Spirits of Wood and Metal—Traditional Artisans in Heisei Japan

(“Heisei shokunin no chosen”)
Director: INUI Hiroaki

2005 Japanese Subtitled in - Color - 67min

Executive Producer: MASUDA Yumiko
Photography: NUKU2, Move for 8, IMAGICA
Editor and Sound: TSP
  Contact Name: Yumiko Masuda, Luxe:Otabe
Phone: 81-424-80-7850
Fax: 81-424-80-7850
E-mail: yuri112@attglobal.net
URL: www.cinemacafe.net/hida/

[Synopsis] Takayama is a picturesque traditional city located in Gifu prefecture, the center of the largest Japanese isle. Its festival is regarded as one of the three most beautiful festivals in all of Japan, during which its dazzling and luxurious floats can be seen forming a gorgeous procession through the town streets. The twenty-three floats that presently make up the procession were built during the years of the Tokugawa Shogunate (1600-1868). These floats have been repaired and maintained by the artisans of the Festival Float Association.
When NAKADA Kinta, President of Hida Teiseki, heard one of the artisans say “we’d like to go beyond repairing, and make a new float,” he decided to commission one. He dreamed of leaving for future generations a modern-style float, built by gathering together the skills and techniques of Japan’s best artisans. He invited skilled craftsmen from all over Japan to participate in the project, including NAKADA Akio, the artist in charge of axles and the floats’ supervisor. The team also included top Japanese carpenter HACHINO Akira, master engravers, blacksmiths, lacquerers, and doll-makers. Building the float together, these artisans displayed the best of their skills while experimenting with new techniques.
This documentary follows the ten years that it took to complete the new revitalized ‘Kintokitai’ festival float. Scenes of artisans working and planning the float together, images of the beautiful landscape and art, and the story of children learning from their parents are sure to move and impress all.

INUI Hiroaki

Born 1963 in Asahikawa, Hokkaido. Entering a TV production company in 1984, he worked with the news program NEWS STATION where he directed mostly documentary features. In 2004, he established Hanagumi, where his programs about environmental protection and ecology were highly acclaimed. He continues with TV production. This is his debut feature documentary.