The Wages of Resistance: Narita Stories (2014) - full transcript

The Wages of Resistance is a feature-length documentary film that portrays an "extended span of time" of the protests against building Narita International Airport which have continued from the 1960's to today through documenting ...

Very truly I tell you,

unless a kernel of wheat
falls to the ground and dies,

it remains only a single seed.

But if it dies, it produces many seeds.

John 12:24

Smash the Sanrizuka Airport!

How long have you lived here?

About 22 or 23 years, continuously.

What prompted you to live here?

When I was student,

I spent three years here
at the struggle headquarters.

After that, I worked
for a company in Tokyo.

Then some 20-odd years ago,
the organization asked if I'd come back.

And I agreed to, since
I'd been here before.

How do you support yourself?

For a long time, during the early years,

the organization supported me,
as the fulltime staff.

I'd help the farmers
and I joined in a variety of struggles.

For the past few years, I've been working.

I help out on a farm in a nearby town.

Yamazaki hiroshi solidarity hut keeper

how old are you?

I'm 63 this year.

So, in a sense, you've
devoted your entire life

to the attempt to realize your ideals.

I suppose, at least at this stage.

What is it that drives you to go that far?

When I was a student,
I awakened to the need for social change,

that society needed to
change fundamentally.

That was the starting point.

And that belief hasn't
changed in the slightest.

Even after 40 years? -yes.

I am cleaning up around here
and finding all sorts of old documents.

Leaflets and pamphlets
from the student movement.

And old friends who were active
in the student movement back then

invite me to their reunions,
and sometimes I'll go.

There's hardly anyone like me,

who hasn't changed his beliefs
since back in his student days.

But I think they place
a kind of hope in me,

they tell me, "you've
done well to stick it out."

So, in a sense, everyone has changed,

but there's still something
that remains unchanged.

I understand your origins,
but why haven't you changed?

Well, yeah.

The reason I haven't changed...

I guess it's because
none of the problems have been solved.

If the world itself had changed...

If discrimination
and oppression had been eliminated,

of course I would change as well.

But essentially, the world has not changed,

in the 40 years since I was a student.

So there's no reason why I should change.

The world hasn't changed?

Not in essence. There's still
discrimination, oppression, exploitation.

I don't think there's
been any change at all

in fundamental human freedom and democracy.

Compared to the 70s,
when we had an opposition force

and we believed we could change the world,

I think we're actually
much worse off today.

we reject the land seizure
in the name of the Japanese farmer

"The Wages of Resistance: Narita Stories"

July 4, 1966

a plan to build a new
airport in Sanrizuka

was approved abruptly by the government.

August 22, 1966

the Hantai Domei
was formed by local farmers in Sanrizuka.

the fight against the land seizure began.

August 16, 1967

sects of the Japanese new left joined
in support of the opposition struggle.

Platoon 3, withdraw!

The police will have to remove you.

Smash the airport! Smash the airport!

The students really clashed, head on.

At first I thought they didn't need to
fight so hard against the riot police.

But later, I was glad.

In October 1967,

there were 2,000 or 3,000 police,
against 200 or 300 of us farmers.

That just made me detest the police.

Seeing the students fight,
I thought, they're avenging us.

The students knew how to fight back.

I didn't realize that at the time.

But now I know why it had to be done,

because I've been
through the struggle myself.

Even though they knew
they would be scattered,

it was awesome how they
faced off with them, head on.

This was Heta village.

Across the way was Tsubaki's house,
then Aoyagi, and KaShima.

There was a carpentry shop and a temple,

then Ryuzaki and Ueda,

Takahashi and another Ryuzaki.

Next to that was the
new house that Uryu built.

About 10 houses altogether. -I see.

Hagiwara Yuichi former
Hantai Domei member

and on this side?

There was Uryu, who looked
after the Ogawa film team.

Then there was Ryuzaki.

Next were two Uryu households,
one where you parked,

and above that, another Uryu home.

Then there was Sannomiya.

And here...

Who was it?

This here was the Ishii family.

Next door was another
Ryuzaki, then Kawauchi.

Next to Kawauchi was Ogawa,

then KaShima, and a temple.

So there were two temples in this village.

Next was the house where
Akiba Yoshimitsu was born,

then the Akiba family home.

Then there was the Ishii family,
but they moved away early on.

Next was the home of
Hagiwara, then Ryuzaki.

That's all for this road.

Then behind here, near Akiba's,

on the far side of this hill
were two Maedas and Akiya.

Beyond that is the Yokobori area,

where Ogawa lived, and Akiba Seiji.

And that's the entire Heta village.

Around 30 homes?

Must be.

There were ten here...

the history of Heta village reached
back to medieval Japan.

up the hill was my home
and the two Otsuki homes.

That's 22...

Ah, I've lost count.

32... around 34 altogether.

City people can't imagine it,

but I knew all the houses
in nearby villages too.

Like Nakago?

Right, Nakago and Higashi.

And they're all gone now.

That's right, the only village
that remains is Shuku, above here.

It's no good to always run from a fight,

but you need to have a route of escape.

That's really important
for those who fight.

It will be clear.

The fighters always fight,
and those who run always run.

In the village of Heta,
there were very few who wavered.

Ryuzaki who lived over there
supported construction from the start.

He moved away early on,
to Yachiyo or someplace.

I was probably the one
who wavered the most.

What? You wavered?

Yes, I did.

In what way? -whether to farm or not.

You weren't sure? -that's right.

I never liked farming that much.

The people in the village knew it
and thought I'd take off.

But you proved them wrong.

At first, I considered making a deal.

How much would they pay to buy me out?

I could sell my land and take the profit.

I could start a new business,
I considered it, frankly.

Then it just so happened that everyone,

every home in the village
joined the opposition.

I had to go along.

At the time, I just
followed everyone's lead.

block the Sanrizuka Airport!

There was a rally in Narita one day.

It was the first time
that villagers from Toho,

Tenjinmine, and Toyama all joined with us.

It was a rally, a protest action
at the Narita city hall.

They all pointed to
me, I heard them saying,

he's probably going to go over
to the pro-airport side.

