Shinsuke Ogawa

Shinsuke Ogawa – Sanrizuka: Gogatu no sora Sato no kayoiji AKA Sanrizuka: The Sky of May (1977)

The seventh and final film in Shinsuke Ogawa’s groundbreaking Sanrizuka Series chronicling the agrarian resistance to the construction of Chiba Prefecture’s Narita International Airport. Read More »

Shinsuke Ogawa – Dokkoi! Ningen bushi – Kotobukicho: Jiyu rodosha no machi AKA Dokkoi! Songs from the Bottom (1975)

As the protests at Sanrizuka transformed, Ogawa began looking for other subjects. He eventually moved to Yamagata, but considered other subjects like this one: the brutal Kotobukicho district of Yokohama. Only 250 meters on a side, it was home to 6,000 people living in 90 run-down flophouses. This was where day laborers live and die on the streets. Following the method they developed in Sanrizuka, Ogawa’s crew lived with the workers, tenderly filming the trials of their daily lives. It is a touching and heartrending film. Read More »

Shinsuke Ogawa – Assatsu no mori AKA Forest of Oppression AKA The Oppressed Students (1967)

After SEA OF YOUTH, the film team turned itself into a full-fledged collective: the Independent Screening Organization, or Jieso for short. This was the precursor to Ogawa Productions, and as the name indicates their focus was on reception. This was because they discovered there was no easy way to show SEA OF YOUTH. Jieso networked social movements and film fans across Japan to create an alternative distribution route. Their next film, FOREST OF OPPRESSION, turns to the phenomenon of students barricading themselves inside schools to various political ends. They chose Takasaki City University of Economics, and audiences were shocked by the vigor and violence of this protest in such a minor university. The film put Ogawa on the map. Read More »

Shinsuke Ogawa – Nihon Kaiho sensen: Sanrizuka no natsu AKA The Battle for the Liberation of Japan: Summer in Sanrizuka (1968)

In 1968, Ogawa decided to form Ogawa Productions and locate it at the newly announced construction site of Narita International Airport in a district called Sanrizuka. Ogawa chose to locate his company in the most radical of the villages, Heta. Some farmers immediately sold their land; others vehemently protested and drew the support of social movements across the country. Together they clashed with riot police sent in to protect surveyors, who were plotting out the airport. Summer in Sanrizuka is a messy film – its chaos communicating the passions and actions on the ground. Read More »

Shinsuke Ogawa – Sanrizuka: Dainitoride no hitobito AKA Sanrizuka: Peasants of the Second Fortress (1971)

Sanrizuka – Peasants of the Second Fortress is the fourth in a series of seven films shot between 1968 and 1977 by Ogawa Productions in the fields of Sanrizuka, documenting the ongoing resistance by the farmers and their allies against the construction of a new international airport. Four years into the conflict, the authorities started the coercive expropriation of the farmlands and the violence escalated. This was met by the farmers and fighting students with a renewed sense of resistance, and with the need to organize, unite and protect themselves and the land from the riot police. They erected barricades and set up fortresses, digging underground tunnels to prepare for a long confrontation. Read More »

Shinsuke Ogawa – Sanrizuka: Heta buraku AKA Sanrizuka: Heta Village AKA Narita: Heta Village (1973)

This two-and-a-half-hour documentary by Japanese master Ogawa Shinsuke (1935-1992) is part of his seven-film series in which he documented the fight of students and local peasants against the construction of the monstrous Narita airport, against the expropriation of their farmland and their resettlement and the violent clashes between protesters and the police in the late 1960’s and early 1970’s. Read More »

Shinsuke Ogawa – Nippon-koku Furuyashiki-mura AKA Furuyashiki: A Japanese Village (1984)

This is Ogawa Productions’ first major film from their Yamagata period. They had already started photography on Magino Village: A Tale but they were drawn to this village deep in the high country above Magino when a particularly cold bout of weather threatened crops. Inevitably, their attention strayed from the impact of weather and geography on the harvest to the “life history” of Furuyashiki Village. On the one hand, Ogawa returns to his roots by playing with the conventions of the science film. At the same time, he discovers a local, peripheral space in which to think about the nation and the state of village Japan. From this “distant perspective” in the very heart of the Japanese mountains, Ogawa discovers a village still dealing with the trauma of global warfare and struggling for survival as their children flee for the cities. Read More »