A documentary film on Japan’s tumultuous postwar history since signing the 1960 security treaty with the United States will be released next month, featuring the works and first-person accounts of artists and writers reflecting on the era.
Director Linda Hoaglund, a Japan-born American who describes the bilateral ties under the treaty as unnatural, said she will be happy if her film, “Anpo,” can offer people who watch it “a chance to think about what kind of future they want to build.”
It is the first film directed by Hoaglund, who over the years has handled English subtitles for about 200 films, including those directed by Akira Kurosawa and Hayao Miyazaki.
The film will be screened in Tokyo and Yokohama from Sept. 18, as well as in other cities such as Sendai, Osaka and Naha, Okinawa Prefecture. In addition, “Anpo” will have its world premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival, which opens next month.
The 89-minute documentary is arriving at cinemas at a sensitive time for the two countries, with the planned relocation of U.S. Marine Corps Air Station Futenma within Okinawa pitting the Japanese and U.S. governments against the islanders, who oppose the move.
“Anpo,” which draws its title from an abbreviated Japanese term for the bilateral security arrangements, depicts the tumultuous era, in which violent demonstrations erupted on campuses and elsewhere against the treaty’s revision, mainly through interviews with artists such as painter Tadanori Yokoo and singer Tokiko Kato and the introduction of their works.
The film also shows U.S. military bases in Okinawa and Yokosuka as they are today as a way to showcase the security alliance over the last half century. Okinawa hosts the bulk of U.S. military facilities in Japan and Yokosuka, a port city south of Tokyo, hosts the U.S. naval force headquarters in the country.
“What kind of relationship have the United States, which dropped atomic bombs (on Japan), and Japan, which was defeated in the war, built in the postwar era? Present in making this film was this question of what was happening in the background of my life,” said Hoaglund.
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