A Handful of Salt

A First Feature Documentary Directed by Kaori Ishii

2011 JAPAN / 90min. / Screening format : HDCAM / Blu-ray / DVD / Director:Kaori Ishii / Producer:Misa Kimura / Cinematographer: Ryu Segawa (J.S.C.) Music: Kensaku Tanikawa / World Sales / Festival consulting / Distribution GULI creates Attn.:Kaori Ishii / 22-3-C, Kamiyama-cho, Shibuya-ku, 150-0047 Tokyo Japan / Contact: gulicreates@hotmail.co.jp / TEL/FAX:+81-3-3485-3441 / Mobile:+81-90-4137-3116


Narrator: Hana

Born 1971. Model/Talent. After graduating from an international school, she studied art history at Sophia University's Comparative Culture Department. She began her career as a model at age seventeen, and is currently active in various media such as television, Commercial Film and radio. She also does narration and writes essays. She is fluent in Japanese, English and French, and her hobbies include baking and viewing Buddhist statues. She is a navigator for the radio "J-Wave" and is featured in NHK's Educational program.

Director: Kaori Ishii

Born 1978. Graduated from Sacred Heart University, Department of Literature, Faculty of Philosophy. Worked at the Ministry of Education, Culture, Science, Sports and Technology. While working as a part-time civil servant for the Agency of Cultural Affairs, she studied script writing and attended an art school for film. In art school, her short film "Sorry Grandma", received a prize at the Osaka Abeno Human Documentary Festival.

She left civil service to make "Chain of Life", a documentary film about the life and work of Japan's last two surviving craftsmen of woodblock dyeing, the oldest stencil dyeing technique in Japan. She spent a year and a half in the making of this film. This film was shown in theatres in Tokyo for three weeks, then went on to various film festivals around the world. It also travelled to the United States, the Philippines and China through the Japan Foundation, and will be shown in Thailand and Canada in 2012.
This is her first feature documentary, which she spent two and a half years making while working on television programs and commercials.

Original Music by: Kensaku Tanikawa

Born 1960. Studied jazz piano under Masahiko Saito. As a performing musician, he is a member of "DiVa", a band that sings modern poetry, is part of musical unit "Palhaço" with harmonica player Tsuzuki Chikara, and does reading and music concerts around the country with his father Shuntaro Tanikawa, a renowned poet. In the mid-80s, he began composing and arranging music and was responsible for the theme music for films such as "47 Ronin", "Ryoma's Wife, Her Husband and Her Lover" and for NHK television programs. In 1988, 1995 and 1997, he received the Japanese Academy Prize for Outstanding Music. In recent years, he was the Musical Director for "DO-RA-MA YOKOHAMA150", a 150 year commemorative project for the opening of the Yokohama port. He assumed the role of Musical Director for the 2011 Kanazawa Junior Opera and was commissioned to compose music for other municipalities.

Musician of original music:

Shinobue (a Japanese traditional bamboo flute): Jiro Murayama

He made his professional debut in 1989 as a member of "Kodo", a famous Japanese Drum group. In 1991, he formed a band called "Lebunkamuy" which plays music on the theme of Jomon (an ancient period in Japan), nature and matsuri (Japanese festival) and has been doing concerts in his original style. He has appeared in prominent theatrical stages as a Shinobue player and has introduced the charm of Shinobue to 25 countries. In 2010, he released his newest album which compiled traditional performing arts from various parts of Japan.

Percussion: Masatoshi Kainuma

He is a multi-percussionist who performs a wide variety of music genres from folk to western music. He presides over a broad range of live music projects, including his lead group "Tumba Créole" and "Afro roots session", and belongs to many groups. Also, he performs solo on stage under the name "Masa", composes and arranges music, and does stage music and direction. In 1998, he released his first album "Tumba Créole of JAPAN" in Martinique, an overseas region of France and it has been sold in French speaking countries and in Brazil.

Director of Photography: Ryu Segawa

Born 1957. Graduated from Meisei University, Department of Sociology, Faculty of Humanities. During college, he worked part-time for his father, Junichi Segawa, who was a famous cameraman working for a prominent film company. He learned about filming and lighting on site. After graduation, he worked under the tutelage of his uncle, Hiroshi Segawa, a cameraman and worked as an assistant for the late Hiroshi Teshigawara who was a Grand Master of the Sogetsu style of flower arrangement, and a film director. He made his debut as a cameraman in 1994 and has since been shooting film, video/cinema, television dramas and documentaries. Major works include "Anata wo Wasurenai"(2006), "700 Days Of Battle Us Vs The Police"(2008), "E.YAZAWA ROCK"(2009), "BREAD OF HAPPINESS"(2012), etc.

Sound Recordist & Film Editor: Koji Minowa

Born 1972. After graduating from Japan Institute of the Moving Image, he worked as an assistant director for film, television and video production. Since then he has expanded his work to include filming, editing and the production of documentaries, concert videos, and corporate videos.

Lighting Director: Yoshimi Hara

Born 1965. He made his debut as a lighting engineer in 2007 with "700 Days Of Battle Us Vs The Police" (2008). Other works include "Miyagino" (2007), "Going Abroad for Education: Meiji Era and Now" (2011), "BREAD OF HAPPINESS" (2012),etc.

Producer: Misa Kimura

Born 1970. Graduated from Waseda University, First Department of Literature. She worked on the operational side of production under the late Hiroshi Teshigawara who was a Grand Master of the Sogetsu style of flower arrangement, and a film director. She worked on productions such as large-scale cultural events and the staging of operas abroad.
At the end of her twenties, she began her career in the film industry and spent a year under the tutelage of a documentary director and learned film editing. After that, she worked in operations for film festivals and then worked in a film school. During the years 2003–2010, she worked at SKIP City in Kawaguchi city, Saitama Prefecture. There she was involved in programming for movie festivals and was engaged in production support for young film directors. In 2005, she established Hibana Entertainment, Inc. Aside from film, she is interested in agriculture and craftsmanship in Japan and this interest is what led her to produce this film.

Where there is the ocean,there is salt making —wisdom of Japan, an island nation.

A feature documentary that follows the lives of people who live humbly, surrounded by the sea and nature, on the tip of the Noto Peninsula, northern part of Japan.


At the tip of the Noto Peninsula in Ishikawa Prefecture, in a place called Oku-Noto, people continue to make salt in the Agehama-style. Salt water is first drawn from the ocean, dried by the sun and wind, then cooked day and night on a flat kettle. There is only one place in Japan that has continued this time-consuming way of salt making for 400 years.
In Japan which is surrounded by the ocean, making salt from seawater was common practice. However, this practice was both time consuming and unsuitable for mass production. Once Japan began to import in expensive salt from abroad, the government began a monopoly in 1905 to domestically procure a cheap and stable supply of salt. In order to meet the demand for salt during World War II and the post-war economic growth, there was much focus on technological development, and the traditional Agehama-style began to fade out. It could not keep up with times which demanded efficiency. However, miraculously, people in the Oku-Noto Suzu region which faced the majestic Sea of Japan continued to make salt using this style. What can the people of Suzu who have lived alongside nature,giveng thanks to the bounty of the sea and the mountain, and who have quietly continued to make salt in this traditional way, tell those of us living today?
This is the first feature documentary by Director Kaori Ishii, who has spent two and a half years making this film.