• How does it work?
Start by creating an account or logging in to browse our full catalogue. To watch a film, hover over the thumbnail and click “Rent,” or navigate to the film page and click the “Rent” button. You will be prompted to enter your credit card number in the pop-up window. If you have a promo code, it can be entered in this window as well. You will be emailed a link on your rental details and your film will appear in “My Library” shortly.
• How can I watch from my TV?
We recommend connecting an HDMI cable from your laptop/desktop to a TV. You can use Chromecast to watch on your TV with Chromecast built in or with a Chromecast dongle, or use AirPlay to watch on your Apple TV. If Airplaying via Mac, we strongly recommend using Safari. Roku and FireStick are not supported. Mirroring is not supported. Chromebook is also not supported due to lacking the DRM support required. If you do not see the Chromecast button on your player window, see here for troubleshooting.
• Can I watch the films in the Virtual Cinema from anywhere in the world?
No, only those living in the United States (including U.S. territories Puerto Rico, U.S. Virgin Islands, Guam, American Samoa, Northern Mariana Islands) will be able to watch films on the Japan Society Virtual Cinema. Exceptions apply.
• Can I share my Japan Society Virtual Cinema account with a friend?
No. Your account is unique to you. A friend must create a new account and purchase a rental to watch on their devices. If a user shares their account, their account will be revoked and purchases will not be refunded. Exceptions apply only to dual memberships.
• I just purchased a film, but did not get an e-mail confirmation. Did my purchase go through?
E-mail confirmations may be delayed as our system processes transactions. Thank you for your patience. If it has been 24 hours and you haven’t received a confirmation, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
• How do I create an account/log in?
In the top-right corner of the Virtual Cinema, click “Login” or “Create Account” and follow the onscreen prompts. You can review or update your account again by clicking your name and selecting “My Account” from the drop-down menu.
• Do I use my existing Japan Society Membership login, as I have in the past?
No. You will be required to create a new account. Click “Create Account” and follow the onscreen prompts.
• How do I change/reset my password?
In the top-right corner of any page, click your name and select “My Account” from the drop-down menu. Next to your current password, you have the option to change it. If you have forgotten your password and need to reset it, click “Login” and then “Forgotten Your Password?” You will be emailed a link to reset your password.
• How long do I have to watch my rental?
Once you rent a film, a timestamp will appear indicating how long the rental will last. With films in Love Letters: Four Films by Shunji Iwai, rentals will 4 days. Once you press play on a film you’ve rented, you have 48 hours to watch the film as many times as you like. Exceptions apply. For these limited windows, viewing will cut off at the end of each rental window, so you must begin the film with enough time to finish. Please check each film page for more details.
• Can I start a film and come back to it later?
Yes, films can be paused and resumed within 48 hours of pressing play.
• How much does a film cost to rent?
Prices vary. Rental prices appear on the “Rent” button attached to each film.
• Why is a virtual screening sold out?
Virtual screenings have a capacity limit similar to the amount of tickets that would be available for in-theater screenings. These limits are negotiated with each film distributor. If a virtual screening sells out and more tickets become available, we’ll announce in our newsletter and online at japansociety.org/film.
• What is your refund and exchange policy?
No refunds or exchanges are permitted on virtual rentals.
• Where can I find my rental history?
Your past rentals will still appear in your Library as long as they’re in the Virtual Cinema catalogue, but will be marked “Expired.” Once a film has been removed from the catalogue, you will no longer see it in your Library.
• I’m getting an error message that the film is not available in my country, but I’m in the U.S. What’s going on?
It may be that you’re using a VPN (Virtual Private Network), which masks your IP address. Sometimes VPNs make it appear as though you are in another country. Some of our films are geo-blocked so that they are only available to IP addresses in the U.S., so you’ll need to turn off or modify your VPN before proceeding.
• I’d like to test playback before I rent a film. Can I do that?
Yes. We recommend renting a free video to test playback.
• What is the difference between “My List” and “My Library”?
Adding films to “My List” allows you to bookmark titles to watch later. This is not the same as renting a film. Rented films will appear in “My Library” for 3 days (exclusions apply to select appointment viewing titles) after purchase and will be available for 48 hours after you hit play. To remove a film from your List, hover over the title and click the checkmark next to “My List.” Films will automatically be made unavailable in your Library after the rental window expires.
• How do I locate films I rented before they were available to view?
Films that you have already paid for are located in “My Library.” You can access this section by clicking on your profile in the top-right corner of the page and selecting “My Library” in the drop-down menu.
• How do I add to “My Devices” and is there a limit?
When you sign in on a device like your phone, tablet, or laptop, it is automatically registered to “My Devices.” You can edit or remove registered devices by clicking on your profile and selecting “My Devices” in the drop-down menu. Users may have up to two registered devices. You can only watch films on registered devices.
• Is there any bonus content that comes with my rental?
Some titles may include bonus content like introductions or Q&As with filmmakers. To watch them, click on a title and scroll down to “Bonus Content.” Please note: you must rent a title in order to watch its bonus content.
