Movie scenes of Japanese-Turkish blockbuster [125 Years Memory]

125 Years Memory · Background

Relations between Japan and Turkey, Asia's easternmost and westernmost nations, have a long history, with 2015 marking its 125th anniversary. This motion picture reflects those deep ties in the story of two actual historical incidents. In both cases, 125 years ago as well as 30 years ago, people in a difficult situation were offered help, with no thought of reward, for the simple reason that they needed it. The courage and sincerity shown in these two real-life dramas now come to the screen in a large-scale international co-production.

The film comprises two episodes: The wrecking of the Turkish frigate Ertuğrul off the Japanese coast in 1890, and the evacuation of Japanese nationals from Iran in 1985. For his role as Tamura, the doctor who treats the shipwreck survivors, virtuous actor Seiyo Uchino won the Japan Academy Film Prize as Excellent Actor in a Leading Role. Shooting star actress Shioli Kutsuna and Turkish TV and cinema idol Kenan Ece are both featured in the Ertuğrul episode as well as in the Tehran episode. Directing is Mitsutoshi Tanaka, whose 2014 motion picture “BLOSSOMS BLOOM” won the awards for Best Director, Best Actress and Best Music at the Asia International Film Festival in Taipei. Japan's Creators' Union and Toei Company have joined with Böcek Yapım, Turkey's premier production house, to produce a film of stunning visual images.

“125 YEARS MEMORY” was initiated by the residents of Kushimoto, a coastal town in Japan's Wakayama prefecture where the first episode of the film takes place. For a very long time they wanted to share this story of friendship and compassion with the rest of the world and contribute to world peace by making a film about the Ertuğrul story. To pursue their goal, Kushimoto mayor Katsumasa Tashima contacted film director Mitsutoshi Tanaka and the NPO “Ertuğrul Saves the World” was established in the city of Wakayama. After more than ten years of work “125 YEARS MEMORY” was released in Japan and Turkey in December 2015, and since then has been carrying its message of friendship and peace to audiences around the world.

   [125 Years Memory] film set with Kushimoto mayor Katsumasa Tashima and director Mitsutoshi Tanaka
    Mayor Katsumasa Tashima and director Mitsutoshi Tanaka at the film set

“125 YEARS MEMORY” received the Japan Academy Film Prize Association's awards for Best Sound Recording and Best Art Direction and the Award for Excellence in ten categories, including Excellent Film and Excellent Director.

Separated by 9,000 kilometres, the people of Japan and Turkey have fostered deep ties of friendship. In a time when people all over the world are growing steadily more suspicious of other nations over politics, economics and religion, this is an epic of hope demonstrating how fellow-feeling between one person and another can bring about a miracle.

[125 Years Memory] movie scene in Kushimoto with characters of Tamura (Seiyo Uchino) and Haru (Shioli Kutsuna) looking at Japan and Turkey on globe
[125 Years Memory] movie scenes with Seiyo Uchino, Kenan Ece and Shioli Kutsuna in Kashinozaki and Tehran
[125 Years Memory] movie scenes with Ertugrul frigate, Prof. Dr. Sait Kapicioglu and Deniz Oral in Kushimoto and Ankara
[125 Years Memory] movie scenes with Kushimoto mayor Katsumasa Tashima, Can Akalin, and others
[125 Years Memory] movie scenes with [A Call for World Peace] composer Seiji Mukaiyama, Yui Natsukawa, Naoto Takenaka, and others
[125 Years Memory] movie scenes with Japanese engineer Junichi Numata, Ayumi Takano, Takayuki Takuma, and others
[125 Years Memory] movie scenes with Shioli Kutsuna, Kenan Ece, and others

