Director Takayuki Yamato grew up in the countryside of Japan in a small town called Hanaizumi, a close-knit community about 300 miles north of Tokyo. It was the early 1980s, a calm and peaceful time. Residents there are kind and… More
Director Takayuki Yamato grew up in the countryside of Japan in a small town called Hanaizumi, a close-knit community about 300 miles north of Tokyo. It was the early 1980s, a calm and peaceful time. Residents there are kind and compassionate, and the area is filled with beautiful nature. He spent hours outside running around with his friends, playing hide and seek, and catching insects.
Though it may seem like a perfect and idyllic setting for spending one's childhood, Takayuki could not wait to get out. Growing up, Takayuki watched many Hollywood films and was captivated by everything he saw, from Levi's jeans and Nike sneakers to McDonald's hamburgers. They were all novel and exciting for him. And it was not just the products that he found fascinating: ideas like America's being the land of freedom and opportunities inspired him. But when he finally arrived in the U.S., he realized that America was not quite the dreamland he had expected. As time passed, he began to think that Japan, while not perfect, still had many sources of pride - among them a long and rich history with sacred traditions, and a unique culture.
Takayuki decided to take his friend Mark to Japan, so that Mark could experience its culture and people firsthand. Instead, they witnessed what seemed like an overwhelming presence of American influence. There were countless numbers of American food chains such as McDonald's, Starbucks, and KFC. Everywhere they looked, they found billboards featuring Hollywood celebrities, or business signs written in English. They even discovered that Japan has its own Statue of Liberty.
After returning to the U.S., Takayuki began investigating what was happening to his country. He did not intend for it to be anything serious, but his research took a dramatic turn when he came across evidence of U.S. intervention in Japanese domestic affairs. Shocked by his findings, Takayuki decided to travel home once more to learn the true nature of the American and Japanese relationship.
This film captures Takayuki's journey in search of Japan's lost identity.