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2012 Kansas City Japanese Film Festival This Weekend!

by Eric Melin on March 5, 2012

in Blogs

The 2012 Kansas City Japanese Film Festival is showcasing some of the best in classic and contemporary Japanese films this weekend, and all proceeds go to the tsunami earthquake relief fund. Yasujirō Ozu’s amazing Tokyo Story and the 2011 Academy Award Nominated short The Tsunami and the Cherry Blossom are just two of the films showing March 10-11. Check it out:

2012 Kansas City Japanese Film Festival

A benefit in two locations right across the street from each other to help Japan rebuild one year after the devastating earthquake and tsunami. 100% of all donations will go toward the JETAA USA Japan Earthquake Relief Fund. Full schedule available on the festival website:

The Tsunami and the Cherry Blossom (2011)

Saturday, March 10

Epperson Auditorium @ Kansas City Art Institute
10:00am TOKYO STORY (136 min)
(12:45pm Bento* lunch begins in Epperson)
3:00 NORWEGIAN WOOD (133 min)

Atkins Auditorium @ Nelson-Atkins Museum
11:00am VACATION (115 min)
(Bento* lunch continues in Epperson)
2:00pm DAI-CHAN (80 min)

Tokyo Story (1953)

Sunday, March 11

Epperson Auditorium @ Kansas City Art Institute
10:00am NORWEGIAN WOOD (133 min)
(12:30pm Bento* lunch begins in Epperson)
2:30pm TOKYO STORY (136 min)

Atkins Auditorium @ Nelson-Atkins Museum
12:00pm DAI-CHAN (80 min)
(12:30pm Bento* lunch begins in Epperson)
2:30pm VACATION (115 min)

*A $10 Film Festival Bento lunch must be pre-ordered by contacting Sama Zama at 816-756-3600. Review the options at

Movie Titles
Dai-chan, Dai suki (2007, Animation)
Director, Setsuko Shibuichi
Mai has a handicapped brother who is totally deaf called Dai-Chan. He is her older brother but is more like a younger brother for Mai because she takes care of him. When their mother becomes ill, Dai-chan may have to enter an orphanage for handicapped children. This story is about love, close family bonds, and humanity.

Tokyo Story (1953)
Director, Ozu Yazujiro
It is often regarded as Ozu’s masterpiece, and has twice appeared in Sight & Sound magazine’s ‘Top Ten’ list of the greatest films ever made. An elderly couple journeys to Tokyo to visit their adult children whom they have not seen in some time. At each household they are confronted by indifference, ingratitude and selfishness. Finally, the children decide to pack off the parents to an inexpensive resort so they can continue their daily lives, as the film deepens into a moving meditation on mortality.

The Tsunami and the Cherry Blossom (2011)
Director, Lucy Walker
Academy Award ®Nominee for Documentary (Short Subject). Survivors in the areas hardest hit by Japan’s recent tsunami find the courage to revive and rebuild as cherry blossom season begins.

Norwegian Wood (2010)
Director, Tran Anh Hung
Published in 1987 and since translated into 33 languages, NORWEGIAN WOOD is a story of loss and heartbreak in a time of global instability. Haruki Murakami’s bestselling novel is brought to the screen by Tran Anh Hung (Golden Lion winner for CYCLO and Academy Award nominee for THE SCENT OF THE GREEN PAPAYA) and features Japanese rising star Kenichi Matsuyama (DEATH NOTE, DETROIT METAL CITY) and Oscar nominee Rinko Kikuchi (BABEL) alongside newcomer Kiko Mizuhara. Music by Jonny Greenwood of Radiohead. Tokyo, the late 1960s… Students around the world are uniting to overthrow the establishment and Toru Watanabe’s personal life is similarly in tumult. At heart, he is deeply devoted to his first love, Naoko, a beautiful and introspective young woman. But their complex bond has been forged by the tragic death of their best friend years before. Watanabe lives with the influence of death everywhere. That is, until Midori, a girl who is everything that Naoko is not – outgoing, vivacious, supremely self-confident – marches into his life and Watanabe must choose between his past and his future.

Vacation (2008)
Director, Hajime Kadoi
Hirai, a veteran prison guard of death row is forced to spend his daily life constantly facing death. He ignores things that disturb his peace of mind and handles the routine work dispassionately. Hirai is soon to be married to a single mother and finds that if he assists during an execution, he’ll be entitled to a week’s vacation. So he volunteers for this job which everybody loathes in order to make time to be with his new family.

Festival Sponsors: Kansas City Art Institute • Heartland JET Alumni Association • The Consulate General of Japan at Chicago • The Council of Local Authorities for International Relations (CLAIR)• Heart of America Japan-America Society

Maps and Directions

The Kansas City Japanese Film Festival is being held in two auditoriums at the Kansas City Art Institute and the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art. The Kansas City Art Institute (KCAI) campus is located across the street (Oak Street at 43rd) from the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art right near the Plaza. Here are maps to the Kansas City Art Institute and the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art which you can use to plot directions from your location.


Parking is available for free on and near the following streets: Oak St., McGee, Rockhill Rd., 43rd St., and Warwick Blvd. For $5, parking is also available in the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art parking garage.


Eric is the Editor-in-Chief of and writes for The Pitch. He’s former President of the KCFCC, and drummer for The Dead Girls, Ultimate Fakebook, and Truck Stop Love . He is also Air Guitar World Champion Mean Melin. Eric goes to 11. Follow him at:

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