Whilst the image many have of Japan may be one of strange gameshows, jaw-dropping fashions and general craziness, at heart it’s an incredibly traditional and conservative country. As a society, it is one which is very much bound by norms. Any deviation from the pack is often viewed as delinquent behaviour, weird and just plain wrong. Anyone belonging to a minority group is in for an almost relentless uphill struggle. Many laws you’d naturally expect haven’t even been considered for those who don’t comply with the majority view.
Fumi and Kazu are the first openly gay couple to set-up a law firm in Japan. They have constructively channelled their own experiences as outsiders to provide help and support for other social ‘misfits’. Hikaru Toda’s documentary, Of Love and Law, follows the pair as they go about their daily lives. Along the way they defend clients including a vagina artist and a teacher who was sacked for not singing the national anthem.
Of Love and Law is an intriguing film which shows a side of Japan which is rarely visible to those on the outside. At times it can feel like a bit of a hodgepodge but this oddness and absurdity is part of its charm. The focus is on a country in dire need of liberalisation and modernisation. One for all its technical advancements often has a mindset stuck in a different century. Of Love and Law demonstrates how slow the process of change can be in a nation nurtured on obedience.