125 Years Memory · Story

In 1890, Dr. Tamura (Seiyo Uchino)'s kindness in caring for his patients is winning him the trust of Kashino, a poor village on Kushimoto's Kii Oshima island in Wakayama prefecture. Assisting him is Haru (Shioli Kutsuna), who the shock of losing her fiancé to drowning has left mute. In the night of 16 September of that year the Turkish frigate Ertuğrul, on its way home from Yokohama to Istanbul, is driven aground in a typhoon and wrecked in the Pacific Ocean off Cape Kashino. Hearing the alarm bell that warns of a vessel in distress, the villagers rush to the shore. They are confronted with the grisly spectacle of vast numbers of dead and dying. With more than 500 crew members dead, it is the largest sea accident in history at that time. Risking their own lives, the villagers rescue who they can, while Tamura and Haru go to work treating the injured. The next morning, there are 69 survivors. In the wake of her life rescuing efforts Haru builds a special bond with Mustafa (Kenan Ece), 2nd engineering officer on the Ertuğrul. Although being very poor and having hardly to eat, the locals share what little they have with strangers from a country 9,000 kilometres away. In the following weeks donation campaigns for the Turkish crew and their families start all over Japan. Torajiro Yamada, a businessman and tea master from Gunma, delivers the collected donations to Turkey. Torajiro Yamada, who is later also known as Abdülhalil Pasha, is to lay the foundation of Japanese-Turkish relations.

In 1985, during the Iran-Iraq war, Turkish embassy official Murat (Kenan Ece) encounters Harumi (Shioli Kutsuna), a teacher at a Japanese school, during a bombing raid in Tehran. Iraq announces that in 48 hours it will start an indiscriminate attack and shoot down any aircraft over Iranian air space. Japanese ambassador Nomura (Toshiyuki Nagashima) requests rescue flights from Japan, but is told that a quick response is not possible. Meanwhile rescue flights from other nations are arriving, leaving only the Japanese stranded. Harumi wants to save her students and prevails upon Nomura to ask the Turkish ambassador for help. Out of gratitude for the rescue of Turkish sailors in 1890, Turkish prime minister Özal (Deniz Oral) decides to evacuate the over 300 Japanese. In the morning of 19 March a Turkish Airlines aircraft takes off for Tehran. But not only are there only a few hours remaining until Iraq's ultimatum expires and Tehran is already under heavy rocket fire. By now Tehran Mehrabad Airport is full of Turks trying to find a flight to safety. They still need to be convinced that they won't be able to board their own country's evacuation flight. Kimura (Takayuki Takuma), an automotive engineer posted to Tehran, and the other Japanese have all but given up hope of getting onto the last flight. That's when Murat starts speaking out to his fellow citizens about the compassion and sacrifice Japanese villagers had shown to Turkish sailors shipwrecked far away a long time ago.

125 Years Memory · Cast

Japanese actor Seiyo Uchino starring in [125 Years Memory] as Dr. Motosada Tamura (formerly known as Masaaki Uchino) Seiyo Uchino in [125 Years Memory] (formerly known as Masaaki Uchino) A doctor living in Kashino, a village on Kushimoto's Kii Oshima island in Wakayama prefecture. Originally a samurai of the Kishu Domain, he is thus a skilled swordsman. A friend of many years to naval officer Fujimoto. He provides free medical care to the residents of this poor fishing village who are as a result very fond of him. He speaks good English and is well versed in world affairs.
Turkish actor Kenan Cahit Ece starring in [125 Years Memory] as Lieutenant Mustafa and embassy staff Murat Kenan Cahit Ece in [125 Years Memory] Mustafa: A Lieutenant on the Turkish frigate Ertuğrul. He is the son of a prominent family whose father was a senior naval officer.
Murat: A member of the staff of the Turkish Embassy. He encounters Harumi after Tehran is attacked and throws himself into helping with the evacuation of Japanese nationals.

Japanese actress Shioli Kutsuna starring in [125 Years Memory] as Haru and Harumi (sometimes also written as Shiori Kutsuna) Shioli Kutsuna in [125 Years Memory] (sometimes also written as Shiori Kutsuna) Haru: A woman from the village of Kashino. Left mute from the shock of her fiancé's death by drowning. She serves Dr. Tamura as his assistant.
Harumi: A teacher at a Japanese school in Tehran who goes to the Japanese embassy for help in evacuating Japanese nationals.
Turkish actor Alican Yücesoy starring in [125 Years Memory] as Bekir Alican Yücesoy in [125 Years Memory] A non-commissioned officer in charge of the Ertuğrul boiler room. Highly respected by his men. He is also a skilled wrestler who bonds with Mustafa after the two of them fight to a draw. His wife has a son while he is at sea and he is eagerly anticipating his return home.

