Women of the World: Sumiko Haneda

Sumiko Haneda

*Picture was taken from jfilmpowow.co.uk*

We are living in a highly advanced, technological age and this has significantly changed the way journalists deliver the news. Many of us turn to Twitter to find out what’s happening in the world of politics and spend hours watching small video clips on Youtube, to witness important world events. But, that doesn’t mean the in-depth documentary is dead. How many of us became glued to our screens, to find out if Steven Avery was guilty in ‘Making a Murderer?’ or eagerly listened to the Podcast Serial to find out what happened to Adnan Syed? Today’s woman of the world is taking the documentary film world by storm, Sumiko Haneda of Japan has spent a lifetime educating people about some of the most significant issues facing society today. 

Although Sumiko now lives in Japan, she was originally born in China, during the Japanese occupation. Her original debut was a film called ‘Women’s College in the Village,’ a story about a female filmmaker, working in a male-dominated environment. No doubt mirroring some of her own experiences.

Sumiko is known for her inspired works such as ‘Into the Picture Scroll: The Tale of Yamanaka Tokiwa’ in 2005, where she took the famous 150-year Japanese parchment and turned it into a film, it tells the story of a boy who is trying to avenge the death of his Mother.

Sumiko is living proof that your dreams can come true, she has been involved in the making of over 90 documentaries, in a variety of capacities from Editor to Director. Although she has tackled some serious issues in modern-day Japanese culture she is best known for her documentaries on the lives of elderly people in the community, such as  “How to Care for the Senile” (1986) and the 6-part biographical series about the final years of the Kabuki actor Nizaemon. She is truly an inspiration, in fact, she won the Education Minister’s Award for “Ode to Mt. Hayachine” – the first woman to ever receive this accolade.

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