Closed Captioning & Subtitles
• Where can I find films that have closed-captioning?
If a film is available with closed-captioning, this is noted below the description on the film page.
• How do I enable closed-captioning on my rental?
You can enable closed-captioning or descriptive sound by clicking on the three dots in the lower-right corner of the player and enabling captions.
• Why are there no subtitles playing on my rental?
You can enable subtitles by clicking on the “CC” button in the lower-right corner of the player and enabling captions. If a film requires soft-subtitles, this is noted below the description on the film page.
• What are the system requirements?
You can watch on PCs running Windows 7+, Intel-based Macs running OSX 10.12+. You’ll find a complete list of requirements below.
• What are the requirements for Windows computers?
Windows 7, Windows 8.1 or Windows 10. Google Chrome, Firefox, Microsoft Edge, Internet Explorer or Opera. We recommend using the latest version of your browser as earlier versions may not be supported.
• What are the requirements for Mac computers?
MacOS 10.12 or later. Google Chrome, Firefox, Safari, or Opera. We recommend using the latest version of your browser as earlier versions may not be supported.
• Can I watch content on my iPhone/iPad?
Yes, you can watch content using Safari and this requires iOS 11.2 or later. We recommend using the latest version of your browser as earlier versions may not be supported. You can also watch through our app available in the App Store.
• Can I watch content on my Android device?
Yes, you can watch content using Chrome and this requires Android 6.0 or later. We recommend using the latest version of your browser as earlier versions may not be supported. You can also watch through our app available in the Google Play store.
• I can’t stream any of the content. What’s going on?
Check your minimum system requirements above. We recommend that you update to the latest version of your browser. We use adaptive bitrate streaming, which means the streaming quality will automatically adjust based on your internet speed. For high-definition (HD) streaming we recommend VDSL, cable, or fiber connections as we cannot guarantee consistent HD streaming on ADSL.
• I’m getting a black screen when I try to play my rental. What can I do?
Please ensure your system meets the minimum requirements. As an anti-piracy initiative, our Virtual Cinema platform will not work if you have a video sharing program open. Please make sure you have completely closed down all applications that have the ability to record your screen. This includes, but is not limited to Zoom, Google Hangouts, Facetime, or any other screen recording programs. If you were hoping to join a friend virtually to watch a film together, please ensure that neither of you are using one of the above devices from the same device you are streaming your film from.
• Why does video playback stall or not play smoothly?
If your internet connection is poor or inconsistent you may experience problems during playback.
• Why is there a watermark on the virtual screening films? Will this be on every film I watch in the Virtual Cinema?
The watermark are sometimes placed on films for anti-piracy purposes, but should not greatly impact your viewing experience.
• Why do I have to use a promo code to get the member rate on tickets?
The Japan Society Virtual Cinema platform is not compatible with our Membership database. Therefore, the Japan Society Virtual Cinema platform has no way of detecting who is a Member and who is not.
• How much is the member rate for rental?
Members save 20% on the cost of rentals. This discount is applied only when you enter the promo code provided to you by email, and can be used for eligible virtual screenings across all programs. Discounted bundles are excluded.
• Where can I find the promo code for members?
Please check your email inbox for promo codes from the Japan Society Membership Department. If you cannot find one, please contact email@example.com to receive your code. Please note that if you are a new member, it may take 48 hours to fully process your membership status.
• How do I apply my membership discount during checkout?
Please follow the instructions in this guide to make sure your discount is applied during checkout.
• I’m a Member, but didn’t use the member promo code when making my rental payment. Can I have it retroactively applied?
No. Our system does not support partial refunds. Please make sure to apply the Member discount code every time for each distinct title in the Virtual Cinema. It must be used each time, it will not be automatically applied after one use. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org if you have difficulty locating the code.
• Can I give my member promo code to my friends?
Please do not. The member discount is a benefit which is shared among the Japan Society membership community. Due to the nature of our virtual rental platform, we must rely on our members to use the code responsibly and to preserve the integrity of our program.
• I have two people on my membership account. Can we both rent films?
If you have two people under your membership, only one account holder will be able to rent films or purchase tickets for the household (in the same manner as in years past).
• Can I use my Japan Society Membership log-in information to access the Virtual Cinema platform?
No. The Japan Society Virtual Cinema platform is distinct from japansociety.org. You will need to create a unique account.
• I’ve had issues streaming Japan Society Virtual Cinema selections in the past. How do I know this will be different?
Our new Virtual Cinema platform is updated from what we used earlier this summer. This platform is also used by other festivals around the world, so please be assured that we are using the industry standard for virtual film exhibition. Please see above for technical specifications.
• Can someone at Japan Society create my account?
No. For security reasons, you need to create your own account and set your own password that you will be able to remember.
• Can someone at Japan Society process my order for virtual screenings?
No. For security reasons, Japan Society staff do not have the ability to process your virtual screening rental order.
• I’m having a problem with my virtual rental. Who should I contact?
If you have a problem regarding your Japan Society membership, please email email@example.com. If you have a problem with technical issues not addressed in the FAQ, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.