Japanese actress Yui Natsukawa starring in [125 Years Memory] as Yuki (real name Miki Miyagawa) The most popular courtesan in the Kii Oshima island brothel. A fine dancer.
Japanese actor Toshiyuki Nagashima starring in [125 Years Memory] as ambassador Yutaka Nomura The Japanese ambassador to Iran. He searches desperately for a way to evacuate Japanese nationals.
Japanese actor Naoto Takenaka starring in [125 Years Memory] as Dr. Kudo A doctor on Kii Oshima island. He spends most of his time in drunken melancholy at the brothel.

Japanese actor Takashi Sasano starring in [125 Years Memory] as mayor Sato Mayor of the village on Kii Oshima island. Devotes himself to organizing the islanders' response to the shipwreck.
Japanese actor Yukisyoshi Ozawa starring in [125 Years Memory] as officer Gentaro Fujimoto A Japanese naval officer and close friend of Tamura. Concerned about his friend, he comes to Kii Oshima island for a visit.
Japanese actor Takayuki Takuma starring in [125 Years Memory] as Kimura An engineer working on a development programme in Iran, where he lives with his wife and little son.

Japanese actor Shunsuke Daitoh starring in [125 Years Memory] as Shintaro (real name Kousuke Daitoh) A fisherman from Kii Oshima island. Young and vigorous.
Japanese actress Ayako Kobayashi starring in [125 Years Memory] as Tome A resident of Kashino village on Kii Oshima island. Heiji's domineering wife.
Japanese actor Gota Watabe starring in [125 Years Memory] as Shinichi A fisherman from Kii Oshima island. Close friend of Shintaro.

Japanese actor Yuu Tokui starring in [125 Years Memory] as Heiji A resident of Kashino village on Kii Oshima island. Somewhat henpecked.
Japanese actor Yukijiro Hotaru starring in [125 Years Memory] as Takeschita Principal of the Japanese school in Tehran.
Japanese actress Rino Katase starring in [125 Years Memory] as Sato (real name Noriko Sugita) Madam of the brothel on Kii Oshima island.

Turkish actor Mert Aygün starring in [125 Years Memory] as Imam Ali Efendi Imam on the Ertuğrul.
Japanese actor and musician Naoki Kawano starring in [125 Years Memory] as Mankichi A fisherman from Kii Oshima island. Friends with Shintaro and Shinichi.
Turkish actor Mehmet Özgür starring in [125 Years Memory] as Ertugrul captain Âli Bey A Lieutenant Colonel of the Turkish Naval Forces and captain of the Ertuğrul.

Japanese actress Hitomi Miwa starring in [125 Years Memory] as Katsu A resident of Kashino village on Kii Oshima island.
Turkish actor Uğur Polat starring in [125 Years Memory] as Osman Pasha A Major General of the Turkish Naval Forces, empowered to represent Sultan Abdülhamid II.
Turkish actor Hakkı Haluk Cömert starring in [125 Years Memory] as Mahmut A Turkish national at Tehran Mehrabad Airport.

Japanese actress Tomoko Saito starring in [125 Years Memory] as Nobu A resident of Kashino village. Friends with Katsu.
Turkish actor Tamer Levent starring in [125 Years Memory] as Süleyman Bey Mustafa's father. A former senior naval officer.
Japanese actress Ayumi Takano starring in [125 Years Memory] as Michi Kimura A Japanese resident of Tehran. Kimura's wife.

Turkish actor and musician Cem Cücenoğlu starring in [125 Years Memory] as Naci A musician on the Ertuğrul.
Japanese actress Nobue Iketani starring in [125 Years Memory] as Kiyo A resident of Kashino village on Kii Oshima island.
Turkish actor Deniz Oral starring in [125 Years Memory] as Turkish prime minister Turgut Özal Turkey's Prime Minister.

