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AEMS and the Center for East Asian and Pacific Studies present:
Asian Film Festival 2008: Young in Japan

October 3 - 5, 2008
Friday through Sunday

Boardman's Art Theatre
126 W. Church Street
Champaign, Illinois

Donations Welcome

Seating will be first come, first served, and theater will be cleared between screenings.

Special thanks to the Japan Foundation, the Freeman Foundation, our University co-sponsors, and especially the Asian Film Festival 2008 Committee.

Download Program (6,298 KB)

Film Festival Schedule

Monday, September 29
4:00 pm Wings of Defeat: A Teacher Workshop on Japanese Kamikaze Pilots in WWII (Champaign Central High School, pre-registration required)

Friday, October 3
7:00 pm Taste of Tea (Cha no aji)
10:00 pm Kamikaze Girls (Shimotsuma monogatari)
Saturday, October 4
1:00 pm Hinokio
3:30 pm Wings of Defeat
7:00 pm Train Man (Densha otoko)
9:15 pm Josee, the Tiger and the Fish (Joze to tora to sakanatachi)

Sunday, October 5
1:00 pm Taste of Tea (Cha no aji)
4:00 pm Josee, the Tiger and the Fish (Joze to tora to sakanatachi)
7:00 pm Kamikaze Girls (Shimotsuma monogatari)



The Taste of Tea (Cha no aji)
Directed by Katsuhito Ishii
2004, 143 min.

Friday, 7:00 pm
Sunday, 1:00 pm

In the calm of the countryside outside of Tokyo, the seemingly ordinary Haruno family slowly unfolds to reveal its brilliant eccentrities. We inhabit the world of each oddball family member, one by one: Nobuo (Tomokazu Miura), the hypnotherapist father; Sachiko, the eight-year old daughter followed by her giant duplicate self; her older brother Hijime, consumed with heart-break; mother Yoshiko (Satomi Tezuka), the animator coming out of retirement; and Grandpa, sly and living every moment to its fullest. Everyday moments are unexpectedly magnified and surreal inner worlds come alive in this touching story of an unconventional family and the love they share.

Appropriate for most audiences; includes scenes with mild violence.

Taste of Tea Film Trailer

Taste of Tea Official Website

New York Times
Village Voice
Midnight Eye

Cannes Film Festival Official Opening Film
The 7th Orbit Award, Brussels International Festival of Fantastic Film, 2005
Audience Award, New York Asian Film Festival, 2005
Best Feature Film, San Francisco Independent Film Festival, 2005
Audience Award, Montreal Fantasia Film Festival, 2005
Best Feature and Foreign Film, Entrevues Film Festival, 2004
Audience Award, Dejma Japanese Film Festival, 2005
Best Feature Film, Hawaii International Film Festival, 2004
Best New Actress (Anna Tsuchiya—also for Kamikaze Girls), Blue Ribbon Awards and Kinema Junpo Awards, 2005
Best New Talent (Anna Tsuchiya), Yokohama Film Festival, 2005


Kamikaze Girls (Shimotsuma monogatari)
Directed by Tetsuya Nakashima
2004, 103 min.

Friday, 10:00 pm
Sunday, 7:00 pm

Meet Momoko (Kyoko Fukada), a dreamer in who wishes she lived in 18th-century Versailles and dresses in confections of ruffles and lace she embroiders herself , and Ichigo (Anna Tsuchiya), a butch biker chick loyal to her all-girl motorcycle gang. They hate each other, of course. Until it becomes clear that the need each other very much. Based on the best-selling novel Shimotsuma Story by Novala Takemoto, Kamikaze Girls takes us on a wild, day-glo ride in a witty, wacky and ultimately endearing story of the unlikely friendship between a mismatched pair of outsiders.

Appropriate for most audiences; includes scenes with cartoon-style violence.

Kamikaze Girls Trailer

Kamikaze Girls Official Website ...Includes interviews, culture essay, and even a glossary!

New York Times ..."Critic’s Pick"
Midnight Eye

Newcomer of the Year (Anna Tsuchiya), Award of the Japanese Academy, 2005
Best New Actress (Anna Tsuchiya—also for Taste of Tea), Blue Ribbon Awards and Kinema Junpo Awards, 2005
Best Director and Best Film, Japanese Professional Movie Awards, 2005
Best Director, Film, Actress (Kyoko Fukada), New Talent (Anna Tsuchiya), and Supporting Actress (Kirin Kiki), Yokohama Film Festival, 2005

Josée, the Tiger and the Fish (Joze to tora to sakanatachi)
Directed by Isshin Inudou
2003, 116 min.

