Hatsumi – One Grandmother’s Journey Through the Japanese Canadian Internment is a finalist in the Welfare Education Category for NHK’s 40th Japan Prize.
Hatsumi is a powerful film and now it is competing against an Oscar winner for the top spot. No one was more surprised to hear about the film’s nomination than the director, Chris Hope, himself.
“My original goal was to produce something that would present the community’s story in a coherent way that outsiders could look at what we’ve collectively been through as Japanese Canadians,” Hope said in an interview with Nikkei Voice.
Another one of Hope’s goals was to make the film that would help teachers educate their students on the internment of the Japanese Canadians. “By recounting history and having a solid knowledge of our history, we aren’t doomed to repeat it,” Hope said.
Due to the precept of shikata ga nai, a term some Japanese Canadians might be familiar with, there was a lack of resources available to make a real depiction for school curriculums, and as a result many young Canadians are still unaware of the Internment of Japanese Canadians.
This is something he hopes Hatsumi addresses. Hope has been trying to get NHK to take interest in Hatsumi’s story for almost a decade now. The ultimate grand prize winner is given a broadcast deal with NHK.
“As a generation we are so self obsessed with what our friends ate for breakfast, we’ve completely lost track of the fact we have a major resource within our families,” Hope said. “Talking to them about our own personal histories is pivotal in understanding our history.”
The judging of the finalist’s work will begin on October 17th for Best Work in each category including the Special Prizes and the Grand Prix. The award ceremony will take place on October 24th following the International Producers Conference for Educational Media in Tokyo. Judges from around the world will decide the prize winner.