Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Eight screens for "Yasukuni", more to follow

Hopefully this will be the final word on the Yasukuni documentary controversy: Cinema Cafe have announced that eight cinemas in seven cities will definitely be going ahead with screening the unexpurgated version of Li Ying's cause celebre, meaning shomin (plebs) such as myself will at last be granted the privilege formerly afforded exclusively to politicians, journalists and right-wing activists.

Tokyo: Shibuya Cine Amuse, May 3rd-9th
Tokyo: Cine Qua Non Yurakucho 1-chome, from May 10th
Osaka: Dainana Geijutsu Gekijo, from May 10th
Hiroshima: Hiroshima Cine Twin Shintenchi, from May 24th
Kyoto: Kyoto Cinema, from June 7th
Niigata: Cine Wind, from June 7th
Gunma: Cinematheque Takasaki, from July 12th
Okinawa: Sakurazaka Gekijo, from July 12th

And that's not all - the following 15 cinemas are currently investigating the possibility of working the doco into their schedules:

Cinema Angelica, Shibuya
Metro Gekijo, Fukui
Cineterrie Tenjin, Fukuoka
Yamagata Forum
Fukushima Forum
Morioka Forum
Hachinohe Forum
Cinema Taurus, Tomakomai
Cine Tokachi, Niigata
Cinema Iris, Hakodate
Ichinoseki Cine Plaza, Iwate
Tokamachi Cinema Paradise, Niigata
Teatoru Tokuyama, Yamaguchi
Atago Gekijo, Kochi
Miyazaki Kinemakan

Regardless of concerns regarding the film's bias and the director's motivations (especially some troubling doubts raised by Aceface in the comments section of Jason Gray's blog), at least now it looks as though we will be allowed to make up our own minds. For me, the most galling thing about this whole kerfuffle is the arrogance of the gatekeepers - both elected and self-appointed - who feel they deserve the right to pass judgement on behalf and instead of the general public.


  1. "For me, the most galling thing about this whole kafuffle is the arrogance of the gatekeepers - both elected and self-appointed - who feel they deserve the right to pass judgement on behalf and instead of the general public."

    That I agree wholeheartedly.
    BTW,Check EIga HIHO just came out on Monday.
    The issue is devoted for this theme.”映画奪還作戦、我々から映画を観る機会を奪うな”

  2. I'll be picking up a copy this weekend. It's not so easy for me since they tore down the Book 1st in Shibuya.

  3. Book 1st still exist.It's underneath the Mizuho bank.

  4. I know - I'm just scared of being recruited by all the scouts hanging around outside.

  5. NHK had aired "Close-Up Gendai"featuring "Yasukuni"contoversy tonight.
    It seems there will be more than 30 theaters will be showing "Yasukuni"natonwide.

  6. Shit, I wish I'd watched that. I wonder if the cinemas that pulled out are regretting their decision now, especially as Cine Amuse is raking in the cash with no black van disruptions as far as I know. Maybe the controversy was all just a brilliant PR ruse devised by Li and Argo Pictures (with the secret collaboration of Inada Tomomi).

    Utamaru had an interesting take on the film on his TBS radio podcast, essentially saying its true theme was miscommunication in the sense that no-one is really listening to what the other side has to say. He also surmised if the swordsmith had been so unforthcoming because he's old and couldn't understand Li's Chinese-accented Japanese. I'll wait until the Golden Week crowds die down before going and making up my own mind.

  7. Utamaru is pretty right wingy,No?

    To me this was the biggest WTF in celebrity comment section of" YASUKUNI"



    But the nail was hit by Yanashita Kiichiro.



  8. ”Utamaru is pretty right wingy,No?”

    Ooops.I've made mistake with somebodyelse.

  9. Sorry, should have said "Utamaru from Rhymester".

    Thanks for the quotes. Fujiwara's sounds like the usual vapid blather you find in film endorsements by "beautiful Japanese" celebrities.

    I also should have mentioned that yesterday on the Kinejapan email discussion list, 'Yasukuni' subtitler and documentarian John Junkerman responded to your concerns about Li's mention of the Nanking symposium after Jason Gray brought it up.

  10. Just realized that YASUKUNI website had gentrified the wackiest part of Fujiwara's words taken from his blog on april 7.


    Here's the deleted part.
    Those who came to the shirine in cos-play outfits are beautiful.


    Small change,but enough said about the film and people behind it.
    Not that I agree an inch with Fujiwara's impression,though.

    Very curious about the discussion(although I can predict in advance)Could you send me a copy?

  11. Looks like the swordsmith in the film,Mr.Kariya wasn't even a swordsmith in Yasukuni before 1945.He was nominated as "Yasukuni Swordsmith"only after 1973,when he offered sword for shinto-relic to the shrine.It seems Mr,Kariya never even made a single sword for the imperial army.

    Tom Kishida,the photographer and the author of "Yasukuni Sword"of whom had introduced Mr.Kariya to Li is now accusing the fabrication in Channel Sakura.

  12. Interesting that someone has gone to the trouble of translating the interview into English in the comments section of that YouTube clip. Maybe it was that American guy shown in the film? ;)

    I can understand why the conservative/right wing Channel Sakura would be pushing this, and contributor Maeda Yuichi has already slammed the documentary on his film review site.


    Their biases are easily verifiable, but how credible is this Tom Kishida guy? I see he's written several books on the Yasukuni swords, but is he a reliable source?

  13. "Maybe it was that American guy shown in the film? "

    But the guy could hardly speak any Japanese?No?

    The only American I can think of who know all about Yasukuni and Japanese psyche is John Junkerman,but my instinct tells me it probably not him.

    I run into this interview since I was reading the website of the society for the preservation of Japanese art swords (the inheritant of ??????? which was formed inside of Yasukuni shrine until 1945)now has an office in National Museum in Ueno of which I call about two weeks ago and finding out the funny trivias like Hashimoto Ryutaro was the chairman of the society until he passed away.(He was a lifetime Ken-do enthusiast)

    What I had in my mind was since Kariya Naoji is now age of 90 years old,he must have been at the age of 27~28 in 1945 and I thought that was a bit young to be a master swordsmith in ??????? in Yasukuni.Because the group was basically formed to preserve the archaic craft of sword forging which would probably takes decades of craftsmanship of which no twenty-something could achieve.
    So I wanted to search for available info on swordsmith and I ran into Kishida You-tube post.

    Tom Kishida is the guy who spread the name "Yasukuni Sword"in his book,because the conventional name of those sowrds were called as "Kudan Gatana"after the location of Yasukuni shirine.
    So I wouldn't surprise if Kishida had inspired "Japanese sword was being forged within Yasukuni shrine and two are deeply connected "theme of the film.Because that is a concrete fact and great new angle for a documentary of Yasukuni shrine.
    According to Kishida interview,he was being credited in the film Yasukuni,so I'd presume he was reliable according to the"YASUKUNI"crew.

    There's another clip with Kariya Naoji answering to amateurish Sakura reporter and basically Kariya confirms the content of Kishida interview.

    Yeah,I agree Channel Sakura is hardly an objective media and reliable.Mizushima,the guy who is making revisionist fim about Nanjing massacre is in charge of this cable channel.And they have every reasons to degrade Li's film.
    But both interviews I saw on You-tube was minimum edited and the part of info I wanted know from KIshida/Kariya interviews were seamless,thus worth considering.
    Besides I(or anyone)can check all the name of the swordsmith enlisted in craft room in Yasukuni from 1933~1945 from the society for the preservation of Japanese art swords if I needed to.But I'd better watch the whole film before all that.