Japan's wartime sexual enslavement of women for 'comfort' of soldiers was widespread all throughout the Asia and Pacific region. Shot at the end of the 1980's, shortly after the death of Japan's wartime Emperor Showa (Hirohito), this film draws attention to the devastating trauma of institutionalized sexual violence remembered by Pacific Islander women in Papua New Guinea, where Japan invaded and made a damaging impact on the local population in the early year of the Pacific War.
The film starts with people gathering in front of a palace concerning the condition of Showa, the Japanese Emperor in 1988. The film brings up forgotten memories of the war triggered by the Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere as the war leader was losing his life. The first memory is about Japanese troops in Papua New Guinea, 5000km away from Japan. Since his bookshelves are full of books about the Rabaul Battle, Papua New Guinea is a place that haunts him. However, he keeps his mouth shut about questions of 'comfort women.' As military doctors and local survivors testify, the truth about 'comfort women' from Korea as well as Japan are recollected from oblivion. Even the relationship with Papua New Guinea girls, which have been denied, are disclosed. Following this frame, audiences can gradually realize that the forgotten war is a result of aggressive denials by the subjects who do not want to remember, not by the external elements. At the end of the film, female and male survivors of Papua New Guinea fluently chant Japanese folk song Ball and the Lord and famous militaristic number Thank you Soldiers. And then the distance which keeps audiences as they are disappears into the colossla irony. [HWANG Miyojo]
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After graduating from university in Japan, SEKIGUCHI moved to Australia, her home for 28 years. She took up her vocation as a director there, making her debut with the film Senso Daughters in 1989. Screened at film festivals the world over, it received many awards, including the top prize at the Melbourne International Film Festival. In 2010, she decided to return home to take care of her mother, who was beginning to manifest signs of dementia. She began filming her mother's condition.
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