The Fuji Television drama “The Man of the Tokyo Olympics” will be screened Sunday, Sept. 27, at the Aratani Theatre, as part of the 2015 Japan Film Festival Los Angeles, being held this weekend at the Japanese American Cultural and Community Center, 244 S. San Pedro St. in Little Tokyo.
The film festival is being held as part of Japan Fest 2015.
The 2014 movie is based on the story of how long-time L.A. resident Fred Isamu Wada worked tirelessly to help secure the 1964 Olympics for Japan. Among his strategies was to visit expatriate Japanese communities throughout the Americas to build support for Tokyo’s hosting of the games.
The Fuji TV drama stars Takao Osawa as Wada, who after World War II has grown his grocery business into a chain of stores in Southern California along with his wife, Masako, played by Takako Tokiwa.
After reading a newspaper article on the search for someone of Japanese descent to look after Japanese athletes coming to the United States to compete in the national swimming championship, Wada volunteers his family. Several months later, the Japanese swimming team arrives.
At the championship, the team is subjected to lingering post-war bias, yet the squad sets nine world records, joyous news for Japan.
A few years later, Wada and his wife, who have been invited to Japan, receive a phone call from Seiji Tabata (Toshiyuki Nishida), the chairman of the Japanese Swimming Federation and general secretary of the Japanese Olympic Committee. Tabata enlists Wada’s help in Japan’s bid for the 1964 Summer Olympics.
“The Man of the Tokyo Olympics” screens at 2:25 p.m. Tickets for the film are free with admission to the Japan Fair, but only 800 free tickets are available. For more information, visit http://japanfair.org/buy-tickets/ or call (213) 626-3067.
The Japan Fair will also feature Japanese food, music and art exhibits, all taking place in the JACCC Plaza.
The animated hit film “Yo-kai Watch” will make its Los Angeles premiere at 10 a.m. on Sunday, with one of its central characters making a live appearance. Jibanyan the ghost cat will meet fans at a meet-and-dance event (for which there may be a separate charge).
“Yo-kai Watch,” a runaway hit in Japan, follows the story of young boy who tracks apparitions with the help of Jibanyan, a ghost named Whisper and his futuristic, ghost-finding wristwatch.
Manga fans will also enjoy the international premiere of the live-action drama series “Attack on Titan: Hangeki no Noroshi.”
Other films in the festival are screening Sunday afternoon at the New Gardena Hotel in Gardena.
Also on Sunday, veteran comic actor and singer Naoko Ken, who stars in film festival selection “The Hybrid,” will make an appearance and sing on stage after the showing of the movie. “The Hybrid” screens at 3:05 p.m.
The fair’s main stage will feature taiko, koto and shamisen performances, kendo demonstrations, and a children’s choir, among other entertainers. There will be various food booths, a beer garden, and a sake-tasting area, where experts will be on hand to explain the finer points of Japanese rice wine.
Renowned artist Yasuhiko Fujisawa will travel from Japan to create three large-scale murals consisting of multicolored flower petals.
Japan Fair 2015 will take place Saturday, Sept. 26, from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. and Sunday, Sept. 27, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tickets are only $3 in advance and $5 on the day of the event. For more information or schedules for the Japan Film Festival L.A., visit www.jffla.org.