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Japan Foundation Free Film Screenings

Japan Foundation Free Film Screenings
Seb Reid
Author: Seb Reid

Seb has been an anime fan since the late 90s and is particularly fond of anything post-apocalyptic, amusing, catgirly, ecchi or containing exquisite aerial battles. Living in Leeds with his cats and living up the bachelor life, Seb enjoys whiling the nights away deep in a book, game or a damn good series. 

The Japan Foundation, the cultural agency of Japan who promotes Japanese culture and the rest of the world, are re-running their popular Summer Explorers season of free film, animation and drama. Suitable for all ages and free, these screenings are taking place this August in a variety of venues in London. The lineup and booking forms are on

BOOKING IS ESSENTIAL. But all events are free. Get in early while you can!

Pre-Summer Explorers - Saturday 4th August 2018 @ Soho Hotel Cinema 

4 Richmond Mews (via Richmond Buildings), London, W1D 3DH

  • NHK World - Japan Double Bill Part 1 @ 5:15pm for 2 hours, English Subtitles - showing A Tale of Love and HonorLiving Ninja Legend Masaaki Hatsumi
  • House @ 7:20pm for 88 mins, English Subtitles, 15+. Nicknamed Oshare, meaning gorgeous, Miyuki (Kimiko Ikegami) was excited to spend the summer with her father, until she found out his new young wife would be joining them. Looking to escape this awkward situation, she decides to take six of her school friends to her aunt’s house in the countryside, and one by one, strange things start happening to them. This monumental horror comedy pushed the director Obayashi to the world of fame.4

Pre-Summer Explorers - Sunday 5th August 2018 @ Courthouse Hotel Cinema

19-21 Great Marlborough Street, London, W1F 7HL

  • Summer Wars @ 2:15pm for 2 hours - English Dub. Kenji Koiso is a 17-year-old maths genius and part-time OZ moderator who is invited by his crush Natsuki on a summer trip. Shortly after arriving at Natsuki's family's estate, which is preparing for her great-grandmother's 90th birthday, he receives astrange, coded message on his cell phone from an unknown sender who challenges him to solve it. Would Kenji be able to crack the code and save the world from danger?
  • NHK World Japan Double Bill @ 4:30pm - English Subtitles for 2 hours. showing My Small Steps to Hiroshima & The Phone of the Wind
  • Kukijiro @ 6:40pm 12+, English subtitles. Young Masao decides to embark on a journey from Tokyo to Toyohashi, in Aichi, to find his long-lost mother. Keeping it a secret from the grandmother he lives with, his elderly neighbour Kikujiro (Takeshi Kitano) decides to accompany him on his trip. This is a timeless human drama by legendary director Takeshi Kitano.

Pre-Summer Explorers - Saturday 11th August 2018 @ Soho Hotel Cinema 

4 Richmond Mews (via Richmond Buildings), London, W1D 3DH

  • Only Yesterday @ 2:15pm, English Subtitles for 2 hrs. Office worker Taeko decides to take a break from Tokyo during the summer to spend time in the countryside, somewhereshe hasn’t been for nearly two decades. Along the way, her childhood memories come pouring back to her. This is early work by Studio Ghibli directed by the late Isao Takahata.
  • Napping Princess @ 4:40pm, English Subtitles for 2 hrs. Kokone should be studying for her university entrance exams, but she’s finding it harder and harder to stay awake because when she sleeps, her daily life has been swapped for the fantastic world of Heartland. However, when events in the dream world start mirroring those in the real world, she finds herself drawn into battles in both.
  • Mitsuko Delivers @ 7pm (Rating TBC) for 2 hrs. Mitsuko (Riisa Naka) is down on her luck. Despite being dumped by the boyfriend whose baby she’s carrying, jobless, and penniless, she’s sunnily optimistic and decides to go back to her hometown to help those around her. She sets out to solve their problems one by one, delivering her positivity wherever she goes.

Short Japanese Language Taster Sessions are also available between 3:30 and 6:30pm at Screen 2 in the Soho Hotel Cinema. These are drop in sessions and are open to all. 

Summer Explorers - Sunday 12th August 2018 @ Courthouse Hotel Cinema

19-21 Great Marlborough Street, London, W1F 7HL

  • His Master's Voice @ 2 Screenings @ 2pm and 6:40pm, 1.5hrs. English subtitles. Set in the Edo Period, Sadakichi (Nayuta Fukuzaki) returns home to take a holiday from his work after being bullied there. In order to cheer up their little son, his parents ask their gloomy looking neighbour, Taihei (Taihei Hayashiya), a former Rakugo storyteller, to give a performance for him. Sadakichi is deeply moved by his performance and hopes to become Taihei’s apprentice.
  • Giovanni's Island @ 4:15pm, 2hrs, English Subtitles.In the aftermath of the most devastating conflict mankind had ever experienced, the tiny island of Shikotan became part of the Sakhalin Oblast. On the unhealed border in this remote corner of the world, friendship among children from two different countries timidly blossomed, striving to overcome language barriers and the waves of history. Inspired by true events.

Summer Explorers - Saturday 18th August @ Regent St Cinema 

309 Regent Street, London, W1B 2UW

  • Chieri and Cherry @2:30pm, 1hr, English Subtitles. The only friend Chieri has is a stuffed animal Cherry; it talks and plays with Chieri, and helps her go through life in place of her late father. When she visits her grandmother’s house for her father’s memorial, they find a stray dog giving birth to puppies, but a mean crow and strange monster come to steal them. Can Chieri and Cherry keep them safe?
  • Cat Samurai @ 3:50pm, 2hr, English Subtitles. Masterless samurai Kyutaro Madarame (Kazuki Kitamura) is hired by a dog-loving gang to get rid of a rival gang’s cat, being under the impression the cat has possessed the gang leader. The only problem – when Madarame comes face to face with the cat in question, he can’t go through with it… and is now the target of both gangs! Hilarious comedy for both cat lovers and non-cat lovers alike.
  • Oshin @ 5:50pm, 2 hr, English Subtitles. In 1907, 7-year-old Oshin is traded for 60kg of rice and sent to work in a lumber shop. Suspected of theft by the owners, she runs away into the mountains during a blizzard. Found by the kind Shunsaku, Oshin learns how to read and write, and the importance of independent thinking. A remake of the biggest hit drama in Japanese TV history, Oshin retells the story of a woman whose patience and endurance helped her through a tough life.


There are some great viewings here. If you want more information and to book your tickets, please visit

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