Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Yojiro Takita hooks a big one at the premiere of "Tsurikichi Sampei"

by Chris MaGee

I was going to try and work in something about "the cast of 'Tsurikichi Sampei' casts a line and hooks..." in that headline, but I thought that was a tad cheesy... but I digress. Yesterday Yojiro Takita, fresh off his Oscar win for "Departures (Okuribito)", premiered his latest film for Toei, the big screen adaptation of Takao Yaguchi's fishing manga "Tsurikichi Sampei", at the Ginza and Marunouchi Toei Theatre in Tokyo. Joining Takita were his cast which includes 14-year-old Kenta Suga, who plays the lead role of a boy with almost supernatural fishing abilities, and Yu Kashii who plays the boy's older sister, and a very, very large inflatable fish. Now, that's what I call a publicity stunt!

Of course the assembled reporters grilled Takita about what it's been like for him to have his film "Departures" win Best Foreign Language Film at the Academy Awards. Apparently receiving the Oscar has spawned even more awards for the 54-year-old director. The Ministry of Finance for his home prefecture of Toyama has recently decided to award Takita with its National Medal.

Now it remains to be seen if the success of "Departures" will rub off on "Tsurikichi Sampei". From the looks of the trailer below the film looks a little hoaky, but then again Shochiku's "Tsuribaka Nisshi" series starring Rentaro Mikuni and Toshiyuki Nishida have had audiences coming back since 1988, so maybe there will be cross over appeal.

"Tsurikichi Sampei" will be released across Japan on March 20th. Check out its official website here and the trailer below. Thanks to Variety Japan for the details on this story, and to Sankei/ MSN for the above image.

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