Six months after 9.11


It is just six months since the earthquake.

I pray anew, from the bottom of my heart,

for the repose of the victims souls.


I did not know what to do in such an unimaginable situation,

so I considered my options.

Then, on the 14th March, I quickly started the contribution site,

SUPPORT JAPAN-Gambare via the internet fundraising site

called JustGiving. At the time I wrote down my feelings

and asked people to click on the site if they shared my sentiment.


Thereafter, during the ensuing six months,

I received a lot of offers for charity screenings from overseas.

However, despite everyone having good will and meaning well,

it sometimes backfired on the very people they are trying to help.

I faced the stark reality of Good intentions can backfire.


What do the injured people in the disaster area need? I asked myself.

Meanwhile, I had to judge the good will of people from

all over the world, who presented me with offers to help.

I had to use my own judgement to evaluate my levels of

cooperation. The reality of that caused me a lot of heartache

and soul searching.


Here is the list of thirty-eight people who were the first

to help Japan with their all their hearts.

The amount donated achieved 201% of the original target figure.

I contributed all of this support money to the private adaptation

team for the disaster called CIVIC FORCE.

(See my article Why CIVIC FORCE? here.)


Your kindness is more than I have ever encountered in my time

in the film industry.


I would especially like to say thank you to all the fans,

who love Japanese films and games, for their cries of support for Japan.

From the bottom of my heart, I am so delighted.


At first, JustGiving did not charge their usual 15% commission fee.

Originally the organisation was prepared to send 100% of the money

received from everyone to the locations it was supporting.

This was the rational reason why I chose this organisation.

However, as the situation gradually calmed down,

the system has returned to the basis where they take

their commission.


I am now considering gradually moving the substance of

the support from, first of all, give relief to moral support for the revival.
Meanwhile, I think I will continue to collect donations on this site
for the time being.


This is my current feeling six months after the disaster.


As a first step, I heard that the mobile Cinema called MoMO

was put into use, and showed some films on an outdoor screen

in Tohoku. I think this is sort of thing that is needed, however,

I have wondered how easy it is too keep it funded as

it cannot be done by halves. It is all or nothing.

Can this event be really good for the people in disaster area?

Fortunately, this project has so far helped to keep hope alive.

I will keep an eye on it.


My friend, film director, Stu Levy went to the disaster area

just after the earthquake. He is making a documentary film,

called Pray For Japan, to send out a message to the world.

I am very happy to support him.

I believe it is time for film to help support the survivors.


This is important.


I am afraid, to be honest, that Japan was not as united

as was hoped for at the time.


What is the reason?

What is its origin?

What can I do to help?


I have been thinking about this for the six months.


The answer, which grew in my mind, was that the victims

who lost their precious lives need some sort a requiem.

So I promise to try and help make a future,

which is full of hope.


2:46 p.m.

I was reading a film script for a new project.


I am reading a happy scene at this time. A baby boy is born,

which is the sort of thing to make everyone smile.

I know it is too good to be true, however,

whether it may be a coincidence, or maybe an inevitability,

I would like to feel more of this hope in my life.


I am very grateful to everyone who cooperated in
collecting donations with us,


Total contribution :

100% of One million one-thousand and five hundred yen

has been sent to Civic Force.

Target growth rate : 201%


These are the people who joined force with

the JustGiving pictures.dept. challenge site:


Producer of The Man from Nowhere: Mr. Tae-Hun Lee

 Busan International Film Festival Director (Korea) : Mr. Kim Ji-Seok

JapanglishJapanglish (UK) : Mr. Andrew  Kirkham & Mrs Kazumi Kirkham

Film Director : Mr. Masaaki Taniguchi
(Time Traveller; the girl who leapt through time)

New York Asian Film Festival Director (USA) : Mr. Marc Walkow

Subtitles Translator : Mr. Don Brown

Hakuhoudo Casting Department : Ms. Michiyo Sato

Film Director : Mr. Sono Sion (Himizu, Guilty of Romance)

Actor : Mr. Tak Sakaguchi

AMUSE INC. Producer : Mr. Motoaki Aoki

Nikkatsu SUSHI TYPHOON Producer : Mr. Yoshinori Chiba

Film Director : Satoshi Miki (Adrift in Tokyo)

J-Film Pow Wow (Canada) Fine, Totally Fine Charity Screening

Nippon Connection (Germany) Fine, Totally Fine Charity Screening

Film Site Creator: Mr. Kouichi Nagano

North West Film Forum (USASeattle)
Fine Totally Fine Charity Screening

Rob Bucher (USAPhiladelphia)
8000Miles(Saitama no Rappers”” Charity Screening

Udine Far East Film Festival - Charity Bag Sale Proceeds,
Ms. Sabrina Baracetti
, Mr. Mark Shillings and everyone at the festival

Japanese Canadian Culture Centre (Canada)
“TIME TRAVELLER, The Girl Who Leapt Through Time
Charity Screening.

