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Memory of the Soil

Director: Shiozaki Toshiko
Photograph, Sound: Lynne Ramsay, Shiozaki Toshiko
Editing: Sotira Kyriacou
Music: Simon Whiteside
Sound designer: Gagik Karagheuzian
Producer: Shiozaki Toshiko, Matsumoto Ichiro
Beaconsfield Studios, Station Road Beaconsfield,
Bucks. HP9 1LG UK
or: Shiozaki Toshiko
7-5-18 Ryoke, Urawa, Saitama 336-0901 JAPAN
Phone: 81-48-831-7723 / Fax: 81-48-831-7771
UK / 1996 / Japanese / Color / 16mm / 47 min

Shiozaki Toshiko

Born in Japan. Graduated in Design from Musashino College of Art. Started work as assistant director for a weekly history TV series. Later worked as director on documentaries and children's programs for Japanese TV. Began making documentary films in 1992 at the National Film and Television School in England. Memory of the Soil which is her graduation film. Screened at Hawaii International Film Festival '97 as well as awarded Certificates of Merit in the Student Documentary Section at Chicago International Film Festival. Filmography includes Captain Singh (96).


An unpretentious documentary centering on the lives of two conceptual artists and potters in Kofu, Japan. The film shows them as they shape and fire clay pots, search for sacred round stones, collect soil samples for their exhibits, and hunt for ancient pottery fragments in a nearby field. By the end, the viewers too will be fascinated by the soil's long memory, its traces of life and culture, its myriad colors and textures.

Director's Statement

Memory of the Soil is my graduation film from the National Film and Television School in England where I had been studying under a scholarship since 1992. I began the project, inspired by the two Japanese artists Kurita Koichi and Kazuko residing in Kofu, Yamanashi Prefecture, who have been friends of mine for over ten years.

In this film, I attempted to visually express mainly 'concepts' and 'sensations' such as "beauty of the soil between the feet," "the texture of a touch," and "air," in collaboration with the Kurita couple. The two artists are incessantly searching for universal themes through their lifestyle and their work, and constantly embarking on a journey to self-revelation. I hope the audience will be able to join this journey through watching the film, and be reminded of their own five senses. Thanks to the British members of my staff who love this film as much as myself, this film became larger in scope than I had expected. As a next film I 'd like to launch Memory of the Soil Part 2 as a road-movie, following the artists' soil-collecting travels around Japan. Also currently directing a documentary about Korean female performance artist and developing a project about stones and the mystery of energy in the land. I hope to continue delving into simple but everlasting themes through visual arts.


Yamagata International Documentary Film Festival Organizing Committee