Kesennuma, Voices


Kesennuma, Voices.


Japan, 2012. Courtesy of 
TBS Television, Inc.

Director: Yukihiko Tsutsumi  Producer: Yasuyuki Jin  Starring: Yuki Ikushima, Sho Ikushima  Music: Ikumi Kumagai


監督: 堤幸彦  制作: 神康幸 出演: 生島勇輝 出演: 生島翔 主題歌: 熊谷育美

This docudrama, directed by hitmaker Yukihiko Tsutsumi (20th Century Boys, Hayabusa), follows the two sons of real-life TV announcer Hiroshi Ikushima as they journey to Kesennuma to volunteer after 3/11. Their father lost his younger sister and her husband in the tragedy, but the young men feel disconnected and helpless until they have spent backbreaking days assisting in the reconstruction efforts. The experience begins to transform them, but they struggle to face the future with hope.






Rebuilding Japan: Beyond the Tsunami with Ken Watanabe



Japan, 2012. Courtesy of Discovery Japan, NHK, Bang Singapore

Directors: Vikram Channa, Yasushi Koyama, Keiko Bang  Producers: Discovery Networks Asia-Pacific, NHK, Bang Singapore


監督: Vikram Channa, Yasushi Koyama, Keiko Bang  制作: ディスカバリー・ アジア, 日本放送協会, バン・シンガポール

This special segment of Discovery Channel's fascinating series on Japan's largest reconstruction effort since WWII follows international star Ken Watanabe as he visits Tohoku to observe the progress made since 3/11. This is the story of Japan's spirit and resilience as told through the eyes of one of its greatest ambassadors, one with a personal passion to help rebuild his country.






Oyako Forever: Present to the Future


Oyako Forever: Present to the Future

Japan, 2012. Courtesy of Japan International Broadcasting Inc.

Director/Cinematographer: Toshi Inomata  Producers: Satomi Iwasaki, Masahito Ishii  Starring: Bruce Osborn


監督/撮影: イノマタトシ  制作: 岩崎里美, 石井正人  出演: ブルース・オズボーン

This uplifting short documentary follows American photographer Bruce Osborn as he drives hundreds of kilometers across Tohoku, doing what he does best: helping families rediscover the significance and strength of their bonds — and relocate their joy — by posing for "oyako" portraits together. Osborn has been snapping unique photos of Japanese families for 30 years, but the journey to create these has been his most memorable.






Fukushima Hula Girls


がんばっぺ  フラガール  フクシマに生きる。彼女たちのいま

Japan, 2011.  Courtesy of Fukushima Hula Girls Production Committee

Director: Masaki Kobayashi  Producers: Hitomi Ishihara, Keiko Fujimura  Executive producer: Chung Kwang Jin Photography: Makoto Yoshida  Narrator: Yu Aoi  Music: Jake Shimabukuro


監督: 小林正樹  制作: 石原仁美、藤村恵子  エグゼクティブ制作: 丁廣鎮  撮影: 吉田   ナレーション: 蒼井優  音楽: ジェイク・シマブクロ

The harrowing challenges of leading a normal life after  3/11  are depicted in the unusual context of their impact on the popular Spa Resort Hawaiians in Iwaki, Fukushima Prefecture. Home to the Hula Girls dancing team — one of the big attractions of the holiday spot (whose heartwarming story was the subject of the award-winning 2006 film Hula Girls) — follows several performers as the resort attempts to recover and reopen, while the Hula Girls and fire-jugglers keep their spirits (and ours) up by rehearsing.






A Gentle Rain Falls for Fukushima



Japan, 2012. Courtesy of Totecheeta Chiquitita Production Committee

Director: Atsushi Kokatsu  Producers: Tatsuko Kokatsu, Yutaka Okada, Masahiro Furukawa  Photography: Kiyoshi Taskahashi  Cast: Jurina, Kosuke Toyohara, Chieko Matsubara, Shono Hayama


監督: 古勝敦  制作: 古勝たつ子、岡田裕、古川雅裕  撮影: 高橋清  出演: 豊原功補, 寿理菜, 葉山奨之, 松原智恵子

A gentle comedy-drama set against the backdrop of the 3/11 tragedy, this poignant film reminds us of the human need to form new families when our own have been taken from us. Marking a very promising debut for director Atsushi Furukatsu with support from the people of Fukushima, A Gentle Rain follows a failed architect who escapes his debts by fleeing to a small town, where he meets a young girl who claims that she is his mother... and then an old lady who says she is his younger sister. Before they know it, their "father" has shown up and this unlikely group of outsiders has firmly bonded.