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WHAT IS YOUR HOME?

Welcome to Yubari, a city in northern Japan, with the highest elderly population in the world.The city is the first and only bankrupted city in Japan, and when the successful coal-mining and tourism disappeared, the city lost more than 90% of its population. Who still lives here when the city takes its last breaths? When the city selected a new mayor – the youngest mayor in Japan’s history, the people of Yubari saw a new hope. This film explore the love for one's home and life-lasting friendships.

In 2020, Tokyo will host their 2nd Olympics since 1962, and the city has been taking massive urban planning for the Olympics development. While Tokyo attracts people from the countryside and gathers young first time movers from all over of Japan, there is another side of Japan. Far up, in the remote Island of Hokkaido, you’ll find a small city called Yubari -  the oldest populated city in the world.

 

The area of Yubari city is bigger than Tokyo but has lost more than 90% of its  population over past 50 years. Yubari once had 120,000 of population and now been shrunk down to 8000.  

In their glorious time around the 1st Olympics in Japan, Yubari was full of energized people working for coal mining. The coal energy was the main pillars to build up the country after the WW2. Numbers of explosion during the mining killed estimated 3000 people until the close down of mine in 1982. The energy resource has shifted to coal to nuclear power. Once coal was called “Black Diamond” but it was no longer wanted.

The feature documentary YUPARO will not simply be the story of city’s history, of fail and recreation, but the people and families, men and women, hidden heroes supported Japan’s development and struggle to break norm to reconstruct the city. “Yubari’s problem is the attractive part of this town” says Mayor of Yubari who once became the youngest mayor in Japan.

Michiyo is 65 years-old hairdresser, born and raised in Yubari. People call her “mother of Yubari”. No matter how the city has bankrupted and has changed she survived with just one pair of sesser for the past 50 years. Her motto is “work creates your life and happiness”. She is an independent woman and has been an icon of the city. Michiyo welcomes people and many guests visits her from over the world including movie star, TV caster, athletes, and young officer who became present mayor of Yubari.

 

New generations who were attracted to Yubari problems move to the city. Mayor Suzuki became the youngest mayor in Japan at age of 29 and has taken on the challenge to reconstruct the city. Tradition, memories, and strong bond counters against change. Suzuki introduced “compact city” to make ex-miners to move and gather into one new community.  Most of the people had their own fist bathroom for the first time and struggled, going to the public bath was were people communicated the most, like a old British pub.

Change was  necessary for the city, but has created a conflict for those who were afraid the it would destroy communities. As being caught in a dilemma, people in Yubari takes step to stand up and reconstruct their home again.

 

This special city will take you to the journey to find what the real home is.

TRAILER

 

CAST

 

SYNOPSIS

MICHIYO

Mother of Yubari

Michiyo is 65 years-old hairdresser, born and raised in Yubari. People call her “mother of Yubari”. No matter how the city has bankrupted and has changed she survived with just one pair of sesser for the past 50 years. Her motto is “work creates your life and happiness”. She is an independent woman and has been an icon of the city. Michiyo welcomes people and many guests visits her from over the world including movie star, TV caster, athletes, and young officer who became present mayor of Yubari.

KAMIYAMA

Ex-miner

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HARUMA

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NAOMICHI

Former Mayor of Yubari

New generations who were attracted to Yubari problems move to the city. Former mayor of Yubari, Naomichi became the youngest mayor in Japan at age of 29 and has taken on the challenge to reconstruct the city. Tradition, memories, and strong bond counters against change. Suzuki introduced “compact city” to make ex-miners to move and gather into one new community.

CREW

 
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SHIORI ITO

Director

A Japanese journalist and documentary film  director, she won a silver award for the documentary  "Lonely Death" , (Channel News Asia). Other broadcast credits include BBC, Ecoinomist , Al Jazeera and Vice. Shiori is driven by human right and gender based stories, and was featured in the critically acclaimed documentary for BBC2, ‘Japan’s Secret Shame’ - about her own struggle as a rape survivor and how she battled the broken justice system, where speaking about sex crimes remains strictly taboo. Her book 'The Black box' about Japan's sexual violence won the Best Journalism Award at FPAJs.

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HANNA AQVILIN

Producer

London based, award-winning journalist and director/producer. Her documentary film 'Fay Presto: Queen of Close-up', has been nominated at BAFTA-Recognized film festivals, awarded at BFI Southbank and won prize at NYC Downtown Short Film Festival. She has earned producer credits at the BBC, Al Jazeera and also worked with projects for Swedish Television, NPR and The Guardian.  Hanna and Shiori developed and produced the documentary ‘Japan’s Secret Shame’ for BBC2 This World together with the production company True Vision.

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YUTA OKAMURA

Camera & Associate Producer

Award-winning filmmaker, works in Los Angeles and Tokyo. Yuta has directed, filmed and edited for History Channel, ABC; as well as brands Nikon, Sony, and Japan Airline. The feature documentary he edited, ‘Resistance is Life” had been screened more than 20 international film festivals and won best documentary and audience award at San Francisco Documentary Film Festival, Dances with Films, San Diego Film Festival, Covellite International Film Festival, Macon Film Festival, Scad Savannah Film Festival.

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MEGUMI LIM

Camera & Sound

Beijing based freelance journalist. She has worked for Reuters in Tokyo as a video journalist, working on earthquake recovery and aging society related projects. She works for South China Morning Post  and creates video journals.

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HIDEMI SHINODA

Still Photographer

Hidemi grew up in Mexico and United States. Since she was aware of time difference from Japan and became fascinated with astronomy, many of her works are related to the earth and space. She has shot portraits for Asahi News,  Jiji Press, and weekly magazine AERA.

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NIKOLAI AHLMARK

Story Producer

Nicholas is an award winning UK based film maker specialising in documentaries set in the Asia Pacific region. His films have broadcast globally on Al Jazeera, CNBC, Vice and Channel News Asia amongst others.

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APO W. BAZIDI

Supporter

Apo W. Bazidi is an award-winning filmmaker who has been interested in storytelling and writing since he was a child. Apo was later inspired and encouraged by his mentor, Angelo Ciaffi, to pursue his passion for a career in film. He began studying film at City College of San Francisco in 2006 and he graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Film & Television Production from the University of Southern California in 2011. Apo's films are primarily concerned with social issues and the importance of global cultural interactions. He believes in making a positive change and his motto is "be creative and inspire".

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