“One for All, All for One” – No Side of Choko Rugby
At the Tokyo preview screening of the documentary film One for All, All for One there was great enthusiasm in the audience. About 500 people were in attendance, from gray- haired men to little children trying to escape their mothers’ laps. Almost all of them were “Zainichi”(Koreans who came to Japan before the 1980s and their children). They were searching for and reaffirming their own image on the screen.
This is a movie about a certain kind of youthfulness. Rugby players from Osaka Korean High School (Osaka Chōsen Kōkyū Gakkō, or Choko) are running on the dusty ground, discovering their limits by bumping their bodies into others, and growing up as a result. Their existence is affirmed by trusting in their parents, coaches and mates, raising their voices in joy after victories, crying in the locker room after defeat, bringing an erotic magazine into the hospital for an injured teammate. Their hearts are beating fast for a cute girl. Perhaps it is enough for the audience to laugh and cry together for a short while, putting aside their pasts and futures for now.
However, there are young people featured in this movie for whom the story doesn’t end with the closing credits. Their story cannot simply rely on rugby and a beating heart. Their time has been spent facing the discrimination, prejudice and antagonism that minorities are too often confronted with. There are now about 600,000 Zainichi Koreans living in Japan, and their history is a complicated one. The young people in this movie have found bonds with their distant motherland, yet they are judged for sharing the same blood of this land, and their ethnic independence causes them hardship in Japanese society. They are standing in the street to obtain signatures from supporters, and sitting at a press conference they welcome the politician’s hostile inspection.
The captain of the rugby team asserts that there is a “no side spirit” in rugby – “no side” traditionally refers to the end of a rugby match, at which point the teams are free to interact – and there should exist a “no side spirit” in society as well. For the Zainichi, who are always forced to make a choice between the ‘North’, the ‘South’ or ‘Japan’, and face abuse regardless, the space afforded them and their way of living should not be the result of that choice, but rather they should be allowed to coexist, just like in the “no side spirit”. At the very least, their school should be such a space.
These problems are common for other minorities around the world, not just for the Zainichi. Therefore, this movie can be seen as one that exposes ethnic conflicts and seeks a solution, and a movie that is asking universal questions about racialism in the world today. It is also worth looking at the producers of this film. It is not easy for people who are unfamiliar with the modern history of Korea and Japan’s relationship to understand the significance of a film being directed by a South Korean, Park Sa-yu, and a third generation Zainichi, Park Don-sa about Osaka Korean High School’s rugby team, and having Japanese people produce, edit, score and distribute that film. In any case, it is certain that audiences will be absorbed during their time with Osaka Korean High School’s rugby team.
After the March screening in Tokyo, the film began touring areas like Osaka, Nagoya and others. At small and independent theaters in each area, one can see the coming together of people who live as minorities, and this will create a space for the Japanese and Zainichi who want to coexist. This movie also received the “CGV Movie Collage” prize at the Jeonju International Film Festival and will screen in CGV movie theaters in Korea from August, bringing the story of the Zainichi into the spotlight for Korean people.
One for All, All for One (2013)
Director: Park Sa-yu, Park Don-sa
Produced by Koma Press, the 600 thousand Try Committee