“Close to The Bone”

Close to the Bone│4K│Documentary│2022│Japan│90 mins

2020 Tokyo Docs “Master Class”, selected project


Provoking by an “Gama Fuya” (cave digger) who devotes on digging remains of war victims of the Battle of Okinawa, the Okinawa-born filmmaker steps on a self-questioning journey, looking for the answers to the endless inquiries and excavations toward the past of Okinawans.



GUSHIKEN Takamatsu is regarded as “Gama Fuya” (cave digger) and has been excavating remains of the war dead in Okinawa for over 30 years. As a volunteer, he spends all of his spare time in mountains and forests of Okinawa and considers it as a tenure.


The Okinawa-born director, OKUMA Katsuya feels curious about the endless digging of GUSHIKEN, since his grandaunt was the victim of Battle of Okinawa who barely mentioned by his family and still not found yet. For filmmaker, he doubts that can he claim to be a bereaved without ever having met her?


OKUMA starts to collect information of his grandaunt through family, applies for DNA testing to unriddle the connection between death and alive for his answer. Contrarily, before the law of digging remains expirate in 2024, GUSHIKEN feels the urge to go to Papua New Guinea for his lost uncle who was died during Pacific War as a Japanese imperial soldier.


To complete the puzzle, the filmmaker will join GUSHIKEN to the intimate journey for looking the remains and the meaning of his lifework, also finding the answer of OKUMA himself. As a self-documentary, will this film become an answer that both filmmaker and GUSHIKEN already waiting for?



Director: Katsuya OKUMA

Producer: HUANG Yin-yu

Associate Producer: So SUGAYA

Assistant Producer: Jane Lin

Cinematographer: Katsuya OKUMA, NAKATANI Shungo

Production: Moolin Production, Co., Ltd.