Visas and Virtue


     I take an English class at a university. The class in the second semester started last Thursday at last after long summer vacation. The class I belong is not a normal English class but a psychology class. In the class, we use movies for study it.

     On the first day of the class last Thursday, we voted which movie we would start with from these three movies: American Beauty, Pay It Forward, and Hotel Rwanda. And we decided to start with Hotel Rwanda.

     Hotel Rwanda is a story of a conflict in Rwanda in 1990’s. I am going to write about the movie in detail later on after seeing the whole movie. Unfortunately I haven’t been able to see it yet because all of the DVDs have been out in a rental video store in my neighborhood. Anyway, it seems that the hero of the story helps many people’s lives in spite of danger to himself during the war.

     Probably in the psychology class, I’ll study how people sometimes carry out believes or principles and become to face up squarely to problems regardless of their own safety through seeing the movie.

     We watched another movie before Hotel Rwanda in the class. It’s a short film entitle Visas and Virtue, which won the Academy Award for Best Live Action Short Film in 1997.

     The hero of the movie is a Japanese diplomat named Chiune Sugihara in Lithuania during the World War II. After the invasion of Poland by Germany in 1939 and the taking over of Lithuania by Soviet Union next year, many Jewish people tried to escape from Poland. Chiune Sugihara issued visas to the refugees in spite of Japanese government’s ban. As a result, he was fired later, but many Jewish people’s lives were saved. That’s why he is sometimes called Japanese Schindler.

     Chiune Sugihara was born in Yaotsu, Gifu prefecture. Many people around here know about him because Gifu is next to Aichi prefecture where Nagoya is. His monument is in Yaotsu.

     In the movie, Visas and Virtue, Chiune is not keen to help people first. He is rather reluctant to issue visas to refugees because he is afraid of punishment by Japanese government. He just thinks of his family’s safety. But he gradually changes his mind and tries to save as many people’s lives as possible.

     I’m looking forward to studying how people change their minds and become to act up to their principles in the class from now on.

Visas and Virtue
You can watch the movie. Click the icon. An advertising clip streams before the movie.

Courtesy of IFILM


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