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Ise Shima(1950)
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Toho/Monochrome・ Standard/20 min.
Released 1950
Producer Hajime Yuhara
Director/Screenplay Ishiro Honda
Cinematography Kiyoe Kawamura
Hocihi Ushiyama
Sound Wataru Konuma
Lighting Kazuo Itoh
Assistant Director Michiharu Aoyama
Music Rokuro Hara
Narrator Muse Tokugawa
Development Toho Development

The official title of this film is "Japanese Industry Geographic Survey Part I: Ise-Shima National Park".  This documentary film was made to commemorate the designation of the space as a national park, which is one of the famous sight-seeing areas of Mie Prefecture.  This work has been used as educational material in schools.  (some records indicate the year of production as 1949)

Starting with the description of the land as well as its history, the film shows the changes to which the Ise Grand Shrine was subjected through the pre- and post-war periods, how the "ama" (female pearl divers) harvest marine products, as well as regional features such as the pearl cultivation farm that was established by Kokichi Mikimoto.

Amongst this footage, the segments that show the "ama" divers in action received high marks for the technique of underwater filming, which was the first of its kind ever to be done in Japan.  A special machine was developed where a waterproof bulb covered the entire camera.  This work was also highly regarded by foreign film buyers who visited Japan to purchase various archival documentary works.

It is said that at Toho, these cultural / educational film projects were given to feature film director candidates (assistant directors) as a form of testing their skills and talents.  The pleasant rhythm of the editing as well as the warmth in the director's depiction of the people living as one with nature are characteristics that can be seen in Honda's theatrical films to follow.

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