Films at the Embassy of Japan: River of Fireflies 蛍川

The story is set in beautiful scenery in Toyama prefecture, Japan’s Hokuriku region. During the winter of 1962, a junior high school boy, Tatsuo, is distracted from preparing for his high school entrance exams by thoughts about his dream girl, Eiko. To make matters worse, creditors descend upon Tatsuo’s house as his father, Shigetatsu, once a prosperous merchant, has failed in business. The family now lives in poverty. On a snowy day in April, Tatsuo and Eiko stroll together, repressing their burning desire for each other. Eiko remembers a piece of folklore she once heard from Shigetatsu: If heavy snow falls in April, a huge swarm of fireflies will appear at the upper reaches of the river which flows through the town, and any man and woman who chance to witness the scene together must eventually marry… Spring arrives in the north, but it robs Tatsuo of the two people closest to him.

The story is based on the Akutagawa Prize-winning novel of the same title, written by Teru Miyamoto. It sensitively captures the first love of a fourteen-year-old boy, his friendships and the world of elders through his eyes. The spectacular scene of millions of fireflies brings the film to its climax.

Date: 30 March 2017, 6.30pm
Venue: The Embassy of Japan in the UK, 101 – 104 Piccadilly, London W1J 7JT
Organiser: The Embassy of Japan in the UK

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