YIDFF 2003 Information

Okinawa—Nexus of Borders: Ryukyu Reflections

“In this forest of images, as the ‘nexus of borders’ that is Okinawa arises, assumptions of a monolingual Japan begin to waver, and people transform into mirrors and windows. A brand new cinematic journey through Okinawa begins.”

“Ryukyu Reflections” exceeds the boundaries of documentaries, feature films and TV documentaries. Comprised of ten themes—from works that depict the Battle of Okinawa and occupation by the U.S., to the upheaval before and after Okinawa’s reversion to Japan, and rare pre-war films to the most up-to-date offerings—this retrospective offers a diffused reflection of Okinawan imagery. A diverse program is scheduled, including symposiums, screenings featuring talk shows and live performance. Other related events to look forward to are “Ryukyu Exotica,” a live performance of Okinawan Folk Songs by Oshiro Misako; photo exhibition “Fruits of the Sun: Okinawan Photographic Rhapsody”; an Okinawa Bazaar featuring a wide selection of goods from the Ryukyus.

Part 1: Oriental Ryukyus: Showa Era Pre-war Perspectives on Okinawa

In 1879, according to the terms of the Ryukyu Shobun (The Disposal of Ryukyu), the Ryukyu was incorporated into the boundaries of Japan and became Okinawa. However, it continued to mark by the unique binary aspect of the region in the southern seas; it was Japan, and yet it was not. How was the South visualized and desired by Japan’s modern This riddle and quandary is clearly expressed by the precious images that remain.

1936 / 35mm / 14 min
Scenes from the Main Island of Okinawa and the Surrounding Islands (Unedited film)
Photography: Kawamura Tadao / 1936-40 / Video (orig. 8mm) / 40 min
Ryukyu Arts
Supervisors: Yanagi Soetsu, Shikiba Ryuzaburo / 1939 / 16mm / 11 min
Ryukyu Scenes
Supervisors: Yanagi Soetsu, Shikiba Ryuzaburo / 1940 / 16mm / 13 min
Southern Ryukyu Islands
circa 1940 / 16mm / 11 min
People of the Sea: Okinawa Island Story
1942 / 35mm / 28 min

Part 2: The Battle of Okinawa: The Final Conflict between the U.S. and Japan

The American military imbedded cameramen within its units and faithfully recorded “Operation Iceberg,” the name given to the invasion of Okinawa. These films bear a record without mercy. When put into this context however, they express entirely different meanings. This section provides an opportunity to fundamentally rethink war reportage and documentaries themself.

  1. Records without Mercy
    Records of the Battle of Okinawa—from the Collection of the One-foot Film Movement
    1945 / 16mm / 120 min
  2. Records and Propaganda
    1. From Newsreels,
      The World in Film (Welt im Film)
      GERMAN / 1945 / 35mm / 60 min
    2. From U.S. Military Official Publicity Films
      Pacific/Ryukyu Operations
      The Conquest of Okinawa
      The 6th Marine Division on Okinawa
      USA / 1945 / Video (orig. 16mm) / 90 min
  3. The Production of Memory and Transmission of Narrative
    A Document of the Battle of Okinawa, Told One Foot at a Time
    1995 / Video / 57 min

Part 3: The Battle of Okinawa in Relief / A Chronicle of Memories

Discribed as a “Typhoon of Steel,” the Battle of Okinawa was more than a struggle between the armies of America and Japan; it also revealed the structural deformity of modern Japan, and the complicated interplay between Japan and Okinawa. The battle illuminated the state of education and the military; the mainfold structure of victim and oppressor; testimony and the shape of memory; and the darkness that resides within man. As we approach this darkness, the Battle of Okinawa enable shine a light on a century of war.

  1. Endless Questions
    Monument of Star Lilies (English subtitled version)
    Imai Tadashi / 1953 / 16mm (orig. 35mm) / 131 min
    Turbulent Showa History: Battle of Okinawa
    Okamoto Kihachi / 1971 / 35mm / 149 min
    Star Lily War History: Questioning Education and the State Today
    1979 / Video / 48 min
    A Gap in History: Thirty-five Years Since the Massacre of Okinawans
    1980 / Video / 25 min
    An Overdue Decision
    1988 / Video / 45 min

  2. Voice and the Narration of Trauma: Memory and Living Words Today
    War Stories Told in Shima kutuba <Six Parts>
    2003 / Video / 360 min

Part 4: Americanization and Japanization

The 1952 San Francisco Peace Accords left Okinawa under American administration. Okinawa became a military cornerstone in the Far East for the USA, while Japan used it as a pawn for bolstering the “national body,” that had been weakened by wartime defeat. This section revisits the ways in which Okinawa was exploited by America and Japan, and reconsiders the historical shifts in Okinawan dreams and resistance.

