A young Japanese student, Minoru Hokari, was driven by a dream to come to Australia and study Aboriginal culture and history first-hand. In his short life-time, before his death in 2004 at the age of 33, Minoru achieved work of lasting value which commands an ever-widening audience. Minoru was inspired by the historic Wave Hill Walk-off in 1966 when Gurindji workers on the Wave Hill cattle station in the Northern Territory walked off in protest against conditions there. The strike became a watershed event in the fight for Aboriginal land rights.
“Japarta” was the “skin name” given by the Gurindji to Minoru. Our film is the story of Minoru’s work with the Gurindji, and how, in Gurindji terms, he was called by the land to help the Gurindji take their story to an international audience. To honour his relationship, Minoru spent many months studying with the Gurindji, wrote a PhD thesis and an influential book about Gurindji history and culture, published in both Japanese and English.