Japan Media Arts Festival  
21st

Animation Division

Grand Prize

In This Corner of the World

Animated feature film

KATABUCHI Sunao [Japan]

© Fumiyo Kouno/Futabasha/Konosekai no katasumini Project

Outline

In This Corner of the World is an animated film for the theater directed by KATABUCHI Sunao, who spent six years directing. He was writing the script for the animated movie Mai Mai Miracle (2009). It is an adaptation of KOUNO Fumiyo’s manga of the same title (2008-09). It was completed in part with production funds collected by more than 3,000 supporters with a crowd funding campaign that began in 2015. Since its release in November 2016, acclaim for the movie spread through word-of-mouth and social media, ensuring a long run that lasted into 2018. The main character, Suzu, marries into a family in Kure City, Hiroshima, at age 18 in 1944, and uses her creativity to maintain her household despite the wartime shortages. However, as the war intensifies, Kure, a naval port city, suffers repeated air attacks. This film depicts Suzu, who strives to continue her daily tasks with a positive attitude even as the familiar things she thought were important are stolen from her one by one, as well as the people around her. Exhaustive research based on documents, maps, field studies and interviews with those who lived there at the time have resulted in the recreation of a Hiroshima which can no longer be seen. The film is so faithful to historical fact that even the weather on the actual day is reflected accurately. This helps to bring the world of Suzu and her friends and family alive. 

Reason

In This Corner of the World is a remarkable work for the way in which it draws out the beauty of everyday actions, unlike the stimulating, fast-moving animation that is the trend these days. Actions that would normally be ignored as everyday commonplaces, such as the weight of baggage carried on the shoulder and the movements when lifting it up, are used in this film to express the character of the individual making these movements. Many individuals with such unique personalities are depicted here, and the details of daily life are one of the small pleasures of this film. It made me realize the importance of passing one’s day in mundane ways, such as preparing meals and talking with neighbors. This becomes even more poignant because war lies behind their daily lives. However, looking back, major disasters do suddenly descend on us. The reality described in In This Corner of the World does not lie in the distant past, and in fact still exists in Japan, making it all the more compelling. (YOKOTA Masao) 


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