Ask the Filmmaker: Campaign’s Kazuhiro Soda

by |

Filmmaker Kazuhiro Soda was born and raised in Japan. While attending the University of Tokyo, he met and befriended Yamauchi Kazuhiko, or “Yama-san.” Almost twenty years later, Kazuhiro was surprised to find out that his old friend was running for a critical city council seat in the city of Kawasaki as part of the Liberal Democratic Party. Sensing that Yama-san’s campaign might prove interesting, Kazuhiro asked him if he could shoot a film about the process. Five days later, Kazuhiro was in Kawasaki and rolling.

Parts of the Japanese political process in Campaign might seem quite strange and unfamiliar to the American viewer. Yama-san has to repeat his name as often as possible while he goes around the city district, and his wife, Sayuri, has to refer to herself as a “housewife” instead of a “wife” even though she is an independent career woman. Kazuhiro spoke about some of the differences between American and Japanese elections in his filmmaker interview:

In Japanese culture people should not look too proud or confident; if you look too confident people may think that you are arrogant and cannot be trusted. In American culture, on the other hand, political candidates have to look like they know what they’re doing, and they have to act like they are the best. So those differences go a long way to explain why the Japanese election looks so different from an American campaign.

Read more from Kazuhiro Soda’s interview and find out what Yama-san was like in college, and what aspects of the American political process Kauzhiro feels uneasy with.

Do you want to ask Kazuhiro Soda a question? Enter them in the comment field below, and he will select a few and answer them the week of July 28, 2008.

Ruiyan Xu
Ruiyan Xu
Former POVer Ruiyan Xu worked on developing and producing materials for POV's website. Before coming to POV, she worked in the Interactive and Broadband department at Channel Thirteen/WNET. Ruiyan was born in Shanghai and graduated from Brown University with a B.A. in Modern Culture and Media.
  • Suzee

    FOREIGNID: 16816
    FOREIGNPARENTID:
    Mr. Soda — do you feel more comfortable with English or with Japanese filmmaking?

  • http://www.pbs.org/pov Ruiyan

    FOREIGNID: 16817
    FOREIGNPARENTID:
    Over the past couple weeks, we’ve gotten emails from viewers who have run into problems posting on the P.O.V. Blog. Our technician is working on the issue, but in case you run into problems posting your comment, please do the following.
    1. Click on the “Back” button on your browser.
    2. Copy the text you entered in the “Comment” text box.
    3. Open your email client and send an email to “feedback@pov.org”
    4. Paste your comment into the email and send it to us that way.
    We’ll post all emailed comments we get tomorrow. Thanks for your patience while we work out these technical issues!

  • David Ortiz

    FOREIGNID: 16818
    FOREIGNPARENTID:
    I really enjoyed the Documentary and fully understood what the campaign went through. I Thank you for your film work.

  • natalia

    FOREIGNID: 16819
    FOREIGNPARENTID:
    i love this film, but i have to said it broke my hearth to see the conditions this candite work, you are and exelent film maker thank you