SYNOPSIS


     WOMEN IN JAPAN: Memories of the Past, Dreams for the Future
        introduces six women of diverse ages, backgrounds, occupations and regions of Japan.
        Each woman has spent a significant part of her life abroad, speaking new languages and
        adjusting to new places.  How have these travels led these six to their present work?  How
        have their international experiences affected their sense of identity and their beliefs?
        WOMEN IN JAPAN includes candid and surprising conversations on each of these issues.
        Historical footage and scenes of contemporary Japan interpret the women's memories of
        the past and their dreams for the future.  WOMEN IN JAPAN was filmed in five different
        locations in Japan in June 2001.
 

CHARACTERS (in order of appearance)
   For more information about issues raised in each character's segment in the film, click on her name below.
       For issues, literature and websites related to women in Japan in general, visit this class website.



      REIKO ISHIHARA President of the Board of Education for Chuzu, Shiga Prefecture, Reiko Ishihara
       grew up in the U.S. and lived there again in the 1960s as the wife of a Buddhist priest and mother of
       four.  As a child during WWII, she was incarcerated with other Japanese and Japanese-Americans.

      RYUKO KUBOTA Faculty member of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and native
       of Ueda city, Nagano Prefecture, Ryuko Kubota is widely known for her provocative writing on
       the politics of multiculturalism.

     TAEKO TOMIYAMA Internationally famous painter, Taeko Tomiyama uses art to champion
       human rights.  The Tokyo exhibit shown in this film dramatizes the plight of an impoverished
       Thai woman who falls into the hands of Japanese gangsters.

      YOSHIKO NAKATA  Chair of the Hokkaido branch of the Women's International League for Peace
       and Freedom, Yoshiko Nakata regularly leaves her Sapporo home to visit other countries to
       organize on behalf of women and children in developing nations.

      LOURDES MATSUMOTO  Born in Cebu, Phillippines, Lourdes Matsumoto trained as a professional
       dancer before coming to Japan.  A wife, mother, and farmer, she now leads an active life in Furano,
       Hokkaido.

       ROHEI SHIMADA Born in Sichuan, China, Rohei Shimada graduated from Hiroshima Shudo University
       before her marriage to a Japanese farmer from Hokkaido.  She now lives together with her husband,
       their daughter Choko, and her in-laws in Furano where the family operates a melon farm.
 

   FILMMAKERS



       JOANNE HERSHFIELD teaches women's studies, film criticism, and filmmaking at the University of
       North Carolina at Chapel Hill.  Her recent films include Nuestra Communidad: Hispanics in North
       Carolina and the award-winning Between Two Worlds: A Japanese Pilgrimage. She is also the
       author of The Invention of Dolores Del Rio.

       JAN BARDSLEY teaches Japanese women's studies, literature and popular culture at the University
       of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Her book The Bluestockings of Japan: Feminist Fiction and Essays
       from Seitô, 1911-16
was published by the Center for Japanese Studies, Ann Arbor, MI in 2007.

       She is coauthor of the book Bad Girls of Japan published by Palgrave Press in 2005.