In the World Now

Japan Film Week in Shanghai 2017

31Aug 2017 周小慶

Zhou Xiaoqing

Shanghai, China

2016 Nagasaki Prefecture Coordinator for International Relations

Lived in Nagasaki from April 2016 to April 2017




In the space of time the roadside plane trees have gone from new green leaves to dark fully green leaves, we’ve now entered the second half of 2017. It’s been more than three months since I returned to Shanghai from Nagasaki in April. When I think back on my time in Nagasaki it feels like a dream. A beautiful, short dream.



Anyhow, from June 17th to the 26th, the 20th Shanghai International Film Festival was held. This film festival began in 1993, and it held every August. It doesn’t yet have a very long history, but it is still the biggest film festival in Asia.



And held along with that was the Japan Film Week in Shanghai which garnered the attention of many fans of Japanese movies. Many people in Shanghai look forward to this event since they get to enjoy the newest movies from Japan.


This year marks the 12th Japan Film Week in Shanghai. It is put on by the Shanghai International Film Center with the help of the Japan-China Friendship Film Festival Executive Committee. Since it began, it has been held every year, even in times when political relations between the two countries were stressed. This dedication reminds me of the importance of international exchange.



By the way, that same Japan-China Friendship Film Festival Executive Committee put on a “Chinese Film Week in Nagasaki” in 2014. I think they provided a very fun and valuable experience to the people of Nagasaki with this event. They have quite a connection to Nagasaki :)



Here’s the article about the event:





Japan Film Week in Shanghai 2017 Opening Ceremony



This year’s Japan Film Week in Shanghai featured eight films. They were Dear Etranger, Hirugao, Battle of Supreme High, Her Love Boils Bathwater, Kanon, Daytime Shooting Star, Death Note: Light up the New World, and Sanada 10 Braves.



Among those featured films, the most well-known is surely “Hirugao” which was originally a TV Drama. The drama debuted in 2014 and made a huge splash. Perhaps this is because infidelity, one of the main themes in the show, is something that all people can relate to regardless of living in the developed or the developing world (lol).


Not only did the stars of the movie, Saito Takumi and Ueto Aya, come to the film festival, but they also went on stage before Hirugao was shown to interact with the audience. I wanted to go and see the movie too, but I couldn’t get tickets :’( The line to get tickets was over 100m long in front of the venue, and the tickets that were supposed to cost 60 yuan (about 1,000 yen) were being sold for 2,000 yuan (about 32,000 yen)…



Nishitani Hiroshi (director or Hirugao), Mishima Yukiko (director of Dear Etranger), and Tanaka Rena (director of Kanon) were also invited to the Opening Ceremony. Tanaka Rena not only gave a greeting but even answered some questions from the audience in Chinese and astonished the audience. I had no idea that she could speak Chinese… Even if someone isn’t as skilled as her, even just a phrase or two in your fan’s native language can bring about a sense of closeness ^^




Tanaka Rena, Saito Takumi, and Ueto Aya and other guests at the Opening Ceremony



In addition to the eight films I listed earlier, “Midnight Diner 2” was also shown. The star of the movie, Kobayashi Kaoru, also came to Shanghai to meet his fans. Just like Hirugao, Midnight Diner was also originally a TV drama that had quite a few fans in China. I am also a fan of this series that makes you feel the emotions of a downtown area and depicts heartwarming scenes of the characters interacting. I also love the opening theme song “Omohide”.





This is a bit of a digression but this year in China and Taiwan the Chinese remake of the Midnight Diner series began running. But no sooner than it started it began to be harshly criticized on the internet with phrases like “the characters, lines, and set are too much like the Japanese version,” “it has no elements of China at all,” and “there’s too much product placement”.



I watched the first episode of the remake, but I felt really uncomfortable when one of the actors produced a brand of cup noodlea that is commonly seen in commercials in China. I hope they never try to remake another popular Japanese drama like this again…



On the bright side of these criticisms, I heard that many people who had never heard of the original show became aware of it from its remake and got to see it on online streaming services.


Japanese movies and dramas will continue to make their way into China, and sooner or later perhaps they’ll cause another uproar similar to the one with Midnight Diner. But, I think that these chances to see everyday life in Japan as well as to see examples of the Japanese way of thinking, are very important to Chinese people who have never been to Japan, and the more we have of them the better.




The harshly criticized Chinese remake of Midnight Diner



And with that I’ll bring this “In the World Now” to a close. I’ll look forward to writing again about China. Take care.