sister) and Shinichi Tsutsumi (Why Don’t You Play in Hell?)

ZA ONDEKOZA – 1979 - Director, Tai Kato - North American Premiere

Monday, June 12, 7pm

Thirty-five years after its heralded premiere and subsequent disappearance from public view, Tai Kato’s documentary masterpiece Za Ondekoza returned at the 2016 Venice International Film Festival. The film tells the story of the co-founding members of Ondekoza, a group of young musician, living communally in Sado Island who created the Japanese traditional taiko drumming style that has since become internationally famous. Members went on to become the legendary Kodo Drummers of Japan. The film will be introduced by Sado-trained drummer Kiyoshi Nagata and followed by a performance by Canada’s premiere taiko ensemble, Nagata Shachu.

HER LOVE BOILS BATHWATER – 2016 - Director, Ryota Nakano, Canadian Premiere

Tuesday, June 13, 7pm

The Canadian Premiere of HER LOVE BOILS BATHWATER won the Japanese Academy Awards for Female Lead and Supporting Performances and the Kochi Film Awards for Best Film. A young mother discovers she is terminally ill and decides to make sure everyone she loves will be okay. She must find her husband, who disappeared a year ago, so they can reopen the family bathhouse. She must also make sure her bullied daughter Azumi will stand up for herself. Many tissues are recommended.

With actor Joe Odagiri in attendance.

TRACES OF SIN – 2016 - Director, Kei Ishikawa - North American Premiere

Monday, June 19, 7pm

The North American Premiere of Kei Ishikawa’s intense psychological thriller TRACES OF SIN, is an adaptation of Tokuro Nukui’s Naoki Award-winning novel “Gukoroku.” Investigator Tanaka must support his institutionalized younger sister Mitsuko while immersing himself in a story about a shocking murder case gone cold. The “perfect” family – successful businessman, beautiful wife and adorable child – were brutally murdered a year ago and the case remains unsolved. His investigation reveals a disturbing portrait of cruelty and social elitism. With Satoshi Tsumabuki and Hikari Mitsushima.

SURVIVAL FAMILY – 2016 - Director, Shinobu Yaguchi - Canadian Premiere

Tuesday, June 20, 7pm

The Canadian Premiere of Shinobu Yaguchi’s SURVIVAL FAMILY, a hilarious tale of average salaryman Suzuki and his family’s cross country journey through a Japan ground to a halt by a complete and extended blackout. They must also face an array of challenges including furious rainstorms, rabid dogs and runaway poultry! This feel-good family-friendly, disaster comedy is the latest from the director of Wood Job!, Swing Girls and Water Boys.

SAMURAI HUSTLE RETURNS – 2016 - Director Katsuhide Motoki - Canadian Premiere

Saturday, June 10, 7pm

The Samurai Hustle gang are back for another wild mix of action, heroism and laughter in the Canadian Premiere of SAMURAI HUSTLE RETURNS. Penniless country bumpkins Lord Naito and his samurai have just managed to complete their ritual visit to the capital when they learn villages and families are under attack from arch-nemesis, Lord Nobutoki They must hike up their kimonos and sprint across Japan in two days to take up the fight. Screening proceeded by a demonstration by ninja stuntwoman Chihiro Suzuki and a screening of her action short TRIGGER.

Other films include Mitsuhito Shiraha’s WHAT’S FOR DINNER MOM?, Sang-il Lee’s RAGE, Junji Sakamoto’s DANCHI, Yasuhiro Yoshida’s BIRTHDAY WISHES, Keisuke Yoshida’s HIMEANOLE, Norihiro Koizumi’s CHIHAYAFURU PARTS I and II, Nobuhiro Yamashita’s OVER THE FENCE, Yoji Yamada’s WHAT A WONDERFUL FAMILY, Joji Matsuoka’s MIDNIGHT DINER PARTS I and II and a special August screening of Kenji Kamiyama’s ANCIEN AND THE MAGIC TABLET.

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


100 5-film passes are available. Purchasers receive a SHISEIDO beauty package as a gift. Non-member $45 / Member $40


100 10-film passes 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 1st 2017, 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

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

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Toronto Japanese Film Festival

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