Watanabe arrested

Aaron Gerow gerow
Sun Jul 18 22:19:50 EDT 1999

In what is figuring to be a bizarre incident that is still not to clear 
to me, Watanabe Fumiki, director of such controversial films as _Zazanbo_ 
and _Bari zogon_, was arrested over the weekend in Kitahiroshima, 
Hokkaido (my wife's hometown!), for trespassing.  He was caught entering 
a public hall which was supposed to show his recent film _Hara 2 toke_, 
but cancelled it because of an "illegitmate application."  Some reports 
say that Watanabe's action was in protest against the cancellation.  
According to the Hokkaido Shinbun, the city rejected the application 
because of "false entries," but Watanabe protested, saying they were only 
"changes."  He stressed under police questioning that in entering the 
hall he was only exercising his right to use the hall under the original 
approval, and was preparing to show the film. 

What remains unclear is what exactly about the application was wrong and 
whether the content of the film had anything to do with the cancellation. 
 Watanabe's semi-documentary work has continually protested against the 
closed and oppressive nature of Japanese society, often in unconventional 
and controversial ways.  His _Zazanbo_, a docu-drama about the real-life 
"suicide" of a young boy which intimated that the parents were 
murderously involved, ended up in court, with the court eventually ruling 
for the parents who asked that the film not be shown.

Can anyone who has seen the film or knows more about the incident comment?

Aaron Gerow
Yokohama National University
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