Mai Endo / Actor, Artist
8, a theatre performance about California’s Proposition 8, played at the 23rd Tokyo International Lesbian and Gay Film Festival. In practice, to know Japan’s system and circumstances, I participated in a study group for foster parents and I talked with everyone who was involved in production about the theatre performance. The insight that was shared with me from various people piled up and I learned a lot from them.
I believe that theatre and cinema are places for you to become aware of the people near to you. I watch movies and theatre performances, but I like the feeling of distance between me and the people I watch them with. I hope that there will still be places where you can laugh and cry with people from completely different walks of life.

DAN OSANO / Poet, Author, Entrepreneur
The world puts too much emphasis on difference. Certainly, we all have differences and because of that each of us is walking a different path through life. But, what is certain is the reality that all of us who are full of differences live in the same world. Not a single one of us varied different people, all living together in the world, is someone else’s problem. Through the films screened at Rainbow Reel Tokyo, even if it’s just a little bit, we’re gradually becoming less of someone else’s problem in this world. Everything is becoming one’s own problem.

Yuka Kanno / Associate Professor, Graduate School of Global Studies, Doshisha University
Just watching a movie can be done alone. I go to film festivals because they give me a chance to encounter different people, ideas, desires, and relationships, and these experiences give me a chance to undo myself. I want to believe in the potential for film festivals to help me reimagine and reshape the world by learning about others and thereby remaking myself. It is my hope that Rainbow Reel Tokyo will continue to be that kind of place.

KITAMARU Yuji / Journalist, author
The first LGBTQ+-specific film festival in the world was held in San Francisco in 1977 and it expanded to London, Milan, and Copenhagen in 1986, and to Montreal and New York in 1987. 80s and 90s were also the era of the AIDS epidemic, and the gay community at that time needed to mobilize all of the media to get the social messages out.
Until today, there have been more than 150 film festivals in about 50 countries and regions (including those that have already ended). The first festival in Japan was held in 1992 by the predecessor of the Rainbow Reel Tokyo at a seminar room in Tokyo’s Nakano Sun Plaza. Yes, this year marks the 30th anniversary of the festival in Japan.
I hope this will be a good opportunity to reflect on the history and transition of the LGBTQ+ community through the films.

SHUJI Akira / Writer
How come, right? No matter how you look at them LGBT people, who appear so rarely on the big screen, seem unfortunate. Nevertheless is growing, yet at the same time I lamented that an actor of tragedy can only be themselves. It’s not a solitude of choice, I have been forsaken and it was necessary to survive alone in the void. In any case, what’s always been true is my wanting to see beyond that. I hope that little by little the story is spun with real people, the performer removed, and that you’ll be warmly held by it.

butaji / Singer-Songwriter
Because of the times you’ve felt alone or alienated, all kinds of movies were made to get close to you, and they will continue to be made even after this festival. From the bottom of my heart, I too am looking forward to seeing movies I can be immersed in.

pesuyama poppy / manga artist
For a long time, I avoided living like myself. However, I think that the experience of people in a similar position to me sharing their stories helped me overcome that in a big way.
I think the power of stories is wonderful like that. You, and the lives of people in a similar position to you, surely exist in this world. The joy, sadness and the society’s problem surrounding the people depicted; you get to "see" these obvious things. Though it is no more than that, it is giving someone courage. I belive that’s truly wonderful.

Nayuta Miki / Philosopher
The days I skipped school, I watched a lot of movies. Doing so I complete myself through the movies that I connected with. However, the movies I saw at the time didn’t really have any sexual minorities in them. I had to complete myself as a patchwork of numerous worlds that didn’t represent me. That was a tough road. Yet, there gathered many films featuring sexual minority characters here! I hope the stories here are going to reach the people who need them.

Kana Mitarashi / Clinical psychologist
When I was sad and didn’t know what to do, on those days when I could not see my future, the power of movie content saved me. The first time that I felt it is alright to like somebody of the same sex was when I watched this one drama. The words of one character gave me the sense that my doubts were valid.
A role model that I would never meet in real life sometimes will give somebody more options. Also, with every step in life and with age, movies that you have been watching can sometimes be appreciated from a different angle.
Even if our society and environment would take options away from us, they cannot take away how the visuals moved our heart, or how we bonded with the visuals. You are not alone. I hope that movies you see at Rainbow Reel Tokyo bring you a step forward, and good moments to love yourself.

Honami Yano / Filmmaker, Animation artist
With many of the queer films out there, I quietly but firmly develop an initimate and personal connection. They build a home somewhere deep in my heart and peek into my life, whispering to me. I want to get to know them better, so I try to grasp them and look into their souls. But by then, they have already retreated and are out of my reach. And yet, this one-way relationship makes me so happy. I am always in search of queer films to start this romance with.

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