2018: youthquake | 青年震

Countercultural new wave cinema from the 60s and 70s comes face-to-face with new experimental films in this investigation of youth  and protest in Japan.

This edition of JAEFF, in partnership with The Japan Foundation, riffs off the Oxford Dictionaries word of 2017: 'Youthquake' - defined as ‘a significant cultural, political, or social  change arising from the actions or influence of young people.’

We are presenting classic avant-garde films from the 1960s and 1970s  that examine youth counterculture, the student movements, and general currents of dissatisfaction and rebellion. From 'sun tribe' delinquents in Bad Boys, psychedelic drag queens in Funeral Parade of Roses, and heat-of-the-battle political documentary, to films from the influential Art Theatre Guild (ATG) film studio.

Showing alongside these films are short experimental works from contemporary filmmakers and video artists that engage with life in present-day Japan.

brochure | 小冊子

Our printed brochure designed by Raimund Wong

JAEFF 2018: Youthquake brochure (pdf)


Events | 催し物

Crazed Fruit + Your Voice Came Out Through My Throat


Friday 21 September, 6.45pm

King's College London

JAEFF marks the beginning of the Japanese New Wave and the passing of acting legend Masahiko Tsugawa (1940-2018) with our opening night film, Kō Nakahira’s Crazed Fruit.  

Based on the controversial novel by Shintarô Ishihara, Crazed Fruit caused scandal upon release for its frank depiction of the postwar sexual revolution among privileged youths in Japan. The film acts as a  manifesto for the sun tribe (taiyozoku) subculture, as well as subsequent youth countercultures (an alternate title for the film is Juvenile Jungle). 

Crazed Fruit is paired here with award winning artist and filmmaker Chikako Yamashiro’s Your Voice Came Out Through My Throat. Yamashiro performs the results of audio interviews she conducted with those who lived through the traumatic Battle of Okinawa from WWII. 

Forest of Oppression – A Record of the Struggle at Takasaki City University of Economics + intro


Saturday 22nd September 2018, 6pm

Close-Up Film Centre

Shinsuke Ogawa’s astonishing documentary takes the audience behind the barricades and into the heat of running battles with riot police in this chronicle of the student occupation movement in 1967 Japan at the Takasaki City University of Economics.

Forest of Oppression will be introduced by Ricardo Matos Cabo, an independent film programmer and researcher, who will give a short illustrated presentation about the first collective films made by Ogawa Shinsuke and talk about the student movement in Japan in the 1960s. 

Diary of a Shinjuku Thief + Desktop Treasure


Saturday 22 September 2018, 8.30pm

Close-Up Film Centre

Nagisa Oshima weaves a tale of ideological book thievery, situationist performance, fantasy Noh theatre productions, sexual revolution, and personal liberation in this Art Theatre Guild (ATG) classic.   


Diary of a Shinjuku Thief is paired here with Ummmi’s Desktop Treasure, a film which attempts to go beyond borders through mixing up personal areas of the Internet by bringing out online and analogue records, personal spaces lived in by the actor, old blogs and e-mail log in screens, and mixed video footages of various qualities. 

Panel Discussion: The Tremors of the Japanese New Wave


Sunday 23 September, 2pm

Barbican Cinema 3

A special event in the JAEFF’s programme of youth orientated films from the new wave period of the 1960s and 70s. 

This free admission panel event will bring together world renowned  experts in Japanese cinema including film historians, academics, and  curators. Following the festival themes of youth and protest, they will  address questions surrounding the legacy of the cultural and social upheaval in Japan in the 1960s and the thematic and stylistic influences from the Japanese avant-garde.

Given the current cinematic climate, the question of gender representation in cinema is more prescient than ever. The panel will elucidate on the male dominated Japanese New Wave and discuss how  filmmaking in Japan might, or might not, be diversifying. A factor that is reflected in this year’s JAEFF line-up.

Bad Boys + Studio Sunrise


Sunday 23 September, 4pm

Barbican Cinema 3   

Considered as one of the founding films of the Japanese New Wave, Bad Boys still retains the unblinking frankness which shocked audiences upon its release.

 Susumu Hani blurs the line between fiction and documentary in his feature film debut. Bad Boys depicts the disaffected lives of 'sun tribe' delinquents and chronicles the militaristic daily routines of  reform school life with little sense of release or salvation. Relief  from the grind is found through occasional triumphs of collective  action, which point to Hani’s Marxist credentials, and in the aching  score from avant-garde musical pioneer Tōru Takemitsu.

Bad Boys paired here with Kioto Aoki's Studio Sunrise: a reflected self-portrait imitating movements of the sun.  

Funeral Parade of Roses + Looking for Jiro


Sunday 23 September, 6.15pm

Barbican Cinema 3

Toshio Matsumoto’s kaleidoscopic masterpiece is one of the most subversive, intoxicating films of the 60s – a headlong  dive into a dazzling Tokyo night-world of drag queen bars.

One of Japan’s leading experimental filmmakers, Matsumoto bends and distorts time, and freely mixes documentary interviews, Brechtian film-within-a-film asides, Oedipal premonitions of disaster,  his own avant-garde shorts, and even on-screen cartoon balloons. Funeral Parade of Roses is a celebration of youth and subcultures, a condemnation of intolerance, and a one-of-kind cinematic experience.

This key work of queer cinema screens in a new 4K digital restoration and is paired with Looking for Jiro, a performance video by artist Tina Takemoto inspired by the real-life case of a gay Japanese immigrant interned in the US during WWII.