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© Lehua Films, LLC.

The Final Film in the Award-Winning Hula Trilogy

TOKYO HULA

TOKYO HULA explores the phenomenal popularity

of the hula dance in Japan from both Native Hawaiian

and Japanese perspectives.

SYNOPSIS

Today it is estimated there are nearly 2 million people dancing hula in Japan – a figure greater than the entire population of Hawaiʻi.  With more people dancing hula in Japan than in Hawaiʻi where the native art was born, this explosive growth has created a multi-million dollar industry based on culture as commodity.  But what motivates Japanese students and teachers to dance hula and how is it translated into a foreign culture?  How do Native Hawaiians participate in this cross-cultural exchange?

Many Hawaiian master hula teachers, or kumu hula, have found it difficult to sustain their hula schools in Hawaiʻi.  The same is true for many musical artists, cultural experts, and performers who must often work day jobs to pursue their passions and supplement their income on an island home many would consider paradise – but where the cost of living only continues to rise.   Many have discovered that there are more opportunities across the Pacific Ocean in Japan where a hula boom continues to grow – and pay the bills.

In TOKYO HULA, an examination of tourism, economics, and a love for all things Hawaiian fueling this cultural phenomenon is revealed by focusing on the personal stories of Japanese sensei who have started their own schools and Hawaiian kumu hula who are now living and teaching in Japan.  Guided by curiosity and infused with humor, the documentary follows teachers and students both in and outside of hula classes and competitions to better understand their daily lives, struggles, and challenges in practicing a cultural art form in a foreign host country. 

By juxtaposing the two main subjects – Japanese sensei Seiko Okamoto who is from Japan but trained by the late revered Hawaiian Kumu Hula Aloha Dalire and Hawaiian Kumu Hula Lōpaka Igarta-DeVera who was entrusted by Kumu Hula Sonny Ching to move to Japan to open a branch of their school, the film illuminates how the hula has become both big business as well as an evolving global tradition that continues to flourish in Japan. 

FEATURING

KUMU HULA

ALOHA DALIRE

KUMU HULA

SONNY CHING

LEHUA HULA 

KAWAIKAPUOKALANI HEWETT

KUMU HULA LŌPAKA

IGARTA-DEVERA

and the dancers of

Hālau Nā Mamo O Pu'uanahulu 'Iapana

KUMU HULA

SIEKO OKAMOTO

and the dancers of

Nā Mamo O Kaleinani

KUMU HULA

KU'ULEINANI

HASHIMOTO

SCREENINGS

Watch the film in a theater near you
Host a Screening
If you would like to host a screening for an event, please email lisette@lehuafilms.com

HIFF 2019 PREMIERE

PRESS

Filmmakers and Stars Gather at Halekulani for HIFF Awards Gala

HIFF highlignts in Deadline

Hawaii Filmmaker to Premier ‘Tokyo Hula’ at Film Festival

COMPETITIONS/FILM FESTIVAL OFFICIAL SELECTION & AWARDS

•  Yamagata International Documentary Film Festival, October 2019

    Screening in AM/NESIA:  The Forgotten Archipelagos of Oceania

•  Hawaiʻi International Film Festival, Made in Hawaiʻi Competition, November 2019

    Premiere November 11, 2019; encore screening on November 17; Outer island screenings at Maui Arts & Cultural Center

    and The Palace Theater in Hilo, HI.

•  FIFO Tahiti, Festival of International Documentary Films from Oceania, Feb. 2020

PRESS KIT

DISCUSSION GUIDE

TOKYO HULA is a co-production of Lehua Films, LLC. and Pacific Islanders in Communications (PIC), and was developed with the support of the Independent Television Service (ITVS) with funding provided by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB) and the Ford Foundation.

 

FUNDING PROVIDED BY:

Pacific Islanders in Communications, Media Completion Funding I Pacific Islanders in Communications, Media Production Funding

Jerome Foundation Travel & Study Grant I Pacific Islanders in Communications Research & Development Funding 

Independent Television Service (ITVS) Diversity Development Fund

CONTACT

Say hello. Let's work together.

Complete the form or reach out via email at lisette@lehuafilms.com, or by phone at

808-956-5302.

 

If you are interested in obtaining a copy of a film for use in educational institutions, libraries or other organizations, please contact Lisette Flanary for institutional rates. Purchase orders can be emailed to lisette@lehuafilms.com. 

 

Please note that companion discussion guides and educator's materials are available for films. Mahalo!

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