Skip to main content
Tsugaru Lacquer Girl film image

Tsugaru Lacquer Girl


Ignite High School Screening

Keiko Tsuruoka’s film blends traditional and contemporary, gently mixing present-day gender and sexuality politics with the old-fashioned Japanese domestic drama. Traditional lacquerwork is the Aoki family’s legacy, handed down father to son. Patriarch Seishiro expects to pass it in turn to his son Yu, but Yu is a hair stylist moving to London with his boyfriend and has no interest in the craft—quite unlike daughter Miyako. The stage is set for conflict: cultural traditions collide with modern mores as both children take brave steps for their own futures. Miyako can’t openly declare her desire to pursue a career in Tsugaru-nuri, but as she confronts her family and the art of lacquering, she takes on a great challenge that surprises everyone’s expectations. Tsugaru Lacquer Girl features strong performances from its ensemble cast. Mayu Hotta in her performance as the heroine Miyako at the centre of the film is at once gentle and luminous. Like the artisans that are her subject, Tsuruoka has crafted a beautiful work; sit back, relax, and let it warm your heart.


Presented by


Mayu Hotta, Ryota Bando, Toshiya Miyata, Reiko Kataoka, Kaoru Kobayashi

Country of Origin





In Japanese with English subtitles

118 min

Education Guide

Curriculum Interests

The Education Guide will be available soon.

•  Asian Studies 12

•  Comparative Cultures 12

•  Media Arts 10

•  Film + Television 11+12

•  Explorations in Social Studies 11

•  Literary Studies 10, 11, 12


Keiko Tsuruoka headshot

Keiko Tsuruoka

Born in Nagano Prefecture in 1988, Keiko Tsuruoka began making movies while attending Rikkyo University. Her graduation work, Town of Whales (2012), won the Grand Prize at the 2012 PIA Film Festival and was shown at the Berlin IFF, the Busan IFF and many other film festivals around the world. She directed her second film My First Love (2013), which was presented at the Vancouver International Film Festival.

Filmography: Town of Whales (2012); My First Love (2013); Lingering Memories (2015); Utsuroi no hyohonbako (2016); Makuko (2019)





Wednesday, October 4 9:30 am International Village, Theatre 9

How to Book

Free for schools, capacity for all films is limited. To book, submit your request with the online form below. Our Ignite team will respond to confirm availability and complete your booking.

Questions? Contact our Ignite team at [email protected]

Booking Request Form

Teacher's Name(Required)
Have you brought students to a VIFF education program before?(Required)
Would you like to join our Education email list? We will only email a few times a year with news about our film education programming for schools.(Required)
This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.



Natsuko Mori, Hitoshi Endo, Tatsuya Matsuoka, Koichiro Fukuoka


Keiko Tsuruoka, Kensaku Kojima


Wataru Takahashi


Shinichi Fushima

Production Design

Hinako Kasuga

Original Music

Hiroki Nakano