IMDb > The Bird People in China (1998)

The Bird People in China (1998) More at IMDbPro »Chûgoku no chôjin (original title)


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Masa Nakamura (screenplay)
Makoto Shiina (novel)
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Release Date:
10 June 1998 (Japan) See more »
A salaryman and yakuza are each sent by their bosses to a remote Chinese village but discover more then they expected. Full summary » | Add synopsis »
Plot Keywords:
4 wins & 1 nomination See more »
User Reviews:
A magical mystery tour See more (31 total) »


  (in credits order)

Directed by
Takashi Miike 
Writing credits
(in alphabetical order)
Masa Nakamura  screenplay
Makoto Shiina  novel

Produced by
Yasuhiko Furusato .... producer
Toshiaki Nakazawa .... producer
Seiha Ohji .... producer
Original Music by
Kôji Endô 
Cinematography by
Hideo Yamamoto 
Film Editing by
Yasushi Shimamura  (as Taiji Shimamura)
Production Design by
Keiko Mitsumatsu 
Set Decoration by
Tatsuo Ozeki 
Makeup Department
Yûichi Matsui .... special makeup effects artist
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
Bunmei Katô .... assistant director
Sound Department
Jun Nakamura .... sound re-recording mixer
Jun Nakamura .... sound recordist
Kenji Shibasaki .... sound effects

Production CompaniesDistributorsOther Companies

Additional Details

Also Known As:
"Chûgoku no chôjin" - Japan (original title)
See more »
118 min
Filming Locations:


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27 out of 30 people found the following review useful.
A magical mystery tour, 15 January 2005
Author: anhedonia from Planet Earth

"The Bird People in China" is one of those films you hear very little about, but that piques your curiosity after reading the synopsis. And then you watch it and realize what a gem it is.

Japanese filmmaker Takashi Miike is renowned for his ultra-violent films. This is a delightful departure for him and proves what a tremendously versatile director he is. Yes, there are some snippets of violence, including a rather brutal machete attack. But that's all offset by the film's wonderfully whimsical nature.

The film revolves around a Japanese businessman sent to a remote Chinese village to inspect the jade mines for his company. Along for the ride is a yakuza man to ensure the businessman's company's debt is paid off.

The film not only chronicles their colorful journey - those turtles must be seen to be believed - but then taps into the characters' psyches as they reach the village and suddenly find themselves trapped there. These two disparate men both find themselves enchanted by this magical place.

I won't give away much more of the story because you really should watch this film. Miike injects magical realism into his story and some moments are beautiful in every sense of the word. There's also plenty of humor. The van scene is positively hilarious, especially given the driver's deadpan reaction.

The film's very much about our need to dream. But it also tackles important issues such as the encroachment of civilization and the importance of keeping some places pristine and innocent, no matter how valuable they might be to the rest of the world.

If you like interesting foreign-language films that open a whole new world, then do yourself a favor, see this film. You will not be disappointed.

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