The Whereabouts of Souls


Hirata Junko


03The Japanese have believed from ancient times that the soul will remain in this world after death - though the flesh might perish, the beloved person still stands close and watches us.
While most of the East Asian cultures share this attitude, it strongly remains in the Tohoku region in Japan. Tohoku residents had to come to terms with death as familiar experience, since the region has frequently sufferred from natural disasters and famines. How can we overcome such deep grief? Under extremely harsh conditions to live, the existence of the dead is necessary for the recovery of the living people.
In Tohoku, blind shamans called 'itako', who let the souls of the dead possess themselves and mediate the reunion of the dead and the living, and other various traditional services for the dead still exist. In this documentary, we visited Aomori to see its traditional folkways regarding the dead people with writer Yu Miri, who has been writing about death in her works, and consider about the place where the souls inhabit.
Title in English The Whereabouts of Souls
Title in Original Language 魂のゆくえ―作家柳美里が旅する”死者と生きる東北”
Director(s) Hirata Junko
Director's Bio/Filmography Hirata Junko has been working as a director in a televition production company. After winning ATP New Comer Award in 2006, she directed "Pendant Eve" (2009). She won Matsukawa Award with "Nippon no kioku" (2010), JAAP Award 2012 with "Nanyadoyara - Songs for the Dead and Alive" and JAAP Award 2015 with "Shijin Enomono Sakurako no huyu no tabi".
Year of Completion 2016
Nationality of the Film Japan
Running Time 60 min.
Aspect Ratio Video: 16:9
Color Color
Screening Format BDDVD
Shooting Locations Aomori, Fukushima
Shooting Dates/Periods August, 2015
Names of Characters Yu Miri
Language of Commentary and Dialogue Japanese,
Date of First Public Screening 2016/4/
Place of First Public Screening (Country) Japan
Date of First Public Screening in Japan
Previous Screenings at Other Film Festivals and Events Aired at 529ch, Sky Perfect JSAT
Staff Credits Photography: Yamazaki Yutaka
Editing: Suzuo Keita
Distributor / Distribution Company Hirata Junko
Official Website for the Film
Other Online Access to the film
Screenings at the Past YIDFF Programs and Events None