And I did think about it,
but it bothered me to hear that.

I didn't have any strong will to resist,
deep in my heart.

I didn't know the meaning of resisting,

or have any firm sense
of why we should resist.

But there were people
pointing at me, behind my back,

so I decided I'd show
them and join the opposition.

So I got involved out of a sort
of childish motivation.

I think people around
here, myself included,

had just about zero
political consciousness.

Then the government presented a unilateral
plan to build an airport here.

When the villagers decided to oppose it,

they started to learn how politics works,

and gradually,
they developed a mistrust of politics.

Getting involved in the struggle,

I wasn't sure I'd be able to
take such a strong stance.

I'm kind of amazed that
I've been able to become so active.

Don't you dare harm farmers,

even if you're ordered to.

Your father and mother
would never tell you to.

Your commanders are gangsters.

If you obey them, you'll be gangsters too.

Your parents didn't send you to school
to kill farmers.

More than the men,
it was the women who bore the load.

They'd get just 2 or 3 hours of sleep.

And do housework.

No time for that.

They'd leave the house at 4 am.

They made boxed lunches, for their family.

Two meals worth of boxed lunches,
for family and supporters.

They'd send them off with food.

The women's corps worked so hard,

virtually without sleep or any time off.

How about farming?

No one had time for that.

That was out of the question.

We thought we'd be all right
if we stuck to it for a year.

Year after year, we
thought this will be the year.

We have to buy time, no matter what.

If they can destroy the fortress,
they'll just keep coming.

So we've got to defend it at all costs.

If they bring in cranes,
we'll lay our bodies on the line...

That's right, that's what we need to do.

However many can, even 3,
chain your bodies to this pole.

They won't touch you,

and you can look for a chance
to return to your stations in the fortress.

Kill us together! Mother and child!

Kill us together!

I was with my kid.

So they couldn't remove us.

Go ahead! We're not afraid!

We all held together.

Every one of us cried.

Why don't you stop? You have a conscience.

Just stop doing this.

You'll be a murderer, understand?

The students worked so hard for us.

It was a great help.

The students used those staves,

and the Hantai Domei formed scrums.

We'd do anything to win.

Tsubaki Taka former women's corps member

when were these photographs taken?

This was after the struggle began.

After the struggle began,
we began to work together,

help each other out in the neighborhood.

When we finished in our own fields,

we'd go help out others
who were shorthanded.

We had fun farming together.

People didn't sell land back then.

Not at all, we thought
it all belonged to us.

We joined the opposition,
because we wouldn't let go of our land.

Nowadays people buy and sell land,
without a thought.

Things have changed totally.
Nothing we can do about that.

Now here are some
photos from the front lines.

It was shot on-site? -yes.

Who's the man beating the barrel?

That's Kiyo.

Your husband? -yeah.

When he beat the barrel,
everyone came running.

We were on the edge of the village,
so we heard the police coming first.

So I'd say, "they're coming!"

And he'd run out and beat the barrel.

Everyone from the village would gather.

Back then, it was almost every day.

Every day, at sunset, in the morning...

During the day, at all times.

It happened almost every day.

At the worst, he'd beat
the barrel twice a day.

You had no time to farm.

We'd drop our scythes and come running.

If we didn't, we'd be ostracized,

because the whole village stood together.

Is that the second fortress?


I wonder where this is.

This is Ishii Eisuke's wife.

That's right.

In the middle? -Sannomiya.

And you. -this is me.

Three good friends.

We worked the rice paddies together.

This was the first expropriation,
in February or March, so it was cold.

Real cold.

We struggled to stay warm.

We had stones and we'd roast them,

then stick them in our bosoms to get warm.

When we'd fight the police,
they'd press on us and "ouch!"

We had to drop the stones,
because they'd press on us.

Can't you understand how we farmers feel?

You know what's right...

Give it back! Give it back!

We tried with all our strength.

During the expropriation,
the whole family went.

The house was empty from early morning...

Sannomiya Shizue, former
women's corps member

it was an old house.

When we got home, the house was empty,

and a mouse was walking around
like he owned the place.

We had to laugh.

Back then, we were all so committed,
we took it in stride.

Go home! Go home!

Fools! Damn fools!

Go home! Go home!

We could never do this today.

People would not unite like that.

I doubt it. You fought for the village.

Right. But in the end, we weren't able to.

Your home was here? -this is where.

Our land stretched over
to where the solidarity hut was.

I hated to leave here.

But so many people were hurt.

If we had known, we
would have resisted earlier.

We all thought that later.

Resisted? Or settled?


Yes, settled, in the end.

Tsubaki taka moved to a
new home in December 2001.

How is it, living in this new place?

Life is hurried here,
people lock their doors.

It's not relaxed and informal,
where we feel free to stop by.

The police warn us on
the public address system

to lock our doors, because
there might be burglars.

So everyone locks their doors,
and you can't just drop by like we did.

Relocation Memorial

no way around that. Right.

You have to ride the waves of time.

If the airport hadn't been built,
it would've been different.

It would have.

"airport refugees"

the plaque says "airport refugees."

It does say "refugees."

But in fact we benefitted,
the airport is our patron.

When we moved,
they paid us Yen 20 million per 100 sq.m.

They wouldn't pay Yen 500,000 today.

Go home! Go home!

It is dark without
electricity all day here.

Back in Heta we could
make do without electricity.

There was gas, and
firewood up in the hills,

so we could cook rice,
we had water and fire.

The toilet was a pair
of planks over a hole.

So we got by all right.

In our new homes,
we can't manage without electricity.

We had plenty of water. Now we have pipes,

but back there we split bamboo
and fed water into the bath.

The water flowed 365
days a year, without a break.

It irrigated all the paddies.

It was enough for all the
paddies, for every family.

We could manage on our own...

The paddies and the fields and the hills.

Now it's all gone.

Sannomiya Shizue moved
to a new home in April 2006.

Can I eat it like this? -what?

As it is?


You can eat it raw.

Oh, that's good.

Is it good? -sweet.

The greens are great.

You can eat them.

Sauté them in oil.


