YIDFF 2005 BORDERS WITHIN—What It Means to Live in Japan
An Interview with Matsue Tetsuaki (Director)

I Want to Continue Making Films Without Being Pigeonholed

Q: Why did you make this film?

MT: I made it to release an original DVD from adult video production house HMJM. Everything that gets made in the adult video industry looks the same, but Company Matsuo’s HMJM alone lets me make what I want. So, I made a film using just zainichi actors. At auditions for adult video actors, people have to present their identity cards for an age check, so you also get to find out if they don’t have Japanese citizenship. At the auditions, I found I wanted to ask them a lot of different things about their ethnicity, not just about the adult video work.

Q: The piece screened here is different from the adult video you originally made, right?

MT: I made the adult video version as a two-hour DVD to be sold, and I re-edited it to be screened here. Sex scenes leave a big impression, so I was afraid the actors’ words would be forgotten. I made the sex scenes shorter and kept the core elements, cutting it down to eighty minutes. The adult video version has lots of my own first person commentary in text form, so that a guy watching the film by himself can more easily empathize with the piece, but I cut out a lot of the text in the theatrical version, since it would be watched on screen by a lot of people.

Q: What were your criteria for selecting the actors?

MT: Simply people who don’t mind being “out.” I told actors at the audition “I’m going to your hometown to film” and when they replied “Oh, that’s interesting,” then the piece was already half complete. I think some documentaries are about chipping away the shell of the subject, but for these actors, there wasn’t any shell in the first place. But I can’t deny being uncertain whether the opening-up was entirely true.

Q: The text on the screen left an impression. After Annyong-Kimchi, did you become more aware of your own identity?

MT: In Annyong-Kimchi I in fact really wanted to film myself, though I was interested in filming others too. But in Identity, my own ideas are presented only in the text on screen. Usually people don’t wonder about their identity. I’m not thinking about it all the time either, but since I’m zainichi, I have a lot of chances to think it over. And indeed when it came to inserting the text about “identity,” at first it was like interrogating myself. The text wasn’t there in the beginning. Matsuo, the producer, gave me advice about the overall text. He said, “the zainichi within yourself that you take for granted is not necessarily something the audience takes for granted. You should make it a little easier to understand.” So I added the text with historical background about zainichi and my own stance.

Q: Why do you shoot adult videos?

MT: Partly because I’ve liked adult videos since I was a student. It might be the wrong way to put it, but for me there’s no difference between adult videos, movies and TV shows. The important thing for me is in each situation, how you film the relationship between yourself and the subject. People tell me that my works don’t seem like a typical TV show, or a typical adult video, and I want to continue making films without being pigeonholed.

(Compiled by Kato Hatsuyo)

Interviewer: Kato Hatsuyo
Photography: Kato Takanobu / Video: Kato Takanobu / 2005-09-23 / in Tokyo