In this corner of worldJAP 2016
Kono Sekai no Katasumi ni
presented by Fumiyo Kouno and Jaqueline Berndt* (first screening)
The story follows a young girl named Suzu Urano, who in 1944 moves to the small town of Kure near Hiroshima where she marries a young clerk who works at the local naval base. Living with his family, Suzu becomes essential to the running of the household and creatively prepares meals during the tough wartime conditions. In 1945, intense bombings finally reach Kure with devastating effect to the townsfolk and their way of life. Suzu’s life is changed irrevocably, but through perseverance and courage, she manages to continue to live life to the fullest.
The film is based on Fumiyo Kouno’s award-winning manga of the same name. Kouno is also well known for another Hiroshima-themed manga “Yunagi no Machi, Sakura no Kuni” (Town of Evening Calm, Country of Cherry Blossoms; 2003). Both awarded at the Japan Media Art Festival.
Sunao Katabuchi, the director spent six years painstakingly researching what Hiroshima looked like in its pre-bomb days, based on photographs and testimony from residents among other resources, and it shows. Katabuchi began his career working closely with Hayao Miyazaki before directing his own projects. He made his directorial debut with the 1996 TV series “Famous Dog Lassie”. Further credits include the acclaimed animated film “Mai Mai Miracle” (2009).
A successful crowdfunding effort provided part of the resources needed to produce this feature version of the manga. The campaign raised 39 million yen (over 300,000 euros), almost doubling the original goal.
The manga “Kono Sekai no Katasumi ni” received an Excellence Award at the 2009 Japan Media Arts Festival, Manga Division.
In 2016 the film won the Peace Award at the Hiroshima International Film Festival as well as the Best Film award and the Special Jury Prize at the Yokohama Film Festival. 2017 it was awarded with the Horizon Award at the Takasaki Film Festival, won in four categories at the Kinema Junpo Best 10 Award, and was selected as Excellent Animation of the Year (Japan Academy Prize).