Today's short is the trailer for the documentary Fall Seven Times, Get Up Eight: The Japanese War Brides (Blue Chalk Media, 2015), which relates the stories of Atsuko, Emiko, and Hiroko, who married Americans after World War II and, like thousands of other Asian women, abandoned their homeland to come to the United States with their new husbands. In the film, produced by Megumi Nishikura, each woman and her first-born daughter* address the questions that have gone unanswered for decades about the women's choices and the consequences of giving up everything familiar to live in a country they knew nothing about.
The documentary was screened September 29 at the Japan Information and Culture Center at the Embassy of Japan, Washington, D.C.; the Women Over 50 Film Festival, Brighton, United Kingdom, October 1-2; the Louisville (Kentucky) International Film Festival, October 13-15; the Vassar Film Fest, Washington, D.C., October 15; and the Women's Film Festival, West Orange, New Jersey, November 6. Many other screenings took place earlier in 2016. In 2015, the documentary was screened in Tokyo and at film festivals in the United States.
* The daughters, who are the film's co-directors and executive producers, are Kathryn Tolbert, Lucy Craft, and Karen Kasmauski. Tolbert spent a year collecting oral histories from war brides throughout the United States.
The film was selected Best Documentary Short at the 15th Annual Asian Film Festival of Dallas, Best Documentary Short at the 2015 Philadelphia Asian American Film Festival, Best Short Documentary at the 2016 California Women's Film Festival, and Winner of the 2015 Audience Award at the Boston Asian American Film Festival. It can be watched online at Vimeo on Demand or on home DVD.
The directors encourage other war brides and family members to share their stories.
Kathryn Tolbert on FaceBook
"Documentary Director Says Her Japanese War Bride Mother Was Not 'Warm and Loving' But 'Strong'", T Magazine, The New York Times, September 23, 2016
Kathryn Tolbert, "The Untold Stories of Japanese War Brides", The Washington Post, September 22, 2016
Lucy Alexander, "Daughters Tell Storie of 'War Brides' Despised Back Home and in the U.S.", Japan Times, October 5, 2014