Asahiza, a cinema and a former kabuki theatre in the city of Minamisoma, 23 kilometres from the Fukushim Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant, is a prime example of the economic and political development of Japan in the post-war period. It was marked by a sharp differential between city and country, by the desolation of the province in contrast to economic concentration in the metropolitan areas of Tokyo and Osaka, and by a loss in the purpose of the inner city due to the construction of oversized shopping malls outside the city.
The Asahiza, built in 1923, had its heyday starting in the '50s. It was the place where many future married couples spent their first date or where children saw the latest anime hits. Due to a massive drop in visitors, the cinema was closed in 1991. Since then it has only sporadically been used for screenings by the “Asahiza Appreciation Club”. The building is thus meant to be preserved from further deterioration, perhaps even making it possible to re-open it in the long term.
The quietly staged film portrait by Hikaru Fujii listens in to the memories of the inhabitants of Minamisoma about “their” cinema, thus narrating a story of the second half of the 20th century in the Japanese province on the basis of very personal experiences. The new reality in Fukushima as a result of the nuclear accident only appears extremely sparingly, with great reserve. But in this way, as a gap, an inversion, the presence of the catastrophe becomes even stronger. It instigates a reflection on the media representation of reality after March 11, 2011 and the performance of the “concerned”.