Asako I & II

Asako I & II (寝ても覚めても, Netemo Sametemo, "whether asleep or awake") is a 2018 Japanese romance drama film directed by Ryūsuke Hamaguchi,[3] starring Masahiro Higashide and Erika Karata.[4] It was selected to compete for the Palme d'Or at the 2018 Cannes Film Festival.[5][6] It is based on a 2010 novel by Tomoka Shibasaki about a woman who falls in love with two men who look the same but act completely differently.[7]

Asako I & II
Asako I & II.png
Film poster
Directed byRyūsuke Hamaguchi
Written by
  • Ryūsuke Hamaguchi
  • Sachiko Tanaka
Based onNetemo Sametemo
by Tomoka Shibasaki
Music byTofubeats
CinematographyYasuyuki Sasaki
Edited byAzusa Yamazaki
Release date
  • 14 May 2018 (2018-05-14) (Cannes)
  • 1 September 2018 (2018-09-01) (Japan)
Running time
119 minutes
Box office$627,102[1][2]


Asako, a young woman who lives in Osaka, experiences love at first sight when she is confronted by the mysterious Baku. The two start a relationship against the advice from Asako's friend who only believes Baku will hurt her. After spending the night at Baku's place, Asako is awoken to find that he is missing. It's explained that Baku suddenly disappears from time to time and it's been that way since his father passed. Baku returns to Asako's avail, and they embrace. Baku tells Asako that he will always return to her. A voice-over explains that Baku suddenly disappears once again, and they lose touch with each other.

Two years later. Asako lives in Tokyo and works at a coffee shop. She encounters a businessman named Ryohei, who works at a nearby Japanese sake company. He is identical to Baku, Asako believes it is him at first. Ryohei doesn't understand why Asako treats him weirdly, and it isn't until he helps her friend get into an art show that he begins to learn more about her. Ryohei tries to and eventually wins Asako over.

Five years later, Asako and Ryohei live together happily, accompanied by a cat Jintan. Asako learns that Baku has become a famous actor and model. Baku returns and Asako leaves Ryohei in the middle of a dinner their friends are throwing for them. Asako changes her mind about Baku. She returns and decides to marry Ryohei, who no longer trusts her.



Higashide, Karata, and Hamaguchi at the 2018 Cannes Film Festival.

The film was screened at the 2018 Cannes Film Festival in competition on 14 May 2018.[8] It was released in Japan on 1 September 2018.[9]

Critical responseEdit

On review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes, the film holds an approval rating of 76% based on 45 reviews, and an average rating of 7.23/10. The website's critical consensus reads, "Asako I & II's high-concept premise is anchored by thought-provoking themes and confident, compelling work from director Ryusuke Hamaguchi."[10] On Metacritic, the film has a weighted average score of 68 out of 100, based on 20 critics, indicating "generally favorable reviews".[11]

Peter Bradshaw of The Guardian called the film "an amusing essay in amorous delusion."[12] Yannick Vely, writing for Paris Match, praised Hamaguchi's sympathetic portrayal of characters but suggested that some plot twists might appear forced to Western viewers.[13] Eric Kohn of IndieWire wrote: "It's refreshing to see a high-concept movie that doesn't assume every love story has to reach a tidy conclusion, and implies that some happy endings are best left open-ended."[14]


Award Date of ceremony Category Recipient(s) Result Ref(s)
Yokohama Film Festival 3 February 2019 Best Film Asako I & II Won
Best Director Ryūsuke Hamaguchi Won
Best Cinematographer Yasuyuki Sasaki Won
Best Actor Masahiro Higashide Won
Best Supporting Actress Sairi Ito Won
Best Newcomer Erika Karata Won


  1. ^ "Asasko I & II (2019)". Box Office Mojo. IMDb. Retrieved 16 February 2020.
  2. ^ "Asasko I & II (2019)". The Numbers. IMDb. Retrieved 21 December 2019.
  3. ^ "ASAKO I & II". mk2 Films. Retrieved 13 April 2018.
  4. ^ Blair, Galvin J. (7 May 2018). "How Ryusuke Hamaguchi Took a Novel Approach to a Big-Screen Adaptation". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 26 October 2018.
  5. ^ "The 2018 Official Selection". Cannes. Retrieved 12 April 2018.
  6. ^ Debruge, Peter; Keslassy, Elsa (12 April 2018). "Cannes Lineup Includes New Films From Spike Lee, Jean-Luc Godard". Variety. Retrieved 12 April 2018.
  7. ^ Dalton, Stephen (14 May 2018). "'Asako I & II' ('Netemo sametemo'): Film Review Cannes 2018". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 18 September 2018.
  8. ^ "「新しい才能出現」との声も…「寝ても覚めても」". Yomiuri Shimbun (in Japanese). 16 May 2018. Archived from the original on 26 October 2018. Retrieved 26 October 2018.
  9. ^ "感情揺さぶる鮮烈ラブストーリー 映画「寝ても覚めても」". Tokyo Shimbun (in Japanese). 30 August 2018. Archived from the original on 26 October 2018. Retrieved 26 October 2018.
  10. ^ "Asako I & II". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 17 January 2020.
  11. ^ "Asako I & II". Metacritic. Retrieved 17 January 2020.
  12. ^ Bradshaw, Peter (15 May 2018). "Asako I & II review – Japanese romcom flips the gaze to tell the same old story". The Guardian. Retrieved 17 September 2018.
  13. ^ Vely, Yannick (15 May 2018). "Asako 1 & 2 de Ryūsuke Hamaguchi – la critique". Paris Match (in French). Retrieved 17 September 2018. Alors, oui il faut accepter certains rebondissements qui peuvent apparaître forcés aux yeux occidentaux.
  14. ^ Kohn, Eric (14 May 2018). "'Asako I & II' Review: An Inventive New Take on Relationship Problems — Cannes 2018". IndieWire. Retrieved 26 October 2018.
  15. ^ "「モリのいる場所」山崎努がヨコハマ映画祭で特別賞に、樹木希林の不在を惜しむ". Natalie (in Japanese). 3 February 2019. Retrieved 24 January 2020.

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