Father of the Milky Way Railroad (2023)

Released in October 2023, “Father of the Milky Way Railroad” is not just a film; it’s a poignant exploration of the human spirit, artistic ambition, and the complex bond between fathers and sons. This Japanese drama, based on the award-winning novel of the same name, takes viewers on a journey through the life of Kenji Miyazawa, a visionary writer whose fantastical tales continue to captivate readers worldwide.

Cast and Crew:

The film boasts a stellar cast, led by the ever-magnetic Masaki Suda as the enigmatic Kenji. Suda effortlessly embodies the young writer’s artistic fervor and introspective nature. Veteran actor Koji Yakusho portrays Kenji’s father, Masajiro, a pawnbroker grappling with his son’s unconventional path. The supporting cast, including Nana Mori as Kenji’s supportive sister, Toshi, and Min Tanaka as a childhood friend, bring depth and emotional resonance to the narrative.


The film unfolds in the early 20th century, following Kenji’s artistic awakening amidst the stark realities of rural Japan. While his father dreams of him inheriting the family pawn shop, Kenji yearns for a life filled with words and imagination. The film delves into the tension between tradition and ambition, showcasing Masajiro’s struggle to understand his son’s artistic pursuits and Kenji’s determination to forge his own path.

Interwoven with this poignant family drama are glimpses into Kenji’s fantastical world. We witness the birth of his iconic characters, like Giovanni of the Milky Way Railroad, and the vibrant landscapes that populate his stories. These dreamlike sequences are not mere escapism; they are testaments to Kenji’s profound empathy and his desire to find beauty and meaning in the world around him.

Box Office and Budget:

“Father of the Milky Way Railroad” enjoyed a successful run in Japan, grossing over $15 million at the box office. While it did not receive a wide release in the West, it garnered critical acclaim for its emotional depth, stunning visuals, and Suda’s captivating performance. The film’s budget is estimated to be around $10 million, showcasing the remarkable achievement of creating a visually stunning and emotionally resonant story within moderate means.


The trailer for “Father of the Milky Way Railroad” is a captivating glimpse into the film’s world. It juxtaposes scenes of Kenji’s idyllic childhood with glimpses of his artistic struggles, hinting at the internal conflict that drives the narrative. The trailer also features snippets of the film’s breathtaking animation, seamlessly blending reality and fantasy.

Final Thoughts:

“Father of the Milky Way Railroad” is more than just a biographical drama; it’s a universal story about the power of creativity, the complexities of family relationships, and the enduring human spirit. The film’s nuanced portrayal of Kenji’s artistic journey, coupled with its stunning visuals and heartfelt performances, leaves a lasting impression. Whether you’re a fan of Japanese cinema, appreciate a good father-son story, or simply enjoy movies that ignite your imagination, “Father of the Milky Way Railroad” is a journey worth taking.

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