Saturday, 9:15 pm
Sunday, 4:00 pm

A laid-back, good-looking college student, Tsuneo (Satoshi Tsumabuki) hears fantastic rumors of a strange old lady who pushes a baby carriage. A chance encounter with her introduces Tsuneo to her strong-willed, belligerent granddaughter Josée (Chizuru Ikewaki), who is physically disabled and hidden away from the world by her grandmother out of shame. She’s certainly not his “type,” yet they are strangely drawn to one another, entering each other’s very different worlds. Based on a novel by Seiko Tanabe, this unusual love story is populated by intriguing characters who defy stereotypes and seem like people you might know.

Includes scenes with sexual content and nudity.

Josee, the Tiger and the Fish Film Trailer
(note: although film trailer does not have English subtitles, the film will have them)

The Japan Times
Midnight Eye

Best Actress (Chizuru Ikewaki), Japanese Professional Movie Award, 2004
Best Actor (Satoshi Tsumabuki), Kinema Junpo Award, 2004
Best Actor (Satoshi Tsumabuki), Hochi Film Award, 2004
Best New Talent (Juri Ueno), Yokohama Film Festival, 2005

Train Man (Densha otoko)
Directed by Shosuke Murakami
2005, 100 min.

Saturday, 7:00 pm

This may be the first film ever set in an Internet chatroom—at least part of the time. Takayuki Yamada plays a socially inept tech geek who lives in a fantasy world of anime and games; he surprises himself and everyone else by saving a woman (Miki Nakatani) on a train from a harasser. Throughout a romance that unfolds after this first encounter, he turns to his Internet friends for advice and support; they in turn are swept up in the successes and failures of his love life, and ultimately find new connections among themselves. Based on a manga based on a novel based on a supposedly true story.

Appropriate for most audiences.

Train Man Film Trailer

Train Man Official Website

New York Times
Village Voice
Midnight Eye

Official Selection
New York Asian American International Film Festival
Montreal Fantasia Film Festival
Asian Film Festival of Dallas
Vancouver Asian Film Festival


2005, 111 min.
Directed by Takahiko Akiyama

Saturday, 1:00 pm - FOR KIDS!
Recommended for ages 8 and up

Satoru (Kanata Hongo) is a boy shut off from the world, unable to face a normal life after the death of his mother. His father, a scientist (Masatoshi Nakamura), builds him a remote-controlled robot to send to school in his place, allowing him to gradually rediscover that the joys of life and friendship are still possible. Noted for his work as an F/X designer, director Takahiko Akiyama’s robot Hinokio is convincing and charming. Although the set-up is science fiction, the kids in this story wrestle with real-life issues about how technology can keep us apart and bring us together.

Appropriate for all ages.

Hinokio Film Trailer
(note: although this trailer does not have English subtitles, the film will have them)


Best New Actress (Mikako Tabe), Blue Ribbon Awards, 2006
Best New Talent (Maki Horikita), Yokohama Film Festival, 2006
Official Selection, Oulu International Children’s Film Festival, 2007

Wings of Defeat
Documentary Film
Directed by Risa Morimoto
2007, 90 min.

Saturday, 3:30 pm

Upon learning of her uncle’s secret past as a surviving kamikaze pilot, Japanese American director Morimoto was inspired to interview former Kamikaze pilots, now in their 80s, who thoughtfully recall and share their fears, their ambivalence, their patriotism and their guilt as survivors, when thousands of their comrades perished during Japan’s most desperate hour at the end of World War II. Co-produced by Japanese-born writer Linda Hoaglund, the documentary film Wings of Defeat is a moving, human re-examination of the Kamikaze legacy from the perspectives of those who trained for, flew, and survived as suicide missions, as well as those Americans who survived such attacks.

Includes scenes and descriptions of historical violence.

Wings of Defeat Film Trailer

Wings of Defeat Official Website

The Japan Times
The Chicago Tribune
NPR report on kamikaze pilots’ visits to U.S. high schools

Audience Award, New York Asian American International Film Festival
Special Jury Award, San Francisco International Asian American Film Festival

AEMS will offer an Educator Workshop on Wings of Defeat Monday September 29


Funded by the Freeman Foundation and the Japan Foundation

With additional support from our U of I co-sponsors: Dept. of East Asian Languages and Cultures, Unit for Criticism, Dept. of Communication, College of Media , Center for Global Studies, School of Art and Design, Asian American Studies Program, Japan House, Department of Comparative and World Literature, Illinois Program for Research in the Humanities

Asian Film Festival 2008 Committee
Robert Cagle, Cinema Studies, UIUC
David Goodman, East Asian Languages & Cultures, UIUC
Jinhee Lee, History, EIU
...with AEMS staff

Last Updated:
September 8, 2008

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