The Documentaries of Tsuchimoto Noriaki

My wife runs the tiny company Zakka Films, which has been trying to fill some huge gaps in the availability of Japanese films by putting out DVDs of rare work. Her first DVD was Roots of Japanese Anime, a great collection of prewar animation, and she has just announced the release of the second set of films, The Documentaries of Tsuchimoto Noriaki. As with the first release, I helped out in various ways from checking subtitles to helping edit the pamphlet to even editing the trailers. This is a particularly important release for me given my personal relations with Tsuchimoto-san

Here's the press release. 


We would like to announce the new release of THE DOCUMENTARIES OF NORIAKI TSUCHIMOTO from Zakka Films. We were somewhat reticent to advertise our new products at a time of great crisis in Japan, but given the documentarist Noriaki Tsuchimoto's long commitment to battling environmental pollution and critiquing modern Japanese society and the corporate state, we finally felt we should release them now since his works are as pertinent today as they ever were.

Noriaki Tsuchimoto is one of the most important figures in the history of Japanese documentary, famous for his compelling films on the mercury poisoning incident in Minamata, Japan, and for his fascinating portraits of a modernizing Japan and a changing Asia. Tsuchimoto was involved in over 100 films, of different topics and styles, and Zakka Films is introducing four of those, starting with MINAMATA: THE VICTIMS AND THEIR WORLD, one of the masterpieces of world documentary; ON THE ROAD: A DOCUMENT, a traffic safety documentary that was so critical of modern Japan it was shelved for 40 years; and two rare documents of Afghanistan filmed in the 1980s before the Taliban, including TRACES: THE KABUL MUSEUM, the world’s only moving image record of a priceless collection that was largely lost to bombs and looting. The DVD comes with the booklet, The Documentaries of Noriaki Tsuchimoto, which includes a critical evaluation of Tsuchimoto’s career and commentaries on each film by prominent scholars.

New Release!


Four masterworks by one of Japan's greatest documentary filmmakers

Bringing the world's untold stories to light, from the scourges of Japan's modernization to Afghanistan before the Taliban

Now on DVD with English subtitles. You can view the trailer for each DVD on YouTube by clicking the trailer link.

tsuchimoto_ dvd

ON THE ROAD:  A DOCUMENT  (DVD-R / Region Free / NTSC / 42 min. /  B&W)

A powerful, award-winning critique of the newly modernized Japan of 1963 seen through the eyes of a taxi driver. Watch the trailer.

MINAMATA:  THE VICTIMS AND THEIR WORLD  (DVD-R / Region Free / NTSC / 120 min. /  B&W)

Celebrated as a masterpiece of documentary, MINAMATA follows the victims of Minamata disease, Japan’s most notorious case of environmental pollution, in their struggle for recognition and compensation. Watch the trailer.

ANOTHER AFGHANISTAN: KABUL DIARY 1985 (DVD-R / Region Free / NTSC / 42 min. / Color)

An engrossing portrait of Kabul in the days before the Taliban. When few foreigners were allowed to film in the country, Tsuchimoto succeeded in revealing the everyday life of Afghanis, particularly those of women. Watch the trailer

TRACES: THE KABUL MUSEUM 1988 (DVD-R / Region Free / NTSC / 32 min. / Color)

A rare tour of the Kabul Museum and its priceless antiquities before 70% of the them were destroyed or stolen. The only moving image record of this treasure house of Afghani history and culture. Watch the trailer.

For more information on these DVDs, please visit our website.  

Now at a reduced price!

To commemorate the release of THE DOCUMENTARIES OF NORIAKI TSUCHIMOTO, we've reduced the price of THE ROOTS OF JAPANESE ANIME, the first DVD we released. If you don't yet have this highly acclaimed collection of classic Japanese animation, which includes the notorious war film, MOMOTARO'S SEA EAGLE, you can get it now for $10 off!

How to order

If you are an individual customer, please purchase our films at Film Baby. Institutions must purchase THE DOCUMENTARIES OF NORIAKI TSUCHIMOTO directly through us. More information is available at our website


Seiko Ono, Zakka Films

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