For the premiere of “Satoshi: A Move for Tomorrow,” actors Kenichi Matsuyama and Masahiro Higashide and director Yoshitaka Mori were on hand to greet fans before the screening of their film, which closes the 2016 Tokyo International Film Festival.
The movie focuses on Satoshi Murayama, a shogi (Japanese chess) player who devoted his short 29-year life to beating his arch rival Yoshiharu Habu.
“Shogi is a traditional Japanese game and this movie showcases various attractive traits of Japan. I hope you enjoy it,” said Matsuyama, who plays the leading role of Murayama and is known for roles in hit movies, including the genius detective “L” in “Death Note.”
Murayama spent much of his childhood in a hospital due to a rare and serious disease called nephrotic syndrome. He later suffered bladder cancer, but instead of receiving treatment, he focused on shogi.
“The first time I heard of this role, I thought it would be difficult to make shogi the subject of a movie because the game doesn’t have much action. But ultimately the movie is about a man’s life and a fight among men,” said Higashide, who plays the role of Habu.
“Whether you know shogi or not, you will definitely get something out of this movie,” he said.
In making “Satoshi: A Move for Tomorrow,” director Mori said he looked to movies about boxing and martial arts because shogi is about fighting.
On stage, the three were joined by special guests who had all won medals at the 2016 Rio Olympics: female wrestler Saori Yoshida, weightlifter Hiromi Miyake and canoer Takuya Haneda.
“Satoshi: A Move for Tomorrow” opens in theaters nationwide on Nov. 19.
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