Shinjuku Boys

Kim Longinotto, Jano Williams
UK, Japan
54 min

The Horse Hospital

23 September



The Shinjuku Boys are three onnabe – Japanese women who live as men – working as hosts at a Tokyo nightclub for female clients. They dress like men and behave like men, a lifestyle that is not appreciated in Japan. Filmed at home and at work, they speak frankly about their lives, their hopes and their sexuality. Gaish acts tough and has many girlfriends, but in his heart, he is afraid of becoming lonely. Tatsu lives with his girlfriend. Kazuki has a relationship with a man who has chosen to live as a woman. The young women who come to the club often have relationships with the boys, but their underlying fear is whether such a relationship can withstand the pressures on a girl to get married and have children. This documentary from 1995 explores the complexities of sexuality in modern Japan.

Preceded by short documentaries FATbulous Me and Moving in Between.

The programme is followed by a Q&A with director Kim Longinotto.

Kim Longinotto, Jano Williams

Kim Longinotto is renowned for creating extraordinarily intimate portraits of women on the fringes of society, tackling controversial topics with sensitivity and compassion. Jano Williams worked at the Japanese Broadcasting Corporation NHK, and subsequently in the television company NTV. Prior to making Shinjuku Boys, the pair co-directed Eat The Kimono (1990) and Dream Girls (1993).

Additional Information

This screening is organised in partnership with the Japan Foundation, with support from Great Britain Sasakawa Foundation, Daiwa Foundation and Japan Society.