Press Release May 1, 2017

17th Nippon Connection Film Festival – The Program
New Japanese Cinema / Numerous Guests / Roman Porno Retrospective / Koji YAKUSHO receives Nippon Honor Award


The program of the Japanese Film Festival Nippon Connection is complete! From 23 to 28 May 2017, Frankfurt am Main will become the secret capital of Japan for the 17th time. At the biggest festival for Japanese cinema worldwide, the audience can discover more than 100 new feature-length and short films, from blockbuster movies and anime to independent films, as well as a diverse supporting program. Numerous Japanese filmmakers, musicians, and artists will attend the festival. Almost all films will be screened as German, European, or world premieres. The events will take place at the two festival centers, Künstlerhaus Mousonturm and Theater Willy Praml in der Naxoshalle, and at six further locations in Frankfurt am Main.

The complete program and tickets are available at

Nippon Honor Award for Koji YAKUSHO

This year, a very special star guest is expected: Koji YAKUSHO, the “Richard Gere of Japan”, is one of the most famous Japanese actors. YAKUSHO will receive the Nippon Honor Award, which is presented for the third time and sponsored by Japan Airlines. Koji YAKUSHO had his breakthrough with his unforgettable performance as the “Man in the White Suit” in Juzo ITAMI's cult classic Tampopo (1985). He became a superstar as the leading actor in the international hit Shall We Dance? (1996) by Masayuki SUO. Having worked with such influential Japanese directors as Shohei IMAMURA and Kiyoshi KUROSAWA, he became known to a wider international audience with the Oscar-winning American drama Babel (2006) by Alejandro González Iñárritu. Two films with Koji YAKUSHO will be shown at the festival: Tampopo by Juzo ITAMI and the historical drama The Emperor in August by Masato HARADA, the screening of which will be preceded by the award ceremony on 28 May at 7:45 p.m.

Nippon Cinema

Many more stars of the Japanese film industry are expected in the Nippon Cinema section, where they will personally present their films to the audience. Among them is renowned director Nobuhiro YAMASHITA, who will even present two new films. Filled with dry humor, his comedy My Uncle tells the story of a little boy and his good-for-nothing uncle, whose life as a free-loading Ph.D. student is turned upside down by beautiful Eri. YAMASHITA's second film Over the Fence deals with the relationship between two very different people who both try to overcome a deadlock in their lives. There will also be two films in the section by cult director SABU: Mr. Long, a mixture of laconic comedy and hard-boiled gangster movie, which was already praised at this year's Berlinale, and Happiness, a drama of existentialist force which will hit you like a punch in the gut after a harmonic beginning. Another director represented at the festival by two of his latest films is blockbuster specialist Shinsuke SATO. The manga adaptation Death Note – Light up the NEW World is the third part of the “Death Note” series, in which there are six notebooks of doom. In SATO's zombie action movie I Am a Hero, Japan is hit by a virus turning all its victims into the living dead. A modern disaster scenario without zombies and without the apocalypse but with heart and sense can be found in Survival Family by Shinobu YAGUCHI, who presents a bunch of clumsy urbanites and their fight to survive. A Bride for Rip Van Winkle by Shunji IWAI is a poetic homage to individual freedom, subtly questioning middle-class notions of life.

The best film of the section will receive the Nippon Cinema Award. This audience award is endowed with 2,000 Euros and funded by Bankhaus Metzler.

Nippon Animation

Animation films are of course also represented this year, among them the emotional and detailed drama In This Corner of the World by Sunao KATABUCHI. The film centers around young and light-hearted Suzu, who must grow up in the face of the catastrophic events of the Second World War. In impressive images, A Silent Voice by Naoko YAMADA tells the touching story of a deaf school girl. The film will be shown with special subtitles for the hard of hearing. There will also be two animation films for kids with German live dubbing: Chieri and Cherry by Makoto NAKAMURA and Rudolf the Black Cat by Kunihiko YUYAMA & Motonori SAKAKIBARA.

Nippon Visions

The Nippon Visions section proves that you don't necessarily need a big budget to make good films. The drama Going the Distance by Yujiro HARUMOTO presents an outstanding cast of actors and tells a compelling story about the dreams and hopes of young people. A special focus is directed at documentary films dealing with various topics of high social relevance and with personal stories. La Terre abandonnée by Gilles Laurent will open the section on 23 May at 8:00 p.m. at Naxoshalle. The intense documentary portraits the people who were evacuated from the region around the Fukushima nuclear plant and their unshakeable will to survive. In Boys for Sale by young filmmaker ITAKO, the protagonists offer an honest and uncompromising insight into their everyday lives as male prostitutes. ITAKO's film will have its world premiere at the festival. Go SHIBATA, winner of the 2011 NIPPON VISIONS AWARD, will bring us Gui aiueo:S – A Stone from Another Mountain to Polish Your Own Stone, an eccentric performance-road-movie-documentary-trip, in which the members of the band GUI AIUEO:S create an audiovisual work of art with their cameras and sound equipment. In his film Mifune: The Last Samurai, Steven OKAZAKI explores the life and work of legendary actor Toshiro MIFUNE, who has written film history by his collaboration with Akira KUROSAWA.

