AM/NESIA: Forgotten “Archipelagos” of Oceania


Lifeline of the Sea

(Umi no seimei sen: Waga nanyo gunto)

JAPAN / 1933 / Japanese / B&W / 16mm / 72 min

Executive Producer: Saeki Eisuke
Photography: Ueno Yukikiyo and others
Editing, Narration: Aochi Chuzo
Animation: Murata Yasuji
Supported by: Navy Ministry of Japan
Sound, Production Company: Yokohama Cinema Shokai
Contact: Mainichi Productions
In Cooperation with: National Film Archive of Japan

Supported by the Navy Ministry of Imperial Japan, this pre-war propaganda piece reminds viewers of a long-forgotten time when Japan actively colonized Oceania. It depicts an intermediate stage of militarization spanning from Japanese settlement to the outbreak of the Pacific War in the former Nanyō Guntō (Pacific Mandated Islands region), countries and territories known today as the Republic of Palau, Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, and Republic of the Marshall Islands. With the gradual shift in depiction of the islands from paradise to battleground, the tone shifts from utopian visions to nationalistic fervor. At YIDFF ’91, the 32 minute silent version was screened, while this time the complete 16mm version with soundtrack will be shown.

Between Tides

JAPAN, USA / 2018 / English, Japanese / Color / Digital File / 87 min

Director, Editing: Masa Fox
Executive Producers: Boon Fox, Murotani Sawako
Producers: Masa Fox, Charles Fox, Daniel Long
Source: Masa Fox

Returned to Japan in 1968, the Ogasawara Islands, also known as the Bonin Islands, were administered by the United States following World War II. The islanders claim diverse origins, the result of a history since the 17th century of settlement by Western powers and Pacific Island peoples. Those residents of Western background who were children at the time of the return have suffered at the mercy of shifting US-Japan policies. Relying upon the islanders’ frank commentary, the film sheds light on a critical aspect of the Ogasawaras, unraveling the struggle these residents have borne across their lives.

Tokyo Hula

HAWAI‘I [USA] / 2019 / English, Japanese / Color / Digital File / 72 min

Director, Producer: Lisette Marie Flanary
Photography: Brian K. Wilcox
Production Sound Mixer: John McFadden
Editing: Kyung Lee
Associate Producer: Asaka Hatsumi
Executive Producer: Pacific Islanders in Communications
Production Company: Lehua Films
Source: Lisette Marie Flanary / Lehua Films

Japanese and Okinawan migration to Hawai‘i was historically one of the first significant bridges between Japan and Oceania, and although Japan officially colonized Micronesia and invaded many other islands during the war, it is Hawaiian culture that has endured as a symbol of Japan’s romantic desire for the Pacific. Hula has migrated back across the Pacific to Japan and become a profitable business for Hawaiian hula instructors that enables many Japanese to embody their desire for a tropical escape. This film traces these contradictory and complex channels of hula across the ocean, from Honolulu to Tokyo to post-disaster Fukushima.