Public Lectures 2013
Grand Prize 2013: NAKAMURA Tetsu
- Securing Safe Water in Afghanistan - Thirty Years of International Medical Aid
- Saturday, September 14, 2013 (13:00-15:00)
- Event Hall B2F, ACROS Fukuoka
- SHIMIZU Hiromu (Professor of Kyoto University)
- SUGAWARA Bunta (Actor, Representative of the Agriculture Production Corporation)
Public Lecture by Dr. NAKAMURA will be held in ACROS FUKUOKA on September 14, and he will introduce his idea and thought on his specialized field in his lecture, talks with panelists.
Part1: Keynote Speech by NAKAMURA Tetsu
“Global warming is not somebody else’s problem”
There is a common saying in Afghanistan that “We can live without money, but we cannot live without snow”. In this agricultural country, water from melted snow brought blessing to the people in the past centuries. Afghanistan is a multi-ethnic nation where tribal autonomy and sense of territory prevail. The geographic factors also obstruct central government control, and there is a huge divide between the rich and the poor. In 1984, Peshawar-kai started medical treatment for Hansen’s disease patients in Pakistan. It was not easy to understand the feelings of patients who spoke a different language, different religion, and different lifestyles. We foreigners tend to make superior-inferior or right-wrong judgment for things with which we are not familiar. It is a mistake that we tend to fall into without realizing it is merely due to the cultural difference. To avoid falling into this mistake, we made sure that everyone in our organization accepts the local culture and customs, including religion, as they are.
After the withdrawal of the Soviet military that invaded in 1979 during the Afghan War, the Gulf War broke out in 1991, which pulled out all international organizations from Afghanistan. Fifteen years had passed since the launch of our activities, during which we established the organization, built and maintained our own hospital, as well as a system capable of continuing the medical practice as long as we received resupplies from Japan. After the Taliban regime came back, the public security improved dramatically, making unarmed travel possible. However, the area was devastated by the drought of the century in the spring of 2000. Twelve million people were victimized, putting 5 million people on the verge of starvation, and 1 million people to the verge of death from starvation. We felt a great sense of helplessness because the medical technology can heal neither thirst nor hunger. So we started digging wells and continued until we secured 1,600 wells to ensure sources of drinking water.
“Re-thinking the relationship between nature and humans”
Then, in 2001, one day after the 9-11 terrorist attack in New York, then US President George W. Bush declared an air strike on Afghanistan. We distributed 1,800 tons of flour and cooking oil for more than two hundred thousand evacuees in the capital city. These activities would not have been possible without the support of the courageous Afghans who were willing to sacrifice their lives for the sake of their fellow citizens. After the Taliban regime collapsed and the country was occupied by the US military, the poppy cultivation was resumed to an extensive scale, and in the next few years Afghanistan became a drugoriented nation producing 93% of the drugs in the world.
Major droughts, along with global warming, is an ongoing problem. This is not somebody else’s problem. To ensure agricultural water, we prioritized the building of irrigation channels for the clinic, but they needed to be sustainable without the local people having to spend money. When I realized that the Afghan water intake technology is similar to the Japanese technology, we employed the slanting weir used for the Yamada Dam at Chikugo River that was completed about 220 years ago, and the gabion method of bamboo bags packed with rocks used as seawalls. These efforts led to a recovery of the agricultural field in the next few years. The only two wishes of the local farmers: being able to have three meals a day, and living peacefully with their family in their hometown. Despite the 35 years of war and starvation, there are no grim expressions. In some ways, we may look more depressed. “Money will bring us happiness”. “If we have weapons we can protect ourselves”. Sooner or later, such superstitions will fall apart. Now we need to ask ourselves again, “What is the relationship between humans and nature”?
“Unpredictable. Such is Mother Nature”
Mr. Bunta Sugawara, an actor, and Dr. Nakamura met each other for the first time when Mr. Sugawara narrated the Peshawar-kai’s introduction DVD, and kept in touch ever since. When Professor Shimizu asked them for their opinions on the relationship between human beings and nature, Dr. Nakamura pointed out, “Nature is absolutely out of our control. People are having debates like, 'We will not make a nuclear plant because the fault is currently active', or 'We will make a nuclear plant because the fault is currently inactive'. Such debates are quite pointless in my opinion. Mother Nature is really unpredictable”.
Mr. Sugawara, who is involved in agriculture, said, “We used to enjoy an abundance of soil before the World War II. I remember my childhood when I played like crazy in the mountains and in rivers”. He also expressed his concern for the children nowadays who are unable to have such a great experience. The discussion went overtime. When asked about the Afghan women from someone in the audience, Dr. Nakamura responded with a bit of humor: “In that country, men are in charge of outside business while women are in charge of domestic business. You cannot do anything if you make the women your enemy, and this is true of any place you go”. The hall was filled with laughter and applause.
