House of Recitation

Single Channel

Japan’s worst incident of illegal dumping of industrial waste, known as the “Teshima Affair,” took place on the island of Teshima (Shozu County, Kagawa Prefecture), part of the Naoshima Islands in the eastern part of the Seto Inland Sea. This work documents the ongoing excavation work at the site (completed in March 2017), covered with soil contaminated by 902,000 tons of waste brought from urban areas and with a pervasive odor toxic to the human body. It was filmed under the condition stipulated by the prefectural government, that the camera would not be directed at the neighbouring island of Naoshima. This waste is contrasted with scenes of the island’s nature, as well as its festivals and daily life. Connecting these is the history of resistance by the affected islanders. The former office of the company, located on site, has been converted into the “Teshima no Kokoro Shiryokan” (Museum of Teshima’s Heart). This museum records the history of the Teshima residents’ movement, which won a pollution arbitration of monumental proportions in the history of Japanese residents’ movements.