Press Release April 21, 2016

16th Nippon Connection Film Festival – Program complete

With domestic productions currently making up over 55 percent of all films shown in Japan, it’s no longer difficult to see the abundance of Japanese film culture. And once again this year, audiences will be able to glimpse the quality and variety of these works at the 16th Nippon Connection Film Festival, taking place on May 24-29, 2016. Around 100 movies from Japan will be shown, and a large number of Japanese actors, directors, and musicians will be present as official guests. The centers of the festival will once again be located at Mousonturm and Naxoshalle.
Nippon Honor Award for Kiyoshi Kurosawa
For the second time, Nippon Connection will hand over the Nippon Honor Award to an accomplished director. Sponsored by Lufthansa AG, the prize this year will be given to Kiyoshi Kurosawa, one of the most important directors in contemporary Japanese cinema. Considered a master of quiet horror, his movies have been shown at festivals across the world. Kiyoshi Kurosawa will receive the award personally on May 24 at 7:30 pm.  Afterwards, the festival will open with a screening of his new drama, Journey to the Shore, which was recognized at the Cannes Film Festival. As an homage, Nippon Connection will also show three other films by Kurosawa: The Cure (1997), Tokyo Sonata (2008), and Creepy (2015).
Focus on Animated Films
Despite Studio Ghibli’s recently-announced hiatus, there still is a great number of excellent animated films being made, ranging from short films to feature-length productions. This will be highlighted by the Nippon Animation section of the festival. The movies The Empire of Corpses (Ryotaro Makihara) and Harmony (Michael Arias and Takashi Nakamura) are adapted from novels by the science fiction author Project Itoh, yet both embody a starkly different aesthetic: one is an action-packed steampunk variation on the Frankenstein story, the other a dystopian vision of the future. Director Michael Arias will personally present his film in Frankfurt. In Miss Hokusai, Keiichi Hara tells the tale of the daughter of the famous 18th century artist Hokusai. The program will also include the first animated film by Shunji Iwai, The Case of Hana and Alice, as well as two short film programs: Tokyo University of the Arts: Animation and A Wild Patience - Indie Animated Shorts by Women.
An International Premiere in Frankfurt
Netflix has only been available in Japan since last year but they already have produced their own original series. Hibana (Spark), directed by Ryuichi Hiroki, tells the story of a difficult friendship between two comedians. The series is based on Naoki Matayoshi’s bestseller of the same name, which received the Akutagawa Prize and was nominated for the Mishima Prize. All ten episodes will be shown at Nippon Connection as an international premiere. Director Shinji Kuma and the two main actors Kento Hayashi and Kazuki Namioka will be present.

Fukushima, Five Years Later
In memory of the fifth anniversary of the disaster, the three-fold catastrophe of Fukushima and its lingering aftereffects will be an additional theme of the Festival. There have already been many films about those events, but how can one properly convey such a tragedy? In his documentary Landscapes after 3/11, director Takamasa Iwasaki, together with three colleagues, portrays the landscape around Fukushima. The director will personally be present at the film's German premiere, as will Yui Okubo for his documentary Close but Distant, on the rebuilding of the city Otsuchi. There will also be fictional films dealing with the trauma and memories of the event. In his new science fiction film The Whispering Star, Sion Sono explores the singularities of human emotions and memory. Film critic Dennis Vetter will give a presentation on documentary films that deal with the images and aftereffects of the catastrophe: Shattered Surfaces – Visualizing Japan’s 2011 Disasters.

