Their Beats Must Not be Stopped

Mile Nagaoka

Three “festivals” still remain in the east and west of the mega-town Ikebukuro. The people struggle to keep the “sound” going in the face of declining birthrate, an aging population and the COVID disaster.

With COVID19 continuing from 2020 with no end in sight, festivals, on after another community events and other festivals throughout Japan were forced to cancel. In the Ikebukuro area where this film is set, there are several festivals that have been handed down from generation to generation, although they are not well known throughout the country. In 2021, we spent nearly half a year interviewing the three groups that have inherited the Nagasaki Shishimai, the Fujimoto Hayashi and the Zoshigaya Gokai Ceremony, and compiled them into the omnibus documentary film ‘Their Beast Must Not be Stopped”.

A man doing his best to fulfill his responsibility to the local community as atonement his wild youth, earns the admiration of the local schoolchildren.
The music performed by the people who protect the Fujizuka mound, which preserves the faith of Mount Fuji, and the problems they face in finding a successor.
A man working to preserve a traditonal lion dance, which began as a prayer to ward off an epidemic, and the determination of the three young men he has nurtured.
In the vortex of the spreading COVID plague, people are bewildered, angry and saddened by their inability to hold their festivals.
Still, there were some who struggled on.
There were some who believed in the festival and tried to protect it.
In an era that no one had ever experienced before, the sound of the festivals continues to ring out…



Mile Nagaoka