Monday, August 30, 2010

"Sumo association to set up 'mob-cams' at Kokugikan"

From today's Japan Today:

The Japan Sumo Association will set up ‘‘mob-cams’’ at Tokyo’s Ryogoku Kokugikan for the upcoming Autumn Grand Sumo Tournament as a measure to kick organized crime out of the national pastime.

Determined to remove the presence of gangsters from the sport once and for all under new chairman Hanaregoma, the JSA said on Sunday that it will install security cameras at the Kokugikan for the September meet in consultation with police.

The cameras will be in operation around the clock at the Kokugikan, where three meets are held annually. Cameras had been used to watch out for mobsters at the Nagoya basho in July, the first tournament not to be televised live after scandals linking sumo with the underworld surfaced.

See the story and reader comments:

"Film shows Japan-U.S. security from artists' viewpoints"

From today's Japan Today:

A documentary film on Japan’s tumultuous postwar history since signing the 1960 security treaty with the United States will be released next month, featuring the works and first-person accounts of artists and writers looking back on the era.

Director Linda Hoaglund, a Japan-born American who describes the bilateral ties under the treaty as unnatural, said she will be happy if her film "Anpo" can offer people who watch it "a chance to think about what kind of future they want to build."

It is the first film directed by Hoaglund, who has for years handled English subtitles for about 200 films, including those directed by Akira Kurosawa and Hayao Miyazaki.

Besides being screened in Tokyo and Yokohama from Sept 18 as well as other Japanese cities such as Sendai, Osaka and Naha—the capital of Okinawa Prefecture, Anpo will have its world premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival, which opens next month.

The 89-minute documentary is arriving at cinemas at a sensitive time for the two countries, with the planned relocation of the U.S. Marine Corps’ Futenma Air Station within Okinawa pitting the Japanese and U.S. governments against the islanders, who oppose the move.

“Anpo,” which draws its title from an abbreviated Japanese term for the bilateral security arrangements, depicts the tumultuous era, in which violent demonstrations erupted on campuses and elsewhere against the treaty’s revision, mainly through interviews with artists such as painter Tadanori Yokoo and singer Tokiko Kato and the introduction of their creations.

The film also shows U.S. military bases in Okinawa and Yokosuka as they are today as a way to showcase the security alliance over the last half century. Okinawa hosts the bulk of U.S. military facilities in Japan and Yokosuka, a port city south of Tokyo, hosts the U.S. naval force headquarters in Japan.

"What kind of relationship have the United States, which dropped atomic bombs (on Japan), and Japan, which was defeated in the war, built in the postwar era? Present in making this film was this question of what was happening in the background of my life," said Hoaglund.

On the dispute over the relocation of the Futenma base, the director suggested that Japanese people can decide how they want to settle it. "It’s up to the Japanese people to change the current situation," she said.

See the story and reader comments:

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

The German Deaf Museum

Even before I came to Germany I was hoping that I would be able to meet some German deaf people and have the opportunity to study German Sign Language. My students at Goethe, Bastian and Armin, found a web page for a "deaf museum" in Frankfurt and I was excited to check it out. As it turns out, the museum, which opened only last year, is the only deaf museum in Germany. And its founder and curator, Lothar Scharf, has done incredible research on deaf people in Germany during the Nazi era. Lothar has been very generous sharing his research with me and more. In the short time I have been in Germany he has become a very good friend.

I was able to spend some time at the deaf museum and the Frankfurt Deaf Center located above the museum, meet German deaf people and observe German Sign Language (DGS). I found German Sign Language to be similar to American Sign Language and completely different from Japanese Sign Language. Here is a brief description of German Sign Language:

German Sign Language or Deutsche Gebärdensprache is the sign language of the Deaf community in Germany. It is often abbreviated as DGS. It is unclear how many use German Sign Language as their main language; Gallaudet University estimated 50,000 in 1986. The language was not invented; it has evolved naturally though use in deaf communities over hundreds of years.

Germany has a strong oralist tradition and historically has seen a suppression of sign language. German Sign Language was first recognised legally in a disability act in May 2002. Since then, Deaf people have a legal entitlement to Sign Language interpreters when communicating with federal authorities, free of charge.

