INTRODUCTION : The Wages of Resistance:NaritaStories

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45 years from the violent anti-airport movement,
farmers defy Japan’s amnesia by choosing their
own lives of resistance.


In 1966, the Japanese government abruptly and arbitrarily announced a plan to build an airport in the rural Sanrizuka district of the city of Narita. Local farmers stood up in opposition, and their movement won the support of students and young labor union activists nationwide. Narita became the site of a decade of intense and often violent struggle representing Japan’s era of political activism.

Forty-five years later, The Wages of Resistance: Narita Stories returns to visit those farmers who once rose in resistance against the state. Today a few continue to farm under the deafening roar of jet engines, while others speak tearfully about departures and lost lands and livelihoods. Their lives were forever altered by the building of Narita International Airport – today Tokyo’s hub for international air traffic, with over 600 flights taking off and landing every day.

Co-directed by the 80-year-old cinematographer of the first of Ogawa Production’s acclaimed Sanrizuka Series in 1968, the film contrasts stunning vintage documentary footage and photographs heated with collision and fury, with the serene beauty of Narita’s pastoral landscape today̶serene save for the jet airplanes roaring overhead. With the 2020 Tokyo Olympics approaching, the Japanese government plans to extend the existing runways further into the remaining fields.


The summer grasses̶
Of brave soldiers’ dreams
The aftermath.
̶Matsuo Bashō


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