The Japan Foundation’s first online film festival, JFF Plus, began on Friday, December 4 and runs through Sunday, December 13. JFF Plus is showcasing more than 20 different Japanese films ranging from dramas, animation, and documentaries. And the best part about this is that all films are free to stream!
Aiming to spread Japanese films overseas, the Japan Foundation held the first JFF (Japanese Film Festival) in 2016 for audiences in ASEAN countries and Australia. It expanded its scope to China and India in 2017 and to Russia in 2018.
How It Works
Go to JFF Plus: Online Festival and create an account
Each day a different title is available to view from 10:00 p.m. EST. Browse the schedule to find the films you want to watch and click on the thumbnail to begin viewing. If a film is scheduled for a future date, simply click “Add to My List.”
You have 24 hours from the time a film is available to watch it.
Closed captioning is available for all films; click the “CC” icon on the bottom right of the screen when you begin streaming.
For PC or Mac Users:
You can watch the films on a PC running Windows 10 or a Mac running macOS 10.12+.
Films are available to watch only on Microsoft Edge, Internet Explorer, and Safari. You will NOT be able to stream the films on Google Chrome, Firefox, or Opera.
The Japan Foundation recommends using the latest version of your browser, as earlier versions may not be supported.
For Mobile Users:
You can watch the films on your mobile devices running Android 6.0+ or iOS 11.2+. Films are available to watch on Google Chrome, Safari for iOS, and native browser for Android.
Monday, December 7 from 10:00 p.m. EST
Momoko Ando | 2014 | Drama | 196 mins
Starring Sakura Ando, Akira Emoto, Masahiko Tsugawa
Sawa works as a caretaker. One day she gets involved in unexpected events that cause her to lose her job and money. Not having a house to live in or money to spend, she begins to hunt for her “clients” in the street, suggesting she take care of them as a live-in caretaker. She targets old men who seem to have problems in their lives. At first, they are confused by Sawa’s aggressive attitude and abundance of energy, but they gradually let her into their lives, and their “almost dead” lives start to shine again…
Naotaro Endo | 2016 | Documentary | 110 mins
Through the lives of professionals working at Tsukĳi Fish Market in Tokyo, the film portrays how Tsukĳi has been the center of fish culinary culture and helped Japanese food culture to flourish as we know it today.
Norman the Snowman
Takeshi Yashiro | 2013 | Animation | 25 mins
As the first snow falls on a town in the northern country, a boy sneaks out of his house to board a northbound train with his friend “Norman the Snowman.” They are off to witness the beautiful wonders of nature that Norman had always talked about.
Tuesday, December 8 from 10:00 p.m. EST
Tora-san in Goto
Masaru Oura | 2016 | Documentary | 114 mins
A documentary shot over a period of 22 years beginning in 1993, Tora-san in Goto chronicles a large family who makes a living as udon noodle makers on the Goto Archipelago in Nagasaki Prefecture. Inuzuka Torao, known as “Tora of Goto,” runs the business. Every day, his seven children wake up at 5am, help with the business for an hour, then head for school. The children grow up during the course of the documentary.
Kazuya Shiraishi | 2019 | Drama | 123 mins
Starring Takeru Satoh, Ryohei Suzuki, Mayu Matsuoka
A mother and her three children find their fate thrown into chaos by an incident that happened one night. The family members each go their separate ways but reunite after 15 years and struggle to restore their family bonds.
Masaaki Yuasa | 2013 | Animation | 13 mins
Kick-Heart is a love story between Romeo, a successful pro-wrestler, and Juliet, a nun who lives a secret double-life as a female pro-wrestler. Romeo’s secret is that he enjoys taking a beating in the ring, while Juliet feels invigorated when facing her opponents as a wrestler. When the two meet in the ring, the fireworks fly. Will Juliet reveal her true identity to the one she loves? Will Romeo be able to share his secret to the world?
Wednesday, December 9 from 10:00 p.m. EST
Yoshinari Nishikori | 2010 | Drama | 130 mins
Starring Kiichi Nakai, Reiko Takashima, Yuika Motokariya
Hajime is in line to be the next head of a prominent electronics company. He toils day and night over his work and has no time for his family. But one day, his mother in Shimane falls ill, and his best friend dies in an accident. Grief-stricken, Hajime returns home, where memories of his childhood dream come back to him. He had always wanted to be a train conductor and drive the local “bataden” Ichibata Electric Railway.
Ecotherapy Getaway Holiday
Shuichi Okita | 2014 | Comedy |88 mins
Starring Haruko Negishi, Chigusa Yasuzawa, Yuriko Ogino
Seven aging women get together for a tour of fall foliage that includes hot springs and a spectacular waterfall. They enjoy themselves as they head up the mountain, but their tour guide vanishes. Left behind in the mountains, the seven women begin to discover themselves as they deal with survival.
