The Choice Is Ours: What Is the Future of the Japanese Constitution?

Produced and Directed by Hisako Matsui

The Japanese Constitution tells us “how I as an individual can live a decent life.”

We live in a rather strange nation where “the superiors somewhere up there” decide what we the people should decide.

Hisako Matsui has directed several masterpiece films including “Yukie” (1998), “Oriume” (2002), “Leonie” (2010), and “What Are You Afraid of?” (2015), her 1st documentary film on the feminists’ activities in Japan.
In November of 2016, Hisako released the renewal version of her 2nd documentary film on the Japanese Constitution; the original version was released in May of 2016, with an eye on the general election 2 months later.

Now, our rights guaranteed in the Constitution are facing a critical situation.
The Constitution declares “renunciation of war,” but we may end up joining the nations with the right of belligerency.
We, sovereigns of our nation, naturally have the rights and responsibility to choose how we live and what body politic we should constitute.
Unfortunately, more and more people in Japan are staying away from politics; we are on the verge of giving up the final stronghold of the Constitution.
This film focuses on the opinions of such unknown citizens as students, housewives, or freelance workers, as well as on those of the intellectuals from various fields.

This film is one of the must-see films; it records exactly what you want to watch and what you want to listen to now. In early January of 2017, this film ranked No. 10, in the Culture Film Section of “The Cinema Reports Japan.”
Luckily, this film has a disc with English subtitles for a show in the international communities inside and outside Japan.


  1. Young people speak up!
  2. The Constitution and constitutionalism
  3. Lessons from history: from defeat in the WWII to formation of the Constitution
  4. People as leading players in the nation: sovereignty of the people; and the fundamental human rights
  5. Liberation from the feudalistic family system: equality of the sexes
  6. Process of following in the footsteps of the US and search for independence from the US: history of US-Japan diplomacy after the end of the war
  7. Have people in Okinawa enjoyed the Japanese Constitution?
  8. Article 9 (“renunciation of war”) of the Constitution is losing its validity.
  9. The Constitution in our lives: all the people shall be respected as individuals; freedoms and rights guaranteed “shall be maintained by the constant endeavor of the people.”
  10. Do you start with the “State of Emergency Clause”?: the problems of the LDP amendment draft

This film has been screened at over 700 locations all over Japan.

The citizen-initiated film shows have been held over 700 times across the country by the end of 2016, in half a year since its release in May.
It looks like a new form of resistance by the silent majority.

As a result of the election of the House of Councillors in July, 2016, the ruling parties gained two-thirds of the seats in both houses. Now the revisionists have the initiative to propose their amendment bill to the diet. We the people have to recognize more seriously the significance of the problems about revising the Constitution.
We do have to prepare for the upcoming National Referendum in the near future.

It’s not politicians, but we the people, that decide the future of this nation; we have the right of choice and responsibility guaranteed in the Constitution.

We seriously hope that the film shows will provide the people more knowledge and interest about the Constitution. At the same time, we sincerely wish that foreign people could have an opportunity to watch the film and understand how the human rights guaranteed in the Japanese Constitution are in crisis.

List of the shows in the international communities inside and outside Japan.

  1. On August 30, 2016, at Black Box, a major film theater in Dusseldorf, Germany. We were delighted to have 140 people (40% of them were Germans) as audience.
  2. On December 20, 2016, at Ferris University, Yokohama, Japan.
  3. On January 21, 2017, at German East Asiatic Society (OAG), Tokyo.

We’re expecting a show at the University of Seoul, Korea, on February 16, 2017.

To the shows above, Director Matsui was invited to join the talk session after the show for an hour. She’s invited to Seoul too.

To apply for a film show outside Japan:
The terms and conditions:

  1. A disc with English subtitles either in Blue Ray or DVD is available.
    Please specify which disc you want to use.
  2. A sample disc is available when you plan a show. In case you want a sample disc, please send email or fax below.
  3. The cost: ¥25,000 including postage (by EMS).
    Please pay the amount in the Japanese yen into the account below:
    Name: Essen Communications, Inc.
    Bank and branch: Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ, Akasaka branch (branch #609)
    Deposit Account#: 0570156
  4. After we confirm your payment, we’ll send a disc to arrive 1 week prior to your scheduled show date.
    We’d appreciate it if you return the disc at your own within a week after the show.
  5. The greatest care must be taken in handling the disc.
    In case the disc is damaged in anyway, you may have to compensate for the actual expenses. Thank you for understanding.
  6. When you have questions, please contact us by email or fax:
    Email: Fax: 03-3523-0212 (Japan)

Profile of Hisako Matsui, Film director and Producer

Born in Tokyo, 1946.
BA in Theater arts from Waseda University.
She first worked as a writer and an editor for magazines.
In 1979, she founded a management company and worked for numerous actors.
In 1985, she founded Essen Communications, Inc. and produced TV drama series and documentaries.
She made her directorial and theatrical debut with “Yukie” in 1998, which gained critical acclaim and awards in Japan.
In 2002, “Oriume” was released, which she produced, wrote, and directed.
It has become a big success, screened over 1,300 locations across the country and seen by more than one million people.

List of Director Matsui’s Films:

  1. “Yukie,” in English, based on Haruhiko Yoshimeki’s award winner novel, “Solitude Point,” is a story about a Japanese wife and an American husband in Baton Rouge, LA, 1998. “Yukie” was awarded the Kaneto Shindo’s prize for the best director of the year.
  2. “Oriume,” in Japanese, is based on a real story of a family fighting with their senior mother’s Alzheimer’s dementia, 2002.
  3. “Leonie,” in English, is a story of Leonie Gilmore, American mother of a renowned sculptor Isamu Noguchi. US-Japanese co-production, 2010.
  4. “What Are You Afraid of?,” in Japanese with English subtitles, 2015. This is Director Matsui’s 1st documentary film on the feminists’ activities in Japan.
  5. “The Choice Is Ours: What Is the Future of the Japanese Constitution?,” in Japanese with English subtitles, 2016.
    In early January of 2017, this film ranked No. 10, in the Culture Film Section of “The Cinema Reports Japan.”

Message from the director:

First of all, we’d like to extend our sincere gratitude to your interest in this film.
The Japanese Constitution declares renunciation of war and tells us how every individual can live a cultured life in pursuit of happiness. In the past few years, our government has shown their growing interest in amending our current Constitution. The documentary film, “The Choice Is Ours: What Is the Future of the Japanese Constitution?” (2016), attempts to look at historical materials and listen to some citizen’s opinions so that the Japanese people, for whom the Constitution guarantees our sovereignty, may get to know more about the Constitution and will hopefully be more aware of our Constitutional rights.
Basically, the content of the film, instead of simply showing such politically divided messages as given either by the rightists or by the leftists, tries to introduce diverse opinions and arguments from the viewpoints of ordinary citizens.
Last but not least, this film was made and completed thanks to the donations by lots of citizens in all Japan. We wish that this film will reach as many people as possible in the whole world as well as in Japan. Moreover, we hope that this film will afford good opportunities for everyone to consider and discuss our Constitution. Thank you so much again for your support and interest in this film.

Hisako Matsui
Director of the Film
January 24, 2017




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