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Saitama doesn’t get a lot of respect. This prefecture has a reputation, especially among those who live in the posher precincts of Tokyo, as the land of boring bed towns, populated by the tragically unhip.

Saitama native Yu Irie’s 2009 film “8,000 Miles,” about aspiring rappers from his home prefecture, made delightfully gritty comedy from this reputation. Widely screened abroad, it became the first in a trilogy and launched Irie on a career that has since alternated between the commercial and indie ends of the spectrum.

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