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An outsider brings transgender struggles to Japan's movie screens

Eiji Uchida's 'Midnight Swan' stars SMAP's Kusanagi as protagonist

Japanese megastar Tsuyoshi Kusanagi, left -- a former member of the hugely popular boy band SMAP -- plays the role of an impoverished transgender woman in this year's surprise hit "Midnight Swan."    © 2020 Midnight Swan Film Partners

TOKYO -- Sometimes it takes an outsider to understand other outsiders.

Born and raised in Brazil before moving to Japan at the age of 11, Eiji Uchida struggled to adapt to Japanese society as a child. Now a well-known movie director, he has built a career portraying the lives of fellow misfits.

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