Feature Films, Documentary Films and Awards
As every year, many stars of Japanese cinema will personally present their movies in the section Nippon Cinema. Among them is renowned director Isao Yukisada, who will give us a glimpse behind the scenes of Japanese show business in his latest film Pink and Gray, where human depravities lie hidden beneath a glamorous surface. We get another inside view of the micro-cosmos film in The Actor, the story of perpetual supporting actor Takuji. Director Satoko Yokohama uses many surreal scenes in her laconic movie, presenting a highlight of current Japanese cinema. Rikiya Imaizumi himself will introduce his romantic drama Their Distance in Frankfurt, which features several stars of the Korean-Japanese music scene. The best feature film will receive the audience-selected Nippon Cinema Award, which is endowed with 2,000 Euro, donated by Bankhaus Metzler.
The fact that you don’t need a big budget to make great cinema is proven in the section Nippon Visions. The movies depict a world beyond dazzling metropolises, such as Kazuhiro Soda’s Oyster Factory, a fascinating film about oyster farming at the Japanese inland sea, or Doglegs by Heath Cozens which portrays wrestlers with disabilties. An international jury will award the best feature-length movie with the Nippon Visions Jury Award. The prize will be a free subtitling donated by the Japan Visualmedia Translation Agency. The Nippon Visions Audience Award endowed with 1,000 Euro will be awarded for the third time.

Ghost Stories in Retrospective
Ghosts and other supernatural beings are the main topic of this year’s Nippon Retro section. The German Film Museum will show nine horror and ghost movies from the 1940s to 1960s under the theme Ghosts & Demons – Scary Tales from Japan from May 27-29. Among them is Keisuke Kinoshita’s The Yotsuya Ghost Story (1949), Nobuo Nakagawa’s The Mansion of the Ghost Cat (1958) and Satsuo Yamamoto’s The Bride from Hades (1968). Ghost stories have been a popular topic in Kabuki theater and other genres since the Edo period. Japanologist Dr. Elisabeth Scherer will introduce the subject during her presentation Female Ghosts in Japanese Cinema. The retrospective takes place in collaboration with The Japan Foundation.

Nippon Culture
Nippon Connection offers much more than just movies. Apart from around 100 feature-length and short films, there is a supporting program called Nippon Culture, including Japanese cuisine, music and culture. Experimental filmmaker Takashi Makino will present a 3D movie program accompanied by British Jazz musician Hilary Jeffery on May 27 at 10 pm. Japanese singer Cuushe will perform songs about loneliness and neon lights of Tokyo accompanied by melancholic electropop on May 28 at 10 pm.

Food and drink are a big part of movie-going, especially at the Nippon Film Dinner with Erik Shirai’s documentary The Birth of Saké on May 26 at 7:30 pm, where you can enjoy a delicious Bento box, apple cider and, of course, saké. The Film Breakfast has been an established feature since the first edition of the festival, and there will be a buffet together with the screening of the award-winning drama Tokyo Sonata by Nippon Honor Award recipient Kiyoshi Kurosawa. The well-known Frankfurt and Yokohama-based Ramen restaurant Muku will run the Soup Lounge at the café in the Mousonturm during the festival where you can savor Japanese noodle soup from May 26-28.

Apart from workshops on the art of Manga, martial arts, a cooking class and a traditional tea ceremony, visitors can experience the Japanese art of telling funny stories, Rakugo. Artist Shunputei Pikkari will present stories that are sad, scary, but most of all funny on May 26 at Theater Die Käs.

Jonathan M. Hall will provide an insider’s view on the art of subtitling in the Japanese Film Subtitling Workshop, a collaboration with the Japan Visual Media Translation Academy from Tokyo. He will also give a presentation: Through Bug Eyes: Insect Optics and Global Anime in line with the movie Twilight of the Cockroaches (1987) by Hiroaki Yoshida.

Nippon Kids
Following the theme of this year’s retrospective, actor Yuki Iwamoto will bring spine-chilling ghost stories to life for the kids on May 28. Any child that wants to look like an actor from the Japanese Kabuki Theater can visit the Make-Up Corner. Kids can also experience Japanese paper theater, the Kamishibai. Takashi Makino will guide through the workshop Handmade 3D Organic Noise, where the youngest festival visitors will be able to make their own 3D movie. There will also be a movie aimed at a younger audience. In his new animated work When Marnie Was There, Hiromasa Yonebayashi tells the story of 12-year-old Anna and her secretive friend Marnie who lives in a strange and mysterious house.

Program & Tickets
The complete festival program will be available by the end of April on the festival website:

Pre-sale starts on April 29, 2016. Tickets are available at and at all known pre-sale offices.

