Karera ga honki de amu toki wa

A subtle and surprising Japanese family drama that places a transwoman’s desire for motherhood at its core, with bittersweet results.


Dir-Scr Naoko Ogigami
Prod Noriaki Takagi, Masashi Igarashi, Kenzo Ishiguro
With Toma Ikuta, Rinka Kakihara, Kenta Kiritani
Sales Nikkatsu Corporation

Knitting is catharsis for Rinko, a transwoman whose maternal feelings are stirred by the arrival of her boyfriend’s 11-year-old niece, Tomo. Abandoned by her mum, resilient Tomo is used to fending for herself and now Rinko (played by heartthrob Toma Ikuta) must gain the trust of the insecure little girl. Those seeking Western gender politics or a sassy trans heroine are in for something different here. Although Rinko’s knitting patterns do have a subversive streak, her feminine values are more aligned with genteel passivity and familial subservience. So, it is within this traditional family drama framework that Naoko Ogigami beautifully teases out so many subtle and moving surprises, from the pleasure that Rinko takes in drinking beer, to the power of love communicated through a bento box and the true meaning of all those knitted blobs. A quietly subversive and emotionally rich film to treasure.

Kate Taylor

Festival guests

These members of the filmmaking team are expected to attend the festival:

  • Naoko Ogigami, Director

See the full list of visiting festival guests. Please note that we can't guarantee guest attendance at any particular screening.