Twenty seven people who participated in NOMIKAI 311

Poyopoyu-san / Avanti-san / amichan-san / Yoshiyuki-san /
Kayueyukos-san / Konmame-san / Bua-san / Senoo-san /
Tomomi-san / rakko-chan-san / kyokyo-san / hanglu0226-san /
natsu-san / Takobo-san / otamastar-san.

This has been press-released on September 11th and covered
by one of the most popular Japanese economic newspaper, Nikkei
on August 15th as well as BUNKA-TSUSHIN, the movie trade magazine
on September 13th.  Thank you again for your great support, everyone!!

Yuko Shiomaki, pictures dept. co. ltd. 
September 11, 2011 at 14:46PM


It's Time For A Movie !!

Monday, April 4, 2011

Over two weeks have passed since the shocking earthquake.


For the last week I have been away at the Hong Kong
International Film Festival, but my heart was so restless that

I could not bring myself to write about the films.


We have been bitterly exposed to the menace of nature,
what with the earthquake, Tsunami, storm winds and snow.
Moreover, the radioactivity leaking from the nuclear power plant
is the threatening all of existence by it's influence on the water. 
The whole world seems to have been unsettled during the
last two weeks as homo sapiens are tested to the full
by this series of events.


As the true scale of the disaster unfolds our minds cannot
cope and we seem to be losing our nerve, even if
we are not direct victims of the earthquake
and it's related events.


What is it that film can achieve now?


I think everyone in the film industry is racking their brains
for the answer to that.


I think that films have hundreds of things to do when it
comes to rehabilitation after this earthquake disaster.


"Films have the power to change human's lives".


I hold great faith in this statement when I purchase a film,

do overseas promotion or think about a films advertising


Films can make you laugh, cry or get excited, so I believe
that entertainment has the power to heal the injured
minds of people affected by this disaster.


Due to the opening scene in "Hereafter", which features
a disaster similar to the one in Japan, Clint Eastwood's
new film has been pulled from circulation.


I heard that there are arguments both for and against this 
decision. However, over time the film "which is able to move
people's minds" will also have "a power to grow
in people's memory".


Someday, somewhere we will have the chance to watch it,
even if now it has disappeared from screens.

We don't have to be in a rush to do so.

I am taking it easy, like this.  It is not a time to argue.


Fortunately, film is a "complex art".


We can reproduce and extend impressions as much as we like. 
It is very different from a live performance. Live performance
needs a certain spirit each time and place, and that spirit is
everything in a live performance.


We can make lots of films and digital copies, so we can
diffuse an impression, with the approval of the rights holders,
to lots of people at once.  This is the media known as film.


I think we must make the best use of this complex arts merits
to the maximum, and broaden the shared experience of
watching amongst the people, who are still feeling unsettled.
People need entertainment.


Film as an entertainment can be shown to hundreds and
sometimes thousands of people at the same time on one screen,
so people can really enjoy a shared experience.


When a film achieves it role of granting shared experience of
a common emotion then the audience will want to see it,
whatever the distributor thinks.  Regardless whether showing
or not showing it is the right decision it will end being sold in
the underground passages of stations at bargain rates.

I am sure that many people want to watch the films no matter how. 
PIrated copies are in circulation despite the rights holders
refusal to release the films.


Looking at it from a different angle it adds credence
to the fact that these films are worth watching.


In the film industry, it is said that if a film leaves the
producer’s control once it is released, it is a “HIT”.


I think "Hereafter" is a meaningful film that leaves
a lasting impression.


Conversely, a film that is shown in the cinema now
because the producer thought it was now the appropriate time
to do so, may well be cold-shouldered by the audience.

This sometimes happens….


Under the situation like this, we cannot show it just because
we want to, and in the same way we cannot watch something
just because we want to.  Films in the present situation are
being shown due to compulsion.


"Is it possible to share with audiences through film?"


Originally, that was the fundamental theme.

