Wim Wenders to direct ‘stylish restroom’ movie

The Yomiuri Shimbun
Wim Wenders, left, and Koji Yakusho at a press conference in Shibuya Ward, Tokyo, on May 11.

Multi-award-winning filmmaker Wim Wenders is to direct a film about high-end Japanese restrooms. The movie, which will center around public toilets designed by notable architects and designers in Tokyo’s Shibuya Ward, is set to shoot by the end of this year, with a screening eyed for next year, it was announced May 11.

Wenders, known for such films as “Wings of Desire,” will be joined by actor Koji Yakusho, among others.

The movie’s genesis can be traced back to 2020, when the Nippon Foundation founded “The Tokyo Toilet” project, which renovates public restrooms in the ward. So far, 12 of the 17 facilities earmarked for improvement have been completed.

By documenting the project in film, it is hoped to raise public awareness and encourage people to put more effort into the care of these stylish lavatories far into the future.

“When I got the offer, my first reaction was … ‘What? Toilets?’” Wenders said at a press conference held during his first visit to Japan in 11 years. The German movie maven also stressed that the film has social significance.

Yakusho plays the role of a member of a cleaning staff. “My struggles to cling on in the industry for 40 years have finally paid off,” Yakusho said. “I want to introduce Japan to audiences all over the world.”

To generate ideas for the script, Wenders visited streets and restrooms in Shibuya. Renowned architect and project participant Tadao Ando, and Shibuya Ward Mayor Ken Hasebe also attended the press conference.