Very sweet. -delicious, isn't it?

When did I come to Toho?
It was after the war, right?

After the war.

The war ended in 1945, so, '46 or '47…


The call for settlers
went out when I was 21,

so I came to Toho when I was about 23.

Why did you want to settle here?

I didn't think about it much.

My father worked as a day laborer
on big farms here and there.

There wasn't much of a future for me,

since my father had no land or money.

So the call for settlers sounded
like a good chance and he applied.

Your father applied? -yeah.

Horikoshi Shohei former
Hantai Domei member

were you the 2nd or 3rd son? -the 2nd son.

Who were the settlers?

Many of those in our group...

Were evacuees, returnees from overseas,
after the war.

People who had gone to war and returned.

Or people who had worked
for companies overseas.

Evacuees who had no family,

who relied on friends
when they settled here.

How many houses in Toho?

There were 35 altogether at the start.

Some gradually fell away,
and there were 30 in the end.

Toho village was
settled after World War II.

you cultivated with this.



You raised it like this,
bending your knees.

You reached out and brought it down hard.

If there was a stump here,

you'd first dig from the sides,

then come at the middle.

This is specially made for bamboo groves,

so it's thick here, and
the plate is narrow.

Otherwise, you couldn't get it in.

And this handle is thick too.

It looks sturdy.

It used to weigh 3.8 kg.

It wore this thin.

This is the third one I
used, to clear the land.

The third generation.

That's right, the third
generation survives.

A bamboo grove...

You'd spend a day clearing
10 or 12 square meters.

The bamboo roots would wither,
dry out and break down.

There was a tool for that too.

You'd pound the roots
with it, break off the soil,

separate the soil from the roots.

If there were 3 or 4 stalks in a clump,

you'd have to pound it 10 or 20 times
before it would break down.

So you wouldn't do it right away,

you'd let it sit for a month or so,
until it dried out.

You weren't able to harvest food right away.
- Yes.

How did you manage?

We bought food on the outside.

How did you earn money?

The big farms would
be busy in spring and fall,

so we'd go there and work for a daily wage.

There wasn't equipment like there is now,

everything was done by hand,
so big farms were shorthanded.

Working outside, you
had no time to clear land.

We wouldn't have time.

If we were clearing land,
we wouldn't be able to eat.

That was tough. I was
single, so I had it easy.

But there were evacuees with
five to a family, that was tough.

So they'd cut back on clearing,
and go elsewhere to work.

Just to make ends meet.

When you hear their stories,

you realize how difficult
it was to settle here.

There were no houses, no proper houses.

Everyone lived in huts,
like charcoal shacks.

I think I was 23 when I got married.

So you were still
clearing the land. -right.

How long would I stay single?

There'd come a time when
I couldn't remain alone.

And I also had the thought,

that getting married and
struggling to raise kids

would give me motivation,
thinking of the family.

So you made the effort. -yes.

In the end, how much land did you have?

At first it was 1 hectare.

Then the cooperative added 0.2 hectares,

from small parcels that
had been undistributed.

These were divided among 30 of us.

So I started with 1.2 hectares.

It was different back then,

field farmers only grew wheat and peanuts.

It was hard to get by
on less than 2 hectares.

That's not enough land to live off.

So we were careful, didn't waste anything.

If someone sold some land,
I'd buy it and expand my farm.

In the end I had about 2.2 hectares,
so I added 1 hectare.

You really expanded.

Yeah, I had the largest farm in Toho.

the airport land survey
arrived in to Toho village.

what a sorry sight you are!
Japan is all washed up!

Umezawa Kanichi

isn't that right?

Did you ever hear what we had to say?

What a sorry mess this is.

Early on, until the first expropriation,

over half of the families remained in Toho.

After the expropriation,
people started to leave.

You held out until then. -um.

It got to be pretty tough,
with the expropriation.

We had to mobilize every step of the way,
to keep fighting it.

It got hard to make a living.

That was the biggest issue,
not the problem of right or wrong.

It's a matter of your livelihood.

Those who fought on until the end,
they had a hard time of it too.

But more important was how the government

ignored these people
who were struggling to be farmers.

They decided to build an airport there,
without talking with us.

That was what we were opposed to.

We said, stop the airport,
but that was a slogan.

We objected to how the government
abused our human rights.

When did you come?

I settled in Toyomi.

I started clearing land on August 15, 1946.

A year after the war.

They kept me overseas for a year.

I started clearing land then

and built a productive farm.

Things were in good shape,

the government was looking out for us.

Now they say they want the land back,

but they've never asked our opinion.

They just tell us it's been decided,
they turned against us.

I was grateful back then.
I'm not grateful any more.

the opposition farmers
of Toho held out for decades,

preventing the construction
of a 2nd runway at the airport.

that was land that you cleared yourself.

It must have been a hard decision
to sell it and move here.

My son and I fought about
it for more than a year.

Then my son said,

father, don't you care
about your grandkids?

That challenge was
the hardest thing to hear.

That went on every day for a year.

I was getting old,
so I had to think things through.

It wasn't a matter of right or wrong,
or a matter of pride.

If I didn't think of the family,
it'd be my loss in the end.

The 2nd runway was stalled
as long as I didn't move.

My son saw it as a chance.

Considering our situation at home,

if we made our move when
the government was eager,

we'd have the advantage,
that was the chance."

private property:
Narita International Airport Corporation

you were in the way of the 2nd runway.

That's right.

So we did it in secret.


The prefectural governor
was the intermediary.

He set up talks with the
minister of transportation.

This is the farmland that you moved to.

Up to the tea bushes, and the road.

There's a bank with grass,
and a paved road in front of it.

It's at a slight angle out there.

I have a compost shed, across the field.

How long have you farmed here?

This is the 11th year.

Is it as good as your old field?

It's not.

There were lots of weeds.

The weeds still grow.

Horikoshi Shohei
moved to his new home in August 2001.

Have you ever flown
from the Narita Airport?

Never. I absolutely refuse to fly.


For whatever reason. -why?

We have no need for airplanes.

Advanced civilization caused problems
when it built airplanes.

