IKIGAI Film Series
What keeps you going? How do you stay happy, and live a long life? These are some universal questions that will be explored in this film series that looks into the concept of IKIGAI. In Japanese, IKIGAI生き甲斐 essentially means “reason for being” or the thing that makes your life worthwhile, and we will catch a glimpse of how IKIGAI plays a role in the lives of remarkable Japanese people in these four documentaries.
Directed by Zachary Heinzerling (2013) 81 minutes
The Academy Award nominated Cutie and the Boxer is a moving account of the chaotic and unconventional 40-year love affair and creative partnership between action painter Ushio Shinohara and his wife, Noriko, also an artist. Ushio, who punches canvases with paint-laden gloves, is famous in Japan and in Manhattan’s art circles, yet wider recognition has eluded him. Noriko, 21 years his junior, put her artistic ambitions on hold to be a wife and mother — and an assistant to her demanding husband. Now, Noriko’s acclaimed “Cutie” series of drawings, depicting the relationship between the title character and a volatile figure named Bullie, is turning their world upside down. Winner, Directing Award: U.S. Documentary, 2013 Sundance Film Festival.
Director Hiroshi Tanami (1997) 48 minutes
Produced by NHK, English language version produced by JAMCO & The Japan Foundation
Japanese fencing, kendo (the way of the sword), combines sport with art, and entrance into the highest ranks is dependent upon passing a gruelling examination. Two professional kendo practitioners, Kenichi Ishida and Kai Miyamoto, walk us through the finer points of this martial art as several candidates compete during the one-day hachidan qualifying exam. Post-film discussion about kendo will follow.
Never Ending Man: Hayao Miyazaki
Directed by Kaku Arakawa (2018) 70 minutes
In 2013, Academy Award®-winning* film director and Studio Ghibli co-founder Hayao Miyazaki, creator of such legendary films as Spirited Away and My Neighbor Totoro, suddenly announced his retirement. But still he couldn’t shake his burning desire to create.
After an encounter with young CGI animators, Miyazaki embarks on a new project using these techniques. But the artist, who has been adamant about hand-drawn animation, confronts many challenges that threaten to cancel the film. Can an old master who thinks he’s past his prime shine once again? Shot over two years, Never-Ending Man: Hayao Miyazaki provides a unique, fascinating glimpse into the mind and creative process of one of animation’s most iconic storytellers.
*2015: Honorary Award; 2002: Best Animated Feature, Spirited Away
Directed by Yukio Tanaka (2016) 75 minutes
A humorous documentary that follows a fashion show with models, regular people, who have survived war and earthquakes. What is time? What is life? What is fashion? And what is “live until you die”?