“Kill every Korean, good or bad” shouts a junior high school student. Such hate speech is frighteningly prevalent in Japan, with frequent demonstrations staged by extreme-right racist groups, met with apathy from the government. This stirring documentary follows such organizations and their opposition. The peaceful Counters protest racism in Japan without violence. Yet former yakuza Takahashi and his cohorts meet hate with hate, and are determined to stop the demoralizing ultranationalists by any means necessary, most often ending in brute force. Proving yet again that xenophobia knows no borders the filmmakers unflinchingly probe both sides in this striking cinematic outcry.

New York Asian Film Festival 2018

Dressed in Imperial Army uniforms and flying Rising Sun flags, the anti-Zainichi Korean group dubbed Zaitokukai invade the streets of Koreatown in Tokyo. With virulence in their eyes and bile in their mouths, they vehemently declare all Koreans to either go back to the peninsula or to die – one female middle-school student cries out for a Koreatown Massacre, an older male point fingers out a Korean women as chong-ko – against a sonic backdrop of a patriotic tune sung by a children’s choir. In ever-increasing numbers, however, these marches are silenced by the voices denouncing their obscene racist agendas, at times leading to violent clashes and arrests.

Lee Il-ha’s hip and insightful documentary erupts and educates the world in the battle against hate-speech, as told by those fighting on both sides of the conflict in the cities of Japan. ‘Counters’ comes at an important time when hate across the world is spiralling out of control.

Jamie Cansdale, Asian Movie Pulse

  • Elokuvan nimi / Film Title : Counters
  • Kieli / Language : Japanese
  • Tekstitys / Subtitles : English
  • Ohjaaja / Director : Lee Il-ha
  • Tuotantomaa / Production Country : Japan, South Korea
  • Vuosi / Year : 2018
  • Pituus (min) / Length (min) : 98
  • Ikäraja / Age limit : K12
  • Esitysformaatti / Format : DCP
  • Kuvaaja / Cinematographer : Jungsu Kim, Souketsu Kotani
  • Leikkaus / Editing : Lee Il-ha
  • Tuottaja / Producer : Lee Il-ha
  • Tuotantoyhtiö / Production Company : Exposed Film
  • Esitysajat / Screenings :
    Mon 27.1. at 17.00, Kinopalatsi 6
    Wed 29.1. at 16.00, Kinopalatsi 6