Sat, Apr 13, 2019 - Page 4 News List

Taiwanese ‘spirit’ inspiring for Japan: filmmaker

Staff writer, with CNA

Japanese director Atsuko Sakai poses for a photograph in Taipei on April 3.

Photo: CNA

A Japanese director who has filmed several documentaries about Taiwan on Thursday said that recording the nation’s development has made her think about the direction in which Japan is going.

Atsuko Sakai, director of Taiwan Jinsei (2009), Taiwan Identity (2013) and Taiwan Banzai (2017), said that her films focus on historical events and attempt to capture the vitality of Taiwanese.

She focuses on elderly Taiwanese who are fluent in Japanese to better understand the major milestones in the nation’s history and record the deep connections between the two countries, she said.

In Taiwan Banzai, Sakai traveled to Chenggong Fishing Harbor in Taitung County to interview a retired captain of a fishing boat that specialized in catching swordfish.

She recorded him singing Japanese fishing songs and also captured footage of him working in the fields.

Bunun men also feature in the movie, as Sakai follows them into the mountains to film them hunting.

Taiwan Banzai showcases the spirit of returning to the “origin of things,” something she said that Japan is losing.

For example, the Taiwanese family members cherish each other and how Aboriginal cultures respect nature are being lost in Japanese society, Sakai said.

Sakai is working on a documentary about Orchid Island (Lanyu, 蘭嶼) and said that its relationship with Taiwan proper is similar to that between the Ryukyu Islands and the main islands of Japan.

She hopes to meet more people working in the film industry in Taiwan, she added.

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