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By the time the wistful piano music by Yuichiro Maeda starts and the credits roll on this documentary about a gay couple, Masafumi (“Fumi”) Yoshida and Kazayuki (“Kazu”) Minami, who run a legal practice together in Osaka, viewers are likely to feel an uncontrollable urge to reach into the screen and hug the protagonists and their extended ad hoc family. This particular brood includes the mother of one of the lawyers who works in their office, a teenage boy who has been raised by them ever since he left an orphanage, their supportive co-workers, their clients and their beautiful cat, an ensemble who collectively illustrate just how much things are changing in the hitherto highly conservative world of Japanese society.
Although they bicker frequently, like any couple who have been together for 15 years or more, and have to share a cramped urban apartment, Fumi and Kazu are devoted to one another and hope to become one of the first gay couples in Japan to adopt a baby of their own. In the meantime, they do a lot of pro bono work, including representing young people from troubled homes, and also working with clients such as the utterly delightful artist Rokudenashiko, a woman who makes highly decorated sculptures out of vagina reliefs, including one that pays tribute to the radioactive waters of Fukushima. The state considers her work obscene and offensive, even though in any sex shop men can legally buy silicone vaginas to masturbate into, a double standard the lawyers bring up in court. Another client loses her teaching job for refusing to stand up for the Japanese national anthem, while they also represent two clients who are technically unrecognised by the state because they were born illegitimate.
Director Hikaru Toda adroitly weaves together these various stories while always keeping an eye on the small details that reveal character, such as how Fumi and Kazu cook dinner or fret about where a new baby would go in their tiny flat.
Source: The Guardian
Keyword: Of Love and Law review – Japan’s gay lawyers fight the good fight | Documentary films