Q: I think Iroha Shizuki is a strong woman for exposing herself in movies who knows who will watch, despite it being taboo for women to talk about their sex in front of others. Why did you decide to film her?
O: At first, I wanted to capture her not as a woman who appears in adult videos and bondage performances, but rather as someone who uses her flesh as a form of expression. The initial opportunity came when I learned about her around Valentines day of 2012. She was posting herself, her whole body covered in chocolate, on her blog. But, as the filming progressed, my goal changed. There were an enormous number of scenes where she simply spoke into my camera. As I began listening to what she was saying, I began to think that I could present this woman called “Iroha Shizuki” as a miniature of our contemporary society. She talked without prejudice about homeless people, wrist cutters, even aging by oneself. “Jinkan” which eventually became the title, essentially represents this world composed of other people. While this film is the story of “Iroha Shizuki,” it is also the story of contemporary society, told through the medium of “Iroha Shizuki.”
Q: The Iroha Shizuki tying herself up and dripping hot wax on her arms does not seem like the same Iroha talking to us in the dark, in front of a candle.
O: At the end of the film, she, too, asks “What exactly am I?” Furthermore, when she saw the completed film, she said “I have a different job and different hobbies from other people, but for me, this is normal.” Recently, I've felt that more people in power have been loudly asking things like “How should people act?” and claiming “The Japanese of the future should be like this.” And it's not just people in power. I also think that the number of people attacking others, whose values they don't agree with, using one-sided hate speech has been on the rise. Everyone has their own “normal.” To get others to recognize what one thinks is “normal,” one must also recognize others' ideas of “normal.” I said this earlier, but Iroha Shizuki does not hold any prejudice towards others. On the contrary, those who believe “I am normal” and never doubt their own normalcy, might just be full of prejudice.
Q: The content of this film is entirely different from your film, What we Achieved and What we Didn't that played at the last Yamagata International Documentary Film Festival. Do you feel they share anything?
O: What We Achieved and What we Didn't captured the billboards, posters and flags that appeared in Yamagata after 3.11. Everything besides people. This time, I wanted to capture in relief the warmth and weakness of the human heart. What we Achieved and What we Didn't do was quite different when compared with, say, a television documentary. The content of Jinkan would also be quite difficult to get on TV. I think everyone wants to stand proudly against racism and discrimination against handicapped people, but by capturing a woman who works in “sex,” about which everyone has their own opinion, I want people to really think about what it means to recognize each other. I want this film to question those who appreciate it. “You say “equality is important,” but what do you really think? Didn't you feel a little prejudiced watching this film?” In other words, I wanted to challenge them. Also, in this film, Iroha Shizuki talks about how adult videos, like comedy programs, give the victims of disasters courage. And since this is a documentary, I managed to approach things in a straightforward manner. These two films have those points in common.