MAKING FOOD MATTER
A story about the people who believe in food.
This film examines the dedication of people who support the national food education program in Japan. Tracing the story from farm to tabletop, we learn of the spirit of farmers, nutritionists, educators, restaurateurs, law makers and more who are driven by their belief that children learning about food will instill meaningful lifelong lessons and change the world for the better.
While the obesity epidemic in the United States is well known, unhealthy lifestyles are issues being tackled by developed countries around the world- including Japan. Rising poverty and unemployment, increased demands on time, the growth of disposable or “fast culture,” and the dominance of sedentary lifestyles, among other issues, all influence what, how, why, and when we eat. The challenges we face as a society manifests itself in our diet.
In 2005 Japan officially took a positive step to tackle some of these difficulties by implementing the Basic Law on Food Education (Shokuiku Kihonho). This national food education program was enacted in nearly all public elementary schools, as well as the majority of middle schools. Food education (shokuiku) was developed as an interdisciplinary form of education, helping children to understand their life and the lives of others through the cycle of food creation and consumption. In the classroom, shokuiku principles are interwoven into the curriculum through science, history, and other subjects. The concepts prized in shokuiku are also championed through school lunch meals, called kyūshoku. Kyūshoku is not “just food.” Rather, it is the final product of a cooperative process that engages the local community.
While shokuiku and kyūshoku may be gaining awareness overseas, the manpower necessary to support this program is less known. As this film hopes to demonstrate, shokuiku’s success could not exist without a dedicated cohort in Japanese society who work together for a better future. With interviews from farmers, nutritionists, teachers, principals, magazine editors, restaurateurs, law makers and more, this documentary will examine why the Japanese people believe in shokuiku and how they help support its goals. This film will also examine the realities that this system must weather: everyday challenges of budget deficits, natural disasters, student allergies, and daily implementation plans. A story of hope, promise, and dedication this film will explore how these trials are being overcome in one country.
WHY THIS STORY
There are many stories to tell in the world, and many things that have an impact on humans. But none is so fundamental as food. This story shares Japan's challenges, work, and wisdom of food with the world.
This film is Supported By
ALEXIS AGLIANO SANBORN -PRODUCER/DIRECTOR
A Japan specialist, writer, film maker, community organizer, and award-winning artist - Alexis approaches Nourishing Japan through the lens which she strives to see life through: "To find the extraordinary in the everyday." Nourishing Japan is her second documentary, her first telling the story of the Miyazaki Bathhouse, the only restored and operational Japanese-style public bath in the United States. Learn more about here.
KEVIN SENZAKI - ADVISOR/EDITOR
A graduate of USC's School of Cinematic Arts, some of Kevin's other sound credits include the award-winning short film Tsuyako, the E3 trailer for Mass Effect 3, and numerous YouTube videos for channels like Corridor Digital, Epic Meal Time, and Pwnisher. Highlights of Kevin's other illustrious accomplishments include performing metal scream vocals, illustrating a wildly unsuccessful web comic, and an ill-conceived novel about cyberpunk whaling.
ADAM HACKER - ADVISOR
Adam develops multi–platform media projects with clients and collaborators from all over the world. His credits include works for Nikon, PBS, Adaptive Studios, Hertz Car Rental, JapanTravel, YouTuber sWooZie, Persistent Productions, Ben Taylor Music, Brickfish Digital Ad Agency, and more. Adam is a member of the Television Academy, an award–winning photographer, director, and producer.
HIROKO- TRANSLATOR/JAPAN LIASON
Hiroko is a fashion designer, businesswoman, and translator who spends her time working between New York and Nagoya, Japan. With an aesthetic eye, she supports Nourishing Japan in the capacity of translator and Japan liaison.
JOSHUA WHITTAKER - TECHNICAL ADVISOR
Independent film maker and producer, Joshua Whittaker is currently in post-production for his third feature-length film. His works have been featured in New York City's Independent Film Festival.
TAMIKI - JAPAN LIAISON/TRANSLATOR
Tamiki Mizuno formerly worked for the U.S. Government State Department. He lived and worked in the U.S. and Mexico as the chief executive of a Japanese ceramic manufacturing and sales company. He is currently serving as a member of the Board of Directors and also the Board of Trustees of Nagoya International School.
HIROAKI SATO - TRANSLATION SUPPORT
Hiroaki Sato is a Japanese poet and prolific translator who writes frequently for The Japan Times. He has been called"perhaps the finest translator of contemporary Japanese poetry into American English".
CHRIS WHITTAKER - COMPOSER
Composer, conductor, pianist Chris Whittaker’s musical language of classical, jazz, and gospel music melds genres and brings people together. His compositions have been performed and broadcast throughout the United States.
JUNE 2017 FILMING
In June 2017, we traveled to Nagoya, the nearby town of Seto, and Tokyo for preliminary filming and interviews.