Super 8 Stories: Missionaries in Japan



Co Antrim, Japan


1960s, 1970s


03 October 2004 (first transmission)


06min 35sec




Super 8





BBC NI, Doubleband Films, Eileen Hamilton

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Doubleband Films, Eileen Hamilton

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The Farrell family took the life-changing decision to leave Northern Ireland in the 1960s and head to Japan for new lives as missionaries. Here, their children, David and Stephen Farrell and Eileen Hamilton remember their early childhoods spent growing up in Japan, as well as their eventual return to Northern Ireland. This clip appeared in Series 2, Programme 1 of Super 8 Stories.


Eileen Hamilton is the daughter of amateur film maker, the late Alex Farrell, whose footage appeared in Super 8 Stories. “My parents were missionaries in Japan from 1962-1975. They were commended as missionaries from Victoria Hall, Belfast (now the Crescent Church) and had a strong connection with Broadway Gospel Hall. My father, already having a tremendous interest in photography, bought his cine camera on the way to Japan in 1962 so that he could send movies back to family in Northern Ireland and also to have a family record of our years in Japan”. Remembering the return of the films from the Kodak labs Eileen says, “There was always great excitement when the little yellow envelopes arrived back and we all gathered round to see the latest film. In later years the films were often produced at family get-togethers to show new wives and husbands the highlights of our family memories! Unfortunately, my father passed away in 1998. He had used video cameras, but not to the same extent as cine film”. The films are still important to Eileen and Alex’s other children today with Eileen saying, “We still frequently watch them, especially since Super 8 Stories kindly put so many on to video for us. I feel that as a family we have such a treasure of memories that we can now share with our children. Recently we had some Japanese visitors who were just babies in the cine films. They were so excited to see the videos – they have no film record of their own childhood. It was so lovely to see their excitement”.

Shot List

View from moving train of Japanese countryside. A mixture of missionary family's children and Japanese children in lane. Collage shots of family, Japanese street scenes and girls wearing traditional Japanese dresses. Trip to a zoo with lions leaping off roof of a bus. Back home in Ireland - view from clifftops along coastline. Family on horse and trap ride. Family picnic beside car.


Narrator - Maire Jones; Camera - Michael Quinn; Sound - David Kilpatrick, Kevin McCarthy; Music Consultants - Jim Meredith, Ralph McLean; Production Accountant - Anne Hegarty; Production Assistant - Tammy Moore; Dubbing - One Zero Zero; Online Editor - Alan Perry; Researcher - Ronan Feely; Archivist - Evan Marshall; Assistant Producer - Jenny Waugh; Executive Producers - Deirdre Devlin, Michael Hewitt; Editor - Greg Darby; Producer - Diarmuid Lavery; Director - Brian Henry Martin



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