Film Screenings

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In addition to its events and exhibitions, the Edwin O. Reischauer Institute of Japanese Studies has sponsored a multitude of film series and screenings encompassing hundreds of films, including the purchases of numerous influential Japanese films for the Harvard Film Archive.

During the 2016-17 academic year, RIJS also hosted film screenings as part of the Japan Forum lecture series.

10 March 2017
Voices from the Waves (Nami no Koe)
Followed by Q&A and discussion with Director Ryusuke Hamaguchi, RIJS Visiting Fellow

From 2011 to 2013, Ryusuke Hamaguchi and Ko Sakai conducted a series of conversations with residents in the Tohoku region of Japan, an area heavily hit by both the earthquake and tsunami of March 2011. Their research resulted in three films, the second of which was Voices from the Waves (Nami no Koe, 2013). Featuring interviews with residents from the Tohoku region, this documentary explores how a single event impacts many lives and creates similar but unique pieces of storytelling.


12 November 2016
Happy Hour
Presented with Q&A and discussion with Director Ryusuke Hamaguchi, RIJS Visiting Fellow

Happy Hour is a slow-burning epic chronicling the sentimental journey of four thirtysomething women towards a new understanding of life and love. With a five-hour-plus running time, this film creates intimate and subtly complex character development, achieved by collaboration between director Ryusuke Hamaguchi and the actresses, who together defined the characters in a series of workshop sessions that preceded the film’s eight-month shoot. Winning awards at major international festivals this film has brought new attention to one of Japan’s most talented young directors.


4 November 2016
Okinawa: The Afterburn
Followed by Q&A and discussion with Director John Junkerman

A major hit in Japan since its release in June 2015, on the 70th anniversary of the Battle of Okinawa, Okinawa: The Afterburn depicts the Battle through the eyes of Japanese and American soldiers who fought each other on the same battlefields, along with Okinawa civilians who were swept up in the fighting, and the complex postwar fate of Okinawa, an island that has had to live side-by-side with an extensive array of U.S. bases, and the related crimes, accidents, and pollution they have caused, while coexisting, on a personal level, with the occupying soldiers.


21-22 October 2016
Tsukiji Wonderland
Followed by Q&A and discussion with Director Naotarō Endō and Producers Maiko Teshima and Kazuha Okuda, featuring Theodore Bestor

Tokyo’s Tsukiji market, the largest wholesale fish market on the planet, is on the verge of being relocated. What has made a tired, gritty 80-year-old complex in the heart of Tokyo not simply a commercial hub but a cultural arbiter of contemporary Japanese cuisine? The documentary provides a rich and sustaining portrait of Tsukiji. Spend a day with the buyers, sellers, chefs, local residents, and visitors who help make a fish market central to a city’s sense of identity at a moment when the market’s very future is in flux.


23 September 2016
Tell the Prime Minister
Followed by Q&A and discussion with Director Eiji Oguma

Tell the Prime Minister is a documentary film on anti-nuclear movement in Japan following the Fukushima nuclear disasters of 2011. Composed of footage of protests taken by ordinary citizens and uploaded to the internet, the film includes interviews with individuals including former Prime Minister Naoto Kan, a hospital worker, a young entrepreneur, a self-proclaimed anarchist, and shop clerk, an illustrator, a Fukushima evacuee, and a Dutch businessperson.


In cooperation with RIJS, the Harvard Film Archive presents Japanese film series regularly throughout the academic year. The current schedule can be found here.
Recent screenings include:

4-6 May 2018 Umetsugu Inoue, Japan's Music Man

3-26 November 2018 Shuji Terayama, Emperor of the Underground

21 April-22 May 2017 Hachimiri Madness! Japanese Independents from the Punk Years

10 March 2017 The Art of Benshi, A Performance by Ichiro Kataoka

3 March 2017 Three Radical Japanese Filmmakers

24-26 February 2017 Three Films by Ryusuke Hamaguchi with Director Ryusuke Hamaguchi