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2015-2016 Schedule included
Japanese Association for Canadian Studies (JACS)
40th Annual Conference, Tokyo, Presenter
International Career Seminar 2015
Tochigi, "Creative Expression without Borders"
Kyoto University, Graduate School of Law
"Reasons for Action"
Kobe University, Kobe
Aoyama University, Tokyo
"Creation Behind & Beyond 'Tohoku no Shingetsu'"
Aoyama University, Tokyo
A Canadian POV: "Neighbors, Wild Horses & Cowboys"
Aichi Shukutoku University
Creative Writing and storytelling
Kaisei High School, Tokyo
Creative thinking in English
Kanda University, Tokyo
November 17, 2015
Chukyou University, Nagoya
Intensive Filmmaking Seminar/Workshop
International Christian University of Tokyo
Behind the scenes:
My response to the Tohoku disaster came naturally as a mother, grandmother, and a Canadian of Japanese ancestry who deeply loves Japan. I initially went to Tohoku as one of many volunteers, and not as a filmmaker.
The more time I spent along the devastated coastline of Iwate, Miyagi and Fukushima, and the more Tohoku people I met, my role in Tohoku gradually changed.
Many victims asked and sometimes even begged to help them tell their stories in film, but I resisted.
My answer changed the first time I walked down the empty, deserted main street of the Fukushima ghost town of Odaka, located inside the 20 km ‘no-go’ zone affected by the nuclear power plant explosion. It brought me to tears to see this, beginning amore than two year dialogue with the Tohoku people in this documentary.
Perhaps being a foreigner (Canadian), a third generation Japanese Canadian, and a woman helped them and me in this process. Maybe it allowed Japanese victims to trust me with their stories so openly and succinctly. Maybe it helped me understand some things that are unspoken in their words, their song and their dance.
After our interviews, many people expressed how important it was to finally speaking aloud their pains, losses, joys, fears, anger, love…I realized that this process of storytelling was an important part of their healing journey.
They help us recognize what it is that makes us human. Living and dying and working with nature.
Award winning Canadian cinematographer, Kirk Tougas, came to join me for one month from Canada as my cameraman. He later wrote:
“Working with Ohama in Japan I couldn’t help but marvel at the depths with which she connected with people who have experienced the harshest tragedy. Reserved, quiet-spoken Japanese were willing to share with her their innermost thoughts and feelings, words that they might not even voice to their closest friends, and never in public…
The samurai we filmed is real, not a movie star, and the centuries old tradition of discipline and horsemanship continues. The dancers we filmed are young, yet the dances link back through the centuries, and these young women dance for a generation claiming a right to a future. The childhood song sung by many film participants resonated in the Japanese soul, a lament seeking to regain the marvel of home…..” (Kirk Tougas, cinematographer)
Linda Ohama, Producer-Director
OTHER TOHOKU DISASTER SUPPORT that Linda Ohama
has been directly involved in:
1. Coordinator of 'Ganbare Japan 2011' benefit concert, Queen Elizabeth Theatre Vancouver Canada raising over $200,000 donations. See
3. Establish the "Canada-Japan Kids for Kids Cloth Letters" project involving thousands of young people and a national exhibition tour of both Japan and Canada in over 60 cities. (see more below)
The cloth letters from Canada and Tohoku, plus a collection of original photos and poems launched at the Canadian Embassy's Prince Takamado Gallery in Tokyo from October-Decmeber, 2011. This exhibition continues to tour.