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Mothers’ Way, Daughters’ Choice cover image

Mothers’ Way, Daughters’ Choice 2009

Highly Recommended

Distributed by Filmakers Library, 124 East 40th Street, New York, NY 10016; 202-808-4980
Produced by Asako Watanabe
Directed by Kyoko Gasha
DVD, color, 85 min.

Sr. High - General Adult
Asian Studies, Gender Studies, Multicultural Studies, Women’s Studies

Date Entered: 08/26/2011

Reviewed by Gloria Maxwell, Reference Librarian, Penn Valley Community College, Kansas City, MO

Mother’s Way, Daughter’s Choice examines the lives of several Japanese women who chose to leave their native country and come to New York and start over in lifestyles unlike that of their mothers. Kyoko Gasha’s life is the centerpiece, including interviews with former bosses, friends and her mother. Other segments include interviews with several of Kyoko’s friends who follow suit, leaving Japan, and also voicing the need to live different lives than that of the traditional ways and customs their mothers’ follow. These women have successful careers, most in the business world, some are mothers themselves. All expressed the pressure they felt from their own mothers to be good traditional wives and mothers. Kyoko comments on “the way”: the way of tea, the way of the flower, the way of raising a child. Everything in Japan focuses on “the way.” They all feel that they can be different in New York. They don’t have to be the same, like in Japan, but can do different jobs, can be unique. Japan has too many old customs, while New York has so many different customs. In Japan there is just a single scenario for happiness—women must get married by a certain age and have babies. They must wear white socks—not colored ones; most wear uniforms.

This is a beautifully composed documentary that reveals Japan’s cultural heritage, but also is a portrait of the universal struggle between mother and daughter relationships.

The audio and video quality and editing are good. A suitable Asian soundtrack provides a soothing background.

This documentary would be suitable for senior high school and college library collections and for classroom use in disciplines such as psychology and sociology.

Highly Recommended.


  • Audience Award, New York International Independent Film and Video Festival, 2010
  • Front Page Award, 2010 (Newswomen’s Club of New York)