This is a story about me, my family and Rock ―
August 2000 ― a devastating volcanic eruption ravaged the island of Miyakejima.
This is a story of friendship and the indelible bond between a dog, a boy and his family.
A miraculous story based on true events of a family torn apart by an unimaginable natural disaster.
In 2008, a large-scale volcanic eruption forced all residents of Miyakejima, a small island on the Izu Peninsula, to evacuate to Tokyo. All except for one dog that was left behind and separated from his family…
Rock is the beloved dog of the Noyama family, owners of a small inn “Taiyo” on the island of Miyakejima. The family consists of a young boy Shin (Ryunosuke Hashino) who raised Rock since he was a puppy, his dad Matsuo (Ryuta Sato), his mom Takako (Kumiko Aso) and his grandmother Fusako (Mitsuko Baisho).
Following a devastating volcanic eruption, the Noyama’s are forced to evacuate from their island home in Miyakejima. Separated from each other and their beloved Rock and struggling to adapt to life as evacuees in Tokyo, they grapple with anxiety and despair on a daily basis. But they never give up hope of being reunited with Rock and moving back to their home in Miyakejima.
11 years later ―
Set in the beautiful, natural environment of Miyakejima, this story is retold through the eyes of a boy and his dog. It reminds us of the importance of emotional connection, family bonds, love of the homeland, and the will to live. Based on true events, this story of hope is coming to you this summer!
The movie was inspired by a popular segment on a Fuji TV morning program called “Kyou no Wanko” (Doggie of the Day) which first aired in 1994.
The episode which introduced Rock, a dog that survived a devastating volcanic eruption on Miyakejima, aired in June 2007. Rock immediately captured viewers’ hearts. The original screenplay of the film “WANKO” is based on this episode which features a free-spirited dog that roams the ferry ports welcoming island visitors.
“WANKO” is directed by Isamu Nakae, director of the film “Twixt Calm & Passion” and the heartwarming TV drama series, “Dr. Koto Shinryoujo” (Dr. Koto’s Clinic) among others. Ryuta Sato plays Shin’s father, Matsuo. Sato has appeared in a string of blockbuster hits such as the “Umizaru” series and “ROOKIES – Sotsugyou”. Veteran actresses Mitsuko Baisho and Kumiko Aso are also members of Rock’s close-knit family.
Summer 2011 ― Courage and hope inspired by Rock will shine on Japan!!
On location at Miyakejima
Even with the evacuation order lifted in 2005, 30% of Miyakejima remains off limits due to the effects of volcanic gases. 2,800 residents are currently living in this environment, hoping for the eventual restoration of their island home. This movie was filmed on the island to heighten awareness of the need for reconstruction and to express our wholehearted support for Miyakejima.
Director: Isamu Nakae
DOB: June 13, 1963, Miyagi Prefecture
Joined Fuji TV in 1988. After gaining experience as Assistant Director in the TV series “Kita No Kuni Kara”, Nakae made his directorial debut with the award winning drama “Love Simulation” (winner of the 1991 Young Scenario Grand Prix.)
Other notable works include “Aito Iu Nano Motoni” (’92), “Kono Yono Hate” (’94), “Nemureru Mori” (’98), “Dr. Koto Shinryoujo” (’03), “Pride” (’04) and “Bara no Nai Hanaya” (’08).
Nakae directed his first film “Twixt Calm & Passion” in 2001. “WANKO” is his third film following “Sugar and Spice” (’06).