The Organizers
The Japanese Film Festival Nippon Connection is organized on a voluntary basis by Nippon Connection Verein, consisting of over 70 people. The festival is realised with the support of Peter Feldmann, Mayor of the city of Frankfurt am Main, and Takeshi Kamiyama, Consul General of Japan in Frankfurt am Main.

Event Locations
Künstlerhaus Mousonturm, Waldschmidtstr. 4, Frankfurt (Festival center)
Theater Willy Praml in der Naxoshalle, Waldschmidtstr. 19, Frankfurt (Festival center)
Deutsches Filmmuseum, Schaumainkai 41, Frankfurt
Mal Seh’n Kino, Adlerflychtstr. 6, Frankfurt
Theater Die Käs, Waldschmidtstr. 19, Frankfurt
Ausstellungsraum Eulengasse, Seckbacher Landstr. 16, Frankfurt

Program Overview
(April 22, 2016)

A Cappella (Mubanso), D: Hitoshi YAZAKI, J 2016
The Actor (Haiyu Kameoka Takuji), D: Satoko YOKOHAMA, J 2015
Being Good (Kimi wa ii ko), D: Mipo O, J 2015
The Birth of Saké, D: Erik SHIRAI, USA 2015
Cinéma Concret/Action Direct - film/music performance with Takashi MAKINO & Hilary Jeffery
Creepy (Kuripi – Itsuwari no rinjin), D: Kiyoshi KUROSAWA, J 2016
The Cure, D: Kiyoshi KUROSAWA, J 1997
Flying Colors (Biri gyaru), D: Nobuhiro DOI, J 2015
Gonin Saga, D: Takashi ISHII, J 2015
Hibana, D: Ryuichi HIROKI, Kazuya SHIRAISHI, Shuichi OKITA, Shinji KUMA, Yasutaka MORI, J 2016
The Inerasable (Zan-e – Sunde wa ikenai heya –), D: Yoshihiro NAKAMURA, J 2016
Journey to the Shore (Kishibe no tabi), D: Kiyoshi KUROSAWA, J 2015
Love & Peace, D: Sion SONO, J 2015
Lowlife Love (Gesu no ai), D: Eiji UCHIDA, J 2015
The Mohican Comes Home (Mohican kokyo ni kaeru), D: Shuichi OKITA, J 2016
Nagasaki: Memories of my Son, (Haha to kuraseba), D: Yoji YAMADA, J 2015
Pieta in the Toilet (Toire no pieta), D: Daishi MATSUNAGA, J 2015
Pink and Gray (Pinku to gure), D: Isao YUKISADA, J 2015
Ryuzo and the Seven Henchmen (Ryuzo to shichinin no kobuntachi), D: Takeshi KITANO, J 2015
That’s It (Soredake), D: Gakuryu ISHII, J 2015
Their Distance (Shiranai, futari), D: Rikiya IMAIZUMI, J 2015
Three Stories of Love (Koibitotachi), D: Ryosuke HASHIGUCHI, J 2015
Tokyo Sonata, D: Kiyoshi KUROSAWA, J 2008
The Whispering Star (Hiso hiso boshi), D: Sion SONO, J 2016

The Case of Hana and Alice (Hana to Arisu satsujin jiken), D: Shunji IWAI, J 2015
Erinnerungen an Marnie (Omoide no Mani), D: Hiromasa YONEBAYASHI, J 2014 (Nippon Kids)
The Empire of Corpses (Shisha no teikoku), D: Ryotaro MAKIHARA, J 2015
Harmony, D: Michael ARIAS, Takashi NAKAMURA, J 2015
Miss Hokusai (Sarusuberi – Miss Hokusai), D: Keiichi HARA, J 2015
Twilight of the Cockroaches (Gokiburitachi no tasogare), D: Hiroaki YOSHIDA, J 1987
A Wild Patience – Indie Animated Shorts by Women (short film programm)
Tokyo University of the Arts: Animation (short film programm)

