From the Land of Bitter Tears(“Nigai namidano daichi kara”)
- Director: KANA Tomoko
2004 Chinese, Japanese Subtitled in - Color Video 87 min
Title calligraphy: TAKEDA Souun
Music: SAITOU Maya, KOMIYAMA Shinsuke, TSUJI Kosuke
Design: Cazman, Kosu
PR: HANAWA Machiko
Assistant/Stills: HATTORI Tadashi
Translation: YOSHIHARA Masako, MAO Tan, WANG Fumi, WANG Chongshing, AMEKAWA Miki
Editing Supervisor: MUKAIYAMA Masatoshi
Contact Name: Office Rakuen
1-20-205 Wakaba, Shinjuku, Tokyo 160-0011 JAPAN
[Festivals and prizes] Taiwan IDF, Earth Vision (Tokyo Global Environmental Film Festival). Japan Journalist Prize. Broadcast on CCTV (China).
[Synopsis] In WWII, Japan broke international treaties and produced chemical weapons. From 1929 to 1945, 6,000 tons of poison gas including mustard and cyanide gas was produced in Japan. After experimenting on humans in China, Japan used them in actual warfare. After defeat, the military bombed their facilities, discarded the weapons in the fields and left. They feared that their production would come to light.
After the war, poison gas in Japan was disposed of under U.S occupation. However 700,000 shells sent to China still remain in the ground, Japanese government has announced. As a result, more than 2000 people have been injured after the war.
In 2003, the Japanese director met Liu Ming, a 27 year-old Chinese woman. Deeply moved by this meeting, she learned that there are still chemical weapons left by the Japanese in the earth of China, after almost 60 years after the war, and new accidents of poison gas and bombshells have not ceased.
Liu Min’s father had died in 1995 in a construction site when a bombshell left by the Japanese Imperial Army in WWII exploded. His arms and legs were severed, and he suffered serious burns over his entire body. He died 18 days later. His medical costs left her with a huge debt – she and her brother had no choice but to leave school and work.
59-year-old Li Cheng touched a mysterious container while working on a dredge ship when he was 29. Water blisters covered his body and his genital and internal organs were injured. He still suffers from serious after effects. His wife supports their living. Having fallen to a life of extreme poverty, he has attempted suicide twice. He is a victim of the Japanese military’s poison gas.
The director completed this documentary after 10 months in China and meetings with 60 victims. In China, where interest in this issue remains high, China’s largest TV station, CCTV, broadcast a special program about the project at prime time, inviting Kana as a guest.
Born in 1971, she worked for Japan’s public TV station NHK for seven years before going independent in 2000. Her first feature documentary was Mardiyem / What Happened to Her Life? (2001), about the victimized women forced into sexual slavery by the Japanese Imperial Army during World War II. This is her second film.