All posts tagged: globalization


Samurai and Idiots–The Olympus Affair

The whistleblower has often provided movies with an underdog character whom audiences can root for such as Russel Crowe’s character in Michael Mann’s The Insider. In 2002 Time magazine’s Persons of Year were three women, real whistleblowers who exposed FBI intelligence failures as well as corruption at corporate giants Enron and WorldCom. They were hailed as heroes for defying the larger entity to which they belonged in order to expose truth . In 2011, then president and CEO of the Japanese Olympus Corporation, Michael Woodford, blew the whistle on a 1.7 billion dollar fraud the company kept secret for more than two decades and was abruptly dismissed from his post by the board of directors citing “cultural differences” in management style. Instead of being hailed a hero, the few Japanese media that bothered to cover the story used the angle of this just being another example of a foreigner failing to adapt to the Japanese way. The international press, however, reported a brewing scandal in which Woodford’s ousting was done to damage control the effect …


Out of My Hand

The death of the American dream is a typical trope a variety of movies have tackled, mostly to the somber tune of disappointment and sadness. However, trope or not, there are still a plethora of stories on the subject matter still remaining to be told. What will separate wheat from chaff is the angle a filmmaker chooses to approach it. Just as Kohki Hasei avoided “poverty porn,” in the case of Hokkaido born Fukunaga Takeshi, that angle was not a tale of bitter realities in an unfamiliar country, but the resilient and determined spirit of immigrants looking to better their lives in a new country. Considering the controversial issue immigration has become recently, one might think Out of My Hand to be extraordinarily timely were it not for the fact Fukunaga shot the movie, his debut feature, in 2013. Feeling “out of place” in Japan, Fukunaga moved to New York wanting to meet and learn about people from other countries. After studying film production at Brooklyn College, he worked as an editor for a documentary about Liberian …

Eye-On Super Local Hero Feature Image

Super Local Hero

The unfortunate side-effect, some may say deliberate outcome, of internet commerce is the slow eradication of small, privately owned shops and boutiques. The convenience provided by massively supplied retail sites like Amazon has strangled the ability for smaller stores to compete, at least on price. But recently, there has been a counter-reaction to digitalization in the form of the rediscovery of all things analog; from vinyl records and cassette tapes, to hand-crafted items sold in limited quantities, people are beginning to seek out and support local businesses and artisans. While Japan has always valued a culture of craftmanship, modern city development among other socio-economic factors are contributing to the disappearance of literal “mom-n-pop stores”. Some still can thrive in large metropolises such as Tokyo, but the CD/Record store and the book store are becoming rare sites in small towns. Those which manage to stay in business, do so more out of the owner’s personal passion rather than actual business profit. Tanaka Toshinori’s Super Local Hero tells the story of one such owner, Nobue Kasuhiko who runs a …