Award-winning director Naoko Ogigami (RENT-A-CAT, CLOSE KNIT, KAMOME DINER) has long been widely hailed for her delicate, heartwarming stories that touch on a range of urgent social issues with reassuring calm and wonderfully quirky humor.


In her latest film RIPPLES, she tackles Japan”s male-dominated society, the silent pressure for women to be good wives and mothers, the expanding power of new religions, discrimination against the handicapped and more, through the eyes of a 50-something woman. Yoriko (Mariko Tsutsui) spends her mornings raking ripples in the Zen garden in her yard, before going to her thankless job as a cashier and then to meetings with other members of the water-worshipping Ryokumei-kai (Green Life Water Society). Ever since her husband Osamu (Mitsuishi) disappeared on the day after the 3-11 earthquake, abandoning her and their teenage son Takuya (Isomura), Yoriko has lived a quiet life, seeking to soothe her battered soul with prayer.


When Osamu suddenly returns and demands that she care for him as he lives out his final days with cancer, she tries to do what”s right and follow her faith. But she gradually discovers that Osamu is like a rock that makes ripples on the quiet surface of her life. To her surprise (and the encouragement of a new friend at work), she becomes consumed with dark thoughts of revenge. When Takuya brings his hearing-impaired girlfriend home for a visit, Yoriko”s emotions finally begin to erupt, crashing like waves that will ripple forever outward.


Japan ranks spectacularly low on the Global Gender Gap Report, and even lower in political empowerment and economic participation and opportunity. Says Ogigami: ”I find it stifling to be a woman in this country. But I’ve made this movie in the hopes that I can do something to change that. And I’ve given it plenty of dark humor.”



Naoko Ogigami


Hiromitsu Sugita/Makoto Watanabe


Naoko Ogigami


Mariko Tsutsui, Ken Mitsuishi, Hayato Isomura


Hideo Yamamoto