Please support our film.
WHAT IS YOUR HOME?
Welcome to Yubari, a city in northern Japan, with the highest elderly population in the world.The city is the first and only bankrupted city in Japan, and when the successful coal-mining and tourism disappeared, the city lost more than 90% of its population. Who still lives here when the city takes its last breaths? When the city selected a new mayor – the youngest mayor in Japan’s history, the people of Yubari saw a new hope. This film explore the love for one's home and life-lasting friendships.
In 2020, Tokyo will host their 2nd Olympics since 1962, and the city has been taking massive urban planning for the Olympics development. While Tokyo attracts people from the countryside and gathers young first time movers from all over of Japan, there is another side of Japan. Far up, in the remote Island of Hokkaido, you’ll find a small city called Yubari - the oldest populated city in the world.
The area of Yubari city is bigger than Tokyo but has lost more than 90% of its population over past 50 years. Yubari once had 120,000 of population and now been shrunk down to 8000.
In their glorious time around the 1st Olympics in Japan, Yubari was full of energized people working for coal mining. The coal energy was the main pillars to build up the country after the WW2. Numbers of explosion during the mining killed estimated 3000 people until the close down of mine in 1982. The energy resource has shifted to coal to nuclear power. Once coal was called “Black Diamond” but it was no longer wanted.
The feature documentary YUPARO will not simply be the story of city’s history, of fail and recreation, but the people and families, men and women, hidden heroes supported Japan’s development and struggle to break norm to reconstruct the city. “Yubari’s problem is the attractive part of this town” says Mayor of Yubari who once became the youngest mayor in Japan.
Michiyo is 65 years-old hairdresser, born and raised in Yubari. People call her “mother of Yubari”. No matter how the city has bankrupted and has changed she survived with just one pair of sesser for the past 50 years. Her motto is “work creates your life and happiness”. She is an independent woman and has been an icon of the city. Michiyo welcomes people and many guests visits her from over the world including movie star, TV caster, athletes, and young officer who became present mayor of Yubari.
New generations who were attracted to Yubari problems move to the city. Mayor Suzuki became the youngest mayor in Japan at age of 29 and has taken on the challenge to reconstruct the city. Tradition, memories, and strong bond counters against change. Suzuki introduced “compact city” to make ex-miners to move and gather into one new community. Most of the people had their own fist bathroom for the first time and struggled, going to the public bath was were people communicated the most, like a old British pub.
Change was necessary for the city, but has created a conflict for those who were afraid the it would destroy communities. As being caught in a dilemma, people in Yubari takes step to stand up and reconstruct their home again.
This special city will take you to the journey to find what the real home is.