The Wings of the Takasago Giyutai 高砂的翅膀

Asia and the Pacific Screens


Auditorium, China in the World Building (188), Fellows Lane, ANU


Wednesday, 6 December, 2017 - 17:15 to 18:20

The Wings of the Takasago Giyutai 高砂的翅膀

2016, 65 minutes, Taiwan and Papua New Guinea
Directed by Futuru Tsai 蔡政良
Mandarin, Japanese, Taiwanese and English with English subtitles

The Amis tribe of east coast Taiwan have a traditional belief that the spirits of their dead return home by adopting the wings of a bird. During World War II, many indigenous Taiwanese lost their lives fighting for Japan in the Pacific, and their spirits often struggled to return. The Wings of the Takasago Giyutai, the latest documentary by anthropologist and filmmaker Futuru Tsai, follows the descendants of some of these soldiers as they help spirits find their way home. Tsai accompanies the group to Papua New Guinea to document this exceptional spiritual journey.

The screening will be followed by a short informal discussion with CHL PhD student Suliljaw Lusausatj. Suliljaw  Lusausatj is a PhD student in the Department of  Anthropology​, School of Culture, History and Language, College of Asia and the Pacific. Being indigenous Taiwan (Paiwan), he is interested in the Austronesian cultures among Oceaniana Peoples. Inspired by the concept of ‘our sea of islands’ from Epeli Hau’ofa, his upcoming fieldwork will be exploring tattooing and other forms of material cultures in the societies of eastern Paiwan (Taiwan) and Samoa, and understanding how indigenous self-identities are constructed and transformed by wearing diverse tattooing motifs. Suliljaw views this as carrying a sense of identity amongst the indigenous diaspora and a process of becoming indigenous. With this approach, he echoes the developing theories of indigeneity that are intertwined with articulation, performance and translation.

Suliljaw ‘s work emphasizes a commitment to indigenous and non-indigenous societies as a higher-educated student. Like ‘our sea of Islands’, he is attempting to play a role in strengthening the collaborative relationship between academics and indigenous neighbourhoods, along with linking translocal as well as transnational Indigenous People’s connections.   

This film is part of Asia and the Pacific Screens Season Seven: Polyphonic Asia, presented by the Australian Centre on China in the World.



Australian Centre on China in the World
02 6125 9060

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