Nikkei Australia founding member Dr Yuriko Nagata has recently donated to the National Film and Sound Archive the original treatment for the unrealised film After Tatura by the late filmmaker Solrun Hoaas. The documentary was about the lives of Japanese civilians interned in Australia during World War II as ‘enemy aliens’. The film footage of interviews with former internees was donated to NFSA in 2012 by Nikkei Australia founding members. Both the film and related documentation are now accessible to the public.

Solrun Hoaas and Dr Nagata were friends, and when the filmmaker died suddenly in 2009, Dr Nagata was left in possession of the interviews and related documents. By donating this documentaton to the NFSA, she hopes future generations will be able to learn more about the histories of Japanese internment in Australia during WWII.

Here is what Dr Nagata says about Solrun and After Tatura:

Solrun Hoaas was born in Norway in 1943, and spent much of her childhood and early adult life in China and Japan. She came to Australia in 1972. 

After completing degrees in Arts/Social Anthropology and an MA in Asian Studies, she became interested in film in the late 1970s and completed her studies in film at Swinburne Institute of Technology.

She produced a number of films dealing with Japanese history and culture, particularly relating to Okinawa.

Her most well-known works include the documentary Green Tea and Cherry Ripe (1988) and the award-winning feature film Aya (1990). Both feature Japanese war-brides in Melbourne.

Solrun and I met in Adelaide at a Japanese Studies Association conference in the late 1980s where she showed her documentary films about Okinawa. I gave a paper on my research into the internment of Japanese in Australia during WWII and Solrun showed keen interest.

She decided she would like to make a documentary about life after internment, and asked me to become her advisor on internment history.

Solrun travelled to Japan to conduct interviews with former internees from the Tatura and Loveday internment camps who had settled back in Japan after the war. She also went to Darwin to interview others who had remained in Australia.

Solrun prepared a written treatment for her production titled After Tatura for submission to the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC), but they did not commission its production.

Her passion for documentaries continued and she moved on to North Korea. She produced Pyongyang Dairies (1997) and Rushing to Sunshine (2001).  

Solrun died unexpectedly on December the 11th, 2009.

By Yuriko Nagata
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