Turkish actor Erkan Pekbay starring in [125 Years Memory] as Sarkis Boiler room staff on the Ertuğrul.
Japanese actor and musician Minosuke starring in [125 Years Memory] as Takeo A resident of Kashino village. Kiyo's husband.
[125 Years Memory] project coordinator Halit Mızraklı starring as Selim (rakugo artist name Harito Warattei) A sailor on the Ertuğrul.

Japanese actor Yuuki Tsujimoto starring in [125 Years Memory] as Yano A Japanese engineer working in Iran.
Turkish actor Yağız Elmastaşoğlu starring in [125 Years Memory] as Salih A sailor on the Ertuğrul.
Japanese actor Noboru Kaneko starring in [125 Years Memory] as Yamamoto The Japanese ambassador's secretary.

Turkish actor Oğuz Öztekin starring in [125 Years Memory] as Hayri A musician on the Ertuğrul.
Japanese actress Toshie Takada starring in [125 Years Memory] as Miyamoto A Japanese national at Tehran Mehrabad Airport who previously had lived in Iran.
Turkish actress Melis Babadağ starring in [125 Years Memory] as Hatice Bekir's wife, waiting for his return home.

Japanese actor Koichi Ueda starring in [125 Years Memory] as village elder Fukushima Village Elder of Kashino.
Turkish actress Yeliz Çelebi starring in [125 Years Memory] as Müge Sayar A Turkish Airlines flight attendant.
Japanese actor Ruka Wakabayashi starring in [125 Years Memory] as Hiroyuki Kimura A student of Harumi. Kimura's son.

NPO [Ertugrul Saves the World] supporting actors at [125 Years Memory] film set: 
Fujio Shimamura ・ Tomoki Nakamura ・ Can Akalin ・ Kirk Kiyoharu Ura ・ Shinji Nishihiro ・ Midori Shimamura ・ Tatsuko Wanibuchi ・ Mutsuko Azuma
NPO Ertugrul Saves the World members as locals of Kushimoto Residents of Kushimoto town and Wakayama prefecture, who also initiated “125 YEARS MEMORY”, participate in their film with more than 200 people by playing their great-grandmothers and great-grandfathers, who selflessly saved Turkish sailors 125 years ago.

