‘Witnesses the audience to prevent genocide’ Why the North Korean internment anime was born

You may have heard about North Korea’s political prisoner internment camp in the news. The North Korean government has denied its existence, but former North Korean defectors and guards have testified to their experiences there, and it is said that 120,000 people are still being held.

North Korean citizens released in a hellish camp seen by a South Korean gay man in military service, women born in Japan who moved to North Korea in the 1960s and 1970s, defected by former guards The animated movie ” True North “, which was produced over 10 years by interviewing people who run NGOs in North Korea, will be released on June 4th. This film, which asked “what it means to live” along with the horrific reality of the concentration camps, was praised at film festivals around the world. The director is Han Eiji Shimizu, who produced the first animated film in this film. He was so political that he couldn’t get any national grants or investments, and he spent most of his money on production. Why did Korean director Han Shimizu in Japan want to make this movie? He spoke frankly about his work and his feelings about his identity in Japan.

“Japanese Village” in a concentration camp with some Japanese abductees

This work is a story about a family who went to North Korea being taken to a concentration camp in the “Repatriation of Koreans in Japan” that lasted from 1959 to 1984. Under the Kim Jong Il regime, his father was arrested as a political prisoner and his mother and child were taken to a concentration camp. The frigid camp was transformed into a hellish picture of torture, rape and forced labor swirling without food from young children to the elderly, but in such a situation, mother Yuri told her son Johan and sister Mihi “human-like.” “Teach me to live. However, the synopsis is that Johan should go to the system side in order to survive. In the movie, there is a scene in which his son Johann is cursed by North Korean children who come to visit the camp. According to former detainees, the concentration camps had an area called the “Japanese Village” where Japanese migrants lived. Among them are famous Japanese musicians, boxers, Chongryon educators, their Japanese wives, and abductees, the number of whom is believed to be in the thousands. The director learned from interviews that a woman who was a victim of Japanese abduction was also being held. The woman is said to have been taken away for refusing to teach Japanese to the operatives. Some returnees, such as Johann’s family, were sent to the camp with their families, who were accused of being targeted by the property brought in from Japan. As I have actually heard from former Chongryon officials, the families of the returnees remaining in Japan are sent from Japan so that the returnees can live in the capital Pyongyang without being sent to the camp. Is said to be continuing. In the first place, journalist Jiro Ishimaru said that the “Repatriation of Koreans in Japan” was a campaign that not only the Chongryon but also the Japanese Communist Party, the labor union, and the media were all excited. He wrote in the press material of this work. At that time, there were 550,000 Koreans in Japan, but in Japan, they could not take out health insurance or pensions and be subject to employment discrimination, so they were called “paradise on earth” and “rapidly developing socialist homeland.” Nearly 100,000 people living in Japan went to North Korea to the sung North Korea.

The director talks about the motivation to create this work over 10 years amid continued financial difficulties. “I made this movie from the perspective of human rights rather than politics. I don’t know what the politics and regime should be. But the reality is that children and old people are frozen in the cold and suffering from starvation. Do you think that anyone with any culture, religion, or political belief must change? ”According to the director, the North Korean issue has long been a six-country talk, economic blockade, military intervention, Various efforts have been made, such as a dialogue between China and Russia with North Korea, but they have not made a slight move. “The only interesting thing is that North Korea reacts when it gets ridiculed by the media. Of course, this movie won’t immediately release the 120,000 inmates, but in the near future, North Korea. When it comes time for Korea to become a more ordinary country, international inspections will come in. At that time, North Korea may try to eliminate the inmates as well as the inhabitants around them. Through this movie, now If people all over the world are witnessed the camp, the genocide may be prevented. “I made this movie.

The language of this film, which was created with the intention of “a movie as a witness,” is English. It is based on the director’s belief that “subtitles inevitably make the story less fresh. To solve the human rights problem in North Korea, we must involve not only East Asia but the world.” In addition, the director deliberately chose the method of animation in order to spread the story to people all over the world. “Everyone has racial bias, as evidenced by psychological experiments. It’s not racial discrimination, but the deep psychology that the same appearance is more likely to be intimate. This story is a live-action film. I thought that deformed animation would be easier to spread all over the world than to make it. ”This work is a G designation that anyone can watch regardless of age, but this is also a technique that animation can do. There are no cruel scenes, but there are scenes that make you imagine shooting, torture, and rape, so some people may feel that the live-action film cannot be seen by children. In order to “between the story happening in another world and the horror movie that can’t keep up with emotions,” the director made the 3D animation of this work a jerky origami style. I was particular about the balance of not being too deformed and not too real.

Low cost and high quality realized by “global division of labor”
Director Han Eiji Shimizu has set up a network of animators in Southeast Asia, “I’m sorry,” with 25 young animators in Indonesia to produce this film. Why didn’t the director, whose native language is Japanese and fluent in English, use Japanese or American animation studios? “It was easiest for me to make it in Japan and the United States, but since the investment was not gathered, I focused on making high-quality animation at a low cost. An acquaintance introduced me to an Indonesian animator. However, the cost was low and the quality was insanely high. Indonesian animators are good at doing exactly what they were told. On the other hand, Japanese animators are very strong in 2D and design characters and concepts. I am good at doing things. The United States has a high level of cutting-edge and innovative scenario power in 3D, and the music is strong in Eastern Europe. For anime works that do not cost as much as Disney and Pixar, such an international division of labor system is better. I think it’s suitable. ”As long as the language barrier is overcome, animators can work globally while in their own country. Even if you are not an animator, many jobs will become such a global division of labor in the future.

“My happiness” learned from the value of 6,000 yen

The career of director Han Eiji Shimizu is different from that of animators. Although he was successful as a salaryman of a major company in Japan, he escaped from salary and moved to California, where he published a series of great biographical manga on the theme of human rights. After that, after producing the documentary film “happy-To you looking for happiness” (2012) in pursuit of “what is happiness” with an American film director, he wrote the book “HAPPY QUEST” by Mindfulness. did. Before Corona, he held seminars on “happiness” all over the world. “The theme of” happiness “is consistent with my project, including this movie. To be happy, I enjoyed delicious food and romance, made many friends, and made money. I lived in a tropical place in the south, but at one point I found myself happier. ” One day, the director, who was taken to a club in Ginza by a friend, ordered a cocktail of 6,000 yen per cup at the club. Then, when he returned to Bali, where he lived at that time, he held a preview of his work “happy”. It was a charity preview to cure cataracts locally. “There are many children in Bali who have had cataracts who have never seen their mother’s face. It costs 6,000 yen to cure one of them. I myself in Tokyo. It made me happier to spend it to cure cataracts in my child than to spend 6,000 yen for it. I made ” True North ” because I thought it would be the source of my happiness. ”