Yama—Attack to Attack

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Yama—Attack to Attack
Directed byMitsuo Sato, Kyoichi Yamaoka
Release date
  • 1985 (1985)
Running time
110 minutes

Yama—Attack to Attack (山谷─やられたらやりかえせ, Yama—Yararetara Yarikaese) is a 1985 color documentary film produced about day laborers in Japan. The two directors were murdered by the yakuza.[1]


Current-day laborers union call for a demonstration, in San'ya

Most of the documentary shows the living and hiring conditions of day laborers in San'ya, a neighbourhood of Tokyo. It also includes protests, confrontation with yakuza, and celebrations.

The last part shows the situation of day laborers in others Japanese cities (Kotobuki-cho in Yokohama, Sasajima in Nagoya, Kamagasaki in Osaka, Chikko in Hakata) and the history of a former day labour area where many Korean workers lived.


Mitsuo Sato spent a few weeks in San'ya before starting to record in December 1984. Day laborers just happened to have a confrontation with yakuza who wanted to control the labour market, so Sato recorded both sides of the events. On December 22 of the same year, Sato was murdered by a member of the yakuza group and right-wing organization Kokusui-kai Kanamachi-ikka Nishido-gumi (国粋会金町一家西戸組).[2]

After the murder of Sato, Kyoichi Yamaoka took over and the documentary was completed in November 1985, then premièred a month later.

Yamaoka in turn was murdered by a member of the Kokusui-kai-kei Kanamachi-ikka Kinryu-gumi (国粋会系金町一家金竜組) on January 13, 1986.


The film has been the focus of a "screening movement" to present the film in Japan and abroad.[3] Among other places, it has been screened at the 1997 Yamagata International Documentary Film Festival,[4] as well as in New York[5] and Kraków.[6] The film is not available on DVD (except for backup purposes) or commercialized in any format, the only way to watch it is to attend a screening.

Yamaoka's notes and essays were published as a book in 1996.[7]


  1. ^ Kohso, Sabu (2006). "Angelus Novus in Millennial Japan". In Tomiko Yoda, Harry D. Harootunian (ed.). Japan after Japan: social and cultural life from the recessionary 1990s to the present. Asia-Pacific: culture, politics, and society. Duke University Press. pp. 423–424. ISBN 0-8223-3813-0. Retrieved 2015-08-11.
  2. ^ "「山谷」制作上映委員会". 8 April 2015.
  3. ^ Kohso, Sabu. "Ciné-activism in an Archipelagic World". Bordersphere. Retrieved 12 August 2015.
  4. ^ "YAMA--Attack to Attack". Yamagata International Documentary Film Festival. Retrieved 12 August 2015.
  5. ^ Sakai, Takafumi (2005). "Nyū Yōku ni okeru Yama—Yararetara yarikaese". Impaction (145): 78–83.
  6. ^ http://wiedzaiwladza.pl/yama-yararetara-yarikaese/[dead link]
  7. ^ Yamaoka, Kyōichi (1996). Yama, yararetara yarikaese (Shohan. ed.). Tōkyō: Gendai Kikakushitsu. ISBN 4773895179. OCLC 35104958.

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