Norman the Snowman – On a Night of Shooting Stars
Takeshi Yashiro | 2016 | Animation | 25 mins
Tomorrow is the night of the shooting stars! A new chapter of “Norman the Snowman” begins as Norman and the Boy embark on another venture to see the star-filled sky.
Thursday, December 10 from 10:00 p.m. EST
Kazuhiro Soda | 2010 | Documentary | 75 mins
In Okayama City in Okayama Prefecture, Kazuhiro Soda’s father-in-law, Toshio Kashiwagi, is a driver for the elderly and disabled, and his mother-in-law, Hiroko, runs an non-profit organization. The yard in front of their home has become a haven for stray cats. Their simple everyday life offers glimpses of the meaning of peace.
Tremble All You Want
Akiko Ohku | 2017 | Drama, Comedy | 117 mins
Starring Mayu Matsuoka, Daichi Watanabe, Anna Ishibashi
Yoshika, a 24-year-old office employee, has a secret crush on her former junior high school classmate Ichi, but then her colleague Ni asks her to be his girlfriend. She’s excited but ambivalent about being asked out by a guy for the first time in her life, and she decides to throw a reunion party so she can see Ichi again. Yoshika anguishes over her feelings about Ichi versus Ni and ideals versus reality.
Yoshimi Itazu | 2015 | Animation | 28 mins, 10 sec
The earth shook. The sea roared. And then… There is a small, solitary house standing by the seaside. A pigtail-braided girl has been living there alone since that fateful day. Mail is no longer delivered, but even this morning, she’s hanging out the laundry as usual. A thought-provoking fable of hope and rebirth in a cruel and gentle world after an unnamed disaster.
Friday, December 11 from 10:00 p.m. EST
Masayuki Suo| 2014 | Musical Comedy | 135 mins
Starring Mone Kamishiraishi, Hiroki Hasegawa, Sumiko Fuji
Haruko aspires to become a maiko, an apprentice geisha, and makes her way to Shimohachiken, a geisha quarter in Kyoto. She is accepted for an apprenticeship through the auspices of Kyono, a linguistic scholar who is intrigued by her thick Kagoshima and Tsugaru dialect, and trains furiously to become a fully-fledged maiko.
Our 30-Minute Sessions
Kentaro Hagiwara | 2020 | Romance | 114 mins
Starring Mackenyu Arata, Takumi Kitamura, Sayu Kubota
College student Sota picks up a cassette tape left behind by musician Aki when he died a year ago. When the tape is played back, Aki takes over Sota’s body for just 30 minutes. They share the same body and rush to reunite a band that split up and bring a smile to Aki’s girlfriend Kana’s face.
The Girl from the Other Side
Yutaro Kubo | 2019 | Animation | 9 mins, 33 sec
Touch not the Outsiders, lest ye become an Outsider. But when two creatures belonging to opposite kinds—a lost little girl from the Inside and a demonic beast-looking Outsider—initiate an impossible coexistence on the same side of the forest, their bond seems to transcend their incompatible natures and the unnamed curse that has divided the world.
Based on Angouleme-nominated, eponymous best-selling graphic novel by manga artist Nagabe.
Saturday, December 12 from 10:00 p.m. EST
Little Nights, Little Love
Rikiya Imaizumi | 2019 | Romance | 119 mins
Starring Haruma Miura, Mikako Tabe, Taizo Harada
Sato is an employee conducting a survey in front of Sendai Station. Saki takes the survey and the two ultimately become a couple. Ten years later, Sato proposes to Saki on the occasion of their 10th anniversary.
Café Funiculi Funicula
Ayuko Tsukahara | 2018 | Fantasy | 116 mins
Starring Kasumi Arimura, Kentaro Ito
Urban legend has it that you can return to your chosen point in the past at Funiculi Funicula, the coffee shop where Kazu Tokita works. Fumiko Kiyokawa hears the rumor and shows up to talk again with her childhood friend, who left for the US after they had a fight. But several rules must be obeyed in order to travel back to the past.
Moon of a Sleepless Night
Takeshi Yashiro | 2015 | Animation | 27 mins
A squirrel and a boy set out on a journey together to restore daylight. They must find and release the moon stuck high up on a tree somewhere far, far away.
Sunday, December 13 from 10:00 p.m. EST
Can’t Stop the Dancing
Shinobu Yaguchi | 2019 | Musical Comedy |103 mins
Starring Ayaka Miyoshi, Yu Yashiro, chay
Shizuka works at a big Tokyo trading company and harbors a secret crush on her dashing boss. One weekend she takes her niece to visit a carnival hypnotist to inspire her for an upcoming school musical. But it is Shizuka who falls under the spell, and she is soon breaking uncontrollably into song and dance whenever she hears music. Shizuka must embark on a cross-country hunt for the hypnotist to break the spell, singing and dancing all the way!