Close Up

13 November 2021: Annyong Kimmchi + How I Survive in Kawaguchi City


Annyong Kimmchi
Tetsuaki Matsue, 1999, 53 min
Japanese with English subtitles

Where do younger Korean-Japanese (referred to as “zainichi”) born and raised in Japan stand on issues of ethnicity and nationality? In this charming documentary shot on 16mm, Tetsuaki Matsue, a third-generation zainichi embarks on a journey of self-discovery (the title translates as Hello Kimchi, a taste for which Tetsuaki has yet to acquire). As he confesses his Korean ancestry to classmates, quizzes his aunts on his family’s history, and even makes a journey to Seoul, he connects the social, cultural and political dots, eventually tracing the story of how his family came to bear Japanese names. The film itself is also a family collaboration, with sister Masako – who regularly appears as Tesuaki’s sounding board – serving as narrator. 

How I Survive in Kawaguchi City
Kenji Murakami, 2003, 30 min
Japanese with English subtitles 

Kenji Murakami moved to seemingly non-descript Kawaguchi to save on rent and train fare, but he has so far successfully avoided his new neighbourhood. When he embarks on training for the annual marathon, he finds the excuse he needed to playfully explore his surroundings, camera in tow.

Screening as part of our Cinema of the Self: Personal Documentary in Japan programme and Japan 2020: Over 100 years of Japanese Cinema, a UK-wide film season supported by National Lottery and BFI Film Audience Network.