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Takuya Uchiyama


Born in Niigata, Japan on May 30, 1992. While studying at Bunka Fashion College, Uchiyama was already working as a stylist. After being exposed to filmmaking while working as a stylist, he put together his first independent film, VANITAS, on his own. The film was highly acclaimed both domestically and internationally, as it won the Audience Award at the PFF Awards 2016, screened at the Hong Kong International Film Festival, and was nominated for the FIPRESCI Prize. He has since directed a variety of visual works, including music videos for King Gnu and SixTONES among others, short films, and commercials. With stunningly beautiful and stylish images, intriguing stories, and nuanced portrayals of characters, his works leave a lingering impression as if they were a full feature film, regardless of mediums.

He made his theatrical feature debut with SASAKI IN MY MIND. The film was an official selection at the Tokyo International Film Festival Premiere 2020, and it was received passionately by moviegoers as the film enjoyed a five-month theatrical run at the main theater Shinjuku Musashino-kan.
The film also won him a prestigious Shindo Kaneto Award in 2020, and many other awards for new directors including the Yokohama Film Festival and the Japan Film Critics Award. Uchiyama was selected among “100 People Who Will Change Japan in 2021”.


~Feature films~
Sasaki In My Mind (2020)
Vanitas (2016)

~Short films~
LAYERS (2022)
Amari-aru (2021)
Mottainai Obake (2021)
LEVI’S Bold as Love (2020)

~Music Video~
SixTONES – Watashi (2022)
indigo la End – Yoru no Koi wa (2021)
Seiya Matsumuro – ai (2021)
AK-69 – Hallelujah -The Final Season- (2020)
AK-69 – I Don’t Wanna Know -Season 2- (2020)
AK-69 – See You Again -Season 1- (2020)
Uru – Ima Ai ni Iku (2020)
Uru – Anata ga Iru Kotode (2020)
Ken Hirai – #302 (2019)
King Gnu – The hole (2019)

Find them on social media

Official Website
Twitter @_takuyauchiyama

10+5 Questions for Takuya Uchiyama

1. What is the first film in your memory?
“Pokémon: The First Movie - Mewtwo Strikes Back”

2. What are some of your favorite films?
“The Silence of the Lambs”
“Bakumatsu taiyoden (Sun in the Last Days of the Shogunate)”
“The Deer Hunter”
“The Master”
“Princess Mononoke”

3. Which creators have you been inspired by or influenced by?
Edward Yang, Stanley Kubrick, Lee Chang-dong…
Yukio Mishima, Ryan McGinley, Nan Goldin, Takehiko Inoue, Hideki Arai…

4. What are the films that shook your world or changed your life?
“A Clockwork Orange”, “A Brighter Summer Day”, “A Woman Under the Influence”…

5. Are there any Japanese directors of your generation you are inspired by?
Not exactly the same generation, but I’d like to list Tetsuya Mariko and Sho Miyake.

6. What does filmmaking mean to you?
To connect with society, to fight against the times (along with circumstances and politics), to explore oneself, and to face one’s roots.

7. What are you interested in outside of films and filmmaking?
I’m interested in architecture, furniture, contemporary art, and painting. I enjoy watching all sports (especially baseball, soccer, boxing, mixed martial arts, sumo wrestling). I also enjoy sauna quite a lot.

8. Where’s your happy place?
Sauna. My home with my family. The countryside.

9. What are the customs or phenomena that are unique to Japan that you want other people to know?
The time of year when Japanese festival music is played. The scenery that invokes your unique sense of “seasons” or “origin / taste” and brings on a feeling of cool summer breeze.
Personally, I make it a habit to visit shrines where I feel strong power, so I guess it would be the culture of Jingu, the shrine dedicated to Amaterasu.

10. Where would you be in 10 years?
I don’t think I will be much different from what I am now. I will still be exploring.


1. What is your favorite moment in the film? (no spoilers)
:: The scene when Sasaki introduces his friend Shinpei to Yuji at the pachinko parlor.
:: The scene where Sasaki plays a videogame with his father.
:: The scene where Sasaki and Yuji are talking about a news program (about baby elephants).

2. Why did you decide to write/make this film?
I started the project when actor Gaku Hosokawa opened up to me about how he was feeling during his school days when he spent time with his friends, and I began writing the script over a long period of time.
I started with the idea of a film that would call for a will to live, to something that’s stuck in the corner of one’s head and wouldn’t leave. From there, I gradually let it connect to the issues and society that we are facing today.
I didn’t want to make the film nostalgic, as if it was to dwell on memories, and so I spun everything as an original of the film.

3. Were there any films that you watched as a reference or a source of inspiration?
I can’t really think of one in terms of reference, but before shooting I was watching Ghibli films by Hayao Miyazaki and Isao Takahata. Perhaps subconsciously, I was choosing them as if I were peering into a primitive landscape that I had not experienced.

4. Was there any music you were listening to or book you were reading while you were making this film?
“Pellicule” by Fukashigi/wonderboy, “Hello, my friend” by Yumi Matsutoya, “Kesho” by Miyuki Nakajima.

5. Any fun behind-the-scenes anecdotes or episodes you’d like to share?
During the shoot, I would go back to the inn from the set with the cast members and listen to the song “Pellicule” by Fukashigi/wonderboy while enjoying some drinks with them.

Message to our audience about this film

Sasaki gets completely naked anytime, anywhere.
Sasaki is a detonator, but not quite an instigator.
Sasaki is not only a person in your memories.
It can transform into a smell, a touch, a place, a memory, a variety of things.
It is uniquely yours.
Everyone has a direct route to visualize the scenes in your memories and connect it to you in the present.
By letting “Sasaki” live in your heart, something in your life will change, even if only a little, even half a step.
It tells you to LIVE.
SASAKI in your mind!