Japan Cuts film festival returns to New York City with 12 days of drama, comedy, and animation


Japan Cuts 2023

Japan Society in New York City will present the 16th annual JAPAN CUTS: Festival of New Japanese Film, the largest festival of its kind in North America, July 26–August 6.

This year’s edition will present 29 films and mark the first fully in-person JAPAN CUTS since 2019. This year’s festival spans 12 days and features 24 feature-length films and five short films across Feature Slate, Next Generation, and Short Film Spotlight sections, as well as a special tribute to Ryuichi Sakamoto.

Among the festival’s lineup are five international premieres, 10 North American premieres, seven U.S. premieres, three East Coast Premieres, and three New York Premieres. Additionally, JAPAN CUTS will welcome six special guests and host two parties during the course of the festivities.

Kicking off this year’s festival, JAPAN CUTS is excited to present the East Coast Premiere of THE FIRST SLAM DUNK as its opening film. THE FIRST SLAM DUNK is the number one movie at the Japanese box office this year, and it is the first new feature-length film from the SLAM DUNK franchise in over 33 years, as well as manga creator Takehiko Inoue’s directorial debut.

First Slam Dunk poster

JAPAN CUTS will present acclaimed actor Yuya Yagira with this year’s CUT ABOVE Award for Outstanding Achievement in Film for his lead role in the festival’s centerpiece film, Under the Turquoise Sky from director KENTARO. Yagira was the youngest-ever winner of the Best Actor Award at the Cannes Film Festival for his lead in Hirokazu Kore-eda’s Nobody Knows and has since starred in over 50 films and television series ranging from commercial blockbusters to art house gems. Both Yagira and KENTARO will make special appearances at the film’s premiere screening and encore presentation.

Under the Turquoise Sky

“JAPAN CUTS is back in-person!” says Peter Tatara, Director of Film at Japan Society, who organized this year’s festival with Japan Society Film Programmer Alexander Fee. “JAPAN CUTS is one of Japan Society’s most popular events and beloved in New York’s cinema scene. After a pause during the pandemic, we couldn’t be more proud for JAPAN CUTS to return with two weeks of exciting, thought-provoking, and tear-jerking films. We’re honored to share a captivating slice of Japan’s cinematic world with New York!”

JAPAN CUTS will also present the 1985 documentary Tokyo Melody: A Film about Ryuichi Sakamoto in tribute to the legendary musician, composer, and groundbreaking creative whose innovations in music, film, and art remain unparalleled. Widely unavailable and rarely shown, the cult film will screen on an imported 16mm print with renowned musician Akiko Yano and director Elizabeth Lennard present.

Described by The New York Times as “meticulously curated” and “an annual highlight of New York’s film calendar,” JAPAN CUTS brings the best and hardest-to-find contemporary films from Japan to New York City. From blockbusters, independent productions and anime, to documentaries, avant-garde works and short films, JAPAN CUTS offers an impressive look at the past 12 months of Japanese cinema. Japan Society is a 116-year-old nonprofit organization focused on connecting the U.S. and Japan, and its JAPAN CUTS is one of the organization’s largest and most popular programs.

All films will be screened at Japan Society (333 E. 47th St., New York, NY 10017) and presented in Japanese with English subtitles unless otherwise noted.

Tickets and info: