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Arts

Is Japan ready to love a transgender lead character?

Naoko Ogigami's gentle film 'Close-Knit' set to touch audiences' emotions

TOKYO -- Naoko Ogigami and Kumi Kobata are a rarity in Japan where female directors and producers are as uncommon as independent filmmakers. When asked how they met, they turned to each other and shook their heads, laughing softly because neither could recall. Eventually Ogigami remembered it was on her 2006 film "Seagull Diner" ("Kamome Shokudo"). Suurkitos, Kobata's film distribution company, came on board as a financier and released the picture in Japan. The collaboration has yielded five films over the last 10 years, including their latest, "Close-Knit" ("Karera ga Honki de Amu Toki Ha"), a film whose subject matter is also a rarity in Japan.

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