“The Boy and the Heron” marks Hayao Miyazaki’s return from retirement.
CULTURE / Film
Nov 27, 2023
What’s it like to work with Hayao Miyazaki? Go behind the scenes.
The anime master is a creature of habit who talks every day with his longtime producer, and keeps it more hands off with his regular composer.
In addition to directing “Kubi,” Takeshi Kitano (second from left) plays Oda Nobunaga’s successor, Hashiba (later Toyotomi) Hideyoshi, in the blood-soaked period film.
CULTURE / Film
Nov 23, 2023
Takeshi Kitano still has a head for provocation
The “Kubi” director doesn’t shy away from causing a commotion, whether it’s in public or in his latest film about a pivotal moment in Japan’s history.
After losing her eyesight in a car accident, a woman goes to the home of an eye doctor and his son to receive a miracle device to restore her sight in “My Mother’s Eyes.”
CULTURE / Film
Nov 23, 2023
‘My Mother’s Eyes’: Psychodrama pushes to mad extremes
Takeshi Kushida’s atmospheric horror film about toxic parent-child relationships unfolds in a fantasy world that strains credulity.
“Blue Giant,” a feature-length anime movie that centers on young men in Tokyo who aspire to become jazz stars, was so successful in Japan and overseas that director Yuzuru Tachikawa was given an even bigger budget to re-edit the film for a second screening in theaters across Japan.
CULTURE / Film / CULTURE SMASH
Nov 23, 2023
Sleeper hit anime 'Blue Giant' gets an encore
The surprise success of the big-budget feature about jazz warranted a re-edited version and a second life in theaters.
Filmmaker Takeshi Kitano speaks at the Foreign Correspondents' Club of Japan in Tokyo on Wednesday.
CULTURE / Film
Nov 16, 2023
'Bad treatment happens' in Japan's showbiz world: Takeshi Kitano
The country's entertainment industry has always tended to treat performers as commodities, the iconic Japanese filmmaker and comedian said.
A young news editor (voiced by Kensho Ono) is assigned to cover a distillery helmed by a rising star of the Japanese whisky scene (Saori Hayami) in “Komada: A Whisky Family.”
CULTURE / Film
Nov 16, 2023
‘Komada: A Whisky Family’ has the complexity of a bottom-shelf bottle
Anime studio P.A. Works’ film centered on whisky production takes the fun out of delving into what unfolds behind the scenes in a workplace.
The Saitama leader of a rebellion (Gackt, center) decides to unite the citizens of his home prefecture by creating a sea and beach for the area in “Fly Me to the Saitama II.”
CULTURE / Film
Nov 16, 2023
‘Fly Me to the Saitama II’: Silliness abounds but the laughs do not
Hideki Takeuchi’s sequel to his award-winning hit comedy treads familiar and ridiculous ground, but it’s just not as funny as the first film.

Longform

Yoshiko Koide sits in a classroom at Nagoya College where she teaches a Japanese-language observation seminar.
How a dictionary came to spark outrage among the web’s otaku