Just after midnight on March 10, 1945, the US launched a massive air raid on Tokyo, unleashing a firestorm on this dense area of wooden and paper houses. By sunrise, more than 100,000 people were dead, and a quarter of the city destroyed—the most destructive air raid in history.
Unlike their loved ones, Mr Hoshino, Mrs Kiyooka and Mr Tsukiyama emerged alive. For years they have campaigned for a public memorial, a museum, and some token compensation for civilians who lost everything. But the Japanese government has refused to formally acknowledge their appeals, and after seven decades, they find themselves cast aside—while former soldiers have been treated generously by the state.
PAPER CITY follows the survivors as they launch a final campaign to leave behind a record of this forgotten tragedy—before the last of them passes away. Weaving harrowing testimonies, rarely-seen archive, and modern-day advocacy, it’s an exploration of trauma, remembrance and the state’s role in gatekeeping accounts of history.