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(Series 1 and 2 Available on DVD!)

Series #1 Japan: Resources for Understanding

filming of religious ritual As Iwate Goes: Is Culture Local?
An on-the-scene report from two small towns in northeastern Honshu. Tono, “everybody's old home town,” is nationally famous for preserving its local legends and making them into a tourist attraction. Towa, a few miles away, strives instead to create new traditions. The 20th century has not been kind to local cultures around the world, and Japan is no exception. Living in the old home town seldom generates the excitement that comes with being plugged in to the global media village. Like their counterparts in other nations, people in regional Japan want to have just as special a role in their country's international future as they did in its parochial past. As Iwate Goes: Is Culture Local? captures the home-town story behind Japan's national success. Jackson H. Bailey, an American scholar who studied Iwate for two decades, is host commentator for this program, which was recorded on location in the summer of 1991.

news crew As Iwate Goes: Is Politics Local?
An on-the-scene report from two small towns in northeastern Honshu, “Japan 's Appalachia,” showing how residents struggle to reconcile local needs with national policies. Away from the great industrial cities, in regional Japan, people face a set of problems familiar to those who live in the more remote districts of any advanced nation. High wages lure younger people to urban centers, leaving small towns with a rapidly aging population and labor force. New factories will bring in jobs but may spoil the environment. Resorts, industrial zones, and public works projects designed in Tokyo seldom take account of local wishes and lifestyles. As Iwate Goes: Is Politics Local? shows the domestic face behind Japan 's economic and financial success story.

fishing boat

Fit Surroundings
On the coast of Japan 's Shima Peninsula, the average age of commercial abalone divers is 50 years, and most are women. Local co-operatives control near-shore waters as commons territories. By balancing the ecology of the shellfish capture and reproduction, the co-ops help to maintain natural environments that regenerate abalone, while providing an arena for economic rivalry that sustains the enthusiasm of aging divers for their craft.

Society for Visual Anthropology Award, 1995

truck Hollow Harvest

From the 1950s through the 1970s Japan's public television service, NHK, ran a weekly program reporting in rich detail the waves of change sweeping across Japanese agriculture and shifting the life chances of farm families. Akarui noson, "Brighter Village," the series title, turned out to be ironic when changes in world markets and abrupt shifts in government policies forced thousands to abandon farming and find other occupations. Historically priceless footage from Akarui noson has been shaped into a 30-minute program with English narration and subtitles. Following the program, Jackson H. Bailey, an American historian who witnessed the great transformation in 20th-century Japanese agriculture, comments on the dilemmas that faced policy makers and farmers in turn.


businessmen dining

Neighborhood Tokyo
Theodore Bestor, an anthropologist who tracked events in the locale for more than a decade, takes us into the streets of a community of Mom-and-Pop stores and small enterprises near the center of Tokyo . In a series of unrehearsed scenes, we follow the people of the neighborhood as they move through their everyday lives.

Society for Urban Anthropology Award, 1994


Series #2 Voices of Experience

Ella's Journal
In 1935-36, Ella Wiswell lived in a remote village in Japan while helping her husband, anthropologist John Embree, collect data for his dissertation. The Women of Suye Mura , a book based on her field journal, was published in 1982, with Robert J. Smith as co-author. In 1985, the village invited her back to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Embree field study. In this program, she and Smith discuss the original research, how they came to write the book, and her long relationship with the community. Visual materials include photos the Embrees took in the 1930s, as well as footage of the 1985 celebration.

Jackson Bailey
Historian Jackson Bailey speaks on rice-roots responses to four decades of social change, as depicted in his book on regional development in a community in Northeastern Japan, Ordinary People, Extraordinary Lives.

Keith Brown
Anthropologist Keith Brown talks about the adaptive vigor of local-level social institutions and cultural practices in the area of southern Iwate where he has done field research for many years.

The Language of My Teachers
At the age of 17, Robert J. Smith was sent to join the U.S. Army's Japanese language program. From this initial exposure to the “enemy's language,” Smith went on to become a leading interpreter of Japanese society and religion, and professor of anthropology at Cornell University . In this program, Smith talks about his many periods of research in Japan and his approach to understanding social issues and cultural continuities in that country.

Margaret Lock
Margaret Lock talks about cultural differences in perceptions of middle age and menopause among women in Japan and North America, as examined in her book Encounters with Aging.

No New Ginzas
Historically the Ginza was “downtown,” the Broadway and Fifth Avenue of Tokyo, the center for fashion and shopping. And just as regional cities in the U.S. often have a Broadway downtown, so regional cities in Japan often have a Little Ginza. But there have been no new Ginzas since the 1970s; Japanese cities now borrow from across the seas to name new shopping areas for upscale districts outside of Japan. Jackson H. Bailey and David W. Plath talk about how people in regional Japan are bypassing Tokyo and are reaching out directly for a role on the global scene.

Takie Sugiyama Lebra
Takie Sugiyama Lebra talks about her book Above the Clouds, the first report in English on the lives of Japan 's former nobility who lost their status after World War II.

Theodore Bestor
Theodore Bestor talks about his field research in a Tokyo community of Mom and Pop stores and small businesses, which lead him to write his prize-winning book, Neighborhood Tokyo.

Times of Witness: Fieldwork in Japan
Anthropologists Ella Wiswell, who conducted the first live-in study of a Japanese village in 1935, and Robert Smith discuss how Japan has changed over the past century and their role as witnesses and recorders of the past.

What's an Anthropologist Doing in Japan?
Anthropological techniques of study have often been thought best suited to “primitive” societies. What happens when they are deployed in a complicated modern civilization? Anthropologist David W. Plath puts that question to a panel of colleagues who have done field research in Japan, including Margaret Lock, Takie Sugiyama Lebra, Keith Brown, William Kelly, and Theodore Bestor.

William Kelly
William Kelly talks about his efforts to track 200 years of agrarian reform and struggles for regional independence on the Shonai Plain in northwestern Honshu.


Series #3 Heritage of the Koto

Japanese Koto Music: Old and New
A teaching tape hosted by Leonard Holvik, Earlham Professor of Music, with demonstrations by Kazuo, Yuki and Yumi Kurosawa performing with voice, piano, koto, and shamisen."

Koto: Japanese Music on the World Stage
The 1990 PBS world premier concert broadcast featuring Kazuo and Chikako Kurosawa, performing an original concerto for a symphony orchestra and two kotos.

Kurosawa Koto Ensemble
This unusual concert was taped 11/6/83 at Wilkinson Theatre at Earlham College in Richmond, Indiana. It features uniquely Japanese music presented by the Kurosawa Koto Ensemble, including koto musicians and craftsmen, Kazuo and Chikako Kurosawa, and shakuhachi player, Hiroshi Yonezawa.






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