German Sign Language is unrelated to spoken German. The two have very different grammars, though as the dominant language of the region, German has had some influence on German Sign Language. A signed system that represents the German language has been developed, which is known as "Signed German" (Lautsprachbegleitende(r) Gebärden, Lautbegleitende Gebärden or LBG). It is rarely used as a natural means of communication between deaf people. Another system of manually representing German is known as "Phonembestimmes Manualsystem" (Phonemic Manual System). Similar systems that represent the English language are known as Manually Coded English.


Lothar has told me that in reality the number of deaf people is smaller, perhaps around 40,000. And he is pessimistic about the future of deaf people in Germany. For one thing, deaf people were sterilized during Nazi time so genetically deaf people in Germany were unable to have children. And cochlear implants are very popular (and are apparently free for deaf people to get). And I understand from Lothar that "Deaf Pride" as it exists in the United States and Japan is not so prevalent in Germany. Most deaf people want to communicate with and be a part of the hearing world. Realistically, that's where better jobs are. Here are a couple of more links about the deaf situation in Germany:

Link to article, "Deaf education in Germany"

Link to overview of deafness in Germany, "Deaf Community - Germany"

The German deaf situation seems so different from what I have encountered in Bali, the United States and Japan. I hope to have more opportunity for research in the future. And Lothar himself makes for a fascinating study. Lothar is hard of hearing and seems comfortable speaking German (and English), signing DSG (deaf sign language) and LBG (signed German). He quit high school and was into flower power and the communist party as a youth. Twelve years ago he began his "second life" as he puts it, beginning his research of deaf people during the Nazi time. He has an incredible collection of deaf related materials on display in the museum and in his own private collection. Lothar has found that deaf people were not merely discriminated (and sterilized) by the Nazis, many of the deaf supported Hitler (and of course many did not support him), the same as hearing people in Germany at the time. One older deaf individual I met in Frankfurt told me how he liked and now misses Hitler (despite being sterilized himself). And just today Lothar showed me copies of Deaf Hitler Youth newspapers with articles about Japan (and he has promised to translate them into English in the future). Lothar travels across Germany and Europe to give lectures about his research. He has also written two books full of valuable information and historic photographs. Check out his websites:

Link to Deaf Museum web page:

Link to Lothar Scharf's web page:

The Deaf Center has a large multiple purpose room, other rooms used for various deaf groups, administrative offices including facilities for a deaf telephone relay program and apartments for deaf and hard of hearing people.

There is also a Deaf Pub at the center, where deaf people can gather, eat, drink and socialize. In this sense, the deaf club is a physical space owned by deaf people (like the situation in the United States described by Lane et al. [1996]) as opposed to most sign language circles in Japan that rent rooms from community centers and social welfare facilities. Lothar seemed surprised/disappointed that my own sign language circle/deaf club in Osaka did not have its own bar.

The last two photos above are from occasions when deaf people gathered at the center to view soccer World Cup matches. The deaf people were just as crazy about soccer, or football, as hearing people.

I was able to bring my students from Goethe to the deaf museum on a fieldtrip and they were all greatly impressed. The fieldtrip was reported in a national German newspaper, the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung. While I was happy with the attention and to have my own photo published, the story itself was full of inaccuracies. It was unfortunate that the reporter didn't ask ask any questions and instead made assumptions.

The museum, despite its relatively small size, has many artifacts and exhibitions. I took many photos and am tempted to include them in this post, but in the end I want to encourage people to actually visit the museum and hear Lothar's lectures. The actual experience of being in the place is much richer than an internet encounter. Hopefully this post will give readers an idea of what the place is like and encourage visits. I am also hoping to bring Lothar to Japan so he can lecture about his research. Even though I am leaving Germany soon, I look forward to continued contact, experience and friendship with Lothar and others at the deaf center in Frankfurt. To them I wish to express my deepest gratitude for sharing so much with me and VAOJ.

