In order to build a world where you and I can live peacefully
Alexandre Scarfone translated this post from the illcommonz blog of March 17. Thanks, Alex!
▼[Event Announcement] “In order to build a world where you and I can live peacefully”
“Tomorrow (the 18th) at 7 PM, we will be screening and discussing ANPO at Uplink. Guests: Illcommonz (Masanori Oda), Ichirō Yuasa (spokesperson for the NPO Peace Depot), director Linda Hoaglund, Takashi Asai. Of course, the theme will be the earthquake. It is important to have an event to meet and discuss, especially at a time when people are waiting at home, watching the Internet although there is no one by their side.” (asaitakashi Takashi Asai)
[Date and time] March 18, 2011 (Friday) screening at 7 PM / discussion from 8:40 to 10 PM
[Location] Uplink Factory, Shibuya, Tokyo
[Fee] ¥1,500 (includes 1 drink)
[Guests] Linda Hoaglund / Illcommonz / Ichirō Yuasa
“Last year, as opposition to military bases in Okinawa grew louder, we’ve been bombarded with calls to ‘reenforce the U.S.-Japan Alliance’. All that we people of Earth want to do is live peacefully. With our guests, let us reflect on non-dangerous measures towards a peaceful life.”
What led up to the event taking place (March 16-17, 2011)
Date: Wed, 16 Mar 2011 +0900
Subject: Re: About the event on 3/18
From: Masanori Oda
※The blackout has ended and I just came back from a walk, so I’m emailing you now.
Greetings, this is Oda.
I read your email.
Because of the extreme circumstances, I will be brief and to the point.
Here are my thoughts.
Personally, I am opposed to unreasonable self-restraint on music, film, performing arts and other entertainment during times of disaster or war. On the contrary, it is especially in times like these that music and film shine all the brighter, giving people hope and strength.
In the case of music for example, musicians can play by ear and change their repertoire, lyrics or tone, thus improvising on the spot “something” that is adapted to present circumstances, and share that “something” with listeners.
However, the same cannot be said about film.
Once a film is completed, it is not possible to adapt its tone or the way it unfolds according to the current state of things.
I think the film ANPO itself is great, and this is why I accepted to participate in this discussion. Unfortunately, I feel that ANPO‘s peculiarly heavy tone is not suitable when considering Tokyo’s present situation, which is filled with fear and uncertainty. The same goes for the soundtrack that plays throughout the film.
There is now in Tokyo a feeling of oppression, much like in a crowded train in the morning.
Therefore I think that ANPO, screened under these circumstances, is not the kind of film that will shine brighter or give its audience hope and strength. I also think this is quite unfortunate for the film.
It is a good thing that Uplink continues its usual screenings as a film distributor and as a theatre. Uplink is being true to itself, and I trust it that way.
(Sorry, we just had a blackout. What follows is hastily written.)
Here is why I think it is meaningful that Uplink screens ANPO according to its planned schedule. It is what I think they should do. But it’s the “as usual” part that is meaningful to me. In contrast, an “event” is special. Even if there is no “event”, a film holds its own, and moreover, will always fill the darkness of the theatre and echo through it with the exact same tone. It lights up its audience’s hearts. Whatever the circumstances, it won’t budge an inch—here lies the strength of film.
That is what I think.
For those reasons, I suggested to Mita-san not to cancel this event, but to postpone it instead. This rescheduling implies the hope that “the day will surely come”.
That is what I have to suggest regarding the “event”.
Please forgive my poor writing in the midst of these blackouts.
March 16, 2011
In the darkness of a blackout
There are films other than ANPO that, under the current situation, can shine brighter and give people strength. I have decided to remain in Tokyo, so if there is an event with such a film selection, I can always rush over to help.
Date: Thu, 17 Mar 2011 11:58:08 +0900
Subject: About the screening of ANPO
From: Takashi Asai
To: Mita-sama, Oda-sama (CC: Linda, Uplink staff)
This is Uplink president Asai.
I believe it is now that we must hold this event.
However, we must above all secure the the safety of the audience.
The building that Uplink rents is made of concrete, so there were no cracks or other problems due to the earthquake. Of course, we cannot deny the possibility that another earthquake might happen in Kantō, but that problem is not limited to this event.
Also, regarding radiation, if we are to believe the news, people who are within a radius of 30 km from the nuclear power plant are standing by at home, and it’s not like there is pollution—from my understanding it’s safe, but they are made to stand by as a precaution. Mayors from that area have complained over the phone. “Even if the level of radiation is harmless to human health, drivers carrying relief supplies are afraid and won’t get any closer because we are within 30 km from the plant. We want the government to clearly say that this area is safe.” If we are to believe this information, we are safe 200 km away in Tokyo.
Now, about viewing films at a time like this, I think ANPO will give the audience an opportunity to reflect about themselves and about Japan—in fact I think it will force them to do that. That is one of the biggest reasons Uplink is distributing ANPO.
Tomorrow’s event isn’t just about watching a film, or listening to a musical performance, or watching a play—tomorrow’s screening is accompanied by a discussion. It is particularly important for us, who are currently hanging on to information from television or the Internet, to have a place to meet and exchange opinions, even if we are just a dozen people. I want to go through with this not to heal the hearts of people who have been isolated standing by at home or because of planned blackouts, but to have a space to talk and think.
Naturally, because of the current situation, the topic of discussion will most likely turn out not be the film ANPO, but the earthquake. Obviously, this is strongly related to the U.S.-Japan Security Treaty. Linda, an American who is fluent in English and of course also fluent in Japanese, will be present. She probably understands information from abroad better than us. In order to deepen our own reflection, it might be more effective to listen to what Linda has to say rather than to follow baseless information on Twitter and whatnot.
