Oct. 10 (National Holiday) Following Tsuchimoto's Footsteps Publications / index / Japanese Documentary

Yuntanza Okinawa

(16k) Production Company: Siglo Ltd
Producer: Yamagami Tetsujiro Director: Nishiyama Masahiro
Photography: Otsu Koshiro
Sound: Honma Kimio
Music: Komuro Hitoshi
Camera Assistants: Sudo Keiji, Suhara Hideaki, Hojo Yutaka
Negative Editing: Kano Muneko
1987 / Color / 16mm / 110 min

In 1986, fifteen years after Okinawa's reversion to Japanese possession from the US, the camera traces the return of a sculptor named Kinjo Minoru to Yomitan village. At that time, about forty-eight percent of Yomitan village was occupied by US military bases, and it is said that nuclear weapons were also housed on the bases. That is not however the only reason that residents of Yomitan organized an anti-base movement. Yomitan village is also the location where one of the fiercest battles of the Second World War was fought, when the US military landed. As images of that landing scroll through the film, elderly residents who were present at the time of the battle describe their memories of it. The people depicted are relatives, or those who, by some form of miracle, lived on after the mass suicide which took place at Chibichirigama 42 years ago. Kinjo has returned to Okinawa in order to work with these people to plan a peace statue linking Chibichirigama with the outside world, such that they never forget the fact of the mass suicide. When the rest of his family were killed in that incident when he was a youth, Kinjo lived. Although he has aged, he is still unable to rid himself of the memory of that frightening past. His wife recounts how she became convinced of the importance of family shortly after marrying him. The children were also told the truth about the incident. When, at the graduation ceremony of a girls' high school, one girl walks away with the Hi no maru, the Japanese national flag. The meaning of the Hi no maru and Kimi ga yo, the national anthem, becomes more apparent, and after this incident, the students calmly reflect. As well as depicting the emotional vigor of Yomitan village's inhabitants, this work shows the increasing sophistication of director Nishimura Masahiro, who worked on the staff of Tsuchimoto Noriaki's Minamata series since Minamata--The Victims and Their World ("Minamata--kanjasan to sono sekai," 1971).


Yamagata International Documentary Film Festival Organizing Committee