by Chris MaGee
Being where we are here at the beginning of the 21st century it's hard not to play the speculation game and wonder where Japanese film will be going in the coming decades. There are so many young and exciting voices coming up in the film industry in Japan, but few are as exciting and young as 14-year-old Ryugo Nakamura. In 2009 the Okinawa Higashi Junior High student submitted his film treatment to the Okinawan Prefectural office who was running a competition to find a film idea that would promote tourism to Japan's most southern islands.. and Nakamura won.
The result is "Yagi no Boken (The Catcher on the Shore)", a film that Nakamura wrote "to turn the real life of today's Okinawa into a film." The 80-minute feature tells the story of a boy who finds himself with a new mission in life after he sees a goat being slaughtered for food in his grandparents Okinawan village. Stunned by the cruelty involved in the preparations for dinner the boy steals a goat and tries to protect it from landing on the dinner table.
So how could a young man barely in his teens take on the challenge of running a film shoot? Well, before you start making assumptions as to Nakamura's skill consider that he has been making short films since he was in 2nd grade. It was this opportunity to show a "teenager's sense of reality", though, that far outstrips any previous film-making experience that Nakamura has had. Still audiences must be impressed as 40,000 Okinawan's came to see his film when it was screened publicly during 2010. Now "Yagi no Boken (The Catcher on the Shore)" is currently opening in theatres in Tokyo, Yokohama and will open in Osaka in February.
Our thank goes to the English service of Asahi.com for this totally unique story. To read more about Nakamura and "Yagi no Boken (The Catcher on the Shore)" make sure to check out their post here. Also our thanks go to our regular reader and friend Keiko Kusakabe for turning us onto this news and Yahoo Japan for the above promotional image.