Discover the Enchanting World of Cats in Gokogu

  • Observational documentary by Kazuhiro Soda
  • Showcasing the co-existence of street cats and humans
  • Premiering at the 2024 Berlin Film Festival


Berlinale has unveiled the first look trailer for the enchanting documentary film, ‘The Cats of Gokogu Shrine’. Directed by renowned Japanese filmmaker Kazuhiro Soda, this observational documentary explores the fascinating relationship between street cats and the residents of Ushimado, Japan. Building on his previous work in the documentary ‘Peace’ (2010), Soda once again captures the essence of these feline inhabitants and their impact on the local community.

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A Unique Community

At the heart of Ushimado lies the small, ancient Shinto shrine known as Gokogu. This peaceful sanctuary has become a haven for dozens of street cats, earning it the nickname of “Cat Shrine”. The shrine attracts a diverse range of visitors, from worshippers seeking solace to gardening enthusiasts and fishermen in pursuit of Japanese sardinella. It is also a popular spot for children to play after school.

An Intriguing Dichotomy

While Gokogu appears idyllic on the surface, it also serves as the epicenter of a contentious issue within the local community. Some residents embrace the presence of the street cats, caring for them with love and compassion. However, others are disturbed by the mess and disruption caused by these feline inhabitants. This divide among the community sets the stage for a thought-provoking exploration of the complex relationship between humans and nature.

A Captivating Observation

Kazuhiro Soda’s camera acts as a silent observer, capturing the daily lives of these cats and their interactions with the humans in their midst. With kindness, precision, and occasional involvement, the filmmaker presents a humble yet poignant chronicle of co-existence. ‘The Cats of Gokogu Shrine’ serves as a reminder that even in our civilized lives, nature does not always conform to our expectations.


‘The Cats of Gokogu Shrine’ promises to be a captivating and heartwarming documentary that sheds light on the intricate relationship between humans and animals. Through Soda’s lens, viewers are invited to witness the beauty and challenges of life in this small town, where cats and humans coexist in a delicate balance. Premiering at the 2024 Berlin Film Festival, this film is sure to delight audiences with its enchanting portrayal of the feline inhabitants of Gokogu Shrine.

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