Documentary profiles children in post-March 11 Japan
Communities in northeastern Japan are still struggling to come to terms with last year’s compound disasters. But what about the children of the region? Are they able to move on and look ahead to the future? That is the question behind the upcoming short documentary “Kore Kara” (meaning “from now on” in Japanese).
The 30-minute film brings together profiles of children and teens living in Kesennuma, Miyagi Prefecture, one of the many areas that were hit hard by the March 11 tsunami.
“Originally, the purpose of the film was to point out the necessity for more attention to children’s needs and counseling following a natural disaster,” says Tokyo-based journalist Kevin Mcgue, who is producing the film. “But after meeting some kids in the affected areas, we discovered they have a powerful message to share not only with other children in Japan, but with the world.”
The focus of the documentary changed to a more positive stance. Rather than having the children recount their traumatic experiences of March 11, 2011, the filmmakers asked them to talk about their hopes and dreams for the future.
“Meeting these brave kids was an eye opener,” says director Ivy Oldford. “Most of the responses we got from them were different from what I expected—in a good way.” Having survived the disaster, many of the children express wishes to become nurses or rescue workers in order to help others.
Despite living in an area that is still rebuilding more than a year after the devastating tsunami, the children featured in the film urge a positive attitude. “I want people to treasure each day,” says a high school student in the film. “People want to put things off until tomorrow, but for some people ‘tomorrow’ didn’t come because of the natural disaster. So you have to value today.”
The filmmakers plan to make the documentary available with multilingual subtitles to schools both in Japan and around the world. They hope teachers can share with their students the powerful message that even the youngest members of society can overcome a natural disaster and see beyond to the bright future they create for themselves.
The filmmakers also plan to hold screenings in affected areas in Tohoku and in Tokyo. They are raising funds to cover costs relating to holding screenings and making DVDs and teacher guides at http://www.indiegogo.com/korekaraproject.
Screenings are planned for Tokyo in December and January. Screening dates will be posted on the Facebook page as they are set. For more information on the documentary, visit http://www.facebook.com/korekaraproject