Tokyo High Tide

(Tokyo higata)

- JAPAN / 2019 / Japanese / Color / Digital File / 83 min

Director, Photography, Editing, Sound, Source: Murakami Hiroyasu

Captures a changing Tokyo in the days prior to the 2020 Summer Olympics, through the life of an old man who lives among abandoned cats, collecting clams along the tidal flats of the Tama River. The film expresses the passing of time through his life, which began in Showa and continued through Heisei into the present Reiwa era. From this so-called “lowest stratum” of Tokyo society, many of the various issues facing Japan—environmental destruction, the aging society, poverty, pet abandonment, and depletion of local wildlife—begin to reveal themselves.

[Director’s Statement] Here is an old man I met in the tidal flats on the fringes of Tokyo. Observing his daily life and its context, I found myself with a view on the present state of Tokyo—and Japan. Furthermore, as I realized that his life paralleled Japan’s post-war history, a larger story began to emerge. I saw his very existence as a critique of civilization, although he was not aware of this. It seemed all the more necessary for someone on the outside to make a record of it in the form of a documentary.

Murakami Hiroyasu

Born September 11, 1966 in Sendai City, Miyagi Prefecture. Began working at a video production company in 1990 until going freelance in 2000. In 2001, he began shooting his documentary film, Stream, which was set along the Nakatsu River that flows through Aikawa in Kanagawa Prefecture. Shooting took ten years, and the film and went on to receive multiple awards including an award from and special selection by the Minister of Education, as well as an award from the Motion Picture and Television Engineering Society of Japan. He began shooting along the tidal flats by the mouth of the Tama River in 2015, which led to the simultaneous completion in 2019 of both Tokyo High Tide and Planet of the Crabs.