Academic Prize 2013: Tessa MORRIS-SUZUKI
- A Journey Across Invisible Bridges to Asia: Re-Imagining East Asia From Regional Japan
- Sunday, September 15, 2013 (17:30-19:30)
- Event Hall B2F, ACROS Fukuoka
- TAKENAKA Chiharu (Professor of Rikkyo University)
- IYOTANI Toshio (Professor Emeritus of Hitotsubashi University)
Public Lecture by Professor Morris-Suzuki will be held in ACROS FUKUOKA on September 15, and she will introduce her idea and thought on her specialized field in her lecture, talks with panelists.
Part1: Keynote Speech by Tessa MORRIS-SUZUKI
“The importance of “People-to-people” relationships in this time of rising tensions”
I was born in England. After graduating from college, I came to Japan in 1973 for the first time, curious to see a different world. Since then, I have visited Japan more than 50 times in the 40 years that have passed. The biggest change in Northeast Asia during these 40 years is the increase in the number of people crossing the border to interact with each other. Recently, tension between Japan and its surrounding countries has been rising over territorial and historical issues. I am concerned that the bridge crossing from Japan to the neighboring countries on the grassroots level will become invisible if all people are hearing this kind of news all the time. Unlike the international relationships, the “people-to-people” relationships seldom call attention and are little known to public. So today, I would like to introduce to you people I have met over the past 40 years who are striving to build a bridge between Japan and its neighboring countries.
“Build an invisible bridge for the next generation”
First I would like to introduce to you the Peace and Folk Craft Museum, “Heiwa to Teshigoto Tatsue Mingeikan”, located in Saku city, Nagano prefecture. The disciples of the non-mainstream thinker Mr. Tatsue Kobayashi took his philosophy of, “Think for yourself and decide for yourself”. The local residents have developed a variety of projects, and this year, they put together the, “Farming Village-issued Resident White Book”. Their activities have expanded to include several neighboring countries. In the summer, they invited a wellknown Korean historian and held a “60th Anniversary of the Korean War Cease-fire” memorial symposium. They are also engaged in activities that support the women who immigrated to the Nagano prefecture from Southeast Asia.
I learned from Ms. Kim Sun Young who lives in Sendai that even one person has the power to build a bridge. As a second generation Korean living in Japan, she has established a network of women in farming villages in Asia, and holds exhibition and sale events for their craft works. Based in Sendai city, she established a contact group for Japanese people and minorities to build relationships and be involved in various activities.
The next case is about a brother and a sister whose origin is of the northern minority ethnic group, the Uilta. Although they had some Japanese education in Sakhalin before World War II, they could not move to Hokkaido after the war because they did not have Japanese citizenship. In 1957, after the resumption of diplomatic ties between Japan and the Soviet Union, they were finally able to move to Hokkaido, but once there they suffered from discrimination. The struggles of people like them, those in a minority ethnic group , have slipped off the pages of history. In the 1970's, the brother and sister were invited to talk about their background and their culture for the first time at the “Okhotsk Peoples History Workshop” that was launched by a populace historian. Since then, a “Discussion Group for Peoples History in Sorachi” was organized, which evolved into a part of the “East Asia Joint Workshop” in the 90s. So far, more than 1,000 young people from various regions in Asia have gotten together in the workshop to participate in different activities.
Such grassroots “people-to-people” relationships are playing an even more important role, especially now within the rising tension and friction in Northeast Asia. For the sake of the next generation, we need to build new invisible bridges and start walking towards a future with hope of peace, a world without war.
Part2: Panel Discussion
“We should be able to make the world a little bit better”
Prof. Takenaka came up with many different titles, such as Japanologist, Historian, and Cultural Scholar, for Prof. Morris-Suzuki who is involved in a wide range of academics. Prof. Takenaka described Prof. Morris-Suzuki as a person who, “travels to an unknown territory without hesitation and makes a new discovery,” while comparing the laureate to Alice in Wonderland.
Prof. Iyotani, who first met Prof. Morris-Suzuki for a joint research project in the 1990s, points out that he feels Prof. Morris-Suzuki has “a kind way of seeing people’s behavior and emotion, as well as an intense aversion to injustice and absurdity” in her style of academics. In response, Prof. Morris-Suzuki brought up a question, “whether historians have the right to adjudicate the people in the past during the course of researching history”. She advocated that, “We have the right to make an ethical judgment after scrutinizing the circumstances at the time and having a good understanding of the situation”. She also maintained a clear stance that, “But of course, this means our behavior will also be judged by historians in the future”.
