New We Are All Radioactive episode features Joi Ito and a humble government official

We Are All Radioactive – Chapter 5: Measurements from Lisa Katayama on Vimeo.

In Chapter 5, a team of hackers in Tokyo and Boston take radiation monitoring into their own hands, mapping the measurement levels across the entire country of Japan. Greenpeace and a blogging organic farmer join them in this civilian effort, and a government official admits that they need help.

Chapter 4: Radiation of We Are All Radioactive

Episode 4 of We Are All Radioactive is live!! And it’s super important: in this longer (9 minute) special episode, we go deeper with the characters we’ve gotten to know from Motoyoshi, AND we also meet nuclear experts from the US and Japan who help us make sense of the complex web of information out there concerning the threat of radiation in post-earthquake Japan. As you know, this week, Japan returned to nuclear power after a two-month break, and the parliament released an investigative report about the Fukushima disaster pointing out major human flaws in the handling of the disaster. 

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In Chapter 2, a fisherman takes us on a journey around the world on his blue fin tuna boat, and a veteran surfer tells us how his uncle saved his entire family from being swept away by the tsunami.

WE ARE ALL RADIOACTIVE is a brand new crowdfunded online documentary film project created by me and TED film director Jason Wishnow. It’s about surfers rebuilding northern Japan after the earthquake and tsunami on 3.11.2011. New episodes are released only as they are funded.


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Since 3/11, I’ve been really busy with the making of my first ever film project. It’s called We Are All Radioactive, and it’s an online episodic crowdfunded documentary about a community of Japanese surfers and fishermen who are trying to rebuild their community after the tsunami.

Episodes 1-3 are out already, and for some reason I have completely neglected to post them on TokyoMango until right now. Here’s Episode 1!! You can watch 2 and 3 on our Vimeo channel, or you can wait until I post them here over the next couple of days!

Help me crowdfund our documentary about surfers rebuilding Japan

We Are All Radioactive IndieGoGo campaign video

Hey guys – just a quick reminder to visit We Are All Radioactive’s crowdfunding campaign page, when you have a sec. As you know, this is an episodic documentary film that I’m making with TED director Jason Wishnow, and the *only* way you get to see new episodes is if you help us fund them!

Right now, we’re just a couple thousand bucks away from funding Episode 3. Episode 2 is in its final stages of post-production before it goes out to the world this Wednesday!! So get excited, and join us. We have some great perks lined up for those of you who do – special shout outs, signed copies of Jason’s amazing short film starring a potato and a tomato, and the ability to influence future episodes.


The Tsunami and the Cherry Blossom, a short documentary about the spring after 311

I just watched The Tsunami and The Cherry Blossom, a beautiful Oscar-nominated short by director Lucy Walker. It’s a beautiful film that begins with some of the saddest raw footage of the tsunami I’ve seen yet . Walker interviews several survivors shortly after the disaster, juxtaposing their resilience against the power and flexibility of the sakura trees that survived and, despite being drowned in sea water, proceeded to bloom a month later. Watch the trailer here, and keep an eye out for screenings near you!

And, of course, while you’re on the post-tsunami film binge, don’t forget to check out and donate to my film, We Are All Radioactive.

We Are All Radioactive – my new online documentary film project!

Hey guys! Guess what, I’m making a movie!

We Are All Radioactive is an interactive, episodic documentary film project about surfers rebuilding northern Japan. I co-directed it with Jason Wishnow, who is the film director at TED.

Sunday is the one-year anniversary of the Tohoku earthquake, and we really need to remind people of how people in Japan are still living with the aftermath + uncertainty about radiation every day.

Because I’m a storyteller and I spend a lot of time on the Internet, I figured the best way for me to help Japan is to tell stories that are normally ignored. Like the stories of these surfers. And the fishermen they’re helping. And the government officials who are looking for a neutral third party to connect them with the locals.

We Are All Radioactive is going to do all these things, and more.

Because this is an independent project, we need your help in making it real. We are crowdfunding the film — as soon as we raise enough money to pay our editors + designers, we’ll release a new episode on our web site. Our web site launches on Sunday, so I’ll give you the URL as soon as it’s ready!

For now, please visit our campaign page to join the movement! We have lots of fun, meaningful interactive perks lined up for those who join the Radioactive community, like video messages from the characters and the chance to contribute your thoughts on a future episode. Super cool right?

Remember: by supporting this campaign, you’re helping us tell the inside story of an amazingly resilient community that shared their lives with us so that we can communicate their struggles to the world.

Hafu, a doc about being mixed-Japanese in Japan

Three days left to contribute to the post-production costs of an upcoming documentary called Hafu, about the experience of being half Japanese in Japan. According to the filmmakers — one of whom went to my my middle school — one in 30 Japanese today are born to one non-Japanese parent. Yes, the world is getting more diverse! And yet there’s a lot of inherent discrimination against mixed-race people. An interesting topic close to my heart — I also have one non-Japanese parent, and most of my friends do too. These ladies have more than met their fundraising goals, but why not join in on the fun? Donate to their IndieGoGo campaign here.

Porn star Maria Ozawa to star in campy Indonesian horror flick

After being denied entry to Indonesia once last year due to protests from the conservative right, porn actress Maria Ozawa is making a comeback with this terribly campy Indonesian horror movie. It’s called Hantu Tanah Kusir (Carrage Ghost) and it stars the 24-year old actress as a journalist investigating the history of horse-drawn carriages. The trailer is funny. You should watch it.

via Metro Batavia

Satoshi Kon, director of Paprika, is reported dead

Satoshi-kon-300x240 Satoshi Kon, a talented anime film director best known in the US for his 2006 film Paprika, has died suddenly of cancer. He was only 47. It hasn’t been reported in major news outlets yet, but Wikipedia and a couple other sites have reported this. It’s also all over Twitter.

Some think Inception was loosely based on or inspired by Paprika. It’s not hard to see why. Kon was also working on a film called The Dream Machine, which comes out in 2011. Not sure if he finished working on it yet.

Below, a Paprika-Inception mashup video.

Fake commercial for wrist cutting blade from Tokyo Gore Police

This creepy cute commercial for razor blades designed for cutting wrists appears in the movie Tokyo Gore Police, directed by Yoshihiro Nishimura. Over at io9, Annalee Newitz has published a great interview with Nishimura, which includes this explanation of why he is obsessed with girls who cut themselves:

I think wrist cutting is cool. The people who do wrist cutting don’t want to die. They are the people who want to live more than the others, and these cuts become a performance, a kind of theater.

Captain EO returns to Tokyo Disneyland

Michael Jackson’s movie, Captain EO, has returned to Tokyo Disneyland as a limited attraction. It’s a 17-minute film that was part of the regular lineup of attractions from 1986-1994. I think it’s also showing at the Epcot Center in Orlando starting today. If you missed it or were too young in the 90s, you should definitely check it out.