An international jury will choose the winner of the Nippon Visions Jury Award. The prize consists of a free subtitling, sponsored by the Japan Visualmedia Translation Academy (JVTA) in Tokyo. The members of this year's Nippon Visions Jury are Bastian Meiresonne (film curator, Festival International des Cinémas d’Asie de Vesoul), Yuka SAKANO (Kawakita Memorial Film Institute, Tokyo) and Nobuhiro YAMASHITA (director of My Uncle and Over the Fence).
The Nippon Visions Audience Award will have its fourth edition this year. This audience award, endowed with 1,000 Euros, is sponsored by Japanisches Kultur- und Sprachzentrum (Japanese Center of Culture and Language) in Frankfurt am Main.

Nippon Retro: Ecstasy & Desire – In the Realm of Roman Porno

In November 1971, the Japanese film studio Nikkatsu established the Roman Porno genre. Until 1988, more than 1,000 of these high-gloss erotic films were produced, often serving as a field of experimentation for young directors like Tatsumi KUMASHIRO and Noboru TANAKA, whose works were lauded by critics for their visual inventiveness and narrative complexity. Under the title Ecstasy & Desire – In the Realm of Roman Porno, the Nippon Retro will showcase nine films, eight of them as 35mm copies, of these two directors at the German Film Museum from 26 to 28 May 2017. On 26 May at 3 p.m., author Jasper Sharp will give a lecture on “Nikkatsu Roman Porno and Japanese Erotic Cinema”. The retrospective is organized in cooperation with Japanisches Kulturinstitut (The Japan Foundation).
Furthermore, the Nippon Cinema section will feature two new Roman Porno films as German premieres: Dawn of the Felines by Kazuya SHIRAISHI and Wet Woman in the Wind by Akihiko SHIOTA, which were both created as installments of the “Roman Porno Reboot Project” initiated by Nikkatsu last year.

Nippon Culture

Nippon Connection presents more than cinema. The diverse supporting program Nippon Culture offers culinary specialties, music, performances, workshops, lectures, and exhibitions, both traditional and modern.
On 26 May at 10 p.m., the indietronic band Ozaka Bondage from Frankfurt will celebrate the official release of their new album “Forever” at Künstlerhaus Mousonturm. The chiptune band Melted Moon are expected as special guests. On 27 May at 10 p.m., Japanese duo Aoi Swimming & Mikio SAITO will present their experimental sounds and visuals. Whoever feels like taking over the microphone themselves should come to the karaoke parties on 24 May, starting at 9:30 p.m., and on 26 May, starting at 10 p.m.
During the festival, the popular Frankfurt-based restaurant Ramen Jun will move into the café at Künstlerhaus Mousonturm. There you can enjoy tasty Japanese ramen soup from 23 to 28 May. If you need some relaxation, you should come to our radio calisthenics (rajio taiso) or treat yourself to a shiatsu massage.
The workshop program ranges from kyusho jitsu, the knowledge of the vital points of the body, sword dancing, and Japanese needle-felt to the crafting of traditional noh masks. Woodcarving artist Hideta KITAZAWA will come all the way from Japan to give insight into the diversity of the mysterious noh masks and their significance in the context of traditional Japanese theater. Renowned Japanese dancer Sachimaine HANAYAGI will introduce the traditional Nihon buyo dance in a workshop and a performance.
There will also be two exhibitions of modern and traditional Japanese art at this year's festival. At Ausstellungsraum Eulengasse, the sculptural work of young artist Nolico TAKI invites you to a sensual spatial experience in the exhibition Happy Reshaping. At Atelierfrankfurt, artist Renalisa Bergmann presents Japanese ink wash paintings in her exhibition Reduction – Sumi-e!, revolving around various motifs taken from nature.

Nippon Kids

For the youngest fans of Japan, the Nippon Kids program offers many discoveries, such as a taiko drum workshop, makeup for kids, Samurai Shiatsu, Japanese children's games, a Panda Dango cooking class, an animation film workshop and two films for children.

The Organizer

The Japanese Film Festival Nippon Connection is organized on a voluntary basis by the 70 members of the non-profit Nippon Connection e.V. (registered association). The festival is under the patronage of Peter Feldmann, Mayor of the City of Frankfurt am Main, and Takeshi Kamiyama, Consul General of Japan in Frankfurt am Main.

Nippon Connection e.V. supports BKB Charity, who help abused children and refugees.