The ones behind the airport are to blame.

Stop the 300,000 flights per year!

Stop the 300,000 flights per year!

Stop the 300,000 flights per year!

Stop the 300,000 flights per year!

Smash the Sanrizuka Airport!

Smash the Sanrizuka Airport!

Reject the expulsion of Toho residents!

Reject the expulsion of Toho residents!

Today, for the first time,
we carry bamboo staves and scythes.

Today, we are armed for the first time.

Today, for the first time,
we carry bamboo staves and scythes.

Today, we are armed for the first time.

Smash the airport! Smash the airport!

We have to win, no matter what.

Unless we defeat them here,

the Sato administration
will do lots of terrible things.

If they can build the airport,
they'll lord it over us.

We've got to win, at any cost.

It's great that my son is at the heart
of this fight against the government.

I'm not being vain,
but I don't mind praising him openly.

Until this struggle, he was like a child,
always reading comics.

When I see how he's really grown,
I want to praise him.

Yanagawa Hideo former leader, youth corps

people with rice paddies had a good income.

But here the land
was cleared late in the 19th century,

so there were few paddies
and we ate wheat-rice.

At home, you'd mix wheat with rice.

Did you sell it?

We didn't sell rice, we sold wheat.

But we earned very little from wheat.

What year was it?

In the early 1970s,

my annual income was just around Yen 400,000.

Only 400,000! Can you believe it?

We were just growing wheat and peanuts.

We grew a little taro too,

but we didn't earn much from that.
We barely made ends meet.

We were on the front line everyday,
hardly worked at all.

The whole family.

In the film "Summer in
Narita," there's a scene...

Where you're harvesting watermelons.

We grew watermelons, but they
only earned about Yen 100,000 per field.

We were really poor.

If it hadn't been for the struggle,
I would have quit farming.

It wasn't worth it.

Hantai Domei new year
gathering January 13, 2013

over the last month or so...

Ogawa Mutsu, the former
leader of the women's corps,

died at the beginning of December.

And Atsuta Hajime died around January 5.

I didn't hear this directly,
this is third-hand news.

It was a private funeral,
there was no public gathering.

So I didn't attend the funeral.

But two of the elders
who were once active have died.

Most of the activists

who led the Hantai Domei have passed away.

most of the farmers
left the Hantai Domei.

at the same time, as Yamazaki reported,

the solidarity hut was seized last year.

It's an absolutely unforgivable situation,

but it's the logic of
power, might makes right.

The powerful win, that's
the way the world works.

I was reminded of that
often during the course of the last year.

The weak lose out in the end.

But in that context...

No matter how hard the powerful press,

they absolutely can't
crush people's spirits.

Yanagawa Hideo
continues his resistance to this day.

Did you always do this? -yeah.

The spring flower-viewing.

People who enjoyed it would gather.

It wasn't an official event,

just something we'd do every year.

After all, a lot of people
opposed the airport,

because it would eliminate open space

and lots of cherry trees
would be destroyed.

That made people angry.

The problem is,

we're down to those
who will stick it out to the end.

Like Yanagawa said at our last meeting,

those who are going to quit will quit,
no matter how you try to keep them.

What I mean is...

Take Ishibashi,
compared to others who have dropped out,

you can just tell he's
going to stick with it to the end.

Shima Hiroyuki former
Hantai Domei vice secretary

in the struggle, people have an
external face and an internal one.

On the outside, they're committed,

but they're always looking for a way out.

Compared to the enticements
from the other side,

our solidarity will always be weaker.

No matter how often we see them,
they'll dupe us in the end.

Like Tomura was saying,

they're stabbing you in the back
and you don't even realize it.

Tomura Issaku, Hantai Domei chairman
that's why, you know...

It makes you angry, of course.

But that's the way people are.

It's extremely difficult to read
what's going on inside of people.

In the end, farmers had a tendency

to cave in to authority, to go soft.

When the 2nd expropriation began...

We said we'd commit,
that we'd lay our lives on the line.

But when that escalates,
it leads to killing.

That makes you step back...

We've done well to keep
the struggle going until now.

We can win this, if we stick to our guns.

That's why we're fighting,
because we can win.

It's awesome, in the midst of this...

We absolutely can win.

We've already clearly
demonstrated that we can win.

You must not create a
situation where people will die.

It's actually very
simple for people to die,

whether it's suicide or at
the hand of someone else.

The process is intense,

the conflict is overwhelming.

But death itself occurs very simply.

For example, one firebomb is
enough to kill a riot policeman.

He'll catch fire and die.

The government isn't saying it's OK
to kill a policeman.

But they say they'll build the airport
even if people die.

And that amounts to
saying, it's OK to kill people.

Revenge follows revenge,
just like the Vietnam war.

Hey, police! Stop throwing rocks!

Everybody, listen!

The police with their disgraceful shields
are committing every kind of violence.

Listen, everybody!

Listen, everybody!

The riot police are committing
every kind of violence.

First land expropriation,
February 22 to march 6, 1971

stop it, you assholes!

Stop it!

They'll kill them.

They will.

Three of them are down.

Someone said 3 have died. -murderers!

461 were arrested. 1,427 were injured.

until the first expropriation,

we believed we could stop them
if we put our bodies on the line.

But the first expropriation betrayed
those expectations.

After things settled down,

I remember talking with Fumio
on the wall around the fortress.

He said, "how long will
this go on?" He was wistful.

Ishige Hiromichi former
youth corps member

there was a sense back then

that these conditions would go on forever.

September 16,
1971 the second land expropriation began.

When we went through
the woods to the north road,

there were no riot police there.

But there was a battle at the crossroads,
people throwing firebombs.

the opposition forces clashed
with the police at Toho crossroads.

when we went into the
woods, we heard clattering.

But when we came out, the
first skirmishes were over.

Looks like there's been a fierce fight.

We headed to the Toho crossroads.

Akiba Kiyoharu former youth corps member

there was a sense that "we did it!"

When we got to the crossroads,
students were beating some police.

Some women shouted,
"you'll kill them! Stop beating them!"

