Based on a Japanese Legend! The Short Film “The Old Woman Skin”

“The Old Woman Skin” is a short film offering a unique perspective on beauty based on a legend from Fukushima. This film was released on June 21 and presented at the Short Shorts Film Festival & Asia 2021. The 20-minute movie can be watched online with English subtitles!

2021.07.09

Japanese Culture in Short Films

Based on a Japanese Legend! The Short Film “The Old Woman Skin”

Picture courtesy of Pacific Voice, Inc.
The Japan Cultural Expo Project (*1) collaborated with Short Shorts Film Festival & Asia 2021 in order to highlight the unique cultural heritage and beauty of Japan through short films, stories, and events.

One of the projects held in the frame of this collaboration was the creation of stories by young contemporary writers based on legends from various regions in Japan. You can see the full lineup of projects on the Japan Cultural Expo page of the Short Shorts Film Festival.

The Old Woman Skin,” a story by Ao Omae based on a legend from Fukushima, was turned into a short film! The movie was released on June 21 and can be watched for free with English subtitles on the Japan Cultural Expo page of the Short Shorts Film Festival.

Watch “The Old Woman Skin” Online!

*1 FY 2021 Japan Cultural Expo Project is presented/co-presented by Agency for Cultural Affairs, Government of Japan, and Japan Arts Council.

A Story Questioning Beauty: Highlights of “The Old Woman Skin”


Omae's story “The Old Woman Skin” was made into a 20-minute movie directed by Hiroki Inoue. This charming and beautifully acted film contends with the challenges of the modern workspace in Japan, and has an uplifting message about friendship and romance.

Based on a Japanese Legend! The Short Film “The Old Woman Skin”

Picture courtesy of Pacific Voice, Inc.

Just as in the original legend, the film tells the story of a woman who hides her beauty with a magic skin that turns her into an old woman.

Based on a Japanese Legend! The Short Film “The Old Woman Skin”

Picture courtesy of Pacific Voice, Inc.

While rich in imagery and themes that evoke its historical roots in Fukushima, this interpretation takes a quick turn when our protagonist travels to a new office in Tokyo.

Based on a Japanese Legend! The Short Film “The Old Woman Skin”

Picture courtesy of Pacific Voice, Inc.
Although it doesn't shy away from the difficult and even embarrassing aspects of modern Japanese office culture, The Old Woman Skin feels both hopeful and realistic throughout.

Those who've worked in Japan are sure to empathize with our protagonist, and anyone looking for insight into life in Tokyo will be fascinated. No matter your experience, you're sure to be enchanted by lead actor Konatsu Kato's performance.

About “The Old Woman Skin,” Short Shorts Film Festival & Asia 2021 moderator John Haggerty commented: “The film is an updated story based on an old Japanese folktale from the Fukushima area and was also shot there. With a cast of young and veteran actors, you will truly be bewitched by the magic in this short film.”

Watch “The Old Woman Skin” Online!

The “Discover Beauty” Project

The collaboration of Japan Cultural Expo and the Short Shorts Film Festival & Asia 2021 includes the “Discover Beauty” Project, a series of events showcasing beauty in Japanese culture. This year's edition focused on women's empowerment and presented a collection of short films depicting Japanese beauty from the perspective of female directors.

At the Discover Beauty Symposium held on June 15, art director Chikako Suzuki, documentary filmmaker Ema Ryan Yamazaki, and movie commentator LiLiCo discussed the role of women in film in Japan and the United States of America. The discussion also touched on the subject of "beauty," looking back through history at the women who contributed to establishing the Japanese culture of beauty.

The Discover Beauty Symposium can be watched online for free!

If you're looking to experience Japanese culture and art, visit the official website of Japan Cultural Expo and the SSFF & Asia 2021, where you can find a wealth of information on each of the projects featuring Japan's beauty.

Written by Chris
Sponsored by The Committee for ShortShorts

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