Austrian-Japanese Society Hosts the 5th Japanese Film Days in Vienna

More+Events ♦ Published: October 5, 2021; 19:40 ♦ (Vindobona)

After being canceled in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Austrian-Japanese Society (ÖJG) will host the fifth "Japannual" Japanese Film Days in Vienna at the Film Casino in Margareten. With over 20 films included this year, the festival brings a broad overview of current film events in Japan to Vienna. Read more about the festival, some of the movies included this year, and how to get tickets.

Japannual 2021 will include over 20 Japanese films. / Picture: © 2021 Österreichisch-Japanische Gesellschaft / Rentaro Shima

The fifth “Japannual” Japanese Film Days in Vienna (Japanische Filmtage Wien) organized by the Austrian-Japanese Society (ÖJG) will take place this year from October 6 to 10 at the Film Casino in Vienna’s fifth district (Margaretenstrasse 78, 1050 Vienna).

Like many other events in 2020, the Japanese Film Days in Vienna was canceled last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. However, this year it will safely take place, with adherence to the "3G" rules required for entry.

Each year, the Japannual brings a broad overview of current film events in Japan to Vienna.

This year, the festival will include over 20 films.

Japannual 2021 Info

The opening film of this year is Under the Open Sky by the established director Miwa Nishikawa. It is a Yakuza purification that relies entirely on the charisma of its main actor Koji Yakusho and is spellbound by his strong charisma. The character he portrays tries to renounce violence after his release from prison and to gain a foothold in normal life. For the director it is a resumption of the motif of returning to an unfamiliar environment and her main actor again succeeds in proving his outstanding position in Japanese film.

With the film Hokusai about the painter of the same name, whose most famous woodcut of the Great Wave is probably the most memorable image from Japan, director Hashimoto shows a historical drama that goes beyond the usual artist biography. Divided into two formative periods of his life, it shows his evolution from a rebellious infant who takes on the art establishment to a respected artist who faces the challenges of illness and age with enormous creative energy.

In Aristocrats, based on the novel by Mariko Yamauchi, director Yukiko Sode paints a disturbing picture of the still very traditional class relations in Japan and an untouchable upper class that is elevated from the rest of the world. When an influential member of this elite deceives two women in a manipulative double-cross, the importance of class and gender is brought home to them all too clearly.

Virtually showered with awards in the Japanese awards season was the transgender drama Midnight Swan by director Eiji Uchida, who approaches his characters very gently here. Young Ichika is abandoned by her alcoholic mother to live with Aunt Nagisa in Tokyo. Nagisa is preoccupied with the difficulties of her own life and, as a transgender person, lives on the fringes of society. Strangers to each other, the two women must overcome their parallel loneliness.

From the young director Momoko Fukuda, who was featured at Japannual in Vienna in 2019 (My Father, The Bride), there will be two new films. One is the 2020 coming-of-age drama My Name Is Yours based on autobiographical novellas by the director herself.

Fukuda’s second film in the program is the brand new Will I Be Single Forever?, which Japannual is proud to present as a world premiere. Based on the manga by Mari Okazaki, it deals with the relationship ideas of different women in Japan who are striving for one thing above all: independence.

Ainu Mosir by director Takeshi Fukunga is about the indigenous population group of the Ainu. The director himself comes from the northern island of Hokkaido and has set his film in a close-knit village community of the indigenous people there. The youthful Kanto feels trapped in the duties of tradition; after all, folkloric tourism is the main source of income for his community. When one of the village elders wants to involve him in deeper traditions, this conflict comes to a head. All roles are embodied by Ainu lay actors; they even bear their real first names.

Thomas Ash (featured at Japannual 2019 with the documentary Sending Off) also addresses a very serious topic in his latest documentary Ushiku. Ash visits the inmates of a refugee internment camp who are waiting indefinitely for a decision from the Japanese state. With a hidden camera, he listens to the harrowing narratives of those held, worn down between hunger strikes and brief permission to go out. “An injustice of Olympic proportions” is what the director calls these circumstances in the year of the Tokyo Olympics, and he finally tries to organize political support for the forgotten ones himself.

The world of anime is much more colorful at Japannual 2021 and so they decided to not only include three of them in this year's program but also to dedicate an extra day to them after the official festival. On October 11, Japannual will first show the classic-style anime Josee, the Tiger and the Fish about the creative relationship between a young marine biologist and wheelchair-bound Josee. This will be followed by the visually stunning fantasy epic The Deer King, which will be shown in cooperation with the Slash Film Festival. Finally, they will play the visually outstanding animated film Poupelle of Chimney Town by Studio 4°C, which has already caused a sensation at the Annecy Animation Festival. Its message: look up and discover the hidden stars!

Tickets and more info

There are various options for purchasing tickets to the festival:

  • Single tickets - € 9.00 (€ 9.50 when purchased online)
  • Reduced tickets - € 8.00 (for Ö1-Club or students)
  • ÖJG members / Film Casino club card holders - € 6.50
  • Festival pass - € 65.00 (allows attendance to all screenings, can only be reserved at and picked up at the Film Casino hospitality desk)

Tickets can be purchased at the Film Casino or online at

During the festival, the ticket office opens one hour before the first performance.

More information can be found at

Austrian-Japanese Society


Film Casino Vienna