Archive: ‘Video’

The Emperor’s Speech…

Friday, June 8th, 2012

The Emperor of Japan’s words on the one year anniversary of the Earthquake and Tsunami. It’s hard not to get the impression that he is also indirectly addressing such issues as the “wide area incineration” problem I wrote about in The Atlantic.  I filmed the video near Ishinomaki City in Miyagi Prefecture on July 16, 2011 – 4 months after the tsunami.

Studio UFO – Filmed by Michael McAteer

Thursday, November 4th, 2010

Here’s the latest. Filmed at the studio of master potter Masakazu Kusakabe in Miharu, Japan – October 2010.

Setsubun – filmed by Michael McAteer

Thursday, September 30th, 2010

The annual Setsubun festival at Yoshida Shrine in Kyoto marks the turn from winter to spring. Red, yellow and blue demons, representing various negativities, battle the primordial shaman, the Hososhi, who pushes them back to their proper place and restores cosmic balance. The festival, conducted every year on February 2nd and 3rd, attracts 500,000 onlookers. It is a rare glimpse of an ancient Japanese rite which started here more than a thousand years ago. (Click the word “Vimeo” on the bottom right of the video to watch it in High Definition.)

僕が育った京都 神楽岡町は吉田神社の節分祭で有名です。いまや日本中が賑わうお祭りですが、元はこの吉田神社で始まったとか。建物から衣装や音楽まで、圧倒的なデザイン力で集まる参拝者を釘付けにします。二月の寒い吉田山の夜・・・周りの自然までもが儀式のデザインに組み込まれ、命への危機感を覚える子供から神秘と迫力に打たれる大人まで、全員参加型の行事です。特に子供はどうしてもマジになってしまいます。当時は珍しかった外国人ベビーとしても参加していた僕は、あの鬼達に特別かわいがられたものです。小学校の時はたいまつを持って参加したこともありました。人生を強く、そしてポジティブに刺激してくれる伝統というのはお金では買えない財産です。一世代では生めないような価値をこの神楽岡町では吉田神社と追儺保存会がみゃくみゃくと未来へ伝えています。このさい、吉田・神楽岡の伝統とそれを支えてきてくれた人々に特別な感謝とリスペクトを伝えたいところです。(高画質で見るには、動画の右下の『Vimeo』と書いてある部分をクリックしてください。)

Setsubun at Yoshida Shrine 吉田の節分祭 from Michael McAteer on Vimeo.

The festival of Setsubun is celebrated all over Japan, but it is said to have started in the neighborhood where I grew up in Kyoto. I was lucky enough to be one of those kids fearing for their lives, and later on to carry a torch for the four eyed Shaman. A quick note on the obvious trauma being inflicted on the kids: there is such a thing as good fear… even if it is fear for your life. I was one of the first white babies those demon men ever saw… I got extra special attention from them… but the screams and tears have all flowered into a good story now. There are some things that should be feared, and others… like life… that should be appreciated. This ritual can impress that upon anyone who gets close… the younger the better. Growing up here on Yoshida Hill, Setsubun was an education like no other. Everything that goes into it seems designed to make a deep impression on someone in a moment when fear and beauty have engaged their attention completely. Even after growing up, the excitement of the show never changes. It’s a masterfully crafted ritual that is compelling to every age group, whether scared or impressed.


All Images Copyright Michael McAteer and Open Mind Vision