Whalers and the Sea

(“Kujira-tori no umi”)
Director: UMEKAWA Toshiaki

1998 Japanese Subtitled in English Color 16mm 85 min

Production Company: Siglo, Ltd.
Producer: YAMAGAMI Tetsujiro, SHO Koshiro
Photography: ICHINOSE Masafumi
Editing: UMEKAWA Toshiaki, MIYAZAWA Seiichi
Music: HAYASHI Eitetsu
Sound: TSURUMAKI Yutaka
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[Festivals and prizes] Biarritz, France ’98

[Synopsis] A year-long coverage of traditional coastal whaling and research whaling in the North Pacific.
The 31st Sumitomomaru leaves a northern Japanese port on a half-year journey to catch whales. Gunner Izumi and five sailors will be chasing whales along the Pacific coast. It is a challenging task. Teamwork and pride among the crew keeps their faces glowing. In Norway, too, the minke whaling ships are bustling with preparation for the opening of the season. For people in these towns, whales are a traditional way of life and an important food stock. Through looking at the process of whale-hunting and food consumption, the film emphasizes the traditional relationship between the whaler and the sea and the principles of human subsistence.

UMEKAWA Toshiaki

Born in 1964 in Fukushima. Worked as assistant director on various documentaries and feature films including Village of Dreams and The Crossing with director Higashi Yoichi. This is his directorial debut.