The seventh workshop of the Building 101 film production project was held via Zoom on March 12, 2021, from 4 p.m.
The participants in the workshop were Tsuyoshi Ishii (University of Tokyo), Hanako Takayama (EAA Project Assistant Professor), and the three EAA research assistants in charge of the Building 101 film project—Satoshi Takahara, Sho Kotegawa and me, Shuichiro Higuma—as well as Takashi Tamura (University of Tokyo), Futoshi Hoshino (then of Waseda University; now at the University of Tokyo), Sana Sakihama (EAA Project Research Fellow), and film production specialist Takuya Irie (SETENV) as advisers.
First of all, Satoshi Takahara introduced some documents concerning the former First High School (Ichiko, 一高), such as a record of a 1930 tea party for students from China as well as a 1935 message for new students from Kenkichi Mori (森巻吉, 1877–1939), who was the principal of the First High School from 1929 to 1937. Mori is one of the most important figures for this project, because the Special High School Course (特設高等科) preliminary degree for Chinese students was established in 1932 and the First High School moved to Komaba in 1935. According to the record, Japanese students seemed to treat Chinese students equally as long as they belonged to the First High School. In this, we can sense the solidarity among First High School students at the time. However, were the students from China able to actively engage with this idea? That is one of the most essential questions for our project.
Sho Kotegawa talked about the original novel on which the film Kanpai! Gakusei-shokun (Cheers, Students!,『乾杯・学生諸君！』, see the report of the fourth workshop) was based. It was not as comic as we had anticipated, though the film was controversial among First High School students.
Hanako Takayama and Tsuyoshi Ishii referred to some figures whose stories can help us think about the relationships between Japan and China or Korea. They include Guo Moruo (郭沫若, 1892–1978) and Son Gi-jeong (孫基禎, 1912–2002). The former studied at the First High School, before returning to China to become a man of letters and historian. The latter was from Korea—then a colony of Japan—and won a gold medal in the marathon at the Berlin Olympics in 1936. Tsuyoshi said that we must consider the context of the era in order not to misunderstand what people were thinking.
Takashi Tamura and Takuya Irie then finished the workshop by giving us some technical and conceptual advice.
As Futoshi Hoshino said when the project launched, it will next develop into concrete tasks like writing and filming by the three research assistants in charge. The situation with the ongoing coronavirus pandemic remains uncertain, but we hope you can continue to follow our efforts.
Shuichiro Higuma (EAA Research Assistant)