New Docs Japan

Be More Human—Kokuro’s 15-Year Struggle

(“Hitorashiku ikiyo—Kokuro fuyu monogatari”)

- JAPAN / 2001 / Japanese / Color / Video / 100 min

Directors, Editing: Matsubara Akira, Sasaki Yumi
Photography: Matsubara Akira
Music: Tanaka Tetsuro, Murakami Eiji
Narrator: Sasaki Yumi
Production Company, Source, World Sales: Video Press
2-22-17-403 Mukaihara, Itabashi-ku, Tokyo 173-0036 JAPAN
Phone: 81-3-3530-8588 Fax: 81-3-3530-8578
E-mail: mgg01231@nifty.ne.jp URL: www.vpress.jp

Former national railway union members have been fighting against ruthless layoffs and demotions since the company’s privatization in 1987. Using video to network with labor movements in Taiwan and Korea, the filmmakers explore the potential of grassroots alternative media activism through works like this.

[Director’s Statement] We have been involved with the Japan National Railway struggle for over fourteen years—and no one else is responsible for coercing us into doing this documentation. Rather, we decided to take on this project from a deep feeling of resonance with the lives of the National Railway Workers’ Union (“Kokuro”) members, the essence of the struggle itself. These union members have suffered continuing harassment and discrimination because of their opposition to the division and privatization of the company, and many have been fired. We sought to address the question of why these people—both those who have been fired and those who have remained—choose not to leave the union, and instead endure the extreme situation with which they are faced.

- Matsubara Akira
Sasaki Yumi

Have been making independent documentaries on the division and privatization of Japan National Railway since 1986. In 1989 founded the video production house Video Press, which works to create videos on topics such as human rights and the environment. Their documentary Watching from Behind was screened at YIDFF ’99.

• New Docs Japan | Daughter from Yan’an | FIVE DAYS | Now, Where, To? | Be More Human—Kokuro’s 15-Year Struggle