“Bon-Uta: A Song from Home.” (Photo courtesy Ai Iwane)
“Bon-Uta: A Song from Home.” (Photo courtesy Ai Iwane)

“Bon-Uta: A Song from Home” will be screened on Maui at the Lahaina Jodo Mission on Saturday, Sept. 28, and on O‘ahu at the Doris Duke Theatre in the Honolulu Museum of Art on Saturday and Sunday, Oct. 5 and 6.

This new documentary about several evacuees from the town of Futaba in Fukushima Prefecture was produced by Tökyö resident Ai Iwane and directed by Yuji Nakae. In the aftermath of the 2011 earthquake, tsunami and nuclear disaster in Japan’s Töhoku region, the evacuees fight to save a generations-old tradition. Iwane is a professional photographer and Nakae directed the 1999 Okinawan film, “Nabbie’s Love.”

Dangerously high radiation levels prevented the Futaba residents from returning to their homes except for a few hours at a time, forcing them to find new homes in other parts of Japan. The townspeople realized that their beloved bon-uta would fade away and eventually die unless they took action. A glimmer of hope appeared when they learned that “Fukushima Ondo,” another type of bon-uta, was being enthusiastically performed and preserved by Japanese American descendants of Issei who had emigrated from Fukushima to Hawai‘i over a century ago.

Inspired by this story, a group of musicians and dancers from Futaba traveled to Maui to learn how the tradition has been passed on to the generations and to share their bon-uta.

Their experience on Maui helps them find the strength to return home and bring together people from various parts of Fukushima for a heart-healing celebration of “bon-uta.”

Lahaina, Maui screening:  

Saturday, Sept. 28, 7 p.m. at Lahaina Jodo Mission (13 Ala Moana St.).

6:30 p.m.: Maui Taiko concert

7 p.m.: Film screening in the garden (bring your own lawn chair).

Suggested donation: $10

O‘ahu screenings:

Saturday and Sunday, Oct. 5 and 6, at the Doris Duke Theatre in the Honolulu Museum of Art.

Saturday, Oct. 5

6 p.m.: Performances by the Enka Sisters (Cara and Lacy Tsutsuse), Grace Amemiya (former member of the Hawaii Shochiku Orchestra) and the Wakare No Isochidori Band

6:30 p.m.: Film screening

8:45 p.m.: Q & A with film producer Ai Iwane

Admission: Museum members, $12; general admission, $15

Sunday, Oct. 6

2 p.m.: Film screening

4:15 p.m.: Bon dance with Aiea Taiheiji Yagura Gumi

Admission: Museum members, $12; general admission, $15


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here