Making a Complicated Story Simple, Understanding Sekigahara.

One of PPF’s recent projects was the creation of a video package for Gifu Prefecture designed to explain the Battle of Sekigahara to the English speaking world. The Battle of Sekigahara was the largest samurai field battle, fought on October 21, 1600, and saw the deaths of an estimated 30, 000 samurai in a six-hour close-combat skirmish.

Video titles, Understanding The Battle of Sekigahara.

There wasn’t a huge budget, certainly not for the grand scale movie like re-enactments I initially envisioned, and so the challenge came to be how to show and explain the complicated political history leading to the battle, how the nation came to be split into two warring factions, who took part, how and why they came together at Sekigahara, the actions and results of such a large battle, as well as introduce the key players involved.  This had to be achieved in the simplest, yet informative and entertaining way.  

On location at Mt. Sasao, site of the Western forces’ headquarters

It had to be informative, it had to meet certain standards, importantly, it had to tell the story of Sekigahara, simply, distinctly, and for an audience unfamiliar with the battle and characters involved.

I do a number of TV shows for NHK World, including Ninja Truth and Castle Quest. The production team I work with are not only very professional, but have become close friends. As such, my first thought was to secure their services in order to achieve the best possible result.

Filming the opening scenes at the new Sekigahara Museum.

Being a history fanatic, deeply entrenched in the subject, as is often the case, I was too close to the subject matter. Thankfully, being friends, the producer and director were able to take my ideas, scripts and vision plans and help forge them into an easy to follow three-episode video package, Understanding the Battle of Sekigahara.

On the killing fields of Sekigahara, at the site of the most violent of fighting.

It meant three full days of video shoot in the hot, sultry Japanese summer, doing segment by segment but not necessarily in the order seen, but once edited, blend together seamlessly. Further recording sessions and mixing was done in Nagoya and the end result is pretty good considering the restraints.  Have a look at the clips, and enjoy.

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