  1. Promotion in the American Era
    Raising Ryukyu
    Video (orig. 35mm) / 37 min
    These Ten Years, Part 1
    Video (orig. 35mm) / 14 min
    A Selection from Ryukyu News
    Video (orig. 35mm) / 60 min
  2. Soul-graphy of the A-Sign Era
    Okinawan Boys
    Shinjo Taku / 1983 / 35mm / 117 min / English subtitled version
    Via Okinawa (English subtitled version)
    Sai Yoichi / 1989 / 16mm (orig. 35mm) / 111 min / English subtitled version
  3. Longing for the Mother Country / Across the 27th Parallel
    Okinawa: Road to the Homeland
    1967 / 16mm (orig. 35mm) / 22 min
    The Voice of Okinawa
    1969 / 16mm (orig. 35mm) / 30 min
    Cries Coral Reef
    1965 / 16mm / 41 min
    Eighteen in Okinawa
    1966 / Video / 25 min
    History of the Reversion Struggle
    1977 / Video (orig. 16mm) / 40 min
  4. The Return of Okinawa: Behind the Scenes
    As Okinawa Goes, So Goes Japan
    1997 / Video / 45 min
    Whistle-blowing: Thirty Years Since the Leak of Secrets from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs—The Truth That Can at Last Be Told
    2002 / Video / 45 min
    News Film Those Times (from Yomiuri International News)
    No. 1044 Turbulent Okinawa
    No. 1168 Signing of the Okinawa Reversion Agreement
    No. 1215 Okinawa Returns Home
    1972 / 16mm, Video (orig. 35mm) / 15 min
  5. In the Gulf between America and Japan
    Okinawa Islands (New Print)
    Higashi Yoichi / 1969 / 16mm (orig. 35mm) / 90 min
    Breaking through Hard Ground—Okinawa ’71—
    1971 / Video / 25 min
    Forty Years of the Post-war Series: The Footsteps of Young Okinawans
    1985 / Video / 50 min

Part 5: Caught Between Different Worlds / When the 27th Parallel Disappears

In 1972, Okinawa reverted to Japanese sovereignty. In contrast to the surging tide of assimilation to mainland Japan, the contradictions that had been obscured by the reversion movement were exposed: sometimes distorted, sometimes creating sharp conflicts. A number of films were produced that intervened in various phases of these changing eras. At the same time in Okinawa, a quest for a new visual style began.

  1. Accumulated Voices, Entangled Gazes
    The Gentle Japanese (New Print)
    Higashi Yoichi / 1971 / 16mm (orig. 35mm) / 118 min
  2. In the Place of Violence: The Labyrinth of Resistance
    Okinawa Yakuza War
    Nakajima Sadao / 1976 / 35mm / 96 min
    The Miracle of Joe, the Petrel
    Fujita Toshiya / 1984 / 16mm (orig. 35mm) / 134 min / English subtitled version
  3. The Penetration of the “Yamato Era” and the Construction of “Okinawa”
    1975 Okinawa Summer
    Tomimoto Minoru / 1975 / 16mm / 15 min
    When Calling Jahana Noboru
    Tomimoto Minoru / 1976 / 16mm / 30 min
    Jahana Yuzuru / 1978 / 16mm / 35 min
    The Life of Okinawa Part 1: Indigenous Island Fauna
    Yoshida Yutaka / 1978 / 16mm / 75 min
    Act 1, Scene 1 Okinawa Jinruikan
    1978 / Video / 25 min

Part 6: Okinawan Diaspora / Leaving Okinawa

Okinawa is known for froducing multitudes of emigrants. Before the World War II, they left to escape from the economic crisis known as “Sago Palm Hell,” in order to aid the ones they left behind; after the war, they were scattered by the forced confiscation of their land by the American military. The present day, the modern times experienced by these Okinawan exiles. Light and shadow, Nostalgia and the Sea... We see the trace of the Okinawan diaspora.

Leaving Port: Okinawa
1972 / Video / 25 min
Okinauense: Okinawans Living in Latin America <In Bolivia> <In Peru>
1977 / Video / 50 min
Hia Sá Sá—Hai Yah!
Olga Futemma / 1985 / Video / 27 min
Memories of Betrayal
1988 / Video / 25 min

Part 7: Okinawa: Colonial Landscape

More than a few foreign filmmakers listened to Okinawan voices and concerned Okinawan memories that were buried under a colonial landscape of immigrants, World War II, the U.S. Occupation, and the turmoil of changing eras. The films in this section evoke the visual poetry born of contact with other cultures.

  1. Colonial Elegies, Occupation Clichés
    Hill of No Return
    Wang Tung / TAIWAN / 1992 / 35mm / 165 min
    The Teahouse of the August Moon
    Daniel Mann / USA / 1956 / Video (orig. 35mm) / 124 min / Japanese subtitled version
  2. Sharing the Battle of Okinawa
    Let There Be Light
    John Huston / USA / 1946 / 16mm (orig. 35mm) / 58 min
    Level 5
    Chris Marker / FRANCE / 1996 / 35mm / 106 min

Part 8: Earth Songs and Celestial Fantasies

A chain of islands from Japan to Taiwan, scattered in a crescent like a garland of flowers. Here rituals are performed by women who communicate with ancient gods, and a snakeskin shamisen weaves melodies in a pan-Asian scale. Mysterious heavenly beings born of the power of the subtropical imagination travel freely between heaven and earth. Deities playfully wander the land, song overflows, and fantasies grow luxuriously...

