Rempei Tsukamoto Featured

Published in Feature Story  

Rempei Tsukamoto

Film Director and Screenwriter

Rempei Tsukamoto is a talented Japanese film director and screenwriter with years of experience under his belt. In Japan, his films have been successful with audiences and critics alike. Kazura won Best Asian Movie in 2010, while Prescription Police and Bento Harassment were both acclaimed. In 2019, Bento Harassment was screened at the Japan Cuts Hollywood film festival in Hollywood, introducing Tsukamoto’s work to the international film industry. Before the social distancing measures enforced after the COVID-19 outbreak in early 2020, Tokyo Journal Editor-in-Chief Anthony Al-Jamie spoke with Tsukamoto to discuss his recent trip to the U.S. for Japan Cuts Hollywood (renamed Japan Connects Hollywood) to find out about his film career and the production of Bento Harassment.

TJ: How many times have you been to the U.S.?
I’ve been numerous times, but before my last visit it had been about 10 years since I last went.

TJ: Do you want to come back sometime?
Of course! I want to go to Hollywood every year!

TJ: How did you feel about the Hollywood screening of Bento Harassment?
It was very fun. Everyone had such a positive reaction. It was heartwarming and I was very pleased. Ryoko Shinohara was very happy, too.

TJ: Can you tell us about your work with Ryoko Shinohara?
About 10 years ago, I worked with Ryoko Shinohara on a couple of TV dramas. She was such a fun person to be around, so I’ve always wanted to work with her again. She’s a very good actress and always goes above and beyond. She can do both comedy and serious acting. She’s a good cook too!

TJ: Did she cook on the set?
No .... We had a team of cooks that would make meals, but I know she’s a good cook. At first, it was a three-person team, but that wasn’t enough, so in the end, we had about seven people cooking for us. The team made about 150 bentos.

TJ: Where did the story for Bento Harassment come from?
It’s based on a true story. A single mother wrote the book, and I rearranged the story and created the film script. The single father in my script is fictional.

TJ: How many movies have you made and when did you produce your first movie?
The first movie I produced was 15 years ago, and I have made five more since then.

TJ: Before that, what were you doing?
I made TV dramas for about 20 years.

TJ: What is the most famous TV drama you have produced?
Dragon Zakura.

TJ: What are the strengths and weaknesses of the Japanese film market?
It’s important to me that there is a market for Japanese people to watch my films, but it is disappointing that the movies are limited to a Japanese audience and aren’t played internationally.

TJ: Do you think that will change in the future?
I think so. Korean, Thai, and Indonesian movies get played internationally, so eventually I think Japanese movies will be too.

TJ: Have you ever taught acting or filmmaking? Do you enjoy it?
I teach acting workshops sometimes. I like teaching because I always learn something new.

TJ: Are you making a new movie now?
Yes, it’s finished: Matsurino Ato wa Matsuri no Mae or After a Festival is Before a Festival. It’s a youthful comedy movie. It’s kind of like Aladdin with its magical, out-of-earth scenes.

TJ: You seem very busy!
I am. I can always make more movies, though!


The complete article can be found in Issue #280 of the Tokyo Journal.

Written By:

Anthony Al-Jamie

Anthony Al-Jamie lived and worked in Japan for over 20 years. His in-depth understanding of Japanese language and culture has allowed him to carry out interviews with many of the most renowned individuals in Japan. He first began writing for the Tokyo Journal in the 1990s as Education Editor, later he was promoted to Senior Editor, and eventually International Editor and Executive Editor. He currently serves the Tokyo Journal as Editor-in-Chief.

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