Director Talk: Isshin Inudo

4 February 2013 from 6.30pm

The Japan Foundation, London

Isshin Inudo is a Japanese director with a very colourful career. Renowned for his genre-spanning cinema, Inudo has been engaged with both art-house and larger-scale productions and shifting back and forth between the two, as well as directing a number of television commercials in Japan. Inudo’s films have stretched from films tackling social issues such as coping with disabilities in Josee, the Tiger and the Fish (2003), homosexuality in La maison de Himiko (2005), in addition to a number of blockbuster films, including Inudo’s recent co-directed period drama epic The Floating Castle (2012).

Complementing the UK premiere of Inudo’s 1950s-set crime thriller Zero Focus (2009) as part of this year’s Japan Foundation Touring Film Programme, Once Upon a Time in Japan, the Japan Foundation has invited Isshin Inudo to introduce his work and filmmaking style in this special talk. With Inudo’s Zero Focus being an adaptation of Seicho Matsumoto’s novel previously imagined in Yoshitaro Nomura’s 1961 film, Inudo will discuss the process constructing his world using an ever-popular source, creating his own interpretation and envisaging a period beyond one’s own experiences. In a discussion to follow, Inudo, joined by James Bell, Features Editor for Sight & Sound, will also talk about the advantages and disadvantages of directing and writing for art-house, mainstream cinema and even television commercials in Japan, regarding a variety of themes and sources, including manga and horror; sources which Inudo is very fond of.

A pair of tickets to the screening of Zero Focus on February 5th
will be awarded to one lucky guest!

This event is free to attend but booking is essential. To reserve a place, please email your name and the title of the event you would like to attend to

sshin Inudo’s film Zero Focus will be screened at the ICA on February 3rd (Sunday) at 5.00pm and again on February 5th (Tuesday) at 6.10pm, before touring at five further regional venues across the UK.

Japan: Kingdom of Characters

4 February 2012 – 24 June 2012

Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts, Norwich

This vibrant exhibition offers the chance to encounter characters from television, computer games and comics. Many have become much loved household names around the world.

Kingdom of Characters comes to the Sainsbury Centre following displays in Manila and Sydney. Providing an overview of manga and anime through the second half of the 20th century, the exhibition provides a unique insight into this cultural phenomenon.

It will also give fans the chance to come face-to-face with some of their favourite characters, including humansized Ultraman, Pikachu and a Hello Kitty ‘skipping’ through the gallery.

As well as 3D characters, the exhibition includes graphic illustrations and even a room-set of a teenager’s Hello Kitty bedroom. The set has also been specially designed by the Sainsbury Centre to allow younger visitors the chance to peep into the room, which is decorated with merchandise featuring Kitty in her many manifestations, from duvetcover to alarm clock. Anime screenings and graphic illustrations are included in the exhibition and create a context for the visiting characters.

The exhibition asks some thought-provoking questions about what characters are, why they are so popular and how they have become central to everyday life within contemporary Japanese society. The exhibition also considers ideas such as the importance of characters as design products.

 For more information, please click here.


Channel 5 due giorni fa’ a mandato in onda l’ultima puntata della serie televisiva ‘Justin Lee Collins: Turning Japanese’ che racconta le avventure e strane usanze del Giappone viste e vissute da Justin Lee Collins, un noto personaggio dello spettacolo. Il programma non mi e’ piaciuto molto, ma nel secondo episodio della serie Justin incontra Fuku-chan una scimmietta veramente particolare. Fuku-chan ‘lavora’ in un ristorante e serve i clienti vestita come un cameriere, cosa non troppo strana penserete voi, pero’ in aggiunta Fuku-chan lavora vestendo una maschera (3 diverse a disposizione) che trasforma la scimmietta in un personaggio davvero particolare. Fuku-chan, chiaramente, e’ diventato l’attrazione del locale dove turisti e residenti vanno a farsi ‘servire’ dallo strano personaggio. Se volete vedere la reazione di Justin Lee Collins (tra lo scioccato e il disgustato) potete vedere il secondo episodio (29:45) qui. Fuku-chan mi ha incuriosito e sono andato a cercare altri video su YouTube sul popolare animale mascherato. Voi cosa ne pensate?

I recently watched on Channel 5 ‘Justin Lee Collins:Turning Japanese’ a program dedicated to the adventures of Justin Lee Collins , a popular British comedian, in Japan. I didn’t like the program very much but episode 2 attracted my attention when Justin met Fuku-chan, a little monkey, who works as a waiter in a small restaurant, nothing strange you might think, but the peculiar thing of this is that Fuku-chan wears a mask which gives the little animal a really strange and weird look. If you want to watch Justin’s reaction (a mix of shocked and disgusted) click here (29:45). I wanted to know more about Fuku-chan so I checked YouTube and found other videos. Let me know what you think about Fuku-chan.