"Japanese porn stars fight AIDS with 24-hour telethon"

From today's Japan Today:

This weekend, viewers are invited to the Shinjuku studio of Paradise TV to grasp the exposed chests of five female staffers who anchor the channel’s naked news programs (yes, the segments are exactly as revealing as that description implies). The suggested donation of 1,000 yen will be used to help prevent the spread of AIDS, a crisis that continues to worsen in Japan.

Now in its eighth year, the “24-Hour TV: Eroticism Saves the Earth telethon,” broadcast live on satellite provider Sky PerfecTV!, raises around 2 million yen annually. But the numerical figure is not important, Shiba says; the show is about the message. “When we started, AIDS was still being widely discussed. However, the issue began to slowly fade from view. So I’ve felt that this drive must continue in the hope that awareness of the problem will not be lost.”

Read the whole story:

"German angst alone cannot stop Google "(Street View)"

More about the controversies of Street View in Germany from today's The Local:

Google Street View is still harmless, says German consumer protection expert Falk Lüke, but that doesn’t mean the current discussion surrounding it is unnecessary. Instead, we should be focused on creating international rules for online privacy.


Amid all the classic German angst, good arguments against Street View have been mixed with downright silly ones. The pro-Google camp gleefully quotes its opponent's most absurd comments and stands by the under-fire web company. But that doesn’t change that Google really has done a lot wrong.

The company sent out cars to film the streets from a height of 2.9 metres. This is high – ask someone to sit on your shoulders and this is about the view they would have. Then ask them to tell you whether they can see over walls and hedges.

In many parts of Germany, such barriers are restricted to a height of two metres – often lower. Is there a clearer sign that you would prefer that people didn't see into your property than by building a wall as tall as allowed by the law? I don't believe there is.

Of course, Germany is not the only country that has a problem with Street View. The project was criticised in Switzerland and Greece, among other places, and in 2009 Google was forced to re-photography 20 Japanese towns from a lower angle.

Politicians want Google to obscure car licence plates and people. But what do they mean by obscuring people? So far, Google has only suggested obscuring faces. You don't have to be a criminologist to know that people can be recognised by many other features than their face. If you've seen how poorly Google has tried to make people unrecognisable in other countries you'll know that their standard is unacceptable.

Read the whole story:

Friday, August 20, 2010

Nuremberg: Documentation Centre Nazi Party Rally Grounds

Hiroshima. Nagasaki. The Killing Fields. Auschwitz. The list goes on and on. Places of terrible human death and suffering now turned into war memorials, peace museums and the like. All reminders of the horrors of war. These are not fun places to visit, but it is necessary that we visit such places so such awful things don't happen again. I really didn't realize it before my visit, but Nuremberg belongs to this list. My friend Lothar from the Deaf Museum in Frankfurt was kind enough to invite me and take me on a trip to the Documentation Centre Nazi Party Rally Grounds in Nuremberg. He has done much research about the Nazi era, especially pertaining to Deaf people. I had studied about WWII, Nazis and Hitler in school, but I had no idea the impact the Nuremberg Museum would have on me. I figured it was yet another important cultural place to visit in Germany and another opportunity to take some interesting photos. It was that, and much more. I had no idea about the monumental architecture Hitler was creating to justify and reinforce his power. Nuremberg was to be Hitler's Rome.

The museum exhibitions were in German, but audio guides were available in multiple languages (no sign language, but the visual images spoke for themselves). The museum explains Hitler's rise to power and the monumental architecture he was creating. It shows the incredible support from the people Hitler received and the prejudice against Jews and other undesirables the Nazis instilled into men, women and children. It also shows the violence against these people as well. It concludes with the Nuremberg Trials and executions of German war criminals.

Link to Documentation Centre Nazi Party Rally Grounds web page:

The museum is an excellent example of the power of the visual to do more than merely illustrate but explain and evoke. One can study about these things on the internet, but it is much more power and important to actually visit and experience these places. One of the most interesting exhibitions was about the propaganda film, Triumph of the Will, made by Leni Riefenstahl. The film documents the rise of Hitler and the Nazis in 1934. Despite the problematic nature of the film, it is incredible. The access to events and places that Riefenstahl had, along with spectacular filmmaking techniques, makes the film one of the most impressive documentary films in history. It is another stark reminder of the power of the visual that remains timeless.



