Node Film Screening and Q&A

Hirogawara is a village with a long lasting tradition of forestry located in a mountain area of Kyoto prefecture, Japan. Although municipal records drafted in 2009 recorded a population of 120 residents amongst its five districts, over half of these citizens also have an urban household in Kyoto. These iribito (newcomer) villagers who predominantly reside in the city are situated alongside a dwindling population of mostly elderly jinomon (native) residents. Therefore the interactions taking place in Hirogawara provide an interesting case-study of a typically underpopulated village in a rural Japanese region which is undergoing a form of social change cultivated by globalised mobility.

Node (Atsushi Koike, 2010) captures Hirogawara residents reflecting on the traditions of their environment in a period of transition. There is a prevalent connection to ancestry which manifests itself in the maintenance of the Hirogawara landscape by its villagers. In this film, public space comes to constitute social memory, which is relayed by the villagers who recount meaningful autobiographical stories linked to their native environment. Whilst traditional public spaces and private interiors are conserved by members of the community, the aging population of Hirogarawa is also seen to struggle with the workload of maintaining its surrounding forests.

Node provides a contemporary insight into the often publicised issue of dwindling populations in Japan through the lens of a village community. It was filmed as part of fieldwork conducted by Atsushi Koike for a Master of Philosophy in Visual Cultural Studies at the University of Tromsø in 2010. The film has a reflective and contemplative pace, configuring the at times static environment of Hirogawara as a central framing device for the depiction of the residents being interviewed.

Date: Thursday 23 February 2017 6.00 for 6.30pm
Venue: Royal Anthropological Institute, 50 Fitzroy Street, London W1T 5BT

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