The Westernization and globalization of traditional foods
around the world are proceeding at an accelerated pace.
Ethnic groups are quickly losing their traditional cuisines.
Washoku, the traditional dietary cultures of the Japanese, is no exception.
Washoku, which has acquired UNESCO heritage status, is not “sushi”
that commonly appears in the media or “gourmet meals at fine dining establishments.”
It is “Japanese food served at home” passed on from grandmother to mother, from mother to child.
Japan’s traditional home-cooked meals are founded on the ancient concept of “food is medicine.”
By preparing foods in season that the ancestors also ate with good-quality fermented seasonings
and by consuming them in right proportions, our bodies will become strong and resilient to disease and illness,
and our lives will be less dependent on doctors and medicine.
“Traditional Washoku” is the fruit of our ancestors’ wisdom and knowledge.
It is indeed what nourishes the “Japanese soul.”
It is also the origin of the macrobiotic diet whose health benefits are appreciated around the world.
This film is the first documentary in the world that spotlights “traditional Washoku.”
The setting is Takatori Nursery School in Fukuoka, Kyushu.
It is run by Fukue Nishi, its elderly principal who adamantly advocates traditional Washoku.
Principal Nishi firmly believes that “food education is the basis of intellectual, physical, and moral education.”
The nursery school practices child-rearing that you would have seen in Japan 100 years ago.
The children run around barefooted and play on bamboo stilts.
They dress lightly and go barefoot even during the winter without catching a cold.
At their autumn sports festival, they boast their incredible ninja-like athletic abilities.
The children are also responsible for serving their own lunches, cleaning the courtyard, and wiping the floors.
Their lunches are based on the concept of “food is medicine” and consist of brown rice, miso soup, and vegetables in season.
Every month, the children make their own miso for the miso soup.
Enzyme-rich, handmade miso is an important part of the diet that is the essence of traditional Washoku.
At this nursery school, children who are only five years old make 100 kilograms of miso every month, one ton every year.
From the 1960s, the number of Japanese children with allergies and atopic syndrome (eczema) has skyrocketed.
To solve the ever-increasing allergy problems, Principal Nishi tries to prevent them through “food” instead of treating the symptoms.
Children with allergies that enter the nursery school every year are healed by the detoxifying effects of brown rice and fermented miso.
Takatori Nursery School raises children with a powerful life force through good old Japanese dietary customs.
Through this film, the benefits and the wisdom of Washoku are interpreted
as the “means of staying healthy for the modern people of all countries.”
The children teach us what is important.
Director and cinematographer Vin Oota uses his original cinematic technique called
“poetry documentary” to beautifully engrave onto film how the Japanese soul is nourished.
Directed, filmed, and edited by Vin Oota
Producer: Shingo Yasutake
Production company: IHATOVO STUDIO
Narrated by Yuriko Ishida
Ending theme song: “Hoshi Meguri no Uta”
performed by Miu Sakamoto with CANTUS
featured song ”TO BE ALIVE”
Lyric by Shuntaro Tanikawa, Composition & song by Hitoshi Komuro
Music by Wong Wing Tsan, Hideaki Masago,
Chie Yasutake, Yoshiko Koyama, Masaha, Hiromasa Aizawa
Appearance by Fukue Nishi (principal of Takatori Nursery School),
Takeo Koizumi (academic expert on fermentation),
Masako Okuda (doctor of preventive medicine and DNA researcher)
English subtitles by Yoko Iwasaki
2018 August 24-September 1
screenings at three historic theaters 「Rheem Theater」「Orinda Theater」「Castro Theater」
Our festival presents documentaries, animation, music videos and feature films.
We pride ourselves on showing the "Best of the Best” in independent films.
He was inspired to plan and direct this film from his own experience of overcoming a serious illness with a dietary regimen.
A believer of “food is medicine,” he has been preparing and eating traditional Washoku for over 20 years.
After working with TV ads, he entered the world of filmmaking with his original cinematic technique called poetry documentary.
He uses his talents in a variety of fields including graphic design, photography, and filmmaking.
For this film, “Itadakimasu,” he was the planner, director, screenwriter, camera operator, editor, still photographer, and ad designer.
His lifework is to capture the native cultures of Sedona, Hawaii, Brazil, the Ryukyu Islands, Ainu,
and other indigenous societies around the world in poetry documentary and to pass them down to posterity.
Senior Staff Writer of The Nishinippon Shimbun
Besides of his principal work, he organizes food education lecture and miso soup making workshops.
Author of nonfiction book "Hana's Miso Soup” which wrote about
his wife fighting against cancer and the lives with his daughter.
The eldest daughter is a graduate student of Takatori nursery school.