- the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II;
- the 50th anniversary of the (re)establishment of diplomatic relations between Japan and Republic of Korea (South Korea);
- the 4th anniversary of the 3/11 earthquake, tsunami and nuclear disasters that hit the greater Tohoku region.
Save the dates for Critical Voices from "Japan"!!
(film descriptions at the end)
- Feb 17: Our School: Depicts every day life of Korean school in Japan @ New Parkway Theater, $8
Opening remarks by the award-winning filmmaker, Deann Borshay Liem
- Feb 24: Sayama: Follows an untouchable buraku couple's life after unjust conviction and decades of incarceration of the husband, Mr. Kazuo Ishikawa
@ New Parkway Theater, $10
Discussion with Asian Prisoner Support Committee & East Point Peace Academy
- March 3: My Heart Is Not Broken Yet: Humanizes a former Korean "comfort woman" residing in Japan, co-sponsored by Asian Women United
@ J. Paul Leonard Library Room 121, San Francisco State University, $3-15 suggested donation (No one turned away for lack of fund)
- March 10: Iitate Village: Investigates the challenges of a farming village in Fukushima after the nuclear disaster, co-sponsored by No Nukes Action
@ New Parkway Theater, $10
Poetry reading by Suzy Huerta
Check out our Facebook event page for updates!
OUR SCHOOL (2006, Dir. KIM Myung Joon: English subtitles)
-THANK YOU TO EVERYONE WHO CAME TO THE SCREENING :)
Our School depicts the every day life of Koreans in Japan or "Zainichi Koreans," particularly, the "North Korean" school and 3rd generation Korean students. It illuminates an invisible aspect of North Korea through the history of the diaspora of Korean people who believed in one unified and liberated Korea. It offers a poignant counter-narrative to the popular representation of "North Korea" as seen in The Interview or any other media in the West or in Japan. Through Our School, a narrative put together by South Korean director, Kim Myung Joon, we witness a very small but misunderstood community of Zainichi Koreans who dream of a unified Korea that transcends the Cold War and negotiate complicated systems of nationality, identity, and belonging as Koreans in Japan.
SAYAMA (2013: Dir KIM Soung Woong)
Sayama follows everyday life of Mr. Kazuo Ishikawa and Ms. Sachiko Ishikawa in their struggle for justice. Kazuo, a descendant of buraku --Japan’s outcast group-- was wrongly convicted of rape and murder of a schoolgirl in Sayama-city in 1963 (known as the “Sayama Case”) and imprisoned for more than 30 years until he was conditionally released in 1994. At age 74, Kazuo and Sachiko still continue their weekly demonstration at the Tokyo High Court to demand retrial and seek justice, in addition to touring all over Japan to meet their supporters and raise awareness around the case. Although one tends to see Kazuo and Sachiko simply as “freedom fighters,” the film does a beautiful job humanizing the tireless warriors by showing the “back-stages” where they get to do “ordinary” things such as doing house chores, having haircuts and going on a vacation. Director Kim invites all of us to join the movement and be part of Kazuo’s dream of getting back to school after retrial.
Official website: http://sayama-movie.com/
English Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/
My Heart is Not Broken Yet (2007: Dir. AHN Hae Ryung)
Ms. Shindo Song is the only Korean resident who has sued Japanese government for the human rights violation she experienced as a “comfort woman.” Born in 1922, Ms. Song was forced into sexual slavery for Japanese imperial army in China at age 16. In 1993, nearly half a century after the war ended, Ms. Song sued Japanese government, demanding “official apology.” Even after losing the 10-year-long courtroom battle in 2003, Ms. Song wasn’t defeated and stayed strong as she told her supporters, “Although I lost the case, my heart is not broken.” The documentary was made possible with the donations of 670 individuals who have built loving and trusting relationship with Ms. Song, and it portrays her as someone who’s more than just a “former comfort woman,” but a super witty, talented, kind and caring human being.
Official website: http://
Iitate Village (2012: Dir. DOI Toshikuni)
“Iitate Village” follows 2 families and several villagers in the rural farming town of Iitate in the Soma District of Fukushima, Japan during the aftermath of the March 11, 2011 Tohoku Tsunami and Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster. Famous for its beef, most residents depend on cattle breeding, yet due to radiation contamination, we witness the families having to throw out fresh milk, sell off their cows, and slowly shut down the very farming facilities their families have depended on for generations as a way of life. Within a month, the town is forced to evacuate its residents and we observe the nuanced challenges that result from family separation and what was once a tight-knit community quickly dissipates. Doi interviews these family farmers in their most vulnerable and intimate moments when they are forced to let go of all they know: their families, their farms, their livestock, their way of living, and most importantly, the town of Iitate, a place that Minori Takahashi, a young mother, called, "A place you come home to, where you're comfortable, you belong."
Official Website: http://doi-toshikuni.net/