Iwate Prefecture in northeastern Japan is the setting for The Legends of Tono (Tono monogatari), a unique collection of regional folk tales, gathered in the early 20th Century by Yanagita Kunio. The tales manifest and explain invisible forces and malevolent events which shape the psycho-cultural dimensions of Japanese indigenous beliefs and folk faith.
Inspired by The Legends of Tono, HORSE/KAPPA/HOUSE, records the surrounding landscape in a number of small villages throughout Iwante Prefecture in order to create a cinematic space which echoes by implication and association, the external and unseen world in the environment.(A.R.)
1995, 33min., 16mm, sound
Funded by the Hoso Bunka Foundation, The Japan Foundation, and a Filmmaking Fellowship from the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation.
□ "Afterthoughts on a Legend"
2002, 10min., 16,, silent
A response to the inklings that resonate ten years after a trip to Iwate Prefecture, Japan
by Minato Chihiro (Photographer/Professor of Tama Art University)
Even after the film was finished and the screen was dark, I felt like I wanted to immerse myself in a period of nursery rhymes. It was almost as if a light had entered into my body, and a variety of scenes were reflected there.
I wondered how long had passed? It felt like no time at all, but it also felt like an eternity. It was distant, it was near.
I saw clouds pass by sun-dappled trees, and sky the color of ice. Time became strange: a day became a minute, and a second stretched out forever. This feeling must somehow be related to the way time behaves in "once upon a time" kinds of stories.
All kinds of things in our environment inhabits that kind of "time". Spiders, stone buddhas, and even puddles are there. Even the phenomenon that we normally call a spirit, using techniques that are only possible through this kind of film, showed itself. Using very delicate technique, the film captured the instant of existence of the god/spirit. That was remarkable. And the fact that I was able to absorb it with my own eyes through this film was a first for me.