The Great Passage

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The Great Passage
The Great Passage.jpg
The Original Japanese Poster.
Japanese 舟を編む
Hepburn Fune o Amu
Directed by Yuya Ishii
Produced by Tomoo Tsuchii
Kimitaka Goka
Fumitsugu Ikeda
Yasuyuki Iwanami
Written by Kansaku Watanabe
Based on The Great Passage
by Shion Miura
Starring Ryuhei Matsuda
Aoi Miyazaki
Joe Odagiri
Kaoru Kobayashi
Go Kato
Music by Takashi Watanabe
Cinematography Junichi Fujisawa
Edited by Shinichi Fushima
Little More Co.
Distributed by Shochiku
Release date
  • 13 April 2013 (2013-04-13) (Japan)
Running time
133 minutes
Country Japan
Language Japanese

The Great Passage (舟を編む, Fune o Amu) is a 2013 Japanese drama film directed by Yuya Ishii, starring Ryuhei Matsuda as a dictionary editor. It is based on the best-selling novel by Shion Miura.[1] The film won several awards, including the Japan Academy Prize for Picture of the Year, and also received several nominations. It was selected as the Japanese entry for the Best Foreign Language Film at the 86th Academy Awards,[1] but it was not nominated.


Mitsuya Majime (Ryuhei Matsuda) is an unsuccessful salesman. But his love of reading and dedication, as well as a post-graduate degree in linguistics, catches the eyes of Masashi Nishioka (Joe Odagiri) and Kouhei Araki (Kaoru Kobayashi), dictionary editors who are seeking a replacement for Araki himself, as his wife is sick and he would like to spend more time by her bedside.

With Majime on the editing team, the group plans to produce a new dictionary called "Daitokai" (The Great Passage/大渡海)[2] which would bridge the gap between people and the sea of words and would take years to complete.

Back at his home, the Sou-Un-Sou Rooming House, Majime meets Kaguya Hayashi (Aoi Miyazaki), his landlady's granddaughter who has just returned from culinary school. He is struck by her beauty. Upon discovering this, the chief editor Matsumoto (Go Kato) asks Majime to write the definition for the word "Love".



Critical response[edit]

The Great Passage received generally favorable reviews from critics. Yvonne Teh of South China Morning Post gave the film 4 and a half out of 5 stars.[3] James Hadfield of Time Out Tokyo gave the film 4 out of 5 stars, saying "Yuya Ishii's tale of a dictionary maker in love is genuinely charming."[4] Screen International's Mark Adams writes that, "The film pays affectionate – and even old-fashioned – tribute to the world of words and dictionaries, while also finding space for a tender and slow-paced romance that would be out-of-step for a contemporary story."[5] Gary Goldstein of Los Angeles Times gave the film a favorable review, noting that "it's the power of words to enlighten and connect us that remains the constant and gives this charming film its special place on the shelf."[6]


Award Date of ceremony Category Recipients and
Blue Ribbon Awards[7][8] February 11, 2014 Best Film Nominated
Best Director Yuya Ishii Nominated
Best Actor Ryuhei Matsuda Nominated
Best Supporting Actor Joe Odagiri Nominated
Best Supporting Actress Haru Kuroki Nominated
Best New Actor Haru Kuroki Won
Hochi Film Award[9] December 18, 2013 Best Film Won
Best Actor Ryuhei Matsuda Won
Best Supporting Actress Chizuru Ikewaki Won
Japan Academy Prize[10] March 7, 2014[11][12] Best Film Won
Best Director Yuya Ishii Won
Best Screenplay Kansaku Watanabe Won
Best Actor Ryuhei Matsuda Won
Best Actress Aoi Miyazaki Nominated
Best Supporting Actor Joe Odagiri Nominated
Best Music Takashi Watanabe Nominated
Best Cinematography Junichi Fujisawa Nominated
Best Lighting Tatsuya Osada Nominated
Best Art Mitsuo Harada Nominated
Best Sound Recording Hirokazu Katou Won
Best Editing Junichi Fushima Won
Best Newcomer Haru Kuroki Nominated
Mainichi Film Award[13] January, 2014 Best Film Won
Best Director Yuya Ishii Won
Best Actor Ryuhei Matsuda Won
Best Art Direction Won

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Mark Schilling (September 4, 2013). "Japan Picks 'Passage' as Oscar Pic". Variety. Retrieved May 9, 2013. 
  2. ^ This titles is an homage to the first authentic Japanese Dictionary Daigenkai/大言海 (literally, The Great Ocean) edited by Ōtsuki Fumihiko.
  3. ^ Yvonne Teh (August 22, 2013). "Film Review: Tongue-tied linguist's lexicon of love in The Great Passage". South China Morning Post. 
  4. ^ James Hadfield (April 12, 2013). "The Great Passage (Fune wo Amu)". Time Out Tokyo. Retrieved 27 April 2013. 
  5. ^ Mark Adams (19 March 2013). "The Great Passage". Screen International. Retrieved 17 July 2013. 
  6. ^ Gary Goldstein (December 12, 2013). "Review: 'The Great Passage' sweetly shows the power of words". Los Angeles Times. 
  7. ^ Kevin Ma (January 6, 2014). "Great Passage leads Blue Ribbon nominations". Film Business Asia. Retrieved January 21, 2014. 
  8. ^ Kevin Ma (January 23, 2014). "Yonosuke tops Blue Ribbon Awards". Film Business Asia. Retrieved September 18, 2014. 
  9. ^ Kevin Ma (November 29, 2013). "Great Passage tops 38th Hochi Film Awards". Film Business Asia. Retrieved January 21, 2014. 
  10. ^ 第37回日本アカデミー賞優秀作品発表!. (in Japanese). Retrieved January 21, 2014. 
  11. ^ Kevin Ma (January 17, 2014). "Kore-eda, Ishii, Yamada lead Japan awards". Film Business Asia. Retrieved January 21, 2014. 
  12. ^ Kevin Ma (March 7, 2014). "The Great Passage wins Japan Academy Prize". Film Business Asia. Retrieved September 18, 2014. 
  13. ^ Kevin Ma (January 21, 2014). "Great Passage, Pecoross top Mainichi Award". Film Business Asia. Retrieved January 21, 2014. 

External links[edit]