Miss Hokusai

Production I.G announces Miss Hokusai, the new animated feature film from acclaimed Annecy-winning director Keiichi Hara (Summer Days with Coo, Colorful). The movie is based on the original manga, Sarusuberi by Hinako Sugiura, and it is scripted by Miho Maruo (Colorful). The main staff includes character designer and chief animator Yoshimi Itazu (Denno Coil, The Wind Rises, Dreaming Machine) and background artist Hiroshi Ono (A Letter to Momo, Wolf Children). Miss Hokusai is slated for theatrical release in Japan in 2015.

The time: 1814.
The place: Edo, now known as Tokyo.
One of the highest populated cities in the world, teeming with peasants, samurai, townsmen, merchants, nobles, artists, courtesans, and perhaps even supernatural things.
A much accomplished artist of his time and now in his mid-fifties, Tetsuzo can boast clients from all over Japan, and tirelessly works in the garbage-loaded chaos of his house-atelier. He spends his days creating astounding pieces of art, from a giant-size Bodhidharma portrayed on a 180 square meter-wide sheet of paper, to a pair of sparrows painted on a tiny rice grain. Short-tempered, utterly sarcastic, with no passion for sake or money, he would charge a fortune for any job he is not really interested in.

Third of Tetsuzo's four daughters and born out of his second marriage, outspoken 23-year-old O-Ei has inherited her father's talent and stubbornness, and very often she would paint instead of him, though uncredited. Her art is so powerful that sometimes leads to trouble. "We're father and daughter; with two brushes and four chopsticks, I guess we can always manage, in a way or another."

Decades later, Europe was going to discover the immense talent of Tetsuzo. He was to become best known by one of his many names: Katsushika Hokusai. He would mesmerize Renoir and van Gogh, Monet and Klimt.
However, very few today are even aware of the woman who assisted him all her life, and greatly contributed to his art while remaining uncredited. This is the untold story of O-Ei, Master Hokusai's daughter: a lively portrayal of a free-spirited woman overshadowed by her larger-than-life father, unfolding through the changing seasons.

About the Director
Keiichi Hara (Tatebayashi, 1959) graduated from Tokyo Designer Gakuin College and joined the animation studio Shin-ei Doga, where he worked as episodic director for the hugely popular series, Doraemon. After directing a number of TV series, he then became part of the production team of another hit family series, Crayon Shin-chan, that he directed from 1996. His 2002 Shin-chan movie, entitled Crayon Shin-chan: Brilliant! The Great Battle of the Warring States (2002) was commended by Japan's Agency for Cultural Affairs. International recognition came with Japan Academy Prizes-winners Summer Days with Coo (2007) and especially with Colorful (2010), which was greeted with the Jury's Special Distinction and the Audience Award at Annecy 2011. Both movies received theatrical distribution in France and other countries. Hara admires classic Japanese filmmakers such as Keisuke Kinoshita, to whom he dedicated his first live-action movie in 2013, Dawn of a Filmmaker: The Keisuke Kinoshita Story.

About the Original Author: Hinako Sugiura
Hinako Sugiura (1958-2005) was a manga artist and researcher in the lifestyles and customs of Japan's Edo period. Her distinctive style and unique storytelling made her win the Japan Cartoonists Association Award for Gasso (Joint Burial, 1984) and the Bungei Shunju Manga Award for Furyu Edo Suzume (A Refined Edo Sparrow, 1988). She also wrote numerous essays, and frequently appeared in the media as an expert on the period. Her manga, Sarusuberi on which Miss Hokusai is based, was published between 1983 and 1987, and gained cult status since then for the vivid portrayal of Hokusai's daughter.

© 2014 Hinako Sugiura•MS.HS / Sarusuberi Film Partners