“What is your dream?” Ms. Keiko Kobayashi, lead actress of 8-time international award-winning film Jun Ai, posed this question to students attending one of three screenings of the movie at Edmonds Community college in Washington state. After sharing her dream to inspire world peace through film, Ms. Kobayashi described the impact of the Jun Ai World Peace Foundation, “Film is a key to overcoming language barriers. The grand vision of Jun Ai is for the film to be in every country in every language. Overcoming language, nationality, race, faith, and all other differences, we will continue to make like-minded friends and create bonds that will spread out… A dream that you share with your family and friends will become powerful and grow. We are here today because of our common vision: one world, one love, one family.”
Jun Ai is in it’s tenth year of international touring, returning to Seattle, Washington after it’s first screening in the city in 2013. The film follows the story of Japanese refugees in China at the conclusion of the hate-inducing world war in 1945. In a powerful rendition of the complexity of love and forgiveness, the film describes the survival and wavering acceptance of displaced refugees in a remote Chinese village that suffered at the hand of their Japanese enemies.
Jun Ai strives to support international and civic exchanges with the purpose to foster relationships that expand the vision of peace beyond language and cultural barriers. “For these last ten years this movie wasn’t commercialized. We carry the DVD and host an exchange because that is how it is meant to be shared.” Mr. Shogo Okuyama, Co-Chair of NPO Jun Ai World Peace Foundation, described what he calls a “stubborn” method in support of the strategy to touch people’s hearts through intimate gatherings where an audience can experience the film and follow through immediately with networking and interactions with the producers and other audience members.
The screenings in Seattle were made possible through the collaborative efforts of several partners, including Global Peace Youth UW and Global Peace Women. Over the course of three events, 100 people were able to see the film and meet with Keiko Kobayashi. One audience member described the event as “an important film and shared experience-especially for these difficult times that America is facing.” The Jun Ai event reached over 20,000 on Facebook and other social media outlets.
Ms. Kobayashi enthusiastically praised the support of GPW exclaiming, “Peace begins in the home! That is the vision of Global Peace Women. I don’t think families are just blood ties. Rather each person on the planet is family. I think women especially are good at recognizing that.” After acknowledging the power of mothers in the family, the actress and producer shared that many people, after watching Jun Ai, expressed to her that they realized how grateful they are towards their mother. “Everyone person is born from a woman.” Ms. Kobayashi smiled, “And every person goes through life and death.” She went on to explain how the world could be brought closer to peace through the recognition of how much every person values these simple similarities, which house profound significance to our common humanity.
This social bonding through film took place at Edmonds Community College, the University of Washington, and the Japanese Culture and Community Center throughout November.
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