  1. A Banquet of Sound and Fantasy
    Tsukishiro Story
    Ohinata Den / 1959 / Video (orig. 16mm) / 40 min
    The Yoshiya Chiru Story
    Kinjo Tetsuo / 1961 / 16mm / 96 min
    Ultraseven: The Young Messenger
    1968 / Video (orig. 16mm) / 25 min
    Song of Ajima (YIDFF 2003 Closing Screening)
    Aoyama Shinji / 2002 / 35mm / 88 min / English subtitled version
  2. Wandering of the Deities and Spirits
    Nanamui / Part 1 Ceremonial Songs
    2003 / Video / 79 min
    Nanamui / Part 2 Yuqui
    2003 / Video / 79 min

Part 9: The World of Takamine Go: Blood (chi), Earth (chi), Wisdom (chi), Foolishness (chi), and “chi”

Takamine Go’s emergence has clearly punctuated the history of Okinawan film. In this chronicle of his world, a retrospective within a special program6, we are able to deeply appreciate the magic realism and multiple Okinawas that arise from his works. We can see clearly how much Okinawan cinema has changed before and after Takamine arrived on the scene.

Sashingwa (Dear Photograph)
1973 / 8mm / 15 min
Okinawan Dream Show
1974 / 8mm / 180 min
Okinawan Chirudai <Special Edition>
1976- / Video / 78 min / Japanese subtitled version
Paradise View
1985 / 16mm (orig. 35mm) / 113 min / Japanese and English Subtitled version
1989 / 35mm / 120 min / Japanese and English Subtitled version
Kadekaru Rinsho: Songs and Stories
1994 / Video / 59 min / Japanese subtitled version
1998 / Video / 90 min / Japanese subtitled version
Private Images of Ryukyu: J.M.
1996- / Video / 54 min / Japanese subtitled version

Part 10: Diffused Reflections of Okinawa

Okinawa is a cinematic archipelago. This is not simply because of the sheer number of works that have been produced; it is true as far as the quality suggested by its imagery, and the way it has traversed and expanded across borders. Why is it that so many eyes have turned to Okinawa, and why has Okinawa provoked so much desire for expression? Setting off from this diffused reflection of images of Okinawa, what kind of cinematic voyage will the new generation of filmmakers embark upon?

  1. The Reflection of Okinawan Images
    White Mural
    Chiba Yasuki / 1942 / 35mm / 96 min
    Kitano Takeshi / 1993 / 35mm / 94 min
  2. Okinawa Mixed and Split
    Pineapple Tours
    Makiya Tsutomu, Nakae Yuji, Toma Hayashi / 1992 / 35mm / 118 min / Japanese and English Subtitled version
    Fighting Rabbit
    Gushiken Tsuyoshi / 1992 / 8mm / 42 min
    Jahana Yuzuru / 1977 / 16mm / 15 min
  • Short Film Collection by New Talent from Okinawa
    Komatsu Hashihito / 2001 / Video / 8 min
    Ninja 2000 Millennium
    Kawabata Shoji / 2001 / Video / 13 min
    Wonder Frog
    Matayoshi Hiroshi / 2001/ Video / 6 min
    The Summer Vacation Experiment
    Matayoshi Hiroshi / 2002 / Video / 3 min
    Kameshima Makoto / 2003 / Video / 10 min
    Miyahira Takako / 2001 / Video / 19 min
    Ryukyu Underground “Hana—A Flower for Each Person’s Heart”
    Gushiken Tsuyoshi / 2003 / Video / 5 min
    Yachimun “Sky Blue”
    Toma Hayashi / 1994 / Video (orig. 8mm) / 6 min
    Yachimun “Kitamae Song”
    Toma Hayashi / 1994 / Video / 5 min
    Yachimun ’93 LIVE in OFT Opening Movie
    Toma Hayashi / 1993 / Video / 11 min

Symposium: “Alienation and Crossing Borders: Okinawa—A Cinematic Topology”

How has Okinawa been represented in films? A discussion of the attractions of Ryukyu reflections and the actuality arises from this place called Okinawa.

Date/Time: October 12 (Sunday), 15:10
Venue: Solaris 2  
* Admission is free.
Panelists: Takamine Go (Filmmaker), Nishitani Osamu (Critic), Aaron Gerow (Japanese film scholar)

Other Guests:
Higa Toyomitsu, Murayama Tomoe (Ryukyu Islands Historical Society), Fukuchi Hiroaki (Okinawan Historical Film Society), Moriguchi Katsu (Journalist), Oshiro Misako (Okinawan Folk song singer)

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