Anohito – The One (Anohito), D: Ichiro YAMAMOTO, J 2015
Ark in the Mirage (Shinkiro no fune), D: Yasutomo CHIKUMA, J 2015
Dear Deer, D: Takeo KIKUCHI, J 2015
Doglegs, D: Heath COZENS, J/USA 2015
Dryads in a Snow Valley (Kaze no hamon), D: Shigeru KOBAYASHI, J 2015
Good Stripes, D: Yukiko SODE, J 2015
Hakodate Coffee, D: Hiroshi NISHIO, J 2016
Her Father my Lover (Tomodachi no papa ga suki), D: Kenji YAMAUCHI, J 2015
Katabui - In the Heart of Okinawa, D: Daniel LOPEZ, CH/J 2015
Ken and Kazu (Ken to Kazu), D: Hiroshi SHOJI, J 2015
Live Fashionably or Die (Kamisamatachi no machi), D: Yukio TANAKA, J 2016
The Look (Manazashi), D: Atsushi URABE, J 2015
A Lullaby under the Nuclear Sky (Idaku – Hug), D: Tomoko KANA, J 2014
The Man Who Was Eaten (Taberareru otoko), D: Keisuke KONDO, J 2016
My Technicolor Girl (Yume no onna yume no hito), D: Rei SAKAMOTO, J 2016
Oyster Factory (Kaki koba), D: Kazuhiro SODA, J/USA 2015
Sanchu Uprising: Voices at Dawn (Atarashiki tami), D: Juichiro YAMASAKI, J 2014
The Sheep Story (Hitsuji monogatari), D: Ken KAWAI, J 2015
Under the Cherry Tree (Sakura no ki no shita), D: Kei TANAKA, J 2015
Daisuke HOSAKA Special (short film program)
Landscapes After 3/11 (short film program)
Skip City International D-Cinema Festival (short film program)

The Yotsuya Ghost Story (Part 1 & 2) (Shinshaku Yotsuya kaidan - kohen & zenpen), D: Keisuke KINOSHITA, J 1949
The Ugetsu Story (Ugetsu monogatari), D: Kenji MIZOGUCHI, J 1953
The Mansion of the Ghost Cat (Borei kaibyo yashiki), D: Nobuo NAKAGAWA, J 1958
The Ghost Story of Yotsuya (Tokaido Yotsuya kaidan), D: Nobuo NAKAGAWA, J 1959
Yotsuya Kwaidan (Yotsuya kaidan), D: Kenji MISUMI, J 1959
Jigoku (Jigoku), D: Nobuo NAKAGAWA, J 1960
Onibaba (Onibaba), D: Kaneto SHINDO, J 1964
Kwaidan (Kaidan), D: Masaki KOBAYASHI, J 1964
The Bride from Hades (Botan doro), D: Satsuo YAMAMOTO, J 1968


Concerts and parties
Nippon Live on Stage: Cuushe / Film/Music-Performance with Takashi MAKINO & Hilary Jeffery / Karaoke Parties

Culinary Guided Tour / Cooking Class / Nippon Filmdinner /  Film Breakfast / Saké-Workshop / Saké-Lounge / Tealounge / Tea Ceremony

Naginata / Kimono / Shibori / Manga / Japanese Film Subtitling / Nankin Tamasudare / Anime Dubbing

Presentations and panel discussions
Shattered Surfaces – Visualizing Japan’s 2011 Disasters / Female Ghosts in Japanese Cinema / International Co-Productions / Through Bug Eyes: Insect Optics and Global Anime

Additional Events
Exhibitions / Nippon Yatai – Japanese Market / Game-Center / Rakugo / Nippon BookCrossing / Origami / Sword Fight Performance / Shiatsu-Massage / Shogi / VHS-Night

Film-Workshop with Takashi Makino / Kamishibai – Japanese Paper Theater / Kid‘s Make-Up Corner / Samurai-Shiatsu / Film Screening: When Marnie Was There

Still from Anohito – The One

Still from Ryuzo and the Seven Henchmen

Still from Dryads in a Snow Valley