Okinawa Film Office
Okinawa industrial Support Center. 2nd Floor
1831-1 Oroku. Naha City. Okinawa. Japan 901-0152
Commission Representative: Kaori Kayo
Okinawa Film Office reinforce the visibility and positive awareness of Okinawa filmmaking at home and abroad. Our primary tasks include promotion of films. Okinawa Film Office is the ambassador for Okinawa productions and the films which are shot in Okinawa. We take an advantage of opportunities to screen at national and International film markets as well as to support delivering films by online services. We also host or support promotional events and assist to distribute films in order to expose diversity of culture and the beauty of Okinawa through films.
Also, we promote and facilitate film shoots and production throughout Okinawa and stimulate the growth of Okinawan film industry.
We offer filming support as below;
– Information for location scouting
– Information on production facilities and locations in Okinawa
– Contact details of local production service companies, equipment rentals
– Information and consultation concerning working with local officials
All these services are offered for free.
Okinawa Film Office is your first point of contact for filming in Okinawa!
Okinawa Film Office is non-profit organization based in Okinawa, Japan.
Its business is consignment by the Government of Okinawa Prefecture.
Starting 1910 many films have been shot in Okinawa.
“Higeki Yuriko Zenpen（Tragedy: Yuriko Part I”, one of the earliest Japanese
films which was set in Okinawa, was made in 1913. In this film Okinawa is described
as a place of healing, which also happens to be a current image of Okinawa.
Since then, many stories take place in Okinawa has been created and told by films including Hollywood films such as “Karate Kid”, “Kill Bill” “Best Kid”, recent one is “Hakuso Ridge”.
Known as an Art of Island Okinawa, it was natural that native Okinawan film makers to be born despite of difficult condition. Go Takamine is the pioneer of film maker of Okinawa and one of the most inspirational directors for Okinawan creators. He started his career as a director of documentary film based on the influence of Jonas Mekas. His first feature film was “Paradise View” (1985). In 1989, by “Untamagiru” he won the Japan Film Director’s Association Newcomer Award, Berlin International Film Festival Caligari Award, and the Nantes Film Festival Best Award and many more.
Following his footsteps, Tukasa Kishimoto, Toshiyuki Teruya and Takako Miyahira leading film industry in Okinawa now. Their works had been screen and won some awards nationally as well as internationally. This year films created in Okinawa were screened or will be screened by more than 10 film international festivals.
33 films were shot in Okinawa last year. Among those, 5 films were by overseas productions, 11 films were by productions from main island Japan and 16 films were by Okinawan productions.
What of Okinawa is that spoken to the hearts of creators? What inspired them to create in Okinawa? Tradition, colors created by nature, the earth, teachings of the gods.
Okinawa is the blend of various backgrounds including the fascinating era as an independent kingdom” Ryukyu” which can be described as a culture of prayer and art.
―History of Okinawa―
Prehistoric Era ~10th century
As he looked down on the earth from heaven, a small island spoked out of the sea. “It is a blessed place; I will go down and bring prosperity to that island,” said the son of Tentei (Emperor of Heaven) to his father. He then began creating the island of Okinawa. It was a sacred place called utaki that he first built. Mythology explains the beginning of Okinawa in this way.
The following episode is told in another version. A pot was washed ashore on a beach on Kudakajima Island. An islander opened the pot and found that it contained grain seeds necessary for farming. It was a gift from gods living in Niraikanai(Heaven).
Although Mother Nature sometimes brings disasters like typhoons, she also provided seas with rich coral reef around the islands of Okinawa. Supported by the bounties of the sea such as fish, shells, and seaweed, as well as agricultural crops produced on the island, the people of Okinawa have trodden the path of history. To express gratitude to the gods, they never forgot to pray at utakis and hold their hands together in prayer toward Niraikanai until now.
The Gusuku era 12th ~ 15th century
Eventually, leaders called aji appeared in various places in Okinawa, and there emerged an era where they built gusuku (castles) and engaged in battle. The competition to keep rivals in check and aim at becoming the ruler of the whole island of Okinawa became intense. The forces at Shurijo Castle emerged victorious, leading to the establishment of the Ryukyu Kingdom in 1429. Shurijo Castle became a special gusuku where the king reigned.
However, the Kingdom of the Ryukyus (1429―1879) did not confine itself to coral reef islands. The Ryukyuan people built large ships and conducted diplomacy and trade with China, Japan, the Korean Peninsula, and countries of Southeast Asia (present-day Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, and Vietnam). Displayed in Shurijo Castle, which was the headquarters of the exchange business, was the following message: “We are using ships to play the role of a bridge across Asia”. At the same time the Ryukyu Kindom was kwon to abandon weapons that lead to the development of “Karate” the art of defense.
The Rkyukyu Kingdom kept peace by ingenious diplomacy and high level of arts that oriented by its nobleness for 450 years.
1591 ー the invasion of Satsuma (Japan) began
1875 (Meiji era) ー the Ryukyu Kingdom was abolished and Okinawa Prefecture was established.
1945 (after World War Ⅱ) ー Under the administration of the United States（1945～1972）