Makuko (virtual film screening)

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March 17th, 2023 @ 5:59 pm - March 19th, 2023 @ 11:59 pm EDT

Cost: Free
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Makuko まく子

Friday, March 17, 5:59PM – Sunday, March 19, 11:59PM (ET)

Directed by TSURUOKA Keiko • 2019 • Drama / Sci-Fi / Coming-of-Age 108 min.
Presented in Japanese with English subtitles • Trailer
Online Film Screening • Admission Free • RSVP Required (register below)

We’re back with another online film screening after a short hiatus! Join us online from across Canada for the screening of MAKUKO, a coming-of-age with a cosmic twist!

Fifth-grader Satoshi (YAMAZAKI Hikaru) is distressed by his changing body and feels repelled by his womanizing father (KUSANAGI Tsuyoshi). Then, Satoshi gradually finds himself drawn to Kozue (Ninon), a mysterious transfer student who won’t leave his side. Kozue and her mother start living in the guesthouse of Satoshi’s family inn and soon Kozue confides in Satoshi an unbelievable secret: She came from another planet!

In a sunny tale of youth, director TSURUOKA Keiko recounts the alien sensation of first love from the perspective of a boy who doesn’t want to become a man. Instead, he ponders the big questions of mortality.

Director Biography:

Born in 1988, TSURUOKA Keiko (鶴岡慧子) began making movies while attending Rikkyo University. Her graduation work, the short film The Town of Whales won the Grand Prize at the 2012 Pia Film Festival (PFF), and was shown at the 63rd Berlinale International Film Festival, the 17th Busan International Film Festival, and many other film festivals around the world. In 2012, she began studying directing at Tokyo University of the Arts Graduate School of Film and New Media. The second film she directed there, the feature film My First Love (2013), was nominated for the Dragons & Tigers Award for Young Cinema at the Vancouver International Film Festival. Lingering Memories (2015; a PFF scholarship work) was her first theatrical release.

© Shingo Wakagi

Original Author Biography:

NISHI Kanako (西加奈子) was born in Tehran, Iran, where her family had relocated for her father’s job. She subsequently lived in Japan for several years before moving with her family to Cairo, Egypt, where she spent four of her elementary school years. The male protagonist’s early life in her novel Saraba! (So Long!) roughly parallels her own. At 25 she began writing fiction, and made her literary debut in 2004 with the short story collection Aoi (Blue). In 2006 she won the Oda Sakunosuke Prize for her novel Tsūtenkaku (Tower to Heaven), and in 2012 she received the Kawai Hayao Prize for the novel Fukuwarai (Funny Face). Her monumental 2014 novel Saraba!, in which the action roves across all of the places where she has lived, from Iran to Egypt and Osaka to Tokyo, garnered her the prestigious Naoki Prize. Nishi’s forthright portrayals of the alienation experienced by characters with strong personalities have gained her a wide following, especially among young readers. She is also known as an avid fan of professional wrestling.

Related Programming:

Transcending Borders: Author NISHI Kanako in conversation with Dr. Christina Laffin

Beloved Japanese author NISHI Kanako has written more than twenty novels, essay and short story collections, and children’s books. Her barrier-breaking works cross genres, genders, classes, regions, nations, languages, and media. In 2019, Ms. Nishi moved to Vancouver, Canada, and stuck up a friendship with Canadian scholar of premodern Japanese literature Dr. Christina Laffin. In this JFT-exclusive interview, Dr. Laffin sits down with Ms. Nishi to chat about the transnational themes behind Ms. Nishi’s works, her impressions of Canada after living here the last three years, and her thoughts on female authorship in Japan’s literary community. Available to watch from March 10 to 19. Registered viewers will have an opportunity to ask Ms. Nishi a question and receive a response. Register here.


JFT Book Club Online – Three Short Works by NISHI Kanako: On beauty, the Female Experience and Othering

JFT Book Club Online discussed NISHI Kanako’s short story VIO along with the author’s essays On Beauty, Sexual Violence, and Toni Morrison’s The Bluest Eye and Merry Christmas. For those who missed the book club but are interested in reading her three short works, click here to check out the slides prepared by our guest moderator Ms. Kris Kosaka, which includes discussion questions and supplementary explanations about Japanese culture depicted in the three short pieces by NISHI. Hope this helps enhance your reading experience!


*Book List – NISHI Kanako’s short stories are available online for free in English. Click here to check author details and where you can find more of her works.



March 17th, 2023 @ 5:59 pm
March 19th, 2023 @ 11:59 pm
Event Category:


The Japan Foundation, Toronto
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