125 Years Memory · Crew

Director Mitsutoshi Tanaka at [125 Years Memory] film set

[125 Years Memory] and [Tomoatsu Godai] director Mitsutoshi Tanaka

Born in 1958 in Urakawa, Hokkaido, film and commercial director Mitsutoshi Tanaka graduated from the Osaka University of Arts Department of Visual Concept Planning. After working with Dentsu Eigasha and TV Man Union, he established Osaka-based film production firm Creators' Union in 1984 and has served as the company's President and CEO since that time. He has been a Professor of Film and Media Studies with the Osaka University of Arts since 2014 and a Visiting Fellow with the Wakayama University Center for Tourism Research since 2017. As a commercial director he has been working in various areas such as promotional videos, TV commercials and music videos, and has received numerous awards, including the All Japan Radio & Television Commercial Confederation Award and the Japan Commercial Broadcasters Association Award. His works include tourism promotion videos for Mihama Municipality, TV commercials for Honda Motor and music videos for Masashi Sada. His first theatrical feature “KEWAISHI” (2001), based on a manga by Shotaro Ishinomori was an official selection at the 5th Shanghai International Film Festival and won the award for Best Screenplay (Yoshi Yokota) at the 14th Tokyo International Film Festival. His second film “THE BOAT TO HEAVEN” (2003), an adaptation of Masashi Sada's novel of the same name received the 21st Japanese Cinema Reconstruction and Promotion Award, the 46th Blue Ribbon Award for Best Supporting Actor (Taro Yamamoto) and the Directors Guild of Japan's Director Promotion Award. He gained international recognition with the release of “CASTLE UNDER FIERY SKIES” (2009) which is based on Kenichi Yamamoto's novel of the same name and received the 33rd Japan Academy Film Prize for Excellent Art Direction (Yoshinobu NishiokaTakashi Yoshida) and the 41st Lighting Technology Award. “ASK THIS OF RIKYU” (2013), based on Kenichi Yamamoto's award-winning novel of the same name received the Best Artistic Contribution Award at the 37th Montréal World Film Festival, the Best Director Award at the 2014 Osaka Cinema Festival, the 30th Fumiko Yamaji Cultural Award and the 37th Japan Academy Film Prize in nine categories, including Best Art Direction (Takashi Yoshida), Excellent Film and Excellent Actor (Ebizo Ichikawa). “BLOSSOMS BLOOM” (2014), based on Masashi Sada's short story of the same name won the awards for Best Director, Best Actress (Kaho Minami) and Best Music (Masashi Sada) at the 1st Asia International Film Festival in Taipei. His latest work “125 YEARS MEMORY” (2015), a call for world peace based on two historical events, screened at the 2016 Toronto Japanese Film Festival and received the VFX-JAPAN Award 2017 for Excellent Motion Picture (Masaaki Kamada) and the 39th Japan Academy Film Prize for Best Sound Recording (Nobuhiko Matsukage), Best Art Direction (Hidefumi Hanatani), Excellent Film, Excellent Director, Excellent Actor (Seiyo Uchino), Excellent Screenplay (Eriko Komatsu), Excellent Music (Michiru Oshima), Excellent Cinematography (Tetsuo Nagata), Excellent Editing (Akimasa Kawashima) and Excellent Lighting (Kiyoto Ando). Director Mitsutoshi Tanaka was appointed as Tourism Ambassador of Urakawa, Hokkaido in 2010, Honorary Director of the Turkish Museum in Kushimoto, Wakayama in 2016 and Tourism Ambassador of Awara, Fukui in 2017. In 2016 he received the Governor's Award of Wakayama Prefecture and the Mayor's Award of Kushimoto Municipality. His upcoming feature film “TENGARA-MON” (“天外者”) about Tomoatsu Godai, the leading entrepreneur of the Meiji era (played by Haruma Miura), is expected to be released in December 2020.

Eriko Komatsu [125 Years Memory] screenplay
Michiru Oshima [125 Years Memory] film music
Tetsuo Nagata [125 Years Memory] photography (cinematography)

Sisyu [125 Years Memory] title calligraphy (Japanese calligraphy)
Jotaro Saito [125 Years Memory] kimono design
Mika Toyoda [125 Years Memory] novel, aka [Kainan 1890]

Masahiro Aida [125 Years Memory] camera operation
Akimasa Kawashima [125 Years Memory] film editing
Nobuhiko Matsukage [125 Years Memory] sound recording

Hiroshi Butsuda [125 Years Memory] special effects
Koichi Noguchi [125 Years Memory] VFX (visual effects)
Masaaki Kamada [125 Years Memory] VFX (visual effects)

Hidefumi Hanatani [125 Years Memory] production design and art direction
Kiyoto Ando [125 Years Memory] lighting direction
Gamze Kus [125 Years Memory] costume design

Midori Yamashita [125 Years Memory] makeup design

Takumi Hirano [125 Years Memory] underwater camera

Masakazu Akagi [125 Years Memory] underwater camera operation


[125 Years Memory] Kushimoto and Istanbul teams: 
Mitsutoshi Tanaka ・ Tatsuko Wanibuchi ・ Can Akalin ・ Elif Tomoko Kushi (Katou) ・ Hirofumi Tomita ・ Ryusuke Asao ・ Minako Yamanishi ・ 
Nakako Osone (Noda) ・ Yumiko Hachiya ・ Kirk Kiyoharu Ura ・ Shinji Nishihiro ・ Fujio Shimamura ・ Midori Shimamura ・ and others











125 Years Memory · Trailer





125 YEARS MEMORY Trailer

Ertugrul frigate excavation in Kashinozaki shown in [125 Years Memory] by Masakazu Akagi and Tufan Turanli