The UK’s largest Japanese film festival returns to Manchester in 2024

  • The UK’s largest festival of Japanese cinema will hit Manchester HOME cinema.
  • JFTFP24 will take place in 30 venues across the UK this year.
  • Junko Takekawa, the festival director, revealed the inspiration behind this year’s theme in an interview with Northen Quota.

The Japan Foundation Touring Film Programme returns to Manchester this February.

This event is perfect for those interested in films, particularly those passionate about Japanese-inspired cinema.

The Japan Foundation Touring Film Programme will run from February 12 to March 6 at the HOME cinema in Manchester.

There is something for everyone!

The festival showcases a diverse genre of movies, ranging from sci-fi comedies to classics and crime thrillers, that will keep you on the edge of your seat.

This event will present films that may be outside your usual taste, allowing you to immerse yourself in a different culture or genre.

This year’s theme is ‘unforgettable’.

Junko Takekawa, the Festival Director, carefully selected each film for this year’s theme—memories.

Junko said: “I chose memory as the theme for this year. It’s a quiz for the audience: how does each film relate to memory? That’s what I want them to take away after each screening.”

The Japan Foundation Touring Film Programme is dedicated to exploring how memories are used in Japanese filmmaking.

The films capture how memories are central or subconscious in driving or affecting the characters’ behaviour and emotions.

With recent hits like Godzilla Minus One and The Boy and the Heron winning hearts, it’s clear there is a growing interest in Japanese cinema in the UK. Photo Credit: (Clockwise from top left) Shadow of Fire; The Snow Flurry (©1959 Shochiku Co., Ltd.); A Man; Lonely Castle in the Mirror (©2022 “Lonely Castle in the Mirror” Film Partners)

Growing interest in the UK

Junko, passionate about bringing Japanese cinema to audiences beyond London, said, “I wanted Japanese cinema that wouldn’t usually get picked up by international film festivals to get the recognition they deserve.”

Running for over 20 years, the Japan Foundation Touring Film Programme is back with its biggest showcase.

“We started as three venues, now we have 30 venues this year! I am so grateful to the audience; without them, this wouldn’t be possible.” Junko said.

The Japan Foundation Touring Film Programme will take place in 30 locations across the UK, such as Manchester, Liverpool, Belfast, and Edinburgh.

Actor in Thousand and One Nights directed by Kubota Nao.
This year’s film program will showcase the UK premiere of Thousand and One Nights, directed by Kubota Nao. This film is a powerful portrayal of two women left behind by their husbands’ disappearances. The movie showcases contemporary women’s stories with intense drama and excellent performances.
Photo Credit: ©2022映画『千夜、一夜』製作委員会

Junko aims to shed light on important social issues in Japan.

Junko said: “There are many common issues in Japan and the UK, like ageing care. I want the audience to realize they aren’t alone.”

Additionally, she said: “You can travel with cinema. Whether you’ve been to Japan or not, you can explore different locations through films, like ‘Thousand and One Nights,’ which showcases beautiful scenery.”

Junko recommended a few must-watch films, including ‘Thousand and One Nights‘ praising its “fabulous” performance and the director’s talent for capturing emotions. 

Each venue chooses which titles are shown, ensuring every film appeals to its unique audience.

For more information on this year’s Japan Foundation Touring Film Programme, click here:

Check out the Japan Foundation’s social media for more:

Facebook: @JapanFoundationLondon X: @jpflondon Instagram: @jpflondon @jpf_film