Thursday, August 19, 2010

Hands Can Do Incredible Things - Hands-Only CPR

Myra at the Hawaii VAOJ office recently sent me a link to a web page entitled "Learn Sarver Heart Center's Continuous Chest Compression CPR." I was reminded about the link after my uncle was rushed to the emergency room last night because of heart problems (he is fine now and expected to leave the hospital tomorrow). Today I saw the above commercial on TV. Hands can do incredible things whether it be communicate important messages or save someone's life. After spending some time in America, I realize more than ever how important it is that we all look out for each other. Health care in the U.S. is messed up to say the least. Power to the People. Let's retake our health and live a joyous life.

Link to Learn Sarver Heart Center's Continuous Chest Compression CPR:

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

German Cabinet to consider tougher Street View rules

Image borrowed from The Local.

Another VAOJ update, this one about Google Street View in Germany from The Local:

Coalition politicians are demanding Google be forced to gather residents’ consent to have their homes photographed for Street View rather than wait for them to object, as cabinet prepared Wednesday to discuss changes to the law.


Street View is an online service by US internet giant Google that allows users to peruse street-level, panoramic pictures of major cities – a kind of “virtual tour.” The pictures are taken by cameras mounted on cars that drive around the city.

While the service is available in many other countries, it has run into firm opposition in Germany over privacy concerns, forcing Google to offer an “opt-out” system, which was launched yesterday and lets home owners and renters demand that their building be blurred out.


Google plans to put Street View online for 20 major German cities by the end of the year

Read the whole story:

See also "Aigner wants longer opt- out limit for Street View:"

"The Hafu Project: Exploring the question of what it means to be Japanese"

Here's an update about the so-called "half Japanese" kids reported in today's Japan Today:

Japan has long been regarded as a homogenous culture: to look Japanese and to speak the language was to be Japanese. However, with one in 30 babies here now being born to mixed-race couples, these concepts are starting to change. It’s an issue that’s particularly pertinent for the children of such couples, who have been dealing with questions of national identity for their whole lives, and now a group of young “hafu” are exploring what their experiences mean for the future of Japan.

The Hafu Project began back in 2008 as a collaboration between social researcher Marcia Lise, who was compiling interviews with groups of half-Japanese people, and German-Japanese photographer Natalie Willer, who was shooting portraits of them. The pair held an exhibition in London at the end of that year which enjoyed the support of the Japanese Embassy and other cultural organizations.

“The project itself is an inquiry into the half-Japanese experience,” says Lise. “As you can probably imagine, it’s really diverse. Some people have been raised in Japan, others outside. So we’re trying to get our stories out… We want people to know what it is to be half-Japanese—hafu—in Japan and outside of Japan.”

To date, the project has collected 130 portraits and 65 in-depth interviews, exploring everything from the subjects’ backgrounds and upbringing to their sexuality, religion and social experiences. In addition to showing their work in exhibitions, Lise and Willer are also compiling a book in Japanese and English.

“Personally, I want people in Japan to read it,” says Lise. “I think it’s really important that Japanese speakers are able to get to know the experience of half-Japanese people, and question their own identity too.”

Two of the interviewees, both Tokyo-based filmmakers, have joined forces and struck out on a related project of their own: a documentary, called simply Hafu, about five people dealing with issues common among biracial Japanese. Says Megumi Nishikura, one of the directors: “We all feel that Japan is changing and that we—as the people making the film, and the people who are in the film—all identify ourselves as kind of an emerging community of Japanese people. We want to start that dialogue: what does this change mean for Japan?”

One of their subjects is David Yano, a half Ghanaian who has lived in Japan since he was six. Like an increasing number of mixed-race Japanese, he has a successful career as a model and TV presenter, but the movie focuses on his efforts to raise money to build a school back in Ghana.

Meanwhile, the Oi family—a Japanese father, Mexican mother and their two children—show how the hafu community often has to balance different linguistic and cultural influences. “Most international couples with children have to consider at some point what education system they are going to put their children in,” says Nishikura. “So we were looking for someone who was going through that.”

