Last updated
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Nobuhiko Ōbayashi
Produced byTerumichi Yamazaki
Kyôko Ôbayashi
Written byNobuhiko Ōbayashi
Chiho Katsura
Based onHanagatami
by Kazuo Dan
StarringShunsuke Kubozuka
Shinnosuke Mitsushima
Keishi Nagatsuka
Honoka Yahagi
Music byKousuke Yamashita
CinematographyKujô Sanbongi
Edited byNobuhiko Ōbayashi
Karatsu Film Committee
Distributed byEspace Sarou
Release date
  • 16 December 2017 (2017-12-16)(Japan)
Running time
168 minutes

Hanagatami (花筐, lit. "Flower Basket") is a 2017 Japanese war film directed by Nobuhiko Ōbayashi, based on a 1937 novel by Kazuo Dan. [1] The film tells a story of the purity of youth beset by the chaos of war, inspired by Obayashi's own childhood. It revolves around Toshihiko, a sixteen-year-old kid who moves in with his aunt in Karatsu, and develops friendships and romances with the inhabitants of the town as World War II rages. The film was originally conceived during the 1970s, [2] before Obayashi made his feature film directorial debut with House (1977), but was not produced for another 40 years. Before production, Obayashi was diagnosed with stage-four cancer and was only given a few months to live.


Hanagatami received acclaim, garnering numerous awards, including the Best Film Award at the 72nd Mainichi Film Awards. [3] It was praised for its exuberant and vibrant visuals, its experimental and psychedelic direction and editing, its strong anti-war message and its sense of personalness. It is the third installment in a thematic trilogy of modern anti-war films by Obayashi, along with Casting Blossoms to the Sky (2012) and Seven Weeks (2014). [4]


In the spring of 1941, sixteen-year-old Toshihiko leaves Amsterdam to attend school in Karatsu, a small town on the western coast of Japan, where his aunt Keiko cares for his ailing cousin Mina. Immersed in the seaside's nature and culture, Toshihiko soon befriends the town's other extraordinary adolescents as they all contend with the war's inescapable gravitational pull.


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  1. Schilling, Mark (27 October 2019). "Tokyo Film Festival: Nobuhiko Obayashi Re-enters 'Labyrinth of Cinema'". Variety . Retrieved 11 April 2020.
  2. Masubuchi, Aiko (24 January 2019). "Working for Tomorrow: An Interview with Nobuhiko Obayashi on Notebook". MUBI . Retrieved 24 February 2019.
  3. "'Hanagatami' wins top prize at 72nd Mainichi Film Awards". Mainichi Daily News . 18 January 2018. Retrieved 24 February 2019.
  4. Young, Deborah (22 June 2018). "'Hanagatami': Film Review". The Hollywood Reporter . Retrieved 11 April 2020.