Once Upon a Time in Japan

Reinventing the Past Through the Eyes of Japanese Contemporary Filmmakers

1 February to 27 March 2013


Newcastle upon Tyne

Mai Mai Miracle
(Mai Mai Shinko to sennen no maho)

Inspired by her grandfather’s stories, young Shinko journeys into the past through her time-travelling imagination.

Showing at: ICA, London; Showroom Workstation, Sheffield; Queen’s Film Theatre, Belfast; Filmhouse, Edinburgh; Tyneside Cinema, Newcastle upon Tyne; Watershed, Bristol; Broadway, Nottingham.

Inspired by her grandfather’s stories, nine-year-old Shinko journeys into the past through her magical method of time travel: conjured entirely by her vivid imaginings of the past.  Upon making a new friend with the upper class Kiiko, they quickly discover they both have a fascination with history and what happened in the past, and transport back to the town a thousand years before, almost as if their dreams could become a reality.

Adapted from Nobuko Takagi’s famous novel, Mai Mai Miracle is a beautifully animated nostalgic tale of friendship in post-war Japan. A former assistant of the great Hayao Miyazaki, director Sunao Katabuchi recreates 1950s south western Japan in its full-animated glory, inviting the audience to embark on a miraculous journey into the past with young Shinko.

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Director: Sunao Katabuchi
Mayuko Fukuda, Nako Mizusawa, Ei Morisako
2009/95min/English subtitles

Image © 2009 Nobuko Takagi/MAGAZINE HOUSE/

Showing at:

13 March 2002

13 February 2003

13–13 March 2010

Showroom Cinema
13 February 2016

Tyneside Cinema
13 March 2017

13 March 2023

Queen's Film Theatre
13 February 2024