The story was famously adapted into an animated feature directed by Isao Takahata in 1988 and released on a double bill with Studio Ghibli's My Neighbour Totoro when the studio was still part of Tokuma Shoten. The film is known as Tombstone For Fireflies in the US.
The sombre, war and peace-themed tale follows a little brother and little sister, based on Nosaka and his own sister, as they try to escape the ruins of Kobe City in the closing months of WWII.
The live-action project was originally set to go into production last year, but was put on hiatus after famed filmmaker Kazuo Kuroki died suddenly last spring of a stroke at the age of 75. Known for his humanistic anti-war stance, Kuroki had a career that spanned six decades and included WWII trilogy Tomorrow (1988), A Boy's Summer In 1945 (2002) and The Face Of Jizo (2004), all produced by Pal.
41-year-old Taro Hyugaji became Kuroki's apprentice after seeing Tomorrow and later served as an assistant director. After Hyugaji made his directorial debut with 2005's Portrait Of The Wind (Taga Tameni) starring Tadanobu Asano, he was requested to take over the project. He had reservations due to his youth but eventually agreed.
Grave Of The Fireflies will shoot this September in Hyogo Prefecture and is slated for a summer 2008 release.