Directed by Hirokazu Koreeda
Produced by Naoe Gozu
Written by Teru Miyamoto
Starring Makiko Esumi
Tadanobu Asano
Akira Emoto
Music by Ming-Chang Chen
Cinematography Masao Nakabori
Edited by Tomoyo Oshima
Distributed by Milestone Films
Release dates
Running time
109 minutes
Country Japan
Language Japanese

Maborosi, known in Japan as Maboroshi no Hikari (Japanese: 幻の光, literally "phantasmic light", but best translated as 'a trick of the light') is a 1995 Japanese film by director Hirokazu Koreeda starring Makiko Esumi, Tadanobu Asano, and Takashi Naito. It is based on a novel by Teru Miyamoto.

The film won the Golden Osella for Best Director at the 1995 Venice Film Festival.


Yumiko (Esumi) and Ikuo (Asano) are a young Osaka couple who have a new baby. One day Ikuo is walking along the tracks and is hit by a train. It seems like he may have done this deliberately yet there is no apparent motive. A few years pass. Yumiko agrees to an arranged marriage with a widower, Tamio (Naitō), and she and Yuichi (her son, now played by Gohki Kashima) move to Tamio's house in a rustic village on the Sea of Japan coast, shot on location in Wajima, on the Noto Peninsula (the actual location where the film was shot is Uniumachi about 5 km west from Wajima along the coast, map location: 37°24′01″N 136°51′08″E / 37.400260°N 136.852101°E / 37.400260; 136.852101).

A drunken spat over a bell Yumiko had given Ikuo just before he died causes Yumiko and Tamio to discuss their strong emotions for their lost loves. Shortly after, Yumiko follows a funeral procession and lingers at the crematorium, until Tamio arrives by car to pick her up, at which point she says she just wants to know why Ikuo killed himself. Tamio suggests that, like the will o' the wisps his father used to see, perhaps something just drew him away from life.

Critical reception

Rotten Tomatoes gave Maborosi a 100% rating, with 16 reviews tabulated.[1]


  1. "Maboroshi no hikari (Maborosi)". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 2014-05-14.


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