Experiencing Interruptions?


The players of Zuiho Daiko (drums) in Nagasaki prefecture are actually professional Japanese drum musicians with intellectual disabilities. They belong to an advanced welfare organization that has abolished typical sheltered workshop facilities in Japan and each of them live in group homes or with their own families which in the local community.

The film begins with the following narration:

“It was supposed to be an ideal place to live. A world under a totally new system. No street noise comes through to its overprotective garden. The flowers bloom and leaves are bright green but life here has no color, no fragrance, only boredom. ‘Do whatever you like!’ they say, but I can’t see anyone, go anywhere. It's just endless days of loneliness.”

As professional Japanese Drum players, their job is to play drums constantly. They have done over 100 performances a year on tours in Japan alone, and their activities have broadened to overseas including playing on stage at the cherry blossom festival in the United States, and at an event at the United Nations headquarters. In October 2017, they participated in the Arts Festival for the Disabled held in Nantes, France.

Their performance at the Cite des Congres, one of the largest classical concert venues in France, was in particular a major success hailed by critics and the media in general.

The praise of the audience was not for a good job by disabled people.
Their cheers were the expression of an audience being moved by the performance embodying the real meaning of “INCLUSION.”

Furthermore, the audience was impressed that their performance has far exceeded their expectations and reached the level of pure artistry in music.

The world has been doing various trials and errors on the environment where people with disabilities can live in a society where they can live full and meaningful lives

The study of eugenics that emerged in the 19th century created an era of prejudice and discrimination against people with disabilities which continued well into the 20th century.

Even in Northern Europe, where the idea of normalization was born after World War II, there was a long era of sequestration while large facilities were common around the world up until just a little over a decade ago.

In the last quarter century, the wisdom and actions of brave people in various fields have changed the situation around the globe. Unfortunately there are still many countries where such facilities remain.

Even though the Zuiho Daiko players are now welcomed by the local people and live as full members in their community, they were alienated from the community up until just a few decades ago with their existence labeled as “troubled beings” for the society. Even the people with disabilities were forced to recognize it.

Although this has been a long path with many hardships along the way, their hard work and strong will has finally gotten them out from under the prejudice and the days of being labeled a “troubled being.”

The film also introduces the stories of others such as the French hip-hop group Artipique and the members of RambaZamba Theater who actively play in mainly in Berlin who have created their own avenues as professionals just like the Zuiho Daiko players, and a Swedish woman who strove to become a member of parliament so that she could establish rights for people with intellectual disabilities – including herself - to live as normal member of the society.

“Challenged” gives an opportunity for all of us to witness their inspiring activities and to help create an image of a more inclusive society that we could and should be heading to.

  • Kenichi Oguri
  • Kenichi Oguri
  • Kayoko Hosokawa
  • Yoshiaki Tajima
    Key Cast
  • Ichiro  Jishoya  
    Key Cast
  • Jean-Marc Ayrault  
    Key Cast
  • Patrick Gyger 
    Key Cast
  • Gisela Höhne  
    Key Cast
  • Dr. Jan ErikSchulte 
    Key Cast
  • MoritzHöhne    
    Key Cast
  • EmilyMuthèn     
    Key Cast
  • Project Type:
  • Runtime:
    1 hour 30 minutes
  • Completion Date:
    February 28, 2020
  • Country of Origin:
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Director Biography - Kenichi Oguri

Kenichi Oguri.
After working under renowned Japanese directors including Nakahira Ko and Kinji Fukasaku, Mr. Oguri established his own independent production company in 1981. Throughout his 39 years career as a filmmaker, he has produced and directed 11 film and TV feature and short length documentaries. His works have been selected by international film festivals and received multiple awards. Documenting stories of people with intellectual disables has become his life’s work. “Challenged” is the fifth film of the series.


【Feature Film】
Roots of Infinity (1991)

【Feature Length Documentary】
Riven Guizi (2000)
able (2001)
Host Town (2004)
Believe (2005)
TOKYO JOE (2008)
Strains of Odyssey (2012)
Memories (2016)
Challenged (2020)

【Short Film】
Cho-Fu-Ban-Ri (1988)

【Film Festivals and Awards】
Roots of Infinity (1991) screened at:
Yamagata International Documentary Film Festival in 1991, and
Environmental Film Festival in 1992.

Riven Guizi (2000) screened at:
Berlin Film Festival 2000,
Munich Film Festival 2000,
Troia Film Festival 2000 and
Tronto Film Festival 2001.

It received Winner Silver Dolphi at Troia Film Festival 2000.

able (2001) was selected as an official nomination for
DOCtober Film Festival, IDFAmsterdam and Praha human-right.

It received Mainichi Film Prize at The Mainichi Film Awards 2001.

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