Thursday 23 February 2017 at 6.30pm
at the Royal Anthropological Institute
Free – booking essential
Book online here
Hirogawara is a village with a long lasting tradition of forestry located in a mountain area of Kyoto prefecture, Japan. Although municipal records drafted in 2009 recorded a population of 120 residents amongst its five districts, over half of these citizens also have an urban household in Kyoto. These iribito (newcomer) villagers who predominantly reside in the city are situated alongside a dwindling population of mostly elderly jinomon (native) residents. Therefore the interactions taking place in Hirogawara provide an interesting case-study of a typically underpopulated village in a rural Japanese region which is undergoing a form of social change cultivated by globalised mobility.
Node (Atsushi Koike, 2010) captures Hirogawara residents reflecting on the traditions of their environment in a period of transition. There is a prevalent connection to ancestry which manifests itself in the maintenance of the Hirogawara landscape by its villagers. In this film, public space comes to constitute social memory, which is relayed by the villagers who recount meaningful autobiographical stories linked to their native environment. Whilst traditional public spaces and private interiors are conserved by members of the community, the aging population of Hirogarawa is also seen to struggle with the workload of maintaining its surrounding forests.
Node provides a contemporary insight into the often publicised issue of dwindling populations in Japan through the lens of a village community. It was filmed as part of fieldwork conducted by Atsushi Koike for a Master of Philosophy in Visual Cultural Studies at the University of Tromsø in 2010. The film has a reflective and contemplative pace, configuring the at times static environment of Hirogawara as a central framing device for the depiction of the residents being interviewed.
The Royal Anthropological Institute welcomes the first public screening of Node in the U.K. The evening will open with a reflection on and introduction to the microcosmic issues that can be seen in Hirogawara through Node and will conclude with a drinks reception.
Atsushi Koike was born in 1983 in Shiga, Japan. He studied Documentary film making in The film school of Tokyo for two years from 2006 and visual anthropology at the University of Tromsø in Norway in 2010.
This is part of a series of screenings co-organised by the Japan Society and the Royal Anthropological Institute that will revisit Japanese films housed in the RAI’s collection.
21 March – Memories of the Ainu Past and Present
at SOAS, in association with the Japan Research Centre