Thirty Years of Sisterhood

On the US tour of a Japanese documentary film by Yamagami Chieko and Seyama Noriko, "Thirty Years of Sisterhood: Women of the 1970s Women's Liberation Movement in Japan" in Feb. 2006.

Friday, February 17, 2006

Cedar Rapids airport

At Cedar Rapids airport, with Robin of U Iowa. Robin chaired the panel discussion at the U Iowa event.


  • At 10:19 AM, Blogger adrienne said…

    What an honor it was for UI to experience this wonderful tour! Thank you all very much.

    My students enjoyed the film and panel discussion a great deal. One of them, Caitlin, took the following photos:

    Photo #1

    Photo #2

    You can also see a few student comments.

  • At 1:11 AM, Blogger adrienne said…

    I wanted also to send this reflection on the film and panel written by a student named John in another class:

    I came to the 30 Years of Sisterhood presentation about 30 minutes late. But what I got from this presentation was really interesting and I am so happy that I attended it. Before I get into details about the movie and discussion I would like to quote something that Miki Soto, one of the women on panel and in the film, said when she was asked about New wave of Feminists in Japan. She said something along the lines that, “Feminists now-a-days view Feminism as a school, subject something you study, not a way of life”. I think that this quote sums up how dedicated all of the women were to the feminists movement in Japan. They worked so hard and fought to get what they wanted.
    My initial thought about this film was, “Are these really feminist?” I feel a little ashamed to say it, but my idea about a feminist was a little stereotyped. So I think I am really glad that I went to this presentation because it really changed my idea. I really like how the film was not such a formal documentary. I think that the focus of film was the relationships between the women. It was not necessarily just taking a historical documentary method of just giving us pure facts but putting a face to these women who worked so hard to get the same basic rights as a human being. These women just wanted to be treated like human beings and be allowed to do as they please. They didn’t want to be defined by social norms and have to fit exactly in the role that was “created for them”. They also wanted control over their bodies and be allowed to chose what to do with them. They did not need the law or men to tell them that they cannot take a pill or that they could not file for divorce. I think that it is really nice that these groups served as being families for those who had to leave their families. I think that having a group system can really help those who are struggling to get what they want. And I think that since these women were strong and had a common goal they were able to accomplish a lot.
    One of the Directors talked about why she created this film. She said that she wanted to tell the story of their life as women in the movement. She wanted to show the reality of what happened. She did not want to make a historical documentation. I think that this was a good choice to shoot the film in this manner. I think that the film really captured the relationships that grew between the women through their common struggles. I really like how the film focused on that and not the historical facts because like I said before it puts faces to the women who struggled during this time. I really also like how the director said that she felt that she had to create a relationship of trust between the people she was filming otherwise she could not make the film. I think that this really shows the closeness of the sisterhood of the movement.
    Next I want to talk about my favorite on the panel, Miki. I do not know why I liked her the most, but I think it was her gentle face and kind voice. I think that it is amazing that after all of the unfair and difficult hardships that this women encountered, she still manages to look like nothing is wrong and seems so happy. Some of the things that she had to say were that she was really happy and satisfied with what they did for the women’s movement in Japan. She said that it would not have been possible with out the sisters supporting each other through the difficult times. She hopes that the next generation of women will do the same as they did. I also really really liked her quote that I said above because it shows the struggles and dedication these women had.
    I thought that it was interesting about how the family relationships between the women who left home to pursue liberation changed over time. At first the women did not get along with their families at all and were sometimes kicked out of home, but now that their parents are older, they have accepted each other and now take care of their older parents.
    At the end I really liked it when they held up the banner that said 30 years of Sisterhood that the girl who was holding the cat in the film made and then also showed the scarves that they made for each of the sisters from the material left over. I that that it was pretty cool that they did something like that.

    Note: you can see the original version here.


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