I remember those women crying out,
"stop beating them!"

At the crossroads,

we saw police who'd been put in handcuffs,

and others who'd been stripped half-naked.

We thought, "this is a major victory."

After we retreated to the
hills, we heard the radio.

They reported that 1 or 2
riot police had been killed.

I knew that it was now very serious.

It was the first time
police had been killed.

three riot police died.

some of my friends were downcast.

I was down too, exhausted.

There were lots of meetings,
Fumio went and I did too.

The confrontations continued.
There was arson at the construction site.

People stopped coming out.
I stayed away too.

In the midst of this,

Fumio said to me one day,
"someone might commit suicide."

Keep an eye out, OK?

Then, Fumio died on October 1.

When you're young... maybe
it's not true of everyone,

but you have the sense that if you're OK,
others are too.

So I thought, I'm sure
I can get through this.

But Fumio didn't think he could,
I realized that later.

Sannomiya Fumio youth corps leader

On the day that Fumio died,

I borrowed his truck to go to a
market in Chiba, and returned it.

It was fall, so the night was cold.

But he had the window open
and was writing something.

I asked what it was and he hid it,

saying, "I'll show you later."

I should have insisted.

Was it a suicide note?

I thought it might be,

but he wouldn't show me.

We chatted about plans for the next day.

I said, "see you," though I was troubled.

I went to close the window,
but he said, "leave it open."

I wondered why, when it was so cold.

It really troubled me, but I left it open.

It was raining
and I was still troubled when I got home.

Something's strange, I thought,
but I was tired and went to sleep.

The next morning I was still in bed
when his father came by.

I heard him talking with my father,
who asked him to come in.

His father won't come in the house.

He said, "no, I think
we found a suicide note."

And our yellow and black rope is missing.

I heard that and I jumped out of bed.

I didn't even take a look
at the note his father had,

but I knew he'd gone to kill himself.

I went to find Ryuzaki, but he was out.

Uryu lived next door, and he was home.

I told him and he said,
"we have to look for Fumio."

Thinking he hadn't gone too far,

we looked at a nearby
shrine and in the fields,

and we found his truck parked near
an outbuilding at the shrine.

We went to tell his father
that we found his truck.

His father said he had to
be somewhere close by.

By now, members of the
youth corps had gathered,

so we went to where his truck was parked.

I was too scared to
look in the outbuilding,

but others in the youth
corps were brave enough.

They went inside, but he wasn't there.

So we walked down toward Fumio's house,

and my friend Uryu in the rear pointed

and said, "ah..."

I looked, and saw Fumio.

All day long that day, it drizzled.

The weather was terrible.

And then...

Uryu Masahiko was the first to spot him,
and said, "ah..."

He didn't say, "there
he is." He said, "ah..."

It was like a moan.

That's how we found him.

And then...

Ryuzaki's father got
a knife from his house,

and we cut the rope.

Yanagawa and I caught
him and lowered him down.

October 1, 1971 Sannomiya
Fumio killed himself.

he was 22 years old.

You weren't aware of what he was thinking?

No, I wasn't, but...

The night he died...

In the middle of the night,
I heard "mother, mother!"

It's still a mystery to me.

I woke up,
but I don't know if it was a dream or real.

It's always troubled me.

I woke up, hearing "mother, mother!"

Was that a dream?

Back then, I decided it
must have been a dream.

But I still wonder, what was that?

After that...

The struggle had an added purpose,
for the youth corps.

In addition to squashing the airport,

we had the goal of
getting revenge for Fumio.

In concrete terms,
that meant taking more extreme action?

Well, it meant doing whatever
it took to squash the airport,

to get revenge for Fumio.

They were one and the same.

We had dual motivation.

So, people died on the government side,
and they died on the Hantai Domei side.

It was a standoff on both sides,
neither could give in,

that's the situation that emerged.

That's what it means for people to die.

It took us both to a place
where there was no turning back.

Just now...

The riot police have raided...

The Sannomiya home in Heta village.

For the first time in Japan's history,
a police raid after a funeral.

It was just after the three
policemen were killed.

And that bothered him.

It bothered him, he felt sorry for them...

It was wishful thinking,

but he thought if he died...
They'd be more lenient.

They wouldn't give up on
the airport, he knew that.

This is all my speculation.

He thought if he died, they'd quit.

Maybe, somewhat. That's what I think.

my family.

these parents had this kid.

i experienced a sudden mutation.

Who was the first to realize
something was amiss?

Who was the first to realize
something was amiss?

By chance, his grandfather
went into his room.

His helmet was on his desk.

When he put the helmet away,

he found the suicide note
and we were shocked by it.

That set off the panic. -right.

Photos by Kitai Kazuo

I despise those who
brought an airport to this land.

To the Hantai Domei, the women's corps,

the elders' corps, the children's corps,

and our youth corps: Keep the faith.

I have lost the spirit
to continue fighting.

Please keep battling and smash the airport,
by any means.

To mother:

I have been a burden for many years.

Whenever I was arrested,
I'm sure you worried,

and it must have been a terrible ordeal.

I felt bad about this,
but I never said anything.

I am sure you have a
heavy burden now as well.

If it were not for the airport,

I would likely be married now,

and would have become a proud farmer.

I'm sorry...

I have been unable to do anything at all
for you and father.

I'm sorry to have only caused you worry.

But there was no way around it.

When they brought
the airport to this place,

we had to fight resolutely.

But I guess I am sensitive,
and I couldn't endure the fight.

People are weak, after all.

The power of the state is terrifying.

It takes the lives of struggling farmers,

and it crushes them.

I have many things I want to say,
but I can't express them.

I was very upset until a while ago,
but now I feel relieved.

When I'm gone, wrap me
in that torn youth corps flag.

See me off together, if you can.

I apologize for letting you down.

Smash the Sanrizuka Airport!

Please continue living in
Sanrizuka, to the very end.

Be well, everyone."

Kitai Kazuo photographer
of the opposition struggle


It's been a long time.

You look well.

I'm doing OK, but my back hurts today.

Are you over 70?

Not quite, I'm 68.

Just 68?

