Open City Documentary Festival

across London
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My Town, My Youth + The Minamata Mural

My Town, My Youth わが街わが青春-石川さゆり水俣熱唱

Tsuchimoto Noriaki | 1978 | Japan | 43’ | 16mm | Japanese spoken, English subtitles

My Town, My Youth is an inspiring film shot twenty years after the official recognition of the Minamata disease and focuses on a group of young people (many born with the disease) as they mobilise to keep their cause visible by organising a concert by the popular enka singer Ishikawa Sayuri.


The Minamata Mural 水俣の図・物語

Tsuchimoto Noriaki | 1981 | Japan | 111’| 16mm | Japanese spoken, English subtitles

In the 1980s Tsuchimoto insisted on the need to keep the issue of Minamata alive to “raise awareness about new patients and resurrect the struggle”. In The Minamata Mural, he follows the artists Maruki Iri and Akamatsu Toshiko (also known as Maruki Toshi), as they paint a series of panels dedicated to the people of Minamata and their experiences. The two painters were socially engaged artists, known internationally for a series of artworks painted from 1950 to 1982 depicting the experience of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. From 1979 to 1981 they spent time in Minamata, working and meeting with the community. The film shows Tsuchimoto’s great sensibility to the use of colour and editing as he draws yet another portrait of the people of Minamata and its landscape, showing us the work process of the two artists.

Currently on view at the Daiwa Anglo-Japanese Foundation in London “HIROSHIMA by Iri Maruki and Toshiko Akamatsu” (until 19 September)

From 1950 to 1982 Maruki Iri and Akamatsu Toshiko (also known as Maruki Toshi) created the Genbaku no Zu series of artworks, internationally known as the Hiroshima Panels. The works became an apparatus to convey the story of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki to the general public, first during a period of censorship, then during protests against nuclear weapons by the artists and their supporters. Amidst a mood of fear and anger towards the Cold War, almost 20 countries invited the works to be exhibited in a gesture of peace and transnational solidarity. As we potentially enter an era of escalating nuclear rhetoric, the Daiwa Anglo-Japanese Foundation showcases the panels’ drawings and exhibition archives in an opportunity to reflect on the consequences of nuclear warfare.

Associated event: From Hiroshima and Minamata to Today. Socially Engaged practices in post-war Japan, webinar hosted by the Daiwa Anglo-Japanese Foundation with Dr Justin Jesty and Dr Namiko Kunimoto on Wednesday, 14 September 2022, 1pm.