YIDFF 2005 New Docs Japan
Marines Go Home!—Henoko, Maehyang-ri, Yausubetsu
An Interview with Fujimoto Yukihisa (Director), Kageyama Asako (Narrator, Producer)

Finding Hope

Q: What motivated you to make this work?

Fujimoto Yukihisa (FY): In Okinawa, the U.S. military base at Henoko has become a big issue. It’s in the newspaper and on television everyday. However, very little is communicated outside Okinawa. But rather than saying that not much is being communicated, a better way of putting it is that things are quite deliberately arranged so that the issue can’t be communicated. The staff at the Okinawa television stations cover this issue very thoroughly, and it gets aired as local news in Okinawa. The local stations send this news to the central bureaus in Tokyo, but unfortunately they don’t pick it up. So it seems like somewhere there’s an intention to keep this issue as a local issue, through a certain pattern. In Japan they try to sweep the U.S. military base issue under the rug as a problem about just one local base, even though it is a gigantic problem that concerns our immediate future. The biggest motivation for making this work was feeling the need to do something about this situation.

Q: Why did you pick Yausubetsu, Henoko and Maehyang-ri for the focus of the film?

Kageyama Asako: As part of a citizens’ group, I’ve been active in opposing Self-Defense Force deployment and U.S. marine training. I got involved in this film after encountering Kawase Hanji in Yausubetsu as part of those activities. I was drawn to his humane charisma and got interested in making a film. I met the people in Henoko and Maehyang-ri through the same kind of activism. Each of these places is home to compelling individuals, and each is an irreplaceable place that is an important focal point for Japan and the world.

Q: What aspects were you drawn to for the people who appear in the work?

FY: I think of documentaries as films that find hope, even just a little bit, or foster efforts to find hope, through confronting the world’s many hardships and contradictions. I wanted to portray the beauty I see in the people who continue struggling on their own accord in each of the places that appear in the film. I think it is absolutely better for films to leave you with a warm feeling or a make you feel energized, rather than feeling distressed by seeing such things. So I’m hoping that we can make many pieces that help people have a positive outlook, that make you feel like you’re glad to have seen a documentary.

Q: Please tell me about your next work.

FY: I want to make a film called Marines Come Home. If you really take a look, the Marine Corps members are kids, around nineteen years old. They’re trained for six months or a year, and then get sent to the battlefield. I hear that as a result, there are a lot of people who succumb to mental illness or can’t reintegrate themselves into society after returning home. Next I want to make a film where you encounter marines who have actually been to war and have been in the situation of having to kill others.

(Compiled by Kagesawa Yoshinori)

Interviewers: Kagesawa Yoshinori, Okuyama Kanako
Photography: Abe Satsuki / Video: Moriyama Takuro / 2005-10-12