Jeroen Van der Storck | Japan, Belgium 2012 | 65 Min. | OmeU
Japan is increasingly being confronted with abandoned private and public places for which there are no buyers and no use. The Japanese call these contemporary ruins ‘haikyo’ and the exploring and documenting of these sites has become a popular subculture. Haikyo exist for various reasons. They can be a result of the Japanese economic downturn, the rural exodus in Japan or most recently the Tohoku earthquake triggering the devastating tsunami that in turn induced the nuclear disaster of Fukushima Daiichi. ‘Haikyoism,’ or the art of exploring and documenting these abandoned sites, has lately become a very popular subculture among the Japanese.
In ‘Silent Visitors’ a number of people are portrayed for whom these abandoned sites have become an essential part of their lives. Most of the film is situated outside of the Tokyo Metropolis, in the abandoned Japan,where the three protagonists truly come alive. The explorations by Ayumi, Mike and Doitehu of Japan’s contemporary ruins gradually reveal some parts of their unique personalities and at the same time shine a subdued light on post-tsunami Japanese society.