SAKURA GUARDIAN IN THE NORTH Info and High-Res Photos from Toei
Source: Toei Co., Ltd.
Official Site: kitanosakuramori.jp (Japan)
A SCIFI JAPAN EXCLUSIVE
Toei has provided information and high-res photos from SAKURA GUARDIAN IN THE NORTH (北の桜守, Kita no Sakuramori). The movie marks the 120th role for lead actress Sayuri Yoshinaga, and — along with YEAR ONE IN THE NORTH (北の零年, Kita no Reinen, 2005) and A CHORUS OF ANGELS (北のカナリアたち, Kita no Kanariatachi, 2012) — completes the “Northern Trilogy” written by Machiko Nasu that features Yoshinaga portraying women dealing with life in the harsh conditions of Northern Japan. SAKURA GUARDIAN IN THE NORTH is directed by Yojiro Takita, director of the Oscar-winning DEPARTURES (Okuribito, 2008).
North, the two of them went, and north again, towards a lost time…
In the spring of 1945, cherry blossoms flower in southern Sakhalin. For Tetsu Ezure and her sons, they symbolize hope. But the following August, the Soviet Union invades and they flee from Sakhalin. Barely managing to make it across the strait to Hokkaido, they make their way down the coast to Abashiri. Awaiting the battered family there is a life so harsh as to strain the imagination: cold and hunger through which they must struggle to survive.
In 1971 the younger son, Shujiro, now grown, has succeeded in the U.S., and returns to Japan as president of a chain of hotdog outlets. He returns to Abashiri for the first time in 15 years to find his older brother gone and his elderly mother living alone in poverty, still waiting for her husband to return. Shujiro decides to take her to Sapporo and care for her there.
There Tetsu, however, insists on cooking rice over an open fire, taking onions from the greengrocer without paying, and generally making a nuisance of herself to the neighborhood. While the war is long over, she still suffers post-traumatic stress disorder. She also gradually realizes that something is wrong with her.
Then one day she disappears. Not wishing to cause problems for her successful son, she is going back to Abashiri. But her house there has been demolished; she has nowhere to go back to. Shujiro, in an effort to reach out, decides to accompany her, and the two set out around the vast plains of Hokkaido on a journey into the past. The journey, however, opens the door to some long-buried memories.
Japanese Theatrical Release: March 10, 2018
Running Time: 126 Minutes
Tetsu Ezure: Sayuri Yoshinaga
Shujiro Ezure: Masato Sakai
Mari Ezure: Ryoko Shinohara
Kazuo Yamaoka: Ittoku Kishibe
Mitsue Shimada: Reiko Takashima
Bar Owner: Tsurube Shofukutei
Daikichi Okabe: Masatoshi Nakamura
Tokujiro Ezure: Hiroshi Abe
Shinji Sugawara: Koichi Sato
Director: Yojiro Takita
Screenplay: Machiko Nasu
Stage Production: Keralino Sandrovich
Director of Photography: Takeshi Hamada
Music: Kei Ogura, Katsu Hoshi
Production: SAKURA GUARDIAN IN THE NORTH Production Committee (Toei, TV Asahi, Kinoshita Group, Toei Animation, Hakuhodo, Hakuhodo DY Music & Pictures, Toei Video, Asahi Broadcasting, JR East Japan Planning, Asahi Shimbun, Yomiuri Shimbun, Hokkaido Television, Megere, Kyushu Asahi Broadcasting, Hokkaido Shimbun, Innovation Design, Shizuoka Asahi TV, Hiroshima Home TV, East Japan Broadcasting, Niigata Television 21)
Location Cooperation: Wakkanai, Abashiri
Special Cooperation: JR East Japan, JR Hokkaido
Distributor and World Sales: Toei Co., Ltd.
© 2018 SAKURA GUARDIAN IN THE NORTH Production Committee
About Toei Company, Ltd.
Established in 1951, Toei Company is not only producing and distributing films, but is also one of the major exhibitors in Japan. The company owns two film studios located in Tokyo and Kyoto. The films produced cover wide range of genres, exceeding 20,000 titles.