Künstlerhaus Mousonturm, Waldschmidtstr. 4, Frankfurt am Main (festival center)
Theater Willy Praml in der Naxoshalle, Waldschmidtstr. 19, Frankfurt am Main (festival center)
Theater Die Käs, Waldschmidtstr. 19, Frankfurt am Main
Atelier Naxoshalle, Waldschmidtstr. 19, Frankfurt am Main
Kino im Deutschen Filmmuseum, Schaumainkai 41, Frankfurt am Main
Mal Seh’n Kino, Adlerflychtstr. 6, Frankfurt am Main
Ausstellungsraum Eulengasse, Seckbacher Landstr. 16, Frankfurt am Main
Atelierfrankfurt, Schwedlerstr. 1–5, Frankfurt am Main

Program & Tickets

Find the complete program at
Tickets are available on our website and at all known ticket agencies.

More Info

Press Contact

Meghann Munro
Tel.: +49 (0)69 847 76 565, Mobile: +49 (0)152 53 445 234,

Program Survey
(as of 24 April 2017)


At the Terrace (Terasu nite) by Kenji YAMAUCHI, J 2016, GP
Bangkok Nites by Katsuya TOMITA, J, FR, TH, LA 2016, GP
A Bride for Rip Van Winkle (Rippu Van Winkuru no hanayome) by Shunji IWAI, J 2016, GP
Daguerreotype (Dagereotaipu no onna) by Kiyoshi KUROSAWA, FR, BE, J 2016, GP
Dawn of the Felines (Mesunekotachi) by Kazuya SHIRAISHI, J 2016, GP
Death Note – Light up the NEW World by Shinsuke SATO, J 2016, GP
Destruction Babies by Tetsuya MARIKO, J 2016, GP
The Emperor in August (Nihon no ichiban nagai hi) by Masato HARADA, J 2015, GP
Gukoroku – Traces of Sin by Kei ISHIKAWA, J 2016, GP
Happiness by SABU, J, GER 2016, GP
Harmonium (Fuchi ni tatsu) by Koji FUKADA, J / F 2016
Her Love Boils Bathwater (Yu o wakasu hodo no atsui ai) by Ryota NAKANO, J 2016, GP
I Am a Hero by Shinsuke SATO, J 2016, GP
Let’s Go, JETS! From Small Town Girls to U.S. Champions?! (Chia☆Dan ~ Joshi kosei ga chia dansu de zenbei seiha shichatta honto no hanashi~) by Hayato KAWAI, J 2017, IP
The Long Excuse (Nagai iiwake) by Miwa NISHIKAWA , J 2016, GP
Mr. Long by SABU, J, HK, CH, TWN, D 2017
My Uncle (Boku no ojisan) by Nobuhiro YAMASHITA, J 2016, GP
Over the Fence by Nobuhiro YAMASHITA, J 2016, GP
The Projects (Danchi) by Junji SAKAMOTO, J 2016, GP
Satoshi: A Move for Tomorrow (Satoshi no seishun) by Yoshitaka MORI, J 2016, GP
Shin Godzilla by Hideaki ANNO & Shinji HIGUCHI, J 2016
Survival Family by Shinobu YAGUCHI, J 2017, GP
Tampopo by Juzo ITAMI, J 1985
Tony Takitani by Jun ICHIKAWA, J 2004
Wet Woman in the Wind (Kaze ni nureta onna) by Akihiko SHIOTA, J 2016, GP


Poetic Landscapes – Recent Gems in Japanese Indie Animation
Chieri and Cherry (Chieri to Cherry) by Makoto NAKAMURA, J 2015, GP
In This Corner of the World (Kono sekai no katasumi ni) by Sunao KATABUCHI, J 2016
Rudolf the Black Cat (Rudorufo to Ippaiattena) by Kunihiko YUYAMA & Motonori SAKAKIBARA, J 2016, GP
A Silent Voice (Eiga koe no katachi) by Naoko YAMADA, J 2016, GP
Tokyo University of the Arts: Animation


