In 1968, cameraman Otsu Koshiro sho Summer in Narita, the first of a series of seven documentaries by Ogawa Shinsuke about the farmers’ movement opposing the government’s use of force to build Narita Airport. The film captured the power of local farmers as they face off fully armed riot police with stones and bags of feces and urine. Otsu is violently arrested in one scene of the film, caught in the midst of the daily clashes with the riot police.
Ogawa Productions left seven films and hours and hours of rushes on the Sanrizuka Struggle. Editor Daishima Haruhiko drew on these archives, interweaving them with present day footage filmed by Otsu over the course of three years.
In addition to this archival footage from Ogawa Productions, black and white photos from Kitai Kazuo’s celebrated book Sanrizuka (1971) punctuate the documentary. Kitai also participates as an interviewer in some of the scenes with his friends and former fighters.
Music by Otomo Yoshihide consists of fragmented layers of noise, not unlike accumulated memories, opening up into a drum and wind instrumental march. This is not a gallant anthem but a “sad march” to rest the souls who fell in the struggle and to celebrate the last of the protesters.
At the bottom of the sea of memories, lay the words of two deceased protesters. They are Grandma Oki Yone whose home and land were confiscated by force, and Youth Corps leader Sannomiya Fumio, who committed suicide at the age of 22. Grandma Yone’s Declaration of Struggle is recited by the renowned screen and stage actress Yoshiyuki Kazuko (Empire of Passion by Oshima Nagisa). Sannomiya’s suicide note is read by Iura Arata, one of the top actors of Japan today (11.25: The Day He Chose His Own Fate by Wakamatsu Koji; Our Homeland by Yang Yonghi).
The impressive title calligraphy and calligraphy inserts were created by calligrapher Yamada Asako.