Inspirational walk across Japan


Staff Writer

‘Negative: Nothing” a documentary film on the odyssey of a Swiss man who walked the length of Japan, will again be screened in Tokyo this month.

After becoming unemployed when his clients cancelled their trips to Japan in the wake of the disasters of March 11, 2011, Zurich-based travel agent Thomas Koehler, 45, began a 2,900-km journey through Japanese archipelago on foot.

He started on Aug. 1, 2011, from Cape Soya, the northernmost point of Hokkaido, and reached Cape Sata in Kagoshima Prefecture, the southernmost point in Kyushu, on Dec. 31, 2011.

Not long into his journey, Koehler began to receive media coverage, and his blog has been accessed more than 130,000 times.

Realizing the impact Koehler’s project had, Swiss journalist Jan Knuesel and his brother Stephan, a New York-based film director, produced a documentary about the journey.

The 78-minute film, with subtitles in Japanese and English, follows Koehler walking and captures Japan’s beautiful scenery as well as the warm interactions he had with locals along the way. There are many interviews with people from Japan and Switzerland that attest to the significance of the journey. It is not simply a travelogue, but rather the story of a man whose experience has inspired many people.

“We are proud of the fact that we managed to make an independent film that attracts and resonates with many people of all ages and backgrounds,” says Jan.

“Negative: Nothing” will be screened on March 9, 16, 22 and 23 at 6:30 p.m. (March 22 at 7 p.m.) at OAG-Haus, Goethe Institute in Akasaka, Tokyo. For more information visit negativenothing.com/en.