Tokyo, Japan

Film adaptation of Mitsuyo Kakuta’s novel ‘The Moon and Lightning’ released

Promotional still from 2017 film The Moon and Lightning. (C) 2012 角田光代/中央公論新社 (C) 2017 「月と雷」製作委員会
Another film adaptation of a bestselling Mitsuyo Kakuta’s novel has been released in Japan to critical acclaim.

The Moon and Lightning
(Tsuki to kaminari) by the multiple award-winning Red Circle author Mitsuyo Kakuta has been successfully adapted for film and is now being shown at theatres nationwide in Japan.

Cover of 2012 Tanko-bon edition of The Moon and Lightning.
The book, which the film is based on sold in the tens of thousands, was orginally published in Japanese in hardback (tanko-bon) in July 2012 by Chuokoron Shinsha, the book publishing arm of the Yomiuri Shimbun Group, one of Japan’s largest media conglomrates.

A paperback edition (bunkobon), which following the release of the film is now expected to sell in large numbers, was published in May 2015 also by Chuokoron Shinsha.

The Moon and Lightning
directed by Hiroshi Ando stars Eriko Hatsune and Kengo Kora. Eriko Hatsune a highly regarded actress in Japan has acted in eleven films including the 2012 Hollywood co-production Emperor, directed by Peter Webber. Hatsune received excellent reviews for her role in the 2010 film Norwegian Wood directed by Tran Anh Hung, based on Haruki Murakami’s novel of the same title, a film that Kora also appeared in. Kora also stared in the film adaptation of Hitomi Kanehara’s Akutagawa Prize-winning novel Snakes and Earings.

Initial feedback on their roles in this latest major Japanese feature film has been be equally positive. The film is based around a complex family situation. Yasuko (played by Eriko Hatsune) who lived with her late father’s girlfriend and her son Satoshi (played by Kengo Kora) when she was a child, is suddenly reunited with Satoshi as an adult dramatically changing her ordinary mundain life.

Many of the film adaptations of Mitsuyo Kakuta’s novels, like the books themselves, such as The Eighth Day and Pale Moon have been extremely successful. The female roles in these films are said to bring out the best in actresses, helping them be seen in a new light, thereby furthering their reputations amongst critics and the public.

An English language review of the film can be read here and a Japanese language promotional video viewed here.
  • RedCircle
    About Red Circle:
    Red Circle Authors Limited is a specialist publishing and communications company that conducts bespoke projects on behalf of a carefully selected and curated group of leading Japanese authors. Red Circle showcases Japan’s best creative writing. For more information on Red Circle, Japanese literature, and Red Circle authors please visit:
    • Mitsuyo Kakuta
      About Mitsuyo Kakuta:
      Mitsuyo Kakuta is a skillful and prolific author whose works instantly captivate. Her bestselling novel The Eighth Day became one of Japan’s best-known television series that no one dared miss. Her first novel Kofuku na yugi (A Blissful Pastime) written while she was still a student at university in Tokyo won the Kaien Prize for New Writers. She has gone on to win numerous Japanese literary awards and is now one of Japan’s best-known contemporary authors.