For a question about the possibility of world peace, asked by one of the audience, the laureate gave her hopeful opinion that, “In the grassroots interaction, the groundwork of peace is to look at each other’s face and acknowledge each other as a human. Also, the role played by media organizations that stand in between the grassroots and a nation, is quite important. While we still need to address many issues, I believe it would be possible to make the world a more peaceful place”.
Arts and Culture Prize 2013: Nalini MALANI
- For a More Progressive Society – The Potentials in Our World and Arts
- Saturday, September 14, 2013 (17:00-19:00)
- Event Hall B2F, ACROS Fukuoka
- USHIROSHOJI Masahiro (Professor of Kyushu University)
- KOKATSU Reiko (Chief Curator of Tochigi Prefectural Museum of Fine Arts)
Public Lecture by Ms. Nalini MALANI will be held in ACROS FUKUOKA on September 14, and she will introduce her idea and thought on her specialized field in her works, talks with panelists.
Part1: Keynote Speech by Nalini MALANI
“A society that makes the best use of women’s point of view”
The first foreign country I visited was Japan. I was 12 years old at the time. I wanted to see the Great Buddha in Kamakura. The impression I received from the Great Buddha was “peace”. Peace is my ideal, and for that, I want to devote myself to art for peace.
In consequence to the mechanical lifestyle we have, our earth is changing at a very fast pace. To prevent that, it is becoming more and more important to feminize society, and to have women’s point of view in our society. I would like to call your attention to the fact that even now in this day and age, women are oppressed and suffering from male domination and the control of religious legalities in India. At the site of an exhibition I held for the first time when I was 19, an elderly artist approached me to tell me that I should give up these artistic activities and become a housewife. Now I am grateful for that person, because that really ignited my ambition. I invited some female artists to hold an exhibition of works done only by female artists for the first time in India in 1987. We continued that for more than three years.
In order to attract people to art during the political and economic transition that started in the 80s, we needed an opportunity for people to participate in an art event. I thought about the feasibility of people’s participation in art on the street. The conflict among the people due to the caste system was intense at the time in Bombay. I thought it was important to make the bourgeois aware of the slum situation, so we had an experimental project in which rich people walked through the poor area in artwork.
“Pour energy into art for peace”
At one point, powdered milk contaminated by radioactive materials from the nuclear meltdown at Chernobyl was imported to India. I was terrified as I gave a birth to my baby girl in 1992, and produced artwork projecting negative impressions, expressing mothers worrying about the impact of chemical and radioactive substances on their children. On May 11, 1998, India executed an underground nuclear test. The people in India got all pumped up and excited about the idea that their country joined the great powers with the nuclear weapons. Not long after that, Pakistan also conducted an underground nuclear test. The possession of nuclear weapons by the two countries blew up the non-violent policy advocated by Gandhi. May 11 is Buddha’s birthday. It was so ironic that the underground nuclear test was executed on that same day.
For half a year between 1999 and 2000, I stayed in Fukuoka and produced Hamlet Machine in collaboration with a dancer residing in Fukuoka. The piece is available for viewing at the Fukuoka Asian Art Museum, with an excellent Japanese translation. In this work, we expressed the wavering state of India at the time, like Hamlet, with the conflict between Hinduism and Islam, and between socialism and global capitalism.
Recently, the number of raping incidents has been growing in India. Young female artists started to do some street performance, in which they brought tables and chairs to the street and lured male passersby to have conversations with them. Their purpose was to have better communication with men by asking questions such as, 'why they want to rape women?', and by telling them that raping hurts and destroys the woman’s body. Their efforts, spreading all over the country, have been impacting a great many people.
Part2: Panel Discussion
“We have both male and female points of view”
In the following panel discussion, Prof. Ushiroshoji asked the laureate how she views “violence”, which is the fundamental theme of her artwork. Ms. Malani answered clearly that, “Violence is caused by an unequal way of thinking between men and women.
We should have both men’s and women’s points of view”. Ms. Kokatsu followed her by saying, “What Ms. Malani means by men and women is not biological men and women. But rather, what she means by feminism is a philosophy of having zero tolerance for violence. In other words, it is to look at things from the perspective of the weak”. Ms. Malani further mentioned the core of her creation, “My work is not about describing violence. Rather, my work is a description of fear and anxiety about violence.
Therefore, it is becoming increasingly complex and closer to reality”. When Prof. Ushiroshoji pointed out the multi-layered complexity of Ms. Malani’s artwork, the laureate emphasized that, “You don’t need to understand every aspect of the meaning or intention I incorporate into my work. Instead, I would rather you face my artwork and feel something from them”.