Now film producers have a chance to reconfirm this simple idea.
I am going to grasp it.


The short term view is that there is a big loss due to cancellation
of releases, with the knock-on effect that the box-office drops off
overall.  Also that opportunities are lost and that some films
have to renunciate their release due to risky advertising.


What about the long view?


We can share the same emotions with total strangers in a cinema.  
We can share the same thrills. I think now is the time shine
the spotlight on the power of films.


We are confronted by realities of life on a scale we have
never seen before in films - 9/11 terrorist attacks and Tsunamis.


I think that fantasy films are best placed to alleviate the depressive
mood of the world, and have the power to make us dream
and have hope. So, fantasy films are going to catch the
audiences hearts for the time being, I guess.


I heard that Disney's "Tangled" drew audiences totalling
130% compared to last year. I can understand this.
What sort of film can ease peoples troubles at this time
other than Disney or Studio Ghibli?


They are both film-makers who for such a long time
have bought us messages of love, hope and the power to dream.


So, I wish Disney and Ghibli would supply a mobile cinema
with a projector for the children of the disaster-striken area.


They are in need of the hopes and dreams that the film industry
can provide. I think, if all the children could come together to
watch Disney and Ghibli films in an open space, when it warms up,
a sad place of psychic trauma, could be changed into a happy
memorial place for them.  It would be really lovely if it could be
topped off with a fireworks display.  The children would gain
hope from the depths of their sorrow and become
excited for the future.


This is my view and my way of thinking to face this tragedy
from film industry point of view.


Now is the time for the film industry to come together and
use our collective might to prop up the support effort,
and to campaign at full force - with the "rehabilitation
of inspirational films" and rediscovery of the shared
experience of cinema".


"The film industry is having a hard time with decreasing attendances,
it is in an extremely precarious position".


We used to say this in the past, but it should now be about the present. 
Now is the chance to all reset.


Walt Disney quote:


You can design, create and build the most wonderful place in the world,
but it takes people to make a dream into reality.


Hayao Miyazaki quote:


Question: What kind of jobs should the children who have grown
up with your films choose?


Answer: I want them to just be normal people.


The world depicted in films has become reality in rapid succession
- radioactivity from nuclear power plants;
disastrous tectonic plate movement; Mega-Tusnami;
deforestation; global warming; abnormal weather;
oil field depletion..
I guess the only thing remaining is Armageddon.


Can we make a "normal" life for future generations?

Do they still learn how to imagine a lot from films?


Film can do something,

 it can be the shared experience of emotions".





By the way, UNIQLO's president is so cool.  In good faith
he donated one billion yen.   Masayoshi Son from SOFTBAK is too cool. 
He donated 10 billion yen.  Their money is out from their personal pokets,
but they were both very quiet about it, no song and dance. 
It is very manly behaviour. 

However, I am a petite president of a petite company.

My donation is also a petite sum of money,
and I do not own a film which could be released and
free people's minds from the current stresses and strains. 
I feel ashamed that I cannot do anything on a global scale
except have some idea like this.


With this in mind, I have a desire to make a film which
will "touch peoples hearts". Well, I have to hurry up.


(Just an Japanese onomatopoeic word stemming from
a government information film - see the above CM clip, very popular!!)


First of all, I have heard that the reconstruction fund is still not enough.

Your continued support to JustGiving is appreciated.



We appreciate your prompt response. 

Thank you very much for your kind help.




Why Donate? Why Civic Force

Friday, February 4, 2011


This is the natural Hayama Wakame seaweed,
which almost locally exclusive.
You can buy this in the supermarkets,
but it is mostly a farmed version.
It feels very different to best Wakame seaweed in the Spring season.

After I got back form the Berlin International Film Festival,
I was very busy working on the end of fiscal year paperwork.
At last I have done all the things needed without a problem.

It is a fine day after three days of rain.
The sky is clear, and Mt Fuji has made an appearance.
It is covered in snow from 8th of the way up to the summit.

I managed, unexpectedly, to keep the date for payment
despite my attitude towards the business in the recession of the last two years.
I have worked so hard, and actually think I have done very well, don’t I??

So I am rewarding myself with a day off
as the sky, sea and mountains are so beautiful!
It is mid-afternoon and I am drinking some beer
with some slices of Tresus shell at a fish restaurant near my house.
(don’t be afraid, folks, yes it is raw but it’s the best sea shell !!)

