Never before have I seen a documentary that depicts Japan so delicately and with such unpretentiousness as Karin Muller‘s JAPANLAND.
Karin Muller left America to travel one year in Japan, with the aim of becoming one with society there. A nearly impossible task. Though she could speak practical Japanese, she was still illiterate when she went there. With years of Judo training and a humble yet stubborn mind, she committed herself to document her travels in Japan without a camera crew. This resulted in a four-episode mini-series, totaling just above four hours, that has aired in many countries.
What differentiates this documentary from all the rest about Japan is that Karin Muller worked on it with a Japanese mind. A mind that values both dignity and the old-fashioned ways. A mind that respects hard work, commitment and strive for perfection. A mind that can see the beauty of nature yet has a taste for violence. The fact that she went there alone, with little knowledge of the language and the customs and rules of Japan, shows great courage. She didn’t only go there just to be there, she rather wanted to get acknowledged; therefore, she thoroughly studied etiquette, the Japanese language, traditions and history, at the same time asking for minimal help.
Let yourself get inspired by this awesome journey to a land very few people get to see from the inside. Visit http://www.japanlandonline.com/ where I bought my DVD that smoothly found its way to Sweden!
Among the biggest problems Karin Muller faced was the fact that she was a woman. It denied her entrance to for example the Sumo stable, which she instead filmed peeping through a window. Another was that she couldn’t document everything she experienced, since she had no crew; but sometimes she would let a local film her (with the risk broken or stolen equipment). A third problem is that she’s a young Caucasian from the countryside of Virginia with no respectable title or company to back her up. That places her automatically on the bottom floor of the hierarchy. No crew, all luggage on both her back and belly, making her look like a sumo wrestler herself and all odds against her – no wonder she had trouble fitting in…
Read more about her hardships here.
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