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From Asahi Shimbun

Japanese version

'Towards a Nuclear-Free World
    From Japan:
         Thoughts from a Country Hit by Nuclear Bombs - 2013'(2)

Cannot Escape the Nightmare
By Sion Sono,  a film director   (January 30, 2013, The Asahi Shimbun Newspaper)


Several years after the Tohoku earthquake a nuclear accident occurs in Japan. The location is the fictitious Nagashima Prefecture, an amalgamated name recalling Nagasaki, Hiroshima and Fukushima. This is the premise for my film titled "Kibou no Kuni (The Land of Hope)." Are we going to let these unprecedented disasters become relegated to history? With that in mind, I looked around Fukushima and interviewed people there to produce this film, but in the course of making a film about an invisible subject, radiation, I started to see a Japan that I had never seen before.

Before I started to work on this project, there were many film companies that said, "Next time we want to work with you, Mr. Sono," but, when it came to a film about nuclear power plants, they disappeared like baby spiders scattering in all directions. I never would have guessed how difficult it would be in this country to make a film about an on-going problem causing people to suffer.

During production, I felt Fukushima was steadily being forgotten. Going through that experience in Fukushima made me realize that the [reaction to] the atomic bombings had been the same. Japan is the only country that has suffered atomic bombings, and more than any other country should have been thinking about the issues associated with nuclear energy. Instead it turned its eyes away from the nightmare of Hiroshima and Nagasaki and quickly woke up from it. We had thought that we could run away from it by backing away. Then, the nuclear power plants blew up.

I saw a TV quiz show the other day in which the question was posed: "Which countries fought against Japan during World War 2?" An entertainer in his 20s mumbled, "It can't be the U.S. because it's our friend." Has Japan become such a forgetful nation? Going with the flow in this country, I might well become as indifferent as everyone else. Infected with that mood, I had not cared about nuclear energy until the disaster.

"Kibouno Kuni" is over, but I am still shooting in Fukushima. In the future I would like to make a realistic film about the atomic bombing, something so inhumane as to upset people. Leave things as they are, and Fukushima really will get forgotten. If everyone is waking up, I will drag them back into the nightmare once again. I am going to make a film this way.


Sion Sono, a film director, was born in Aichi prefecture in 1961. Many of his works such as "Ai No Mukidashi (Love Exposure)" and "Tsumetai Nettaigyo (Cold Fish)" featuring vivid depictions of sex and violence have been critically acclaimed at home and abroad. "Hizumi" filming the area stricken by the Tohoku earthquake was awarded New Actor Awards for the two leading actors at the Venice International Film Festival.

(This was compiled through an interview by Tsukasa Kimura.)