Arts and Culture Prize 2013: Apichatpong WEERASETHAKUL
- Apichatpong's Inspirations – A Story Behind His Works
- Sunday, September 15, 2013 (13:00-17:00)
- IMS Hall
- ISHIZAKA Kenji (Director of Tokyo International Film Festival)
- HARIKI Yasuhiro (Director of Focus on Asia)
Public Lecture by Mr. Apichatpong WEERASETHAKUL will be held in IMS Hall on September 15, and he will introduce his idea and thought on his specialized field in his films, talks with panelists.
Looking for the borderline between “reality” and “fiction”
Prof. Ishizaka (MC): Mr. Apichatpong is 43 years old. He is a very young, up-and-coming film director. He broke the record as the youngest prizewinner. Today, we are going to view three films directed by him. The first film we are going to watch right after this is a short film, The Anthem. The next will be his debut long film, Mysterious Object at Noon, which is about a story happening between a disabled boy and his tutor, and the story is transmitted by word of mouth by a number of people in the film. Finally, we are going to watch Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives, his most well-known film, which won the Palme d’Or Prize, the highest prize in the Cannes Film Festival, in 2010. He was the first Southeast Asian film director to win this award.
Mr. Hariki: A phrase used for the title of this forum, “Apichatpong’s Inspirations” sounds interesting. Is this a commonly used phrase in the film world?
Mr. Apichatpong: I feel privileged to be named like this. But film itself is inspiration expressed by light and shadow in the first place, so this may be true, not only for my films but also for any other film.
Mr. Hariki: I personally think that your debut has changed the world of film. To film, created a little more than 100 years ago in Europe, an Asian film director is bringing a major reform.
Mr. Apichatpong: The history of film is still short. It is a young media, and there is so much more to expect, especially in technical development. The technology of 3D and high-definition image is still new, and I am very excited about its potential. The process of pioneering various potential for film is a never-ending journey.
Mr. Hariki: Originally the film had 2 types: One is a reproduction of a theater, and the other is a documentary that is cut out of reality. I feel that you are making primordial films, and that is the very reason why people call you a reformist.
Mr. Apichatpong: In traditional films, the film is used as a media to deliver a story. But I think that film should have its own potential, and that is what I want to pursue. My films will not give a sense of story telling to the audience, perhaps.
“I don’t want people to think, but rather to feel and understand”
Mr. Hariki: If they watch your film, expecting some kind of answer, then your films must be difficult to understand. That is because nobody talks from a transcendental viewpoint or venue to give a ready-made answer. It seems that your films send a message, “You will understand the film if you change your standpoint”.
Mr. Apichatpong: I make films hoping to share what I see and hear with the audience. It is just like a sense of traveling together. In many cases of film production, a film director positions him/herself higher than the audience. The audience watches the film while looking for foreshadowing that is prepared by the director in different scenes. The story is made in a way so that the audience is blown away and satisfied when it comes to the prepared conclusion. Unlike those films, what I am aiming for in my films is to give the audience a sense that they are walking along and looking for something with me in the film. When you see my film for the first time, it may be difficult to understand. But it is the same as seeing somebody for the first time. It is difficult to understand a person you see for the first time, and it may take about 2 hours to accept that person. To understand a person, it is important to feel, but not to think.
Mr. Hariki: In your films, it seems that dreams, illusions, images that pop up in your mind, and even life and death are treated in parallel with no discrimination.
Mr. Apichatpong: It is believed in Thailand that there is an existence of invisible power, and a spirit dwells even in each tree. It is difficult to define what truth is. For example, for the people who have religious faith, God’s existence is the truth, but for the people who don’t have religious faith, that is not true. I try to keep my mind open and see the borderline between reality and fiction.
Mr. Hariki: The idea of “A spirit dwelling in a material” is similar to the Japanese idea. But it seems Japanese film directors stay away from that type of film.
Mr. Apichatpong: You might have got that impression from me maybe because I have been trying that intentionally. I am sure there are some Japanese film directors who would do the same.
Introduction of 3 works
- Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives
- 2010 / 35mm / 114min.
- Awards:Palme d'Or Prize at the 63rd Cannes Film Festival (2010)
- Suffering from acute kidney failure, Uncle Boonmee has chosen to spend his final days surrounded by his loved ones in the countryside. Surprisingly, the ghost of his deceased wife appears to care for him, and his long lost son returns home in a non-human form. Contemplating the reasons for his illness, Boonmee treks through the jungle with his family to a mysterious hilltop cave - the birthplace of his first life. (Written by Lament from IMDb)
- Dokfa nai meuman
- 2000 / 35mm / 83min.
- Awards:Yamagata International Documentary Festival (2001)
- This film is an experimental mix of documentary and fiction. The film crew travels from the Thai countryside to Bangkok, asking the people they encounter along the way to continue a story about a handicapped boy and his teacher. (Written by amirmu from IMDb)
- The Anthem
- 2006 / 35mm / 5min.
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