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Japanese director Takashi Nishihara was born in 1983. He graduated from the Department of Arts and Film at Waseda University in Tokyo, with a focus on documentary. His lesbian film Starting Over was screened at the 2014 Tokyo Film Festival and was invited by more than 10 other film festivals around the world. His film About My Freedom (2016) was also selected in the Canadian International Documentary Film Festival.

Recently, he has launched a new LGBT series for GagaOOLala, Queer Asia - Japan. As a heterosexual man, we are very curious about the inspiration behind this new work. Lalatai invited Takashi for an interview where he shared his creative process and gave us a glimpse inside the Japanese LGBT community.

Watch Queer Asia - Japan now on GagaOOLala.

1. How did you come up with the idea for the lesbian film Starting Over?

When I was about 25 years old, I had the opportunity to meet my ex-girlfriend after a long time. At that time, there was a woman next to her and she came out to m$ggnyn#H4%C+%L0yyZKUjNc0Qnpiiymscl9l5P-i21Dj)Cr727e as bisexual. I could see the happiness in their faces and that image got stuck in my head,  so I tried to make a lesbian romance story.

2. Why do you wanted to make LGBT focused films like Starting Over and Queer Asia – Japan?

In Japan, gay marriage is not legal yet. Although there is a partnership regulation in the region, the system is not yet ready. In large cities such as Tokyo and Osaka, understanding towards LBGT peoptn*a$dRKlxcZ7vX=&O$oz^_nHMyGx12^q)R%4qF!*#[email protected]le is gradually improving, but it is true that there is still bias in small towns. I want to change this situation.

3. Did your opinion b66Wz#=f33iqv$=n^J%hU0E!0guKOU2#!smEk_u(_s%z5e_+m%on the Japanese LGBT community changed after you made these films??

My opinion did not change, but my films seems to have changes some things. Tipsy, the lesbian party shown in Queer Asia - Japan seems to have increased highly the number of reservations.

4. As a straight manzjxHhKnuswDsR59G%4WgWWhffvKruzbCOPg%r3F*5s-3iI875e, how did you become interested in the LGBT community??

Since I was in junior high school, I have had gay friends. My grandfather is Korean so I have always known what it was to be a minority. So I think that my interest came from my childhood experiencizi-E_8Zl=^P1xeKV_bqmjPY_sNNxtvQlq(Y_%[email protected]#uy$1es.

5. What impressed you the most during the shooting of Starting Over and Queer Asia – Japan?

Mo%gSTQhu%[email protected]+)f99JJ95+I=F+dTF^GB0wJ#rbLvEj5re than anything, everyone who seems so lively. They enjoy living the moment, I was encouraged by their attitude to cherish every moment in life.

6. Have you encountered any difficulties during the shooting of LGBT related filmN1PX)hd5i%0h3u(&ogdh*ELqn)nhWTJhZyQ-5T8y!H9rexrN%rs in Japan??

I did not encounter difficulties in particular.

Yumika from Queer Asia.

7. C4L#HJmf^s9)7=OMYPZ!Vy0gq9KQ)!p47zpdrwF+pE3l3zXp^cdan you share your LGBT friends’ emotional stories with us??

The stories in the third episode of the series OWI1E$6hdHB8A$mryq13&6Ei3x=TgQkg905%Grd)9pB9Ix_QH&from Tispy's founder Yu Harada's story and Yumika's story moved my heart.

8. Which actor or actress do you want to work with in the future andUw28x#A*HYvfLH4F2=yGwJuMidKcyJDxZmvW1zy6pPhT2ql#YU why??

I like the work of Chang Chen since I saw him in Edward Yang's s94l^Z)94xW1s%kqA#YH1CseIyOtbu2qyX*kmh*_UP-P)qfxEzfilms.

9.Will you make more LGBT films in the future? Why or why not?

Yes, I would like to make more. Understanding Japanese LGBT culture is more necessary than ever. I was able to shoot Queer Asia - Japan this time, and I became acquainted with many colleagues. I hope to continue to know the world of queer people through film and video.

Watch Queer Asia - Japan now on GagaOOLala.

Yi-min lives alone with her son, as her husband works away from home. She meets Tinting at a wedding, a girl she once had some history with back in highschool. Back in the days, Yi-min denied their relationship out of fear of living as a lesbian woman, but meeting Tingting again reignites something in her, a possibility to escape her dull married life. Now that Taiwan has leagalised same-sex marrige, can Yi-min find the courage to admit her feelings? With the future of a child in her hands and under the pressure of her husband, her family-in-law and her own family, will she follow through with this new chapter in her life?