"I'm fed up and I want to quit but I've been doing this for 35 goddamn years and can't think what the hell else to do..."
Japan's Ministry of Culture designates certain august artistic personages with the title "Official National Living Treasure".
Takada Wataru, veteran folk-singer, raconteur, poet and alcoholic is not one of these. Indeed, he's widely known by those who love him as "Unofficial National Living Treasure".
This documentary is a glimpse into the life and work of this truly unique individual who manages to be at once profound, charming, pitiful and proud.
Finding inspiration in the American Folk movement of the 1950's, Takada Wataru pioneered the emergence of modern folk in the Japanese music world. His early songs became a staple of the anti-war protests of the late 1960's but the man himself has long continued to defy easy categorization.
Eschewing fame for the simple delights of putting poetry to music and daily dalliances with his beloved booze, his career has now spanned 35 years and counting. As a quiet force of charisma and calm, he has influenced generations of Japanese musicians and has continued to record throughout his career.
When long-time fan and film producer Masui Shoji ("Shall We Dance?" - Remade this year by Miramax with Richard Gere and Jennifer Lopez), decided to create this documentary to introduce Takada-san to a new generation, he found himself with a quiet hit on his hands.
(c) Altamira Pictures
photo by Aiko Suzuki