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Photo by Jun-Ai.biz

© 2013 Kebba Buckley Button.  World Rights Reserved.

What if you lived in a country where no one hated anyone for their skin, their accent, or their ethnic heritage?  What if people were all accepted as…people?  What if each was appreciated for his or her individuality, gifts, and contributions?  Certainly, no one would waste time on acts of hatred.  Filmmaker Keiko Kobayashi dreams of a world like this.

In her groundbreaking full-length film, Jun-Ai, Kobayashi tells the story of Japanese settlers in China at the end of World War II.  Emplaced by Japan but burned out of their settlements the day after Japan surrenders, they flee across China on foot.  Most are killed by bands of Imperial soldiers or angry Chinese.  But two, Ai and Shunsuke, find safe harbor with a blind widow, who says it is time for the violence and hatred to stop.  Ai gradually transforms those she meets, while many get to examine their hatred and the hurt that fuels it.  While the characters live through very difficult times, there is much redemption through love and persistence.  The film’s title, Jun-Ai, translates as True Love or Pure Love.  The filmmaker calls it a “Japanese-Chinese collaboration for the world” film.

Completed in China in 2007, Jun-Ai was released in Japan and won multiple Angel Awards at the Monaco International Film Festival.  The next year, it was released in Chinese theaters and aired at the UNHCR’s Refugee Film Festival.  In 2010 China Central Television aired it nationally, and a showing was held in London’s Princess Anne Theater.  In 2012, the film won two awards at the Sedona Film Festival, the “Best Director Bridging Cultures Award” and the “Best Audience Feature Award”.  Kobayashi is working her way around the world, seeking to create One World, One Love, One Family.  Will you join her family?

This is the movie of a lifetime.  I was honored to see it in a private showing offered to the Faith In Action Ministry at the Franciscan Renewal Center.  Tears streamed, yet our hearts were much uplifted. You, too, will have chances to see it.

In Arizona, three screenings are already scheduled.  The film will be airing in Sedona, Tuesday, February 12, at Unity of Sedona, 65 Deer Trail, Sedona, AZ 86336, at 7 pm; a donation of $10 is requested.  The film will also air in Phoenix, at the Arizona Historical Society Museum on March 10, at at Arizona State University on March 29.  For details, contact the filmmaker’s US representative, (Ms.) Eri Shimono, at erilovesedona@hotmail.com , and watch this space for further updates.


● Kebba Buckley Button is a corporate stress management trainer and the author of the award-winning book, Discover The Secret Energized You (on Amazon.com >Books>Buckley), and the 2012 book, Peace Within:  Your Peaceful Inner Core (on Amazon.com >Books>Button).  She also has a natural healing practice and is an ordained minister.

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● Reach the writer at kebba@kebba.com .