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We have long carried a torch for Japanese film here at the BFI. Since the first BFI London Film Festival opened with Akira Kurosawa’s Throne of Blood in 1957, we’ve played a vital role in bringing the cinema of this culturally rich nation to UK audiences through our festivals, seasons, theatrical distribution, books and video publishing.

In this major season, we spotlight filmmakers who have inspired admiration and fascination around the world. We start with a two-part season at BFI Southbank focusing on the Golden Age of the studio system and the rise of the radical New Wave and independent filmmakers of the later 20th century. The season also includes a BFI re-release of Akira Kurosawa’s Seven Samurai (1954), a BFI Player collection focusing on Akira Kurosawa and Yasujiro Ozu, screenings in partnership with the BFI Film Audiences Network at selected cinemas across the UK and a tour of classic Japanese films at cinemas UK-wide.

This landmark season will take place from 18 October 2021.

In partnership with

With special thanks to

With the kind support of

Janus Films/The Criterion Collection, Kadokawa Corporation, Kawakita Memorial Film Institute, Kokusai Hoei Co., Ltd, Nikkatsu Corporation, Toei Co., Ltd

 

Image: Harakiri ©1962 Shochiku Co., Ltd.

News

BFI Japan comes to big screens UK-wide this autumn

Highlights include a cinema re-release of Akira Kurosawa’s Seven Samurai and a major two-part season of Japanese cinema at BFI Southbank.

BFI Japan comes to big screens UK-wide this autumn

In focus

The best Japanese film of every year – from 1925 to now

From Kurosawa to Koreeda, we make some tough choices about the finest film of every year of Japanese film history going back to 1925.

By Alejandra Armendáriz-Hernández

The best Japanese film of every year – from 1925 to now

Primers on Japanese cinema

Where to begin with Nobuhiko Obayashi

Movies inspire a lot of passion, but the back catalogue of film history can be daunting. For every fan who’s obsessed with an actor, director or subgenre, there’s another struggling to know where to start. Sometimes all it takes is the right recommendation to set you on your path from newbie to know-it-all... Your next obsession: the delirious coming-of-age fantasias of Hausu director Nobuhiko Obayashi

By Ren Scateni

Where to begin with Nobuhiko Obayashi

Lists

Mikio Naruse: 10 essential films

By Matthew Thrift

Mikio Naruse: 10 essential films

10 great Japanese ghost stories

By Katherine McLaughlin

10 great Japanese ghost stories

10 great Japanese summer films

By Matthew Thrift

10 great Japanese summer films

10 great Japanese winter films

By Matthew Thrift

10 great Japanese winter films

10 great Japanese teen films

By Jasper Sharp

10 great Japanese teen films

Features

In praise of Hausu, the world’s most demented haunted house film

By Sarah Cleary

In praise of Hausu, the world’s most demented haunted house film

The man is violent: Takeshi Kitano’s reinvention on screen

By Kaori Shoji

The man is violent: Takeshi Kitano’s reinvention on screen

Tokyo Story: anatomy of a classic

By Jasper Sharp

Tokyo Story: anatomy of a classic

Why Funeral Parade of Roses is a landmark of Japanese queer cinema

By Sarah Cleary

Why Funeral Parade of Roses is a landmark of Japanese queer cinema

International Tea Day: Ozu and the everyday magic of The Flavour of Green Tea over Rice

By Hayley Scanlon

International Tea Day: Ozu and the everyday magic of The Flavour of Green Tea over Rice

Ozu vs Godzilla

By Jasper Sharp

Ozu vs Godzilla

Top trumps: the giants of Japan’s monster movies

By Matthew Thrift

Top trumps: the giants of Japan’s monster movies

Video