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Ad executive, diligent father, caring son – manhood as a balancing act in modern Japan

Japan’s elderly population is surging, and its birthrate is one of the lowest in the world. Concurrently, more women than ever are entering the workforce, making households with two working parents the norm rather than the exception. This confluence of demographic and societal changes has created a crisis of caregiving – a challenge that’s even more pronounced in a culture that practices ‘oya-koko’, or filial piety, and where office culture can be extremely competitive. The Academy Award-winning US director Megan Mylan’s Taller Than the Trees follows the daily life of Masami Hayata, a Tokyo ad executive, who embodies the changes that Japan is undergoing. With his wife frequently out of town for her job as a flight attendant, Hayata takes on the role of domestic caregiver, attending to their six-year-old son, as well as his mother, who is in the late stages of dementia, in addition to his considerable corporate responsibilities. Mylan traces Hayata’s delicate work-life balance with a light and intimate touch, crafting a film that deftly renders the personal as a reflection of broader shifts in society.

Director: Megan Mylan

Producer: Emily Taguchi

Website: Principe Productions

22 May 2018

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