The Targeted Village

(Hyoteki no mura)

- JAPAN / 2013 / Japanese, English / Color, B&W / Blu-ray / 91 min

Director: Mikami Chie
Photography: Terada Toshiki, QAB News Team
Editing: Terada Toshiki, Niigaki Yasuyuki
Sound: Kida Hiroshi
Music: Uechi Masaaki
Executive Producer: Kakazu Asao
Producer: Jahana Takashi
Production Company, Source: QAB Ryukyu Asahi Broadcasting Corporation
World Sales: TOFOO, LLC.

Takae, Okinawa. As residents resist the construction of helipads that threaten to encircle their village, they are indicted by their government for obstruction. We come to know the shocking truth that during the Vietnam War, Takae villagers were forced to participate in U.S. guerilla warfare training exercises as proxies for Vietnamese villagers. In their struggle against the deployment of the Osprey helicopter, Okinawans completely blockaded the Futenma base. Nevertheless, the aircraft was deployed as planned. Produced by Ryuku Asahi Broadcasting, this film is a direct statement of the Okinawan people’s sadness and fury before the American and Japanese states.

[Director’s Statement] First, I would like to express my deep gratitude for the honor of screening this documentary produced by a local Okinawa news station alongside works by remarkable filmmakers from across the globe. That said, this film documents a desperate situation that will not be resolved unless everyone in Japan sees it. There is no room for rejoicing in the face of reality—Okinawa is becoming more and more a military colony of Japan and United States with every passing day. This film documents the adversity this country pushes upon these small islands to the south, and is saturated with their deep sadness, anger, and grief. Nevertheless, the Okinawan people often sing and dance while they cut through authority in their broad struggle. There are times when I see their will to survive as their history of resistance is passed down joyously, and unbroken.

The setting for this film, Takae in Higashi Village, is a small town of only 160 people, where tourists do not travel. Surrounded by the American military’s guerilla warfare training zone, it is a place where soldiers in camouflage may suddenly appear outside your house. When Takae’s residents heard about the construction of new landing pads for the Osprey, a transport helicopter that has crashed countless times, they were shocked and began a sit-in. The Japanese government charged them with obstruction for doing so, even indicting a girl who was only 7-year-old at the time. Once made to play the role of the Vietnamese people as the targets for U.S. military training exercises during the Vietnam War, the people of Takae are now being brought to trial by the Japanese government. Their case is currently under review by the Supreme Court of Japan. As I am writing this on August 3rd, additional Ospreys are being deployed and more citizens have been arrested. The absurdity depicted in this film is still occurring today. Witness the screen, and become involved in the struggle yourself.

- Mikami Chie

After studying Okinawan Folk Culture at Seijo University, Mikami Chie joined Mainichi Broadcasting System as an announcer. In 1995 she moved to Okinawa, where her parents live, to serve as lead announcer for the launch of Ryukyu Asahi Broadcasting Corp. While devoting herself to her role as a nightly news anchor, she actively involves in program production. Mikami also works as a university lecturer of Okinawan Folk Culture. Her past documentary work has focused on the Battle of Okinawa, the U.S. base issue, coral transplants, and the culture of saltwater manatees. In 2010 she received the Women in Broadcasting Award. Her Umi ni suwaru won the Award of Excellence at the Galaxy TV Awards. Sango ga kieru hi won the Earth Vision Award at the Earth Vision Global Environmental Film Festival. Eirei ka inujini ka won the Waseda Journalism Award in Memory of Ishibashi Tanzan. The televised version of The Targeted Village won the Award of Excellence at the Galaxy TV Awards, the PCJF Encouragement Award, and the Grand Prize at the ZA-Koenji Documentary Festival.