The filmmakers are still choosing their other three subjects. One person will be debating the issue of whether to naturalize or not, and another will represent the most common demographic for hafu, an Asian mix, exploring what the issue of identity is like for someone who, on a superficial level at least, blends easily into Japanese society.

The final subject will be like co-director Lara Perez Takagi, who grew up overseas but returned to Japan to get in touch with her Japanese heritage. “We’re showing something that is happening every day, and that there are people with these experiences,” Takagi says.

Nishikura is aware of the contradictions in trying to define what it means to be Japanese: “Somehow the Japanese people have agreed that there is a definition, but no one has actually discussed what that definition is… One of my motivations for making this film is that I want to help expand that definition, whatever it may be, to include people like us.”

See and for more information.

3331 Arts Chiyoda Hafu Project Exhibition. Photography, interviews. Until Aug 29, free. 6-11-14 Soto-Kanda, Chiyoda-ku. Open Tue-Thu & Sun noon-7 p.m., Fri-Sat noon-8 p.m., closed Mon. Nearest station: Suehirocho.

See the story at Japan Today for reader comments:

Photography and documentary film, both methods of visual anthropology, are interesting and valuable ways to explore these important issues. So-called hafu children are likely to increase. Last semester in my Contemporary Issues class, a group of students did a project on international relationships and marriage in Japan. The students interviewed many young Japanese college women who were all interested in having a foreign boyfriend and/or husband. One reason for their desire was so they could have cute hafu babies with white skin and Japanese features. Young hafu celebrities are very popular in Japan now as well.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Vintage Subway Manners Poster

The Seat Monopolizer (July 1976)

Inspired by Charlie Chaplin's "The Great Dictator," this poster encourages passengers not to take up more seat space than necessary.

Oh so sorry to borrow stuff from Pink Tentacle again, but it is oh so tempting as they have so many visually pleasing posts. This poster seemed appropriate for this summer's VAOJ.

Trans-Asia Photography Review, Vol 1, No. 1

Announcement from TAP Review:

We are excited about the first issue of the Trans-Asia Photography Review, which will be coming out on September 1 (TOC below).

We are currently seeking articles for our second issue. All aspects of historical and contemporary photography from all regions of Asia are of interest. Please contact us by September 15 at with ideas for scholarly articles, curatorial project proposals, interviews with key figures, translations of important works, or book reviews. And please pass this call for submissions on to others who might be interested.

Thank you!

Sandra Matthews, Editor

Trans-Asia Photography Review ,Vol 1, No. 1


Responses to questions about culture and photography from:

Geoffrey BATCHEN
Patrick FLORES
KOO Bohnchang
Anthony W. LEE
Young June LEE
Christopher PINNEY
Aveek SEN
WU Hung
WU Jiabao


Mohammad and Me: Three Views of Life within Indonesian Muslim Society, curated by Alexander Supartono


Photo Resurrections: Before and Afterimages: An Ancestor Story, by Nina Hien

Witnessing the Action of Current Events from the Comfort of your Chair: The Place of the Photographic Magazine “THE GRAPHIC”, by Kinoshita Naoyuki, translated by Honda Erumi

Coming to Light : Three Shadows Photography Art Center, Beijing, by Abby Robinson


History of Photography in China 1842-1860 (Terry Bennett), reviewed by Oliver Moore

Chaotic Harmony: Contemporary Korean Photography (Karen Sinsheimer, Anne Wilkes Tucker and Bohnchang Koo), reviewed by Hyewon Yi

Art, Documentary and Propaganda in Wartime China: The Photography
of Sha Fei (Eliza Ho), reviewed by Shana Brown

Photographies East: The Camera and its Histories in East and Southeast Asia (Rosalind C. Morris, ed), reviewed by Doreen Lee

China: Portrait of a Country by 88 Chinese Photographers (Liu Heung Shing, ed.), reviewed by Claire Roberts

Neither East nor West:The Lafayette Collection: Asia in the Age of Monochrome (Lucien de Guise; Amin Jaffer, ed.), reviewed by Raymond Lum

