The Chinese box office has been set ablaze by “Suzume”, a Japanese animated film that has broken records by earning over 720 million yuan ($105 million) just three weeks after its release, according to local movie data app Maoyan Professional. Despite recent tensions between China and Japan following the detention of a Japanese businessman in Beijing, director Makoto Shinkai’s latest work has won over the hearts of Chinese youth.
The fantasy movie follows a 17-year-old girl and a mysterious young man as they work together to prevent disasters across Japan. It has now surpassed the success of Shinkai’s previous work, “your name.”, which was release in 2016, and is now the highest-grossing Japanese animation film ever release in China. Suzume has attracted 21.64 million moviegoers in the mainland, exceeding your name.’s audience of 20.68 million and its box office earnings of 575 million yuan.
Fans of Shinkai’s works, such as 20-year-old college student Song Yijing, appreciate the exquisite beauty and detailed emotional descriptions of pure love in his films. Song researched the 2011 earthquake and tsunami that struck northeastern Japan, which is an underlying theme of the movie, and was particularly fond of the mysterious cat character. Suzume was release in Japan last year and became the first Japanese animated film in over 20 years to nominate for the top award at the Berlin International Film Festival.