Guest in Focus: Miwa YOSHIMINE

Miwa YOSHIMINE was born in 1967. Since 1991, she has worked as a freelancer for commercial broadcasting programs and NHK documentaries. THIS PLANET IS NOT MY PLANET (2019 / NC ’20) is her first feature-length documentary. We are very glad she took the time to answer our questions for our Guest in Focus series.


When and how did you first get into filmmaking?

Originally, I was making documentary programs for  NHK and other broadcasters. However, as a freelancer, it was difficult to get approval for a project. Even if you have a topic you want to cover, you rarely get the chance to realize the project. Most of the time I just made what I was asked to. So this was my first experience of making a documentary film as an independent production.

Where did you get the idea for your latest film?

In 2015, I met Mitsu Tanaka, the protagonist of this movie, during a television project. For documentaries that trace the history of women in postwar Japan I had interviewed many important people. Mitsu Tanaka’s words especially fascinated me with their strong message, telling not only of past hardships but addressing us right now. In addition, I discovered several topics that I could not express in public broadcasting in its full extent, so I decided to make a movie.

NC20_Docs_This planet is not my planet_02

What was the biggest challenge while making your latest film? 

Mitsu Tanaka is said to be the legendary leader of Japanese women’s liberation movement, but from the beginning I didn’t want to simply create the portrait of a great and admirable person. Tanaka, who has been a charismatic person with great influence, is now spending her days as an acupuncturist caring about the mind and body of every single woman (her patients). Accompanying her with the camera for four years, I became aware of a deep pain and loneliness that persisted in Tanaka’s heart. It resonated with wounds and weaknesses that I have kept hidden myself. It struck me that living by embracing one’s “irreplaceable and trivial me” is a philosophy that many people today need, both men and women. However, the image of the Mitsu Tanaka I was trying to portray was difficult to understand, even for the film crew, because there is a public image and expectation that all the women-lib fighters should be extremely strong women. The biggest challenge for me was to portray her life as the story of a little girl “crying and holding her knees”, in no way different than all of you watching this movie.

THIS PLANET IS NOT MY PLANET
Japan 2019, 90 min
Watch the film HERE
 from June 9 to 14, 2020
at the 20th Nippon Connection Film Festival
Check out the trailer!


映画作りを始めたのはいつ頃ですか? どのようなきっかけでしたか?

もともとNHKなどでドキュメンタリー番組を制作していました。しかしフリーランスの立場では企画を通すことはなかなか難しく、やりたいテーマがあっても 

 実現できることは稀で、だいたいは頼まれた仕事をこなすことが多かったです。ですからドキュメンタリー映画を自主製作するのは、今回が初めての体験となりました。

新作のアイデアはどこで得たものですか。 

2015年にテレビ番組の企画で、今回の映画の主人公である田中美津さんと出会いました。

戦後日本の女性史をたどる証言ドキュメンタリーで多くの重要人物にインタビューしましたが、田中美津さんの言葉には特に、昔の苦労話だけではない、今の私たちに通じる魅力的なメッセージを強く感じました。また公共放送では表現しきれないテーマをいくつか発見しましたので、映画製作を決意しました。

今回の映画制作・撮影中での一番大きなチャレンジは何でしたか?

田中美津さんは日本のウーマンリブの伝説的なリーダーと言われた人ですが、単なる偉人伝にはしたくないという思いが最初からありました。多大な影響力を持つカリスマだった田中さんが、今は鍼灸師として一人一人の女性(患者)の心と身体に向きあう日々を送っている。4年に渡って追っていくうちに、田中さんの心の奥にずっと消えない、痛みや孤独を意識するようになりました。それは私自身が隠し続けてきた傷や弱さに通じるもので、その「かけがえのない、大したことのない私」を肯定して生きることは、男女問わず現代の多くの人が必要としている思想哲学と感じました。しかし、ウーマンリブの闘士は強い女性であってほしいという世間のイメージがあって、私が描こうとする『田中美津』像はスタッフにもなかなか理解されませんでした。映画を見ている「あなた」と変わらない、一人の「膝を抱えて泣いていた」少女の物語としてどうすれば表現できるか、それが最も苦労したところです。

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