2014 / For an university program, Japan’s students seeking descendants of Issei picture brides

A team of three students from the University of Tokyo are searching for second to fourth generation descendants of Japanese-American “Picture Brides” for the filming of a documentary for the purpose of an university summer program.

The documentary will focus closely on “picture brides,” of the first generation, to explore generational views on romance and marriage. These picture brides refer to women who crossed from Japan to the shores of America to meet their husbands for their first time, in the early 20th century. Now in America, marriages are scarcely arranged, and have greatly changed amongst the Japanese American community.

The documentary’s main objective in exploring the history of picture brides is to uncover the changes and commonalities in perspectives on romance and marriage, across generations.

Those interested in this project will be asked to appear in an on-camera interview. The crew will be traveling to Los Angeles to conduct these interviews, during September 12th to 16th. Interested participants are kindly requested to be interviewed with relatives of other generations, in their own homes if possible.

Interviews are expected to require a minimum of 1-2 hours. The team will be based in Torrance, Los Angeles, and are willing to travel anywhere within Los Angeles county, Orange County and Ventura County, to meet interviewees.

This is a non-commercial student film, and unfortunately volunteers cannot be compensated. The complete documentary is expected to run for up to 30 minutes. The documentary will be shown primarily to the University of Tokyo community in a post-program screening, as well as be uploaded online.

If you are interested in contributing to this documentary, please contact the Producer of ‘Team Harborgate’ (team.harborgate@gmail.com).

About members of Team Harborgate  

Producer, Sherry Zheng is a Chinese-Australian international student, belonging to the College of Arts and Sciences in the University of Tokyo.

Director, Haruna Kaneko is a Japanese student belonging to the Faculty of Economics in the University of Tokyo.

Cinematographer, Ryousuke Umesato is a Japanese student belonging to the Faculty of Literature in the University of Tokyo.

The program, designed for students interested in exploring film production and Japanese-American history, is organized by the University of Tokyo alumni association of Southern California in collaboration with the University of Tokyo and in particular Dr. Yuko Itatsu, a USC alumna and associate professor in the College of Arts and Sciences at the University.