Recent Publications of Note: an Annotated List, by Raymond Lum

Summaries of Scholarly Symposia:

The Role of Photography in Shaping China’s Image 1860-1945
Northwestern University, April 2009

China Seen by the Chinese: Documentary Photography 1951-2003
Princeton University October 2009

Photographic Practices, Visual Transgression and National Identity in Meiji Japan and Early Republican China, Panel at AAS Conference, March 2009

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Visualising China Project: request for user feedback

Announcement from H-ASIA:

This message is an invitation to potential users of an online resource under development at the University of Bristol to contribute feedback and help us shape the project. Some information about this project is available via

Some readers of the list might be aware that for a few years now I have been directing a project at Bristol that has been locating pre-1949 photographs of China in British collections, digitizing them, and placing them online at the 'Historical Photographs of China' site

Some of you may have seen the exhibition that we developed from the material, 'Picturing China', some have collaborated with us, and the project has supplied images some of you have used in books or presentations.

Over the last year we have been working with the 'Web Futures' team in Bristol's Institute for Learning and Teaching Technology, on a JISC-funded project -- 'Visualising China' -- to develop new ways to access this and related material. We're now at a stage when we need to secure engaged feedback from potential users of the new tool.

Why are we interested in hearing from you?

Use of the Internet for research is now prolific across all university subject disciplines. However, the differences in how online content is accessed and used by different researchers are nuanced across and within disciplines. Tools for organising, using and sharing online information as part of research - including text, images and video€“ are starting to emerge. Our particular interest in the 'Visualising China' project is in which tools are currently in use for research in modern Chinese history, and what are the gaps that they leave?

What is the online tool that we are developing?

We are developing a web-based resource that allows users to explore more than 6000 digitised images of historical photographs of China taken between 1870 and 1950 that we have have already made available. This is tool for researchers and other users that offers cross-searching with related online collections (to help avoid time-consuming searches across multiple sites). We are offering intuitive ways to filter image, video and textual resources according to time and geography, in other words, ways to help you navigate and pool information from wide-ranging sources. The tool is a research community tool, through which more online content can be easily linked to and thus used through a single point of access (for example images on Picasa, Flickr, Internet Archive, related Google books or online journals). "Deep annotation" is offered – annotating parts of images or videos for example - and explicitly linking such items to others. The resource can be used as a private research space, facilitated via user logins, or as a shared workspace, perhaps to create Learning Pathway resources for students.

How we would like you to help us:

We need help from the potential user community to decide how best we tailor our tool to your needs. If you are interested in providing feedback or simply want to keep up to date with progress, please fill in the form at

Your help would be very much appreciated.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

(Un)Spoiled - Support a Documentary Film about Mongolia

Announcement via EASIANTH:

Henry Brown and Jose De Leon are currently working on a film project on issues regarding the changing perceptions of natural wealth resulting from urbanisation and economic growth in Mongolia.

As a way to acquire funding for this project, we've set up a page on Kickstarter describes itself as "a new way to fund creative ideas and ambitious endeavors". The beauty here is that by funding the film you can receive really great rewards... like a copy of the film and Mongolian gear.

If you are interested in helping fund the project or just interested in learning more, check out our page at:

They seem to have received their funding goal, but there is still a lot of interesting info about the film and the kickstarter web page. Check it out.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

"Casio to launch digital camera for girls"

From today's Japan Today:

Casio Computer Co. said Tuesday it will release a digital camera aimed at young female users on Sept. 10, featuring modes especially designed for taking shots of nail art and accessories.

The EX-Z800, a new version of its Exilim series, is equipped with a special sensor that enables users to take shots of their own faces automatically, as young women often take pictures with their friends and boyfriends.

Users can also make the focus mark on the camera’s liquid crystal display panel heart-shaped. The camera, priced around 25,000 yen, comes in five colors, including pink and yellow.

See the story and reader comments:

"98-year-old director examines A-bomb, war through films"

From today's Japan Today:

While many film directors around the world have worked until their senior years, not many have managed to maintain the will and physical strength to continue their careers until they are 98 years old as Kaneto Shindo has.

