Director Profile


Taro Takahashi

1Born in 1962, Takahashi acted in a theatre company before becoming a director of documentaries. He has made many controversial programs that focus on the downtrodden and the dark side of society, including The Problem of Transporting Dangerous Goods; The Problem of Drugs; The Secret of Unit 731; and Homeless Children of Asia. Manhole Children took a decade to complete and is Takahashi’s first feature-length documentary film.

“I started this project after I had heard about what was literally an underground society in Mongolia comprised only of children. I found myself interested enough to visit Mongolia, but the reality I discovered there made me ashamed of my lighthearted curiosity.

The dog-eat-dog world I found was far harsher than I ever imagined. The weaker children had no choice but to suffer the abuse of those who were stronger. These manhole children slept in piles of trash and stayed alive by eating garbage. Anyone who fell into that dark world found it very difficult to escape. And yet, despite their small, malnourished bodies, they too thought about and sought out personal happiness. Living in the depths of poverty, they dreamed their dreams every day, and were wounded every day.

Within this harsh reality, the narratives they created were intensely personal. This provided them with the energy they needed to live human lives, while honing their survival skills.”