Category Archives: EVENTS

Yuhi No Ato: A Depiction Of Adoption And Fostering In Japan

Confessions & Confusions: Review Of Yuhi No Ato

A few months ago, my husband took me to the local repertory theatre to see a film called 夕陽のあと (yuhi no ato, after the sunset), a story about fostering and adoption in Japan. I had no idea what to expect from this film but was greatly moved by it and many of the issues it brought up. I would like to share them with you here.


The film depicts the story of two women: Akane, who, due to extreme poverty, abandons her baby in an Internet café in a large city, and Mai, who, has been fostering Akane’s child for seven years in a fishing village and is poised on the brink of adopting him into her family permanently.

Akane, whose history is unknown to the villagers, is now living among them and working in a cafeteria there, all the while watching the progress of her son. Just as the adoption is about to be finalized, the family guidance center staff reveal the identity of the birth mother. Added to their shock at the news is Akane’s demand for her son to be returned to her.

A path to understanding

The movie focusses on the struggle between the two women to understand each other while each is asserting her right to her son. Mai outright refuses to return the boy, but in the end, she decides to learn more about Akane’s reasons for abandoning him.

what was significant for me while watching this film was learning more about why children are abandoned by their mothers in Japan

She and her husband visit significant places from Akane’s life: the Internet café where the baby was left, a bridge where Akane contemplated suicide, and her former workplace. As they learn more about her, they begin to understand why she acted as …continue reading


「Neighborhood Autumn Festival in Japan: A Multimodal Visual Ethnography and Performance」@ DISTRIBUTED MULTIMODALITIES @ DISTRIBUTE 2020

This is my part of our panel presentation/film at DISTRIBUTE 2020:

Neighborhood Autumn Festival in Japan: A Multimodal Visual Ethnography and Performance


I am a long-term resident of Shirogaki-cho, a small bedroom community located between a busy train station and two major expressways. Most of my neighbors are strangers, especially those people moving into the new apartment buildings that are increasingly replacing the traditional-style homes. However, there is a small group of families and individuals that organize and participate in traditional festivals and occasions. The largest of these events is the Autumn Festival; for two days these people push and pull a large wooden cart called a danjiri around the neighborhood to bestow blessings from the Shinto gods of the local shrine. As the resident anthropologist I have been allowed to participate with this group, both as an event photographer and major cart pusher (with the latter being a more appreciated contribution).

This project is a performative visual ethnography of the Autumn Festival composed of autoethnographic vignettes, “self-reflexive explorations” (Docot 2019) and fifteen years of data gathering and photography. The research is influenced by Dore’s neighborhood study approach (1958), Ben-Ari’s discussion of community volunteer organizations (1991) and Bestor’s exploration of local identities, culture change and community bonding (1989, 1992). This project is sensory (Pink 2009) and multimodal in terms of continued media production, collaborative relationships and reciprocities and shifting research positions and goals (Collins, Durington and Gill 2017). The goal here is a multi-media performance to disseminate ethnographic data based upon my own juxtaposed memories and experiences.


Ben-Ari, Eyal (1991). Changing Japanese Suburbia. New York: Kegan Paul International Ltd.

Bestor, Theodore C. (1989). Neighborhood Tokyo. Stanford: Stanford University Press. Bestor, Theodore C. (1992). Neighborhood Tokyo (film). Media Production Group (MPG), Asian Educational Media Service (AEMS), University …continue reading


Tokyo Rainbow Pride 2020 Moves Online with Pride from Home Hashtag and Live Streams

Source: Gaijin Pot
Tokyo Rainbow Pride 2019 by Kat Joplin

Tokyo’s colorful pride parade, which usually fills the street of Shibuya with over 10,000 participants, has been replaced with an online event. Unfortunately, the real-life Tokyo Rainbow Pride Festival for 2020 which was scheduled to take place between April 25 and May 6 has been canceled due to the coronavirus outbreak.

This year the TRP organizers have invited everyone to tag their best rainbow looks, supportive messages, or fabulous memories from past years with #TRP2020 and #おうちでプライド (#prideathome) on Instagram instead.

Photo: Kat Joplin/ Le Horla
Just because you’re stuck at home doesn’t mean you can’t be Gone With the Wind fabulous.

This year, we can celebrate rainbow pride from home by participating in live streams and talk show events. Live shows will be broadcasted on the Tokyo Rainbow Pride Official Twitter all throughout pride week, overlapping with Japan’s Golden Week since we’ll all be holed up at home. Check out their official website for the live show schedules and more information.

This year’s TRP theme is “Your Happiness is My Happiness,” which encourages everyone around the world to respect each others’ “form of happiness.”

…continue reading