Iriomote Island, Okinawa, Japan. a place once known as “Green Jail” due to the coal mining village that was located deep in its mangrove jungles. It held thousands of miners, some of whom were from Japan, some from the colonies Taiwan and Korea. This island community developed its own currency, schools, and life based around the mine which we learn about in this documentary.
Grandma Hashima, a 90-year-old woman, is our guide. She can tell some of the stories of “Green Jail”. She is the final eyewitness to this history and uniquely positioned since her adoptive father Yang Tien Fu was the head of colonial Taiwanese miners. We watch her final days on the island as she fades away but finds the strength to recount her life. We also see archive footage, photos, and listen to the voices of the actual miners narrate their own stories while shown atmospheric reconstructions. Most powerfully, Grandma Hashima’s vital testimony forms the thread to understand this hidden history before it is forgotten.