Fumi and Kazu are partners in love and law; they run the first law firm in Japan set up by an openly gay couple. As lawyers driven by their own experience of being outsiders, they attract a range of clients who reveal the hidden diversity of a country that prides itself for collective obedience, politeness and conformity. Tired of being silenced and made to feel invisible, the lawyers and their misfit clients expose and challenge the archaic status quo that deems them second-class citizens.
Fumi and Kazu run a small law firm in downtown Osaka, Japan, where Mary, Kazu’s mum, works part time running errands for the two. Together for 15 years, it hasn’t always been easy gaining acceptance, in a country where their partnership has no legal recognition and stigma is rife.
Through their life and work, we see a snapshot of Japan in transition –a country where collective unity is absolute and often maintained at the expense of individual rights and freedom. Not being part of the majority could lead to prosecution by law and alienation by society at large, as is illustrated by the cases that the two lawyers take on.
Of Love & Law follows the two lawyers as they enter into the lives of their clients; each revealing the challenges of being an individual who is made invisible or silenced by a deeply conformist society, for simply being different. We meet Rokudenashiko, an artist arrested for breaking the obscenity law with her vagina-themed art works; Ms. Tsujitani dismissed from her teaching position for not singing the national anthem at a graduation ceremony; anonymous individuals who have no official legal status in Japan for being born outside of the traditional family structure.
In a country where being a family is the ultimate social status, the lawyers dream of becoming dads–but adoption is not even an option. But one day, Kazu and Fumi find themselves taking in a boy who has suddenly been made homeless, and their world starts to change…
Of Love & Law participated in the 2016 Accelerator Lab.
ABOUT THE DIRECTOR
Hikaru Toda is a self-shooting Director/Editor based in London working in broadcast, viral and independent documentaries, producing long and short format films for BBC, NHK, Guardian Media and international NGOs. She co-directed Love Hotel about a love hotel in Osaka, which was broadcast internationally including on BBC4 Storyville/France 2/ABC. It premiered at the Hot Docs International Film Festival 2014, receiving warm reception from both critics and audience.
Of Love & Law has won the Best Pitch award at Tokyo Docs 2014 and is in development with BBC, NKH, and DR.
Of Love & Law premiered at the Tokyo International Film Festival (October 25 – November 3, 2017) in a Japan Splash competition celebrating new talents in Japanese independent cinema. It was the only documentary, and it was only the second time in the history of the festival that a documentary had been selected.