Daily Archives: February 3, 2007

Suo Seeking Justice in Japan

Director Suo Masayuki (50) expressed his anger at the Japanese legal system to the foreign media this week. Speaking at the Foreign Correspondents Club in downtown Tokyo, the man best known for the 1995 hit romantic comedy “Shall We Dance?” talked about his first movie in 11 years, “Soredemo Boku Wa Yattenai” (I Just Didn’t Do It). Starring Kase Ryo (32), who was also at the luncheon event, it’s a far more serious movie, telling the story of a young man, Kaneko Teppei, who is arrested and tried for groping a schoolgirl on a crowded train. A common story in recent years, the catch is that Kaneko is innocent. This fact is lost in the standard police procedure of coercing a detainee to sign a written confession in return for leniency, a process supported by not a few Japanese judges. Kaneko refuses and becomes a victim of a legal system where over 90% of cases result in a guilty verdict. As Suo has said before on the media, the number is an anomaly by international standards. He said: “Normally the ideas for my films come to me as wonderful discoveries of life; things that take me by surprise, that delight and inspire. This time, what I discovered was a sense of outrage within myself. What resulted is not so much a movie I wanted to make as a movie I simply had to make.”