Produced July, 2016 Japan Director: Masaru Oura
Nagasaki City is two hours by plane and bus from Tokyo. Seventy miles further east of Nagasaki lies the Goto Archipelago. In the north of the archipelago, on the island of Kamigoto, Tora-san and his family live, making natural salt and Goto Udon. There are 9 people in his family, 7 children. We began following them in 1999. The father, Tora-san, has a personal motto: Train your own kids yourself. The children wake up every morning at 5 a.m. and help make udon for an hour before they go off to school. Tora-san says he wants them to learn important life lessons that they cannot learn at school. Each of the 7 children have their own feelings about this as they grow up. One rebels against her father and leaves home. One stays home and becomes a fisherman. Each child is different. The children growing up strong, their father growing old, the fights, sorrows, and joys shared by parents and children…a portrait of the changing generations of a family, woven together with the natural beauty and the festivals of Goto. How will this family live, how will they thrive, on this remote island? From when the youngest child is two to when he is 24, this documentary traces 22 years of one family’s history.
In every home, raising children and just living day to day bring trouble, sorrow, and joy. It is our hope that whoever watches this film can combine the 22 years of experiences of the family in the program with their own experience to learn something about raising children and living well.
Furthermore, Japan’s population is concentrated in Tokyo, but the populations of the outer cities and islands is declining. Living in the outer regions can be difficult, but those places are blessed with beautiful nature and bounteous food. We hope that people will come to see that not just in the big cities, but in the outer regions as well, there is an art to living.