Voices from Japan

Laurie Says:

We recently received these texts from  Kawamoto Eriko and  Masaki Motoko who I photographed for Women of Japan. I wanted to share them on the blog.

  Eriko Kawamoto and Motoko Masaki
Masaki Motoko and Kawamoto Eriko

From Kawamoto Eriko

When I fell in love with a woman in my student’s days, I felt desperate thinking that I would never be able to have a family. I knew I could not stand being alone and living by myself. The idea that I should not be lesbian was so strong in my mind. I met a man, got married, and gave birth to a daughter. When I got used to child bearing and had time to reflect on myself, I had to face the uncontrollable emotion that I was lesbian before everything. After the divorce, I met her at a feminist course where I was one of the organizers. I fell in love with her while discussing all sorts of things and began to realize that I would really like to live with her. I dreamed that we purchased a mirror together. We have got along for sixteen years now, laughing, quarrelling and living together in a very vivacious way.

When I was asked to be a model for Laurie, I thought I would really like to be part of the project. I posed for Laurie so as to make a visual image showing that a lesbian couple live and enjoy their own life here in Japan.

From Masaki Motoko

We were introduced to Laurie by Hagiwara Hiroko.

Laurie visited our home town, Mino city, Osaka, in September 2007. We first walked along the Takimichi, path running parallel to a mountain stream, looking for a location for shooting. We crossed the first bridge to see several old inns along a gentle slope. We decided to settle down in a place close to the rock, which is mythically called ‘Tojin Modori Iwa’ (rock a stranger cannot pass), so as to spend half a day on the dry rocky riverside surrounded by moss-covered trees. While Laurie’s shooting session went on, we ate a picnic snack Hagiwara had prepared.

Ten months have passed since then. Now you see decorative bamboo branches with ornaments for the Star Festival fluttering and rustling under the eaves of a local restaurant in a July breeze. A nightingale’s warble echoed around in the green forest and over the clear-blue water. Being photographed in a location close to the place I have lived with my friend for long, I felt myself very much encouraged. We are proud of our relationship as a lesbian couple who have made life together and loved each other.

I have had different agonies and sorrows while I have had moments of delights and pleasures. Now everything in the past seems to be merged into the beautiful notes from a music box. I look happier in Laurie’s photograph than I have ever been before.

Both Kawamoto Eriko and  Masaki Motoko are counselors at the Gender Sexuality Crisis Center, in Osaka.  The translations are by Hagiwara Hiroko.

Note: Names are in Japanese order, last name first.