His strong opposition to wars and nuclear weapons is what is driving the award-winning director and scriptwriter to keep shooting films despite now being wheelchair-bound.

Nearly 60 years after making the 1952 film ‘‘Genbaku no Ko’’ (Children of the Atomic Bomb) on the A-bombing of Hiroshima, which was the first independent piece produced by his own film production company, the Hiroshima native is now making a film about World War II and the lead-up to the bombing in what he calls his ‘‘last piece of work.’‘

‘‘I am a filmmaker, and a filmmaker must continue to make films on the atomic bombings, forever,’’ said Shindo in a recent interview in Tokyo, after finishing shooting ‘‘Ichimai no Hagaki’’ (A Postcard), his 49th film, scheduled to be released later this year.

Shindo said he had both seen the beauty of the city and its devastation by the atomic bombing on Aug 6. 1945, and was driven by the strong urge to depict the incident when he made his first A-bomb film.

‘‘The beautiful city I knew in childhood was turned into rubble just by a single bomb…It killed tens of thousands of people instantly, unlike other bombs that can only kill a maximum of a hundred at a time,’’ Shindo said. ‘‘That is a crime against humanity.’‘

His crew started filming in the city seven years after the bombing, when it was still mostly in ruins, despite having a budget of just three million yen at a time when film-making usually cost tens of millions of yen.

The black-and-white film shows a young woman visiting children she had taught as a kindergarten teacher after the blast while depicting the suffering caused by the bombing through the daily lives and conversations of the characters.

One of the scenes depicting the moment of the blast shows a clock ticking as a mother breast-feeds her baby, children playing, sunflowers standing high against the sky and people doing their morning chores, and then a flash of white light when the atomic bomb was dropped by the United States.

Shindo himself did not experience the Hiroshima bombing as he had been drafted at the time, but repeatedly revised his self-written script through daily meetings with atomic bomb victims, making sure he did not exaggerate the facts about the bombing and the damage it left.

As a result, the piece came to hold a power and sincerity that has led some atomic bomb survivors to call it the only atomic bomb film they can relate to.

Shindo’s sincere attitude towards the issue and deep sympathy captured the hearts of many of the survivors and inspired them—even those with severe burns to their face and body—to volunteer to appear in the film.

Through the repeated exchanges with them, Shindo said he came to think that although they are called ‘‘survivors,’’ their lives were actually ruined to a point that it is equivalent to being killed, a sense that reinforced his opposition to nuclear weapons.

Although he has a varied output of movies and scripts, producing pieces on a range of social issues as well as work in the comedy and documentary genres, his films on war and nuclear weapons are, by far, the centerpiece of a career decorated with a number of international awards, with ‘‘Genbaku no Ko’’ the first to be recognized.

Those films reflect Shindo’s core belief that the life of ordinary people should be cherished and that such destructive forces as war that deprive people of their ordinary lives should be strongly protested against.

‘‘I am looking at the war from the eyes of average people,’’ Shindo said, adding his first Hiroshima film, as well as the latest one, takes such a standpoint.

The latest film ‘‘Ichimai no Hagaki’’ deals with a postcard a soldier headed to the warfront receives from his wife in which she writes, ‘‘There is a festival today but without you, there is no attraction.’’ The film is based on Shindo’s experience of becoming one of only six people to survive in the 100-man unit he belonged to during World War II.

One of his comrades in the unit died after receiving such a postcard, which Shindo believes was telling the man that he was ‘‘the most precious thing’’ in the world to his wife.

‘‘It is war that rips away the most precious thing from people’’ and eventually takes away everything, Shindo said. ‘‘The death of a soldier would destroy his family in the end. And that’s the very reason I am against the war.’‘

Although he says ‘‘Ichimai no Hagaki’’ may be his last film, he still indicated a desire to further explore the topic, and noted that he might have done ‘‘Genbaku no Ko’’ differently if he had had the scientific understanding of the effects of the A-bombs now available.

‘‘I still want to make a film about it,’’ he said.

His stance and enthusiasm for the film-making on the topic has never changed over the years.

‘‘My wish would be to die after crying out one last time ‘no more wars,’‘’ he said.

Read the story and reader comments: