by Chris MaGee
On March 20th it will be the 15th anniversary of the sarin gas attacks on the Tokyo subway system by members of the Aum Shinrikyo religious cult. The events of that day, which killed 12 people, severely injured 50 more, and sickened thousands of other commuters, rocked the foundations of Japanese society. Why did these cult members attempt mass murder and of their fellow Japanese no less? These questions still plague the Japanese consciousness to this day. While the victims (and the Japanese public at large) have never gotten the easy answers to these questions the shock of the attacks has been channeled into a number of films and documentaries from Tatsuya Mori's documentaries "A" and "A2", through Teruo Ishii's absurd satire "Jigoku", to Akihiko Shiota's insightful "Canary". Now to commemorate this 15th anniversary Fuji TV has enlisted one of Japan's top actresses to give a voice to the families of those killed in the attacks.
Mieko Harada (above left), star of such films as Kinji Fukasaku's "House on Fire" and Akira Kurosawa's "Ran", has been cast in the docudrama "3.20 Sarin Subway Attack 15 Years On - Just what happened that day in Kasumigaseki?" which will air on the Japanese network on March 20th at 9:00PM. The 51-year-old actress will play Shizue Takahashi, the wife of a stationmaster who worked at Kasumigaseki station and was one of the 12 killed that day. The real-life Shizue Takahashi has been a vocal advocate for the victims of the sarin attacks, attending the trial of the five Aum members responsible for seeding the train lines with the poisonous gas.
Thanks to Japan Today for this news item.