On the way back home, along the Morito beach,
I met a male acquaintance of mine who was boiling some Wakame seaweed.
So I am treated to some fresh seaweed.


It is in season and so natural.
Mmmm...it is so delicious,
and has that aromatic smell of the seashore.

I got a lot of seaweed for only 500 yen.

My dog is also happy with the mineral supplements.
Thank god its Friday!

I want to eat this somehow by STAFF DOG

Now, another job for me today.
It is the final settlement of the body.
Yes, it means an afternoon nap!

I have a stressful time all year with lots of overseas business trips.
So when I get consecutive days off the gods sometimes give me a happy day.

It is the 3rd year of independence for pictures dept.
"All right!".I do my best (with "Tiiandaa" てぃ~あんだぁ)

It is so yummy! I can't stop!
oh, btw, I heard "Tiiandaa" means "with great care" in the Okinawan language.

The Magic of Winning 8 Times

Monday 7, February, 2011


The world of Sumo wrestling is being troubled by a match-fixing scandal.

I am not interested in Sumo wrestling and could not understand
what all the fuss was about.
When I put aside my indifference and listened carefully to the news
I found that the fixed fight related to

"the magic of winning eight times."

If you know all about Sumo wrestling please skip the next few paragraphs
and start reading from the bottom.

A Sumo wrestler's rank is decided in “basho” (場所)tournaments
held in spring, summer, etc.
There are six tournaments a year, and there is a large difference
between the annual income of the senior grade, called Maku-uchi,
and the junior grade, called Maku-shita.

Of course the treatment in Sumo stables is very different,
with the junior grade having a life as an underling.

I could imagine that it is a gigantic disappointment
to junior grade Sumo wrestlers -
"I entered this world to wrestle in an arena,
this is not the life I had dreamed of."

According to the variety show commentary,
when a Sumo wrestler was demoted to the junior grade
he instantly lost the right to receive prize money.
This is 150 million yen(20,000 US dollars) ,
so that it meant they received zero yen.

This is too much of a difference.

However, I suppose that it is not only the Sumo wrestling world
where power rules. To loose many things when lost,
the ceiling is very high instead.

Anyway, some Sumo wrestlers were more interested
in the money than fair play.
So they received money to fix the fight.

Basically a strong wrestler was asked to lose a fight on purpose,
so that the wrestler who is verging on the title time limit
can keep their position as an elite wrestler.

Sort of, I'll give you my gratitude if you give me your title.
(I am just guessing that such back room deals exist
in the Sumo wrestling world).

The crucial time limit is the 8th tournament.

Some wrestler's ranking is decided in 15 matches total.

For example, there is a wrestler who has 7 victories and 7 defeats
by the time of the last tournament.
If he fought with a wrestler who has 8 victories and 6 defeats,
and then loses the last match it would mean that he has 7 victories and 8 defeats.
He can't get the senior grade title by just one defeat.

Oh damn, it is a pity. Very vexing.
"If I got one more win I could keep being in the elite squad.
Hey friend, we have been fighting for the same length of time
and live under the same roof.
Friends help each other. It's time for charity,
if you know what I mean."

I am not sure what they think, but it is foul play.
So some strong wrestlers lose a fight on purpose,
and all is right with the Sumo wrestling world.
It seems to be a bit like that.

Professor Steven David Levitt, has attracted a great deal of attention
with his report of fight fixing in the world of Sumo wrestling.
He is the author of "Freakonomics".

"Freakonomics" is a word coined to encompass "freak" and "economics",
and it has sold over 170 million copies in America.
I read this when it went on sale. And a film has been made of this book.

One of the six people who made the omnibus documentary
was director Morgan Spurlock, who is famous for his film SUPER SIZE ME,
which documented how we will all grow fat if we only eat McDonald's fast food.
He proved this by using his own body as an example.

The Sumo wrestling match-fixing scandal is included in this film also called
“Freakonomics”. The film itself is attracting a lot of attention here in Japan
after two years of world premiere,
especially the person interviewed about the world of Sumo.

The times might catch up with the film.

By the way,
did you know that a Professor of Freakonomics exists in Japan as well?

I'll talk about his recent controversial academic discussion paper
saying You Tube free download increases DVD sales.

have a good monday!


yuko shiomaki

Author:yuko shiomaki
pictures dept. co. ltd.
films sales and distribution
company specialized in
international film sales,
PR and marketing to
introduce & deliver quality
films to the global market.