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Film Festival Enhances Cultural Ties Among Young People

2005/11/01 Source

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The 2nd Korean International Youth Film Festival was held over the weekend in Seoul.
It was a chance for young movie directors from Japan, China and Korea, to share their views and ideas.
And through this cultural exchange came budding friendships.
Our Sung Tae-kyung met two Japanese students, who spent time with a Korean family.

Yasukuni, comfort women, Dokdo and an incessant demand for apologies, a few words captures the difficult relationship between Korea and Japan.
But now a film festival in its own small way is helping youngsters from Korea and Japan get to know one another better, bridge differences, and perhaps create a future of easier relations between the two countries.
On one of the festival's homestay programs three students, Takashi Katsuura, Kensuke Nishi and Kim Se-jin, recently became friends.
The two Japanese boys, filmmakers from Osaka, found themselves feeling at home with Se-jin's family in Seoul, as Mr and Mrs Kim did their best to reach out to them.
When Mrs Kim serves them fruit, Kensuke compliments his host saying "Mat-it-uh" or delicious in Korean.
The whole family appeared pleased at the effort to narrow, whatever divides them politically and culturally.
The movie, "The Mask of Death", by these students from Osaka University is being screened at this year's Korea's International Youth Film Festival.
A dozen other movies from Korea, Japan and China are also being shown.

RECORDED: "There may be diplomatic disputes between the countries these young people come from. But there are not interested in finding out about their differences. There are here to share their similarities".

The cultural bonding between the participants at the festival is stronger they say than the diplomatic distance among their countries.

RECORDED: "I try to avoid sensitive topics because I don't want them to feel uncomfortable. But honestly, when we exchange our views on cultural stuff, I forget that we have political issues".

RECORDED: "I was at first a bit worried to come to Korea because of the Yaskuni Shrine matter. I know that Japan's image is not so good because of that. But I believe that young generations can overcome this and build sympathy through culture".

For years, Korea has demanded Japan properly apologize for its wartime atrocities during World War II. However, this is something that should be put aside, when cultural exchanges are taking place.

RECORDED: "Some people feel like they are victims and some like they are wrongdoers, depending on where they were born. But these thoughts based on the past should be modified in the 21st century by young people".

RECORDED: "I believe we can create a new cultural movement between us since we have a lot of similarities".

Their language, appearance and views on diplomatic issues are different. But this didn't stop them from becoming friends. Because all they needed, they say was, a sense of connection through empathy.

Sung Tae-kyung, Arirang News.

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