Japan Society is excited to add the international premiere of a new 2K restoration of cult director Shinya Tsukamoto’s second feature, Hiruko the Goblin, to its 15th annual JAPAN CUTS: Festival of New Japanese Film lineup. Celebrating its 30th anniversary, Hiruko the Goblin was Shinya Tsukamoto’s anticipated follow-up (and first studio effort) to his groundbreaking independent cyberpunk phenomenon, Tetsuo: The Iron Man (1989). Brought onboard to adapt two stories from acclaimed manga artist Daijiro Morohoshi (whose widespread influence has been cited by Hayao Miyazaki and Hideaki Anno), Tsukamoto scripted and directed the film, casting pop idol Kenji Sawada (The Man Who Stole the Sun, The Happiness of the Katakuris) as the delightfully eccentric Professor Hieda. A wonderfully eerie meld of camp, horror, and fever-dream surrealism, Hiruko the Goblin remains an underseen gem that effortlessly melds Lovecraftian mythos, adventure, body horror and humor into a singular, macabre vision. Included as part of the festival’s Classics selection, Hiruko the Goblin will be available across the US through film.japansociety.org from August 20-September 2.
Hiruko the Goblin
Dir. Shinya Tsukamoto, 1991, 89 min.
Following the success of his trailblazing independent cyberpunk debut, Tetsuo: The Iron Man, Shinya Tsukamoto directed this wonderfully bizarre adaptation of Daijiro Morohoshi’s Yokai Hunter manga as his first studio project. Called to an idyllic countryside town, disgraced archaeologist Professor Hieda (pop idol Kenji Sawada) teams up with high schooler Masao (Masaki Kudou) when a series of disappearances—including those of Masao’s father (Naoto Takenaka) and classmate crush Reiko (Megumi Ueno)—take place. Together, the unlikely duo discover that the local high school sits atop an ancient burial mound that may very well be a subterranean gateway to hell. Offering a raucous mashup of genres—ranging from campy adventure to Lovecraftian body horror—Hiruko the Goblin delivers pulse-pounding thrills with over-the-top visuals including stop-motion animation and practical effects that recall the early works of Sam Raimi and John Carpenter.
JAPAN CUTS: Festival of New Japanese Film
Founded in 2007, JAPAN CUTS is an annual film festival dedicated to screening the best of contemporary Japanese cinema. Organized by Japan Society in New York City, the festival is described as “New York’s premier Japanese cinema event” (The Wall Street Journal) and “an annual highlight of New York’s film calendar” (The New York Times). In addition to an exclusive slate of premiere film screenings, the festival offers free talk events and access to guest filmmakers and stars through post-screening Q&As and parties. Since its inception, the festival has attracted over 65,000 filmgoers, screened over 350 films and invited over 100 guests from Japan and beyond.
Japan Society is the premier organization connecting Japanese arts, culture, business, and society with audiences in New York and around the world. At Japan Society, we are inspired by the Japanese concept of kizuna (絆)–forging deep connections to bind people together. We are committed to telling the story of Japan while strengthening connections within New York City and building new bridges beyond. In over 100 years of work, we’ve inspired generations by establishing ourselves as pioneers in supporting international exchanges in arts and culture, business and policy, as well as education between Japan and the U.S. We strive to convene important conversations on topics that bind our two countries together, champion the next generation of innovative creators, promote mutual understanding, and serve as a trusted guide for people everywhere who seek to more fully appreciate the rich complexities and abundance of Japan. From our New York headquarters, a landmark building designed by architect Junzo Yoshimura that opened to the public in 1971, we look forward to the years ahead, which will be defined by our digital and ideational impact through the kizuna that we build. Our future can only be enhanced by learning from our peers and engaging with our audiences, both near and afar.
This year, Japan Society is celebrating our heritage through the 50th anniversary of our landmark building with the launch of a new distinct modern logo and visual identity. The “JS” monogram is created via overlapping, interconnected lines and shapes, reinforcing the idea of kizuna and that Japan Society acts as a platform that connects across, cultures, people, and time.
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Japan Society is located at 333 East 47th Street between First and Second Avenues (accessible by the 4/5/6 and 7 subway lines at Grand Central or the E and M subway lines at 53rd St. and Lexington Ave.).
JAPAN CUTS is sponsored by Shiseido Americas. Additional support is provided by Sapporo U.S.A., Inc. Japan Society Film programs are generously supported by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council and the Lila Wallace-Reader’s Digest Endowment Fund. Additional season support is provided by The Globus Family, Masako H. Shinn, David Toberisky, Geoff and Fumi Matters, Akiko Koide and Shohei Koide, Laurel Gonsalves, David S. Howe, and Masu Hiroshi Masuyama. Transportation assistance is provided by Japan Airlines, the exclusive Japanese airline sponsor of Japan Society Film.