Japanese cultural critic, novelist, and philosopher Hiroki Azuma wrote about Thomas’s newest documentary Ushiku in his essay published in the latest edition of the magazine AERA, which can be found here.
Thomas’s documentary about death and dying「おみおくり〜Sending Off〜」(2019) was awarded the prize for Best Documentary in The Life Beyond Life Film Festival, an event dedicated to films about terminal care, grief, and transition. The jury statement, as well as a video of Dr. Kaoru Konta and Thomas giving their acceptance speech, can be found on the DocumentingIan Blog.
“Ushiku” has been awarded the Nippon Docs Award in the 2021 Nippon Connection Japanese Film Festival in Frankfurt, Germany. Per audience vote, the Nippon Docs Award went to the documentary Ushiku by Thomas Ash, dealing with a current, highly controversial political issue. The film accuses human rights violations in the eponymous immigration center near Tokyo, as well as Japan’s current immigration policies. The award was given out for the second time this year. Official Press Release: https://nipponconnection.com/en/press-releases/nippon-connection-2021-award-winners/ VIDEO of Award Ceremony: https://www.ushikufilm.com/en/press/nippon-docs-award-ceremony/ 2021年ニッポン・コネクション映画祭にて「牛久」がドキュメンタリー部門のグランプリを頂きました！感謝しております。 プレースリリス：https://nipponconnection.com/ja/press-releases/nippon-connection-2021-award-winners/
Ahead of the World Premier of Ushiku, 1,600 viewers joined an online preview screening of the film. More information about the preview screening as well as the World Premier, which will take place from June 1-6 in Germany’s Nippon Connection – Japanese Film Festival, can be found on the Documenting Blog.
A Press Conference about Thomas’s new documentary Ushiku was held today at The Foreign Correspondents’ Club Of Japan. Human Rights Abuses In Japan’s Detention Centers WATCH: https://youtu.be/kJIT5Hkbd8w 日本外国特派員協会での記者会見日本語通訳付き: WATCH: https://youtu.be/DkajVOU-29Y
Thomas’s documentary 「おみおくり〜Sending Off〜」received a commendation from the Society for East Asia Anthropology’s David Plath Media Award. “The Award Committee was deeply moved by the film and applauds the intimate ethnographic lens brought to bear on a personal and often private subject….the film explores not just aging, but gender roles and the ethics of care in Japan.” 「選考委員会は貴殿の映画に大変感動し、パーソナルでしばしば私的な主題に持ち込まれた、親密で民俗学的なレンズに称賛を送っています。愛する人たちの人生の終末期を共に生きる、農村の少数の家族を追うことにより、映画は年をとるということだけではなく、男性と女性が果たす役割や、日本のケアにおける倫理観にも迫っています。」 The full jury statement can be found on the DocumentingIan Blog.
Thomas has been invited to present a guest lecture at Kyoto University for Prof. Mitsuyo Wada-Marciano’s lecture series “Transcultural Cinema Forum”, to be attended both by in-person students in Kyoto and online students in Heidelberg, Germany. More photos and information about the class can be found on the DocumentingIan Blog.
The latest “Easy Japanese” video series directed by Thomas was featured on the national news at 7PM on NHK 1. The news report coincided with the release of the 10-part educational series about “Easy Japanese in Medical Settings” for the research team of 順天堂/Juntendo Univ’s Dr. Yuko Takeda, Sacred Heart University’s Dr. Kazunari Iwata, Teikyo University Graduate School of Public Health’s Dr. Hirono Ishikawa and NPO CINGA’s Midori Nii. More photos as well as a link to the official press release is on the DocumentingIan Blog.