Be More Human - Kokuro's 15-year Struggle@(Cinema version)
How did "restructuring" begin in Japan?
Documentary video. 2001. 100 minutes.
Directed, filmed, and edited by: MATSUBARA Akira, SASAKI Yumi
Music by: TANAKA Tetsuro, MURAKAMI Eiji
Produced and distributed by: Video Press
Awarded for the incentive in the 6th Peace and Cooperation Journalist Foundation
Competition.Participated in the Chonju Film Festival in 2001.
11/17-11/30 in 2001 Showing at Box-Higashinakano at Tokyo
Competition.Participated in theTaiwan International Labor Film Festival in 2002.
Competition.Participated in the Yamagata International Documentary Film Festival in 2003.
The division and privatization of the national railways, which were carried out under the Nakasone administration in 1987, was the beginning of "restructuring" that is prevalent now. Members of the Kokuro (National Railworkers' Union), who refused to compromise with the authority, suffered from ruthless dismissal or discrimination. This is a documentary of the struggle of 1047 railworkers and their families, who demanded their reinstatement while peddling and doing a part time job. They have continued to be defeated in lawsuits and even been betrayed by the union leaders. However, they still try to live without abandoning their pride, and they represent a gleam of hope in the corrupt Japanese society. This documentary is a masterpiece of the filmed records that have been taken for 14 years.@
TSUCHIMOTO Noriaki (documentary film director)
Japan can be seen from the point of view of the Kokuro issue.
One of the turning points of Japan's post war democracy was the issue of the national railways. This work clarifies how the Kokuro was destined, crushed, and suppressed. I would like you to think about this big issue through this film, to which the media have turned their blind eyes.@
Who are on the video?
- SAKUMA Tadao (age 68) Sakuma san joined the National Railways at the age of 14. He was a train driver on the Tsurumi Line, running through Yokohama and Kawasaki Cities, for 25 years. He was displaced from the work on the division and privatization and sent to the "Human Mobilization Centre", virtually the detention camp for disobedient workers. He was dismissed one year before he reached the age of retirement. The oldest among members of the struggle groups who are demanding the reinstatement.
- YAMADA Norio (age 51) Yamada san was sent out of the track maintenance department at Shinjuku, central Tokyo, due to discrimination against Kokuro members. Instead, he was assigned to a kiosk on a platform several times. Now, he has been in a place isolated from the mainstream of the railway work.
- OTANI Eiki (age 43) Otani san used to be a carriage inspector. As he did not leave the Kokuro, he was not employed by the JR (Japanese Rail, newly privatized company). Based on Rumoi, Hokkaido, he has continued struggling by creating work together with his colleagues.
- FUJIYASU Mineko (age 49) Fujiyasu san is wife of a Kokuro member who was dismissed. She lives in Otoineppu, Hokkaido. Her desperate appeal at a Kokuro conference attracted sympathy from great many Kokuro members and others.@
Profile of the directors (MATSUBARA Akira and SASAKI Yumi)
Matsubara and Sasaki have produced many documentary videos independently about the division and privatization of the National Railways since 1986. They established "Video Press", video production in 1989. "Be More Human - A Kokuro Story" (95 minutes), whose original version was made in 2000, is a masterpiece of news gathering activities that have lasted for more than 14 years. It was re-edited into the cinema version, to which materials gathered recently are also added.@
Impression of those who watched this documentary in a preview
- I felt that "human beings should be like that by nature" after I watched the people in struggle. I was very impressed with them who behave naturally.@(female, age 34)
- I learned the importance of courage and dignity with which we keep on speak out against something wrong. (male, age 25)
- From despair to hope. The Kokuro struggle is the starting point of everything in the time of decadence and collapse, which are seen in every aspect of Japan now. (male, age 57)
For more details: -
Video Press @ http://homepage3.nifty.com/videopress/
Address: 2-22-17-403 Mukaihara, Itabashi-ku, Tokyo, Japan
Tel: 81-3-3530-8588 Fax: 81-3-3530-8578