Terra Nullius or: How to Be a Nationalist

by James T. HONG

Following three groups of nationalists from China, Taiwan, and Japan, Terra Nullius or: How to be a Nationalist focuses on the geopolitical issues surrounding the disputed islands known in Japanese as “Senkaku”, in Chinese as “Diaoyutai” or “Diaoyudao”, and in English as the “Pinnacle Islands”, and the filmmaker’s attempts to set foot upon them. Claimed by Japan, China, and Taiwan, these minor, remote, and uninhabited islands, only approximately 7 square kilometres in size, are located roughly 170 kilometres northeast of Taiwan, 330 kilometres east of China, and 170 kilometres northwest of the westernmost tip of the Japanese Ryukyu Islands.
After WWII, the islands were administered by the US government as part of its occupation of Okinawa. Currently the Diaoyu/Senkaku islands are controlled by Japan, which received administration rights in 1971 from the United States.


2016 Berlin International Film Festival - Forum Expanded
2015 Jihlava International Documentary Festival


Running Time: 79 mins
Year of Completion: 2016
Director: James T. HONG


James T. HONG

James T. HONG, born in 1970 in Minnesota, USA, is a filmmaker and artist based in Taiwan. He studied philosophy at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and film & television production at the University of Southern California. In 1997 he founded the production company Zukunftsmusik, “a nomadic production entity”. HONG has been producing films and videos for nearly 20 years. He has produced works about Heidegger, Spinoza, Japanese biological warfare, and racism. His current research focuses on nationalism and disputed territories in East Asia.