How old are you? -I'm 65.

Just 3 years younger than me?

I thought you were much older.

Back then, it seemed that way.

I thought you were way past 70.

Shima is about 70, isn't he?

I think so. He was born in 1942...

So he's just about 70 now. -yes.

So I'm a few years younger than him.

You're the same age as Maeda.

Shima was the oldest of the youth corps,

and the rest were 4 or 5 years younger.

Shima was the oldest.

I'm one of the last.
Koizumi is hanging in there.

Really. -we're the last ones.

There are photographs of everyone.

But when I think of the Sanrizuka struggle,
your face comes to mind.

You're the symbol.

I'm not, but I'm still holding out.

It's 50 years now.

A lot has happened in 50 years.

A lot has happened, but for me,

it's Fumio's suicide
note that kept me going.

That nailed me, it was the knock-out punch.

He died at the peak, that was tough.

His mother still gets choked up,

when she talks about him, poor thing.

That's a curse.

Did Fumio's death
make it hard for people to compromise?

Well, that's how it turned out.

We didn't make a conscious decision.

It was like a curse, in a way.

When we filmed back then,
you were growing watermelons.

Yeah, no one grows watermelons now.

The bugs must find cabbage delicious.

The leaves are tender.

They got these too, ruined 'em.

I'll just have to chop these up.

Back in the youth corps,
everyone stood together in opposition.

But now, you resist on your own,
you're not doing it with others.

You don't try to mobilize others.

There's none of that.

You're on your own.

It was always that way with me.

Oh, I see.

That's why I split from the Kitahara group.

We were more free.

The Kitahara group mobilized,
they tried to exert control.

But our group didn't do that.
We were free. Open.

But that's a tough
freedom, a tough way to go.

Why's that?

Given the conditions,
just being free isn't enough.


it's not unconstrained freedom.

I imagine you had to pay
a price for that freedom.

There's no way around
that. It's your own choice.

Ah, there it is.

The tower.

It's been a while.

It's shorter now.

Ah, they cut the top off.

No, it was torn down, and we rebuilt it.

It's amazing, the
lengths people will go to.

They don't think about the aftermath.

I didn't think we'd be able to get in.

It's been a long time.

That 60-meter tower would
have blocked the plane that just landed.

They couldn't fly, they had to remove it.

a trial flight is attempted.

the tower forces the plane
to change its flight path.

was the tower taken down
during the land expropriation?

It was after that.

After the expropriation.

It was during the trial of
the youth corps members,

when everyone was so downcast.

The one place where we felt
we had won a battle was the tower.

we seriously condemn the construction of
the airport! then they toppled it with ease.

May 6, 1977

"I ran over there.

the tower was toppled in a dirty move."

Tsubaki Kiyokatsu

it really has been a long
time. It's been 40 years.

After they toppled it, I
didn't want to come here.

It's a bad memory.

We'd been done in.

May 20, 1978 Narita
International Airport opened.

Smash the airport! Stop the 2nd runway!

Smash the airport! Stop the 2nd runway!

Why do you force the
riot police to do this?

Police! Stop the violence
against the Hantai Domei!

Police! Back off the Hantai Domei!
Give the Hantai Domei some room!

We can't move forward.

Shima Hiroyuki attempted
to arrange a negotiated settlement.

there was a pigsty there,
and Yanagawa and I used to talk.

Even today that guy is...

He'll fight to the last,
never give an inch.

Ishii is like that too,
part of the militant faction.

If we kept quiet, the
struggle would escalate.

A fight to the end...

Police had died, there
were deaths on our side,

and factional violence,
more people would die.

That would be terrible,
so I talked with Ishii and Yanagawa.

There was just a slight chance, but...

Someone on the government side
might have second thoughts.

The riot police were using force,

coercing us,

instead of asking for cooperation.

They'd already seized
land with that approach.

But, what if...

There were some officials
who had a conscience?

We could have talks with them,

maybe we could avoid further deaths,
and find a way to farm in peace.

I suggested we try to make
a move in that direction.

There was little chance it would work.

But if we were going to try,

we needed to tell the leaders
that we were going to reach out.

And leaders like Tomura and Ishibashi...

Tomura was still... -he was still alive.

This was discussed before he died.

He died in the midst
of it, with a lot of rancor.

Toward him?

No, toward us.
People said we were betraying the struggle.

Among the supporters and the Hantai Domei,

people were still
not ready for a negotiated settlement.

There were still those passionate
enough to use violence.

There were supporters who said,
"that Shima jerk, we'll kill him."

There were still people who went that far.

In the new left at that time,

nobody believed in settling things
through negotiation.

They believed that perpetual struggle
would lead to a revolution.

I kind of feel sorry for Shima.

He may regret how life worked out.

He went to university.

He had dreams of something more,
but he went off course.

When people talked about
a third land expropriation,

they were probably trying to scare us.

Rumors were flying that,
during the next expropriation,

they'd bring the self-defense forces,
instead of the riot police.

If that had happened,

Narita Airport would have
become some kind of monster.

That's right.

At the start, my 3 brothers
and I were all in the opposition,

but now I'm the only one left.

We were always able
to talk about everything,

but they made their deals
without letting me know a thing.

The more this has happened,

the more important it is for me
to get along in the village.

As a result, whatever it takes...

More than money or property,

what I care about is my relations
with people in the village.

Thinking back on it,
our fathers made a show of being opposed,

but they were also shrewd.

My father was sharp,
so he left Heta village

and moved here,
when a friend told him about this property.

Soon after he moved, some
militants committed arson.

Arson itself wasn't so surprising.

Those were the times, but our home
was the first home to be targeted.

The media was critical,
so no statement was issued.

The sects would claim responsibility
for attacks on the airport,

by issuing statements that
trumpeted their resistance.

Sometimes they claimed
things they hadn't done.

But this attack on a family that had
simply moved from the airport site

was strongly criticized in the media,
so no one could issue a statement.

That's how I see it,
that's why there was no statement.

It couldn't be helped,
my father did what he did.

In some ways he was very
shrewd, everyone knew that.

