No eye-popping action scenes, no happy ending—early-onset Alzheimer’s disease would not appear to be the stuff of box-office hits, but Japanese actor/filmmaker Ken Watanabe has proved otherwise. Famous for his roles in Letters from Iwo Jima, Batman Begins, and Memories of a Geisha, Watanabe has produced Memories of Tomorrow , aka Ashita No Kioku. This motion picture tells the story of Masayuki Saeki, an advertising executive who develops Alzheimer disease in his late forties. The movie not only grossed a respectable $24 million in Japan, but it won Watanabe the Japan Academy Prize, the Blue Ribbon Award, and the Cineasia Film Festival Awards, all for Best Leading Actor. The picture premieres in New York City at the IMAGINASIAN cinema this Friday, 18 May, before coming to Los Angeles in June and to San Francisco in July. Read an interview with Watanabe. A film about late-onset AD, Away From Her starring Julie Christie, came out last year.—Gabrielle Strobel.


  1. I am a person with Alzheimer's and know the need to get these stories out to the persons who only see Alzheimer's as an elderly disease. This will help others get an early diagnosis, when meds help the most. I belong to the world's largest group for PWiDS (persons with dementia). We as a group have been trying for over 9 years to get our stories out.

  2. It's a shame that the film Memories of Tomorrow does not have a wider distribution in the United States. I think it is an important film and one that would appeal to many throughout the country, not just in New York City, Los Angeles and San Francisco. I tried to see the film when visiting New York in May, but it was only shown for one week and I got there a day late. Showing this film in conjunction with an Alzheimer's fundraiser would be beneficial.

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External Citations

  1. Memories of Tomorrow
  2. IMAGINASIAN cinema
  3. Los Angeles
  4. interview with Watanabe
  5. Away From Her

Further Reading

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