I believe that right now, the people of Tokyo want to meet somewhere and exchange opinions.
I believe that what is now necessary for the people of Tokyo is not healing, but to meet and talk. It may seem as though the Internet connects people, but if you glance to your side, no one is there. Even if you are constantly online, when you are eating alone at home or watching television by yourself, you will feel even more isolated than usual.
There is a strong demand now for a place to meet, exchange and share ideas, and this is precisely why Uplink, which is in position to offer this, must hold this screening and event, if it is safe to do so. Also, I strongly believe that the screening of ANPO and discussion are something that entertainment films cannot provide.
That is why I do not want to waste this opportunity for screening and discussion.
As Uplink, we are co-organizing this with Mita-san, so even if both of you cancel or do not participate, the event will go on because of the above-mentioned reasons.
Of course, I want to make this event happen and gather a large audience. As for Oda-san, I would be honoured if you participated.
Thanks for your understanding.
Date: Thu, 17 Mar 2011 01:43:08 -0400
Subject: Re: About the screening of ANPO
From: Linda Hoaglund
Dear Asai sama,
Your passionate writing about the significance of tomorrow’s event is very heartening.
By nature, disasters always cast the fear of their possibility onto human existence, and this won’t change any time soon.
As proof that they are not animals, after experiencing disasters, humans have given birth to narratives by discussing them, and given birth to art by representing them.
I sincerely look forward to spending time and discussing with people who want to gather tomorrow.
My closest friends from overseas are eager to know which organization is best to turn to in order to donate to victims. If there is someone who has such information, please do let me know tomorrow.
All the best,
Date: Thu, 17 Mar 2011 +0900
Subject: Re: About the screening of ANPO
From: Masanori Oda
This is Oda.
I have read Asai-san’s email.
I don’t have much time until the next blackout, so I will go straight to the point.
>My opinion is that it is especially now that this event must happen.
>However, we must above all secure the the safety of the audience.
Asai-san, I understand your point. I think Uplink is being true to itself.
Therefore, if Asai-san thinks tomorrow’s event must happen and invites me as a guest, then I respect his decision and views, and will gladly participate.
Needless to say, I am not worried about the building Uplink is in. Nor am I worried about the effects of radiation on Tokyo. The 50-plus year old wooden house I currently live in is much more dangerous, and even if harmful radiation does reach Tokyo, I want to remain in my Tokyo home and survive in a DIY fashion.
Also, I spent my youth during the Cold War of the 1980s and grew up listening to and watching anti-nuclear music and films, so I still have the readiness I cultivated back then. In a few words, this is how it goes:
“NO PLACE TO HIDE”
But that is merely my own way of thinking and way of life. Therefore I have no intention of imposing those or involving other people. So never mind my own person—the only thing that worries me is the personal safety of the people who will gather at the event.
I trust that both Uplink’s building and the will of people to gather and watch ANPO under these circumstances are solid. What worries me is that during their commute between home and Uplink, these people might get caught up in the hysteria of Tokyo’s stampeding for food and gas.
Considering that, although I respect the views and actions of those will come to see the film, I wonder whether I truly respect their will.
This is what I wrote in yesterday’s blog:
“When it comes to how we should treat people who think and live differently than ourselves, I think that since everyone wants to decide by themselves, we should respect each and everyone’s views no matter what their decisions are.”
That is why if Uplink and the event’s organizers all agree that “we must above all secure the the safety of the audience”, then as I wrote on my blog, I also want to join them in their reasoning.
A blackout is about to start in a few minutes, so I will end with a quote from my blog.
“There is a strong political aspect to my reasons for remaining in Tokyo, and those are definitely not rational. That is because I hate nuclear power. I don’t just hate nuclear power—I am opposed to it. Fiercely opposed to it. Firmly opposed to it. It’s not just TEPCO that is wrong—this country’s entire nuclear power policy is. It is wrong that people are made to endure suffering and pollution for the sake of Tokyo. Yet I live using that nuclear power, and right now, lit by that electricity, I am writing with it. The contradiction couldn’t be any clearer. However, because I know that being riddled with such huge contradictions can bring something about, I want to accept this contradiction as it is—but right now I want to punish myself for it. Riddled with radiation, I want to connect to something by sharing this as a cursed common good. With my body and heart riddled with contradiction and radiation, I want to protest more strongly than ever against nuclear power. As we often hear, in times of emergency, humans think in an utterly irrational way. That is precisely why I want to see with my own eyes whatever this irrationality brings about which would not occur normally. For that reason, I want to survive. Whatever the government says, I want to survive in Tokyo.”
In any case, let us meet tomorrow.
March 17, 2011
If possible, at tomorrow’s event, I’d like Asai-san to participate in a discussion, not about the film ANPO, but about these kinds of email exchanges. That is one the event’s purposes that a film cannot fulfill.
Date: Thu, 17 Mar 2011 15:28:24 +0900
Subect: Re: About the screening of ANPO
From: Takashi Asai
I would be glad to discuss these and other subjects tomorrow.
Reference: background to the film ANPO
▼Published in Ethnic_urbanoid_graphy (AKA An Echograph of the Showa Era) (copyright-free)
・Masanori Oda, “Step into S.D.F. (Self-Defence Force Troops)”, in 10+1, No. 35, INAX publishing, pp. 36-39
・Masanori Oda, “Spring, Come!”, in 10+1, No. 34, INAX publishing, pp. 39-42
・Masanori Oda, “Goodbye EXPO, For the Third Time”, in 10+1, No. 36, INAX publishing, pp. 112-115