The Floating World

The Floating World

After being transported into a 19th-century Edo painting, a university student discovers everyday sustainable practices from history to bring home to modern Japan.

January 25, 2023

When a university student struggling with an environmental studies assignment searches for inspiration for an assignment at an art gallery, she is magically transported into a painting and lands in 19th-century Japan. In Edo, today’s Tokyo, she witnesses a range of everyday sustainable practices––using ashes in the dyeing process, fertilizing fields with night soil, repurposing used kimonos into towels and rags––that helped the country overcome environmental collapse.

Director Hiroshi Yokota has directed various cultural documentaries from the World Heritage Sites of Japan to the Ainu ethnic minority. In his NHK (Japan Broadcasting Corporation) documentary “The Floating World In the Age of Pandemics” which received the ATP Newcomer Award of 2021 in Japan, Yokota has established an unprecedented method of animating history that only remains in documents and paintings. Some of his works can be seen on the official YouTube Channel of the Japan Foundation, such as “Traditional Ainu Dance: Reviving Ancestral Memories” and “Japanese Traditional Performing Arts: Discovering with New Eyes.”

Having produced many international co-production documentaries such as "Nano Revolution," "Spaceship Earth," and "My Atomic Aunt," Producer Takahiro Hamano is the only Asian producer to win a Doc Mogul Award at Hot Docs. He directed and produced many NHK documentaries on the Fukushima nuclear disaster and the atomic bombings of Hiroshima, and also produced movie films such as “Kaidan; Horror Classics” (Directed by Hirokazu Kore-eda and others), “Gift of Fire” (Directed by Hiroshi Kurosaki), and “Burning” (Directed by Lee Chang-dong) that won FIPRESCI Prize in Cannes Film Festival.

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