And I think that's why
my family was targeted.

Farmers of my father's generation
joined the opposition struggle, but...

How should I say this?

There were people who
came out here to offer support,

were involved in the court cases,

and some settled here
and still live out here.

Some of them say, "I sacrificed
my life for the farmers of Sanrizuka."

But the farmers were cunning.

I've been told,
"your father, especially, was shrewd."

But I think about Fumio,

when he put the rope around his neck...

I don't think my father
ever understood the reason Fumio died.

A lot of people didn't understand.

Not that everything I say is right,
there's no way to prove it.

But when I think of some of the things
he said before he died,

it starts to make sense to me.

He said he was tired from the struggle,

he wrote his suicide note to his family.

But I think he believed his death
would help his friends.

I'm a fool, so I talk about it,

but I think Yanagawa
and Ishige understand this.

They know this too.

It must have been hard to live
with that all these years.

Hello, I'm Yanagawa.

reform, forever more
these days, I'm farming alone,

and it's been many years
since I spoke in public.

Usually there's no one to talk with,

so I don't speak at all.

I've been asked to talk for 30 minutes,

but honestly, I'm not sure I can.

It might be shorter, but I'll do my best.

20 years ago, when there
was talk of reconciliation,

there was a more friendly atmosphere.

The police surveillance wasn't so heavy.

But recently,
they've been coming by my house regularly,

several times a day.

When I'm farming, they
stop on the road and watch.

If I'm wearing a cap that covers my face,
they'll check carefully.

So, in a sense,
it feels like a throwback to the past.

Every day I want to curse
at them, but it's no use.

One other thing I have to report,
there was a funeral yesterday.

It was for a supporter who came
to Sanrizuka to join the struggle,

and then married a local
member of the youth corps.

When the reconciliation was reached,

and the authorities issued a sort
of apology for what took place,

it brought a certain
closure to the struggle.

Our group, the Atsuta faction, was open,

there were no organizational
constraints on anyone.

To bring things to a close,
some people moved and others quit.

I have no problem with
the choices people made.

But the supporter and our
comrade decided to move,

and for various reasons,
she was deeply troubled by the move.

She ended up... taking her own life.

This was a very sad turn of events.

In this sense, the Sanrizuka struggle...

No matter how much time passes,

it is still a heavy burden for people.

Those who took part in it
made a deep commitment,

they put their lives on the line,

and they still carry that with them today.

the corps of supporters
defended the fortress.

so the Sanrizuka struggle...

Has left many unresolved
issues at the site.

But even more important are
the many people who were involved,

and the feelings they
still carry with them.

I think of this as the
spiritual problem of Sanrizuka.

When it comes to this problem
of the spirit in Sanrizuka,

unless we find a way to resolve this...

Addressing this as a technical matter
or a question of means

will never fundamentally
resolve the problem.

Immediately abolish
the land appropriation law

that is killing the farmers
living on the construction site.

Acknowledge the procedural
and administrative errors

committed during the
first stage of construction.

Show good faith by halting
the second stage construction.

Koizumi Hidemasa, supporter
who settled in Sanrizuka

during the Vietnam war,

I was involved in nonviolent sit-ins
and protests in Tokyo.

In about 1968...

I heard about how the Sanrizuka farmers
were putting up a stand.

One of the activists
at the sit-ins was involved out here,

and he invited me to come out.

So I started coming here...

I came out a number of times.

And then when I met grandma...

I decided to settle here
after I met grandma Yone.

Oki Yone a grandma whose home
and land were confiscated for the airport

they decided to confiscate Yone's home,

and since it was run-down,
they'd just pay a little money.

That's how it was done.

I think it was less than one million yen.

If you consider that,

she's run off her land
for just a million yen.

You can't buy land or build a house
with so little money.

Yone only managed because she lived there.

Washing clothes in the river,
gathering firewood, cooking rice.

She'd help out in the village
and earn a little money.

She'd buy miso and soy sauce,
grow her own rice and vegetables.

That's how she managed.

But they tore down her house,

and told her to live on 1 million yen,
but that's not possible.

There's electricity,
a washing machine, the gas bill.

They decided to make an example of her.

This is what happens if you resist.

reject the confiscation
in the name of all Japanese farmers!

Declaration of struggle by Oki Yone

my land and home are at stake,

so I will fight to the end.

If the airport and government dogs come,

even if I am crushed by a bulldozer,
along with my family graves,

I will fight with bags of shit
and the sword my husband left me.

If we don't fight here,
the airplanes will start flying.

I was sent out as a baby-sitter at 7,

and life has always been hard.

I never lived a comfortable or happy life.

So the struggle has been
most enjoyable for me.

My body should be my own, but it is not,

so I have given my body
over to the Hantai Domei.

For six years, I have fought
with the Hantai Domei and its supporters.

No matter what anyone
says, I'll fight until we win.

Everyone, let's fight together to the end.

two years after the confiscation,
Yone developed bile duct cancer.

Hidemasa became Yone's adopted son.

while she was at the hospital,
she kept saying she wanted to go home.

There was still a chance she'd get better,
so we kept her there.

When it looked like there was no hope,

we took her home in the car.

We were on the way home,
and she'd ask, "where are we going?"

We're going home, grandma.

When we got there, she
didn't think it was her home.

It was the hut built by
the Hantai Domei in Toho.

When she said, "I want to go
home," I realized, it wasn't to Toho.

It was to the house in Tokko
that had been confiscated.

Her house was destroyed in 1971,
and she moved to Toho.

The one field that remained
was inside the airport.

That field was right where the toll road
came into the airport,

it was located right near the toll booth.

So there was the highway on both sides,

and the field sat smack in the middle.

the story of the field
that Yone and her husband cleared

Yone and her common-law husband, Minoru,

cleared the field together
and farmed it as their own.

Minoru died and left Yone alone.

Then, after the war, the
government distributed land,

but only to farmers who owned more
than a certain minimum.

Yone was advised to put the title
to the land in someone else's name,

while she continued to farm the land.

the title was put in the
name of a village leader.

the title was transferred
to a man named Fujisaki Kanji,

who was a school teacher.

