University of Pittsburgh Japan Documentary Film Award


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University of Pittsburgh

Celebrating the best in contemporary Japanese documentary cinema.

Update: Congratulations to the 2018 winner: Kazuo Hara's Sennan Asbestos Disaster

More than ten years in the making, Sennan Asbestos Disaster follows a dwindling group of dying former asbestos workers as they seek justice and recognition from an indifferent Japanese government As Mr. Hara follows these plaintiffs through their successes and failures, his film also examines the power of the Japanese state and its continued responsibilities to its citizens. In praising the film for its profound effect, Mr. Soda notes that Sennan Asbestos Disaster “shows the painstaking process of the eight years of lawsuits. I was able to physically experience what it's like to fight against the Japanese government.” Mr. Hara, whose previous works include the The Emperor’s Naked Army Marches On (1987), is well known for being unafraid to punch through walls of conventional society. Sennan Asbestos Disaster has already received the 2017 Audience Award at the Tokyo Filmex International Film Festival and the 2017 BIFF Mecenat Award at the Busan International Film Festival.

The award will be presented in a ceremony at 5:30 PM on September 27, 2018, at the Frick Fine Arts Auditorium on the University of Pittsburgh campus. After the ceremony, the screening of the film will follow at 6:00 PM. The screening is free an open to the public; RSVP required. For more information, please contact General information about the award and the ceremony can be found at  Free tickets to the screening are available at