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Big In Japan

1h 35m Documentary, Comedy 2018

What is fame? Why do we want it? And what does it take for an ordinary person to get it?

After hearing about the huge demand for foreign talents in Japan, three Aussie filmmakers ship their lives to Tokyo on an outrageous DIY mission to make ‘ordinary’ Dave famous.

Along the way, they meet an eclectic ensemble of gaijin tarento (foreign talents) at various stages of the celebrity journey: a feisty Aussie cross-dresser (Ladybeard), a starry-eyed Canadian J-pop wannabe (Kelsey Parnigoni) and veteran TV sweetheart, Bob “The Beast” Sapp. But just how far must they go to reach the masses that real celebrity requires?

Four years in the making, Big in Japan is a strange and oddly philosophical fame joyride in the vein of Louis Theroux. A raw and unflinching take on the nature of modern fame, and a wacky adventure that pushes friendship and resolve to the brink.

“BIG IN JAPAN … begins with a hopeful premise: the idea that foreigners, by virtue of being exotic and othered in Japan, can get famous simply by being themselves. But as the story progresses, it peels back the glamour and reveals the dark costs to making it big, regardless of which country you do it in.” - Lauren Orsini, Forbes

“If you’re trying to understand what fame is all about in the era of likes and follows, you need to examine the psychology of self that leads someone to put themselves in dangerous and uncomfortable situations. It is consummate story-telling.” - Nathan March, Follow Magazine

“Fame is a drug and Japan is the connection in this fascinating new doco.” - Travis Johnson, FilmInk

“…a remarkable, twisted, very funny odyssey into the worlds of media-saturation and fame infatuation.” – Jim Schembri, 3AW

“….even where he fails, Dave’s awkward charm and his unfaltering commitment to the project, whether he’s parading through the world’s busiest intersection in a loincloth or drinking anything that goes through a blender dressed as a Japanese vegetable, keeps the film funny and entertaining.” – Jake Tired, The AU Review

“BIG IN JAPAN feels like it started as a lark that would lead to success…What it turns into is an interesting exploration of celebrity in the modern world and the toll that celebrity takes on those who are famous.” – Andrew Pierce, AB Film Review

“BIG IN JAPAN is a heartfelt and earnest film that gets more and more charming as it unfolds.” – Michael Zubreckyi, Milkbar Mag

“BIG IN JAPAN is a striking study of the euphoria and anxiety, the fatigue and exhaustion that comes with the search for stardom in the saturated social media world.” – Richard Cotter, Sydney Arts Guide


Lachlan McLeod

Writer & Producer

David Elliot-Jones


Louis Dai


Louis Dai


English, Japanese




Walking Fish Productions

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