To become the nominal owner of the land.

It was actually Yone's land,
and she continued to farm it.

If it hadn't been for the airport issue,
it would have remained Yone's land.

Even after she died,
it wouldn't have become Fujisaki's land.

But the airport issue was involved.

the title holder sold Yone's
field to the airport corporation.

soon after I was adopted,

I went to talk directly with Fujisaki.

At that time, he told me
honestly what had happened.

He said he was just the title holder,
and had never tried to claim the land.

But when Yone died,
he didn't know that she had adopted me.

He didn't think anyone would farm it,
so he sold it to the airport corporation.

He told the corporation
he was just holding the title.

They told him they'd
take care of everything,

if he'd sell the land, and he did.

I had never gotten a straight story
from the Hantai Domei,

but I learned the truth
from Fujisaki himself.

And since I had heard the
actual story from Fujisaki,

I couldn't just let it go at that.

Koizumi filed suit in court.

but when Fujisaki appeared in court,
he told an entirely different story.

That Yone asked to farm
the land, and he let her.

That the land always belonged to him.

23 years later...

the government and airport corporation
apologized and agreed to a formal settlement.

what I wanted from the
settlement was this field.

It wasn't about money, I
wanted the field returned.

I thought it might be impossible,

that I couldn't get
land on the airport site.

The original site was not an option,
because they already built the road.

But if not there,

then the next option was other land
the airport corporation had obtained...

Within the grounds of the airport.

Outside the site was easy,
they would have paid lots of money.

But that wasn't my purpose.

I agreed to a settlement
because I wanted land on the inside.

two years after the settlement...

Yone's field was returned on
the grounds of the airport.

When I reached the
settlement, someone said,

now you'll be able to
build a fine new house.

Who said that?

Someone in the Hantai Domei.

That's what people think
when they hear "settlement."

I tied the settlement to getting this land,

but generally that's what
a settlement would imply.

Yone had a mind of her own,

about why she resisted, and
continued after her house was destroyed.

Yone wasn't just a cute grandma,

she wasn't just a good person.

Here was a woman who was very poor,

sent to work at age 7,
never schooled, couldn't read.

One grandma who lived like that,

an ordinary grandma fought
the state to the very end.

It's that feeling that I was drawn to.

That feeling is what I want to carry on.

voice of Oki Yone
TV and newspapers only tell

voice of Oki Yone
a little of what's really going on.

Outside of Narita,

they say the airport
issue is already settled.

After the 3rd fortress fell,
people think we've given up.

In Tokyo they say,
"are they still fighting?"

Now my land's going to be taken away.

I'm determined to fight to the end.

Yone was all alone, a poor farmer.

She had nothing to lose,
so she fought the confiscation.

After she moved to Toho,

the Hantai Domei collected contributions,
100 yen per person.

Her fields and paddies were taken,
she had no way to live.

So she got support from the Hantai Domei

and managed to live.

If she used that money to buy fish,

there were some who would say,

how can you buy fish
with other people's money?

When she heard things like that,
I'm sure it caused her pain.

That was going on too.

What did you enjoy the most?

I had nothing to enjoy.

There was nothing happy
in my life. Life was hard.

Do you want to remarry? -not at all.

You're happy alone? -it's
easier to be alone.

I can drink when I want to.

Fumio, everyone came to see you.

Someone's coming.

Oh, it's not Mrs. Sannomiya.

I've been wanting to pay my respects.

Are you filming?

It's OK.

Who is it?

Tsutomu... Ryuzaki.

Oh, Tsutomu.

And Hiroko.

What, Hiroko! From my son Akira's class.

She's Fumio's age, and visits his grave.

Ah, Mrs. -Tsubaki! Hello.

You're a classmate of Fumio?

That's right.

I lived two doors down.

He was a shining star. What a shame.

We're relatives, through her aunt.

The airport changed
everything, all of our lives.

All of a sudden.

That's right.

The government's to blame.

They brought the airport here arbitrarily.

But the imperial family land was here,
so we lost out.

They should have explained things.

They just brought it without warning.

Fumio was really capable.

He was always first.

In his class?


I was first just once in junior high.

But Fumio was always first,

and he was a good athlete too.

He is good at track
racing. -it was a real shame.

Why did he die?

Did he feel responsible?

I don't really know. -it
was the airport struggle,

the police were killed with fire bombs.

He took responsibility for that.

He came by our shop, and was acting odd.

I knew right away, but I didn't show it.


I'm so glad to see you. -and you too.

I wondered who's coming...

I wondered too.
Visiting the Sannomiya family grave...

Sorry to interrupt.

We were finished.

Sorry to interrupt.


Thank you.

Take care.

Be well.

Come again. -I come often.

Who is she?

She's a Ryuzaki.


The first family to support the airport.

So they were ostracized,
shunned by the village.

When the photographer Kitai visited,

he asked you why you
have continued to resist.

I'd like to ask you the same thing.

Why is it that you
continue to fight on alone?

Well, it's hard to say.

One reason is that people died here.

Other than Fumio?

Fumio's death was most important.

People died...

And I never had a good reason to quit.

A long time has passed now.

It has, but it's not a matter of time.

When Kitai asked you what is
the main reason you still resist,

you said it was Fumio's suicide note.

That's right.

What concretely does it mean to you?

He was asking us to continue living here.

In the note? -yes.

To continue living here, to create an
environment where we can live here,

that's what Fumio was saying.

He was telling us to do it right here.

To put it simply, he
told us to keep fighting.

But then he took the easy path.

Fumio was the lucky one, in dying.

He had it easy.

But that's what he left behind.

We had to take that seriously.

Sannomiya Fumio's suicide note:

the entire note was several pages long.

extracts were included in the film.

in addition to the note to his mother,

he addressed last words to his father,
his grandfather,

and his brother.

Oki Yone's declaration of struggle:

Yone was unable to read or write,

so supporters transcribed her words

and painted them on a large sign.

can our cameraman
throw a rock while he's shooting?

Ogawa Production

this film received generous support
from many individuals and organization.

we express our deep-felt gratitude.