95 and 6 to Go by Kimi TAKESUE, USA 2016, GP
Boys for Sale (Bai-bai boys) by Itako, J 2017, WP
Coming Home to Sato (Sato ni kitara eeyan) by Yoshiki SHIGEE, J 2015, IP
Dynamite Wolf (Ossan no kefei) by Kohei TANIGUCHI, J 2017, IP
Eriko, Pretended (Mie o haru) by Akiyo FUJIMURA, J 2016, GP
Going the Distance (Kazoku e) by Yujiro HARUMOTO, J 2016, GP
GOOD/BYE by Izumi MATSUNO, J 2016, IP
Gui aiueo:S A Stone from Another Mountain to Polish Your Own Stone (Gui aiueo:S Tazan no ishi o motte onore no tama o migakubeshi) by Go SHIBATA, J 2016, EP
Innocent 15 by Hirokazu KAI, J 2016, GP
Love and Goodbye and Hawaii (Koi to sayonara to Hawaii) by Shingo MATSUMURA, J 2016, IP
Mifune: The Last Samurai by Steven OKAZAKI, J 2016, GP
Parks by Natsuki SETA, J 2017, IP
Poolsideman by Hirobumi WATANABE, J 2016, GP
Raise Your Arms and Twist! Documentary of NMB48 (Dotonbori yo, nakasetekure! Documentary of NMB48) by Atsushi FUNAHASHI, J 2016, GP
The Sower (Tane o maku hito) by Yosuke TAKEUCHI, J 2016, GP
Start Line by Ayako IMAMURA, J 2016, EP
La Terre abandonnée by Gilles Laurent, BE 2016, GP
TKY2015 Short Film Series
The Tokyo Night Sky Is Always the Densest Shade of Blue (Eiga yozora wa itsu demo saiko mitsudo no aoiro da) by Yuya ISHII, J 2017
Tokyo University of the Arts: Shorts
Yamato (California) by Daisuke MIYAZAKI, J, USA, TWN, NLD 2016, GP


Ecstasy of the Black Rose (Kurobara shoten) by Tatsumi KUMASHIRO, J 1975
Following Desire (Ichijo Sayuri: Nureta yokujo) by Tatsumi KUMASHIRO, J 1972
Night of the Felines (Mesunekotachi no yoru) by Noboru TANAKA, J 1972
Sada and Kichi (Jitsuroku: Abe Sada) by Noboru TANAKA, J 1975
The Stroller in the Attic (Yaneura no sanposha) by Noboru TANAKA, J 1976
Tamanoi, Street of Joy (Akasen Tamanoi: Nukeraremasu) by Tatsumi KUMASHIRO, J 1974
Twisted Path of Love (Koibitotachi wa nureta) by Tatsumi KUMASHIRO, J 1973
The Woman With Red Hair (Akai kami no onna) by Tatsumi KUMASHIRO, J 1979
The World of Geisha (Yojohan fusuma no urabari) by Tatsumi KUMASHIRO, J 1973

GP: German Premiere / EP: European Premiere / IP: International Premiere / WP: World Premiere


Concerts and Parties
Opening Lounge with DJ Julian Blancke and sword dancer Taro NASHIBA / Nippon Live on Stage: Ozaka Bondage & Melted Moon / Nippon Live on Stage: Aoi Swimming & Mikio SAITO / Karaoke Party + Contest

Culinary Highlights
Nippon Film Dinner / Nippon Film Breakfast / Sake Workshop / Sake Lounge / Tea Lounge / Tea Tasting / Matcha Cooking Lab / Ramen Jun Lounge / Japanese snacks & drinks

Etiquette in Japan / Sumi-e / Shiatsu / Sword Dancing / Kyogen Masks / Nihon Buyo / Needle-felt / Kyusho Jitsu / Subtitling

Sword Dancing / / Nihon Buyo

Lectures and Panel Discussions
Japanese Lyricism After 1945: Seven Poetic Works / The Translator’s Everyday Work:
A Talk with Ursula Gräfe / Video Games in Japan: Brain Refreshment or Danger to Society? / Noh Masks: The Art of Traditional Japanese Carving / Back and Fast-Forward: Tasks of Visual Media Translators / From Decadence to Excess: Nikkatsu Roman Porno and Japanese Erotic Cinema / Panel discussion: Preserving Japanese Cinema in All Its Forms / Talks with Filmmakers

Happy Reshaping – An Exhibition by Nolico TAKI at Ausstellungsraum Eulengasse / Reduction – Sumi-e! – An Exhibition by Renalisa Bergmann at ATELIERFRANKFURT / Japanese Animation Classics – Video Installation at Künstlerhaus Mousonturm

Nippon Yatai – Japanese Market / Game Center / Nippon BookCrossing / Shiatsu Massage / Shogi / Haiku Walk / Manga Portraits / Go / Rajio Taiso – Japanese Radio Calisthenics


Cooking Class: Panda Dango / Make-Up For Kids / Taiko Workshop / Animation Film Workshop / Japanese Children's Games / Samurai Shiatsu / Kids Film: CHIERI AND CHERRY by Makoto NAKAMURA / Kids Film: RUDOLF THE BLACK CAT by Kunihiko YUYAMA & Motonori SAKAKIBARA

(as of 24 April 2017)

Terutaro OSANAI (Associate Producer BANGKOK NITES)
Ian Thomas Ash (Producer BOYS FOR SALE)
Bastian Meiresonne (Jury NIPPON VISIONS JURY AWARD)
Jasper Sharp (Lecture NIPPON RETRO)
Tom Mes (Panel discussion)
Dr. Alex Zahlten
Dr. Roland Domenig
and many more