Art & Design

Shining Stars: Idols in Japanese Cinema in the 1980s and 1990s

20 - 27 August 2016, London

‘Idol’ is a term which has become a ubiquitous feature of Japanese culture. Packaged as cute, adolescent starlets, idols appear in both film and TV and are known for their singing and acting in often equal measure. While the trend has continued since the 1960s, this film season focuses on the paramount period of the 1980s, an era considered the ‘Heyday of Japanese Idol Films’ when idols regularly graced the silver screen and simultaneously topped the pop charts, as well as the following decade of the 1990s as a comparison. The stars in the selected films were all household names in Japan, but how many can you recognise?



Saturday, 20 August 2016


11:00am: The Tragedy of “W”
Directed by Shinichiro Sawai / 1984 / 108 mins / Colour / English subtitles

1:10pm: Four Sisters
Directed by Nobuhiko Obayashi / 1985 / 100 mins / Colour / English subtitles

3:10pm: Miss Lonely
Directed by Nobuhiko Obayashi / 1985 / 112 mins / Colour / English subtitles


5:20pm: Young Girls in Love
Directed by Kazuki Omori / 1986 / 98 mins / Colour / English subtitles



Monday, 22 August 2016


7:00pm: Memories of You
Directed by Shinichiro Sawai / 1988 / 104 min / English Subtitles



Wednesday, 24 August 2016


7:00pm: The Pale Hand
Directed by Seijiro Koyama / 1990 / 100 mins / Colour / English subtitles



Saturday, 27 August 2016


11:00am Tokyo Heaven
Directed by Shinji Somai / 1990 / 108 mins / Colour / English subtitles

1:10pm: Swimming Upstream
Directed by Joji Matsuoka / 1990 / 95 mins / Colour / English subtitles

4:50pm: Summer Holiday Everyday
Directed by Shusuke Kaneko / 1994 / 94 mins / Colour / English subtitles

6:45pm: Good-bye for Tomorrow
Directed by Nobuhiko Obayashi / 1995 / 140 mins / Colour / English subtitles



Special Talk by Dr Kate Taylor-Jones, University of Sheffield
Saturday, 27 August 2016, 3:30pm


Dr Taylor-Jones will give an overview of idol cinema in Japan from a historical point of view, charting the genre’s significance, its surge in popularity in the 1980s and 1990s, while reflecting on the Japanese film industry as a whole. This talk will complement the films in the programme and will shed light on this often-overlooked genre and era of Japanese cinema.


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Booking: These screenings are free to attend but booking is essential.
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20 - 27 August 2016

Goethe-Institut London, 50 Princes Gate, Exhibition Road, London SW7 2PH

The Japan Foundation