On January 13, 2021, from 5 p.m., the fourth workshop for the Building 101 film production project was held. In addition to the regular members of the project, we welcomed Sana Sakihama (EAA Project Research Fellow), who is a specialist in the problem of subjectivation in modern Okinawa, as an assistant for the project. Tsuyoshi Ishii of the University of Tokyo also participated.
Based on the campus tour held in the last workshop, some concepts of the film were shared among the members. These included nationalistic elitism, exclusivism, and the sense of a campus community that a dormitory has. All of these characterize not only the students of the former First High School (Ichiko, 一高) but also Building 101.
We also discussed what our film would concretely show, based on the documents at the Komaba Museum. Thanks to The Record of First High School Dormitory Committee, or dormitory diaries, we know some interesting facts. One of them is about the film Kanpai! Gakusei-shokun (Cheers, Students!) (1935), directed by Tsutomu Shigemune (重宗務). It deals with the former First High School and presents a caricatured portrayal of the students, which was controversial at the time. In addition, the dormitory diaries describe Sanko-sen, the annual summer sports event with the former Third High School (Sanko, 三高), and so on. All this means we have plenty of interesting material to explore.
After the report from the research assistants, Tsuyoshi Ishii introduced Song of Sheep by Shuichi Kato, who attended the First High School. This showed the necessity of referencing literary works in our project. Moreover, Sana Sakihama suggested that Goh Takamine’s Okinawa-themed works might be close to the visual style of the film we aim to make in this project. His Untamagiru (1989), in particular, is a magic realist film that combines elements of both documentary and fantasy, and could be useful as a reference for creating a work that possesses power in terms of its imagery and is not merely documentation. The fact that Takamine was influenced by the American filmmaker Jonas Mekas came as something of a surprise, because Sho Kotegawa (EAA Research Assistant) previously referred to him as a potential model for our project. We now have to clarify our next tasks and once again agreed on the need to reconcile our image vocabularies through various kinds of materials.
Report by Shuichiro Higuma (EAA Research Assistant)
Photographed by Sana Sakihama (EAA Project Research Fellow)