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Rakugo master Kyotaro Yanagiya and actress Anna Ishii create ‘father-daughter’ bond by playing catch with friendly chat

Spring Has Come

©2015 TIFF

Boasting popular rakugo storyteller Kyotaro Yanagiya in his first leading role, Spring Has Come, was screened on October 26 as part of the Japanese Cinema Splash section of the 28th Tokyo International Film Festival being held at Roppongi Hills. Yanagiya was joined by actresses Anna Ishii and Romi Park, and director Ryohei Yoshino, for a teach-in at TOHO CINEMAS Roppongi Hills.
The film follows a single father who raised his daughter on his own after the death of her mother, and his daughter who journeys to Tokyo to begin her new life living alone as a university student. She travels with her father from Hiroshima to the capital in search of an apartment, and the film depicts the fun day of adventure they have that is tinged with the knowledge that their time together will soon end. Yanagiya and Ishii beamed at one-another as they told the audience about how they had praised and taunted each other while playing catch at rehearsal, cultivating a “father-daughter” bond. Director Yoshino then told how he instructed Yanagiya to act like a university student to try to hit on Ishii, but he said, “It didn’t work.”
Yanagiya, who enjoys immense popularity in the rakugo world, gave an embarrassed laugh when a member of the audience called him “Master Kyon Kyon”. Up until now, he has worked as a supervisor on rakugo films and there had been opportunities for him to act in his predecessor’s independent production. But when he received the offer for Spring Has Come, he said he made the decision simply because he “wanted to appear in the film.” Yanagiya said he was surprised that one scene took so many takes to film, admitting, “The scene where I had to carry her on my back was tough.” He continued earnestly, “When the director gave his okay I thought, finally we’re together on this one.”
Yoshino initially had no knowledge about rakugo, but after catching Yanagika on the radio one day he became fascinated by it, and began planning a film for the storyteller to star in. It was difficult to find a production company for the film due to his lack of reputation, so Yoshino decided to crowdfund the money for production instead. He received messages of encouragement from investors all around the country. “It was good that I felt like I couldn’t fail on this one, I had to make a good film. At the same time it was also a pressure.” Yanagika gave his sincere thanks to Yoshino, saying, “I was happy to be part of this thoughtful team, and become part of this family. It was all because of the director.” Cast members Keiko Yanagawa, Ariei Umefune, and Haruka Uchimura also attended the event.
Spring Has Come is scheduled for release next year.
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KEIRIN.JPThe 28th Tokyo International Film Festival will be held with funds provided by Japan Keirin Association.TIFF History
27th Tokyo International Film Festival(2014)