Black san serif logo spelling out KANI with elongated circular eyes signifying crab eyes. Wavy contours are reminicent of the ocean. Kani Releasing logo designed by Leo Mak.


Nobuhiko Obayashi

Beijing Watermelon





Shunzo (Bengal) and his wife Michi (Masako Motai) run a beloved greengrocer on the outskirts of Tokyo. When Lee, a struggling exchange student from China, visits the shop but is unable to afford the produce, an uneasy relationship sprouts. Begrudgingly, Shunzo agrees to lower his prices. Soon, Lee’s classmates begin frequenting the shop. As Shunzo’s generosity sneaks up on him and strains his family’s welfare, he confronts his role as surrogate father to his newfound Chinese friends.

Shot between May-July of 1989 and addressing the historically charged notion of a Sino-Japanese friendship, this lesser-seen masterpiece from director Nobuhiko Obayashi (House) chronicles the end of a decade marked by the Japanese economic bubble and the brutal close of possibility in China. A delicate elegy to the Chinese students of its time, Beijing Watermelon finds Obayashi at his most modern, channeling the style of Yasujiro Ozu, while his experimental flourishes provide the perfect disruption, inviting viewers to fill in the blanks of history.

2K restoration

Interview with Chigumi Obayashi

Theatrical Trailer & Teaser

Optional English subtitles

Booklet with new writing by Aaron Gerow

New art by Qiu Jiongjiong of A New Old Play (Kani 010)

Logo design by Leo Mak



Theatrical Bookings:

Founded by Ariel Esteban Cayer & Pearl Chan
Theatrical Booking: Aaron Hunt
Logo Design: Leo Mak
Ident Theme: The Great Octopus
Distribution: OCN Distribution