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Report: Japanese Studies Seminar - In the Shadows of Gratitude: Ageing and Care in Japanese Society

On Wednesday 5 June, we were proud to invite Dr Jason Danely, Reader of Anthropology at Oxford Brookes University and Chair of the Healthy Ageing & Care Research Innovation and Knowledge Exchange Network to join us for our event, "In the Shadows of Gratitude: Ageing and Care in Japanese Society", as part of our Japan Foundation seminar series held at Japan House London.

The event started with a welcome by Mr Shin-ichi TANAKA, director of the Japan Foundation London, followed by an introductory talk by Dr Danely, who gave us some background on the current situation in Japan's ageing society, where growing numbers of the elderly are looking after one another in the spaces of their own homes.

We then watched the documentary film, 'I Go Gaga: Welcome Home, Mom' (ボケますから、よろしくお願いします。お帰りなさいお母さん, 2022)by director Naoko NOBUTOMO. NOBUTOMO depicts her octogenarian mother's experience with Alzheimer's disease, and her nonegenarian father's efforts to look after her. The documentary is an intimate portrayal of a family's experience with old age and care, a follow up to NOBUTOMO's successful feature-length directorial debut, 'I Go Gaga My Dear' (2018), which was featured as part of Japan Foundation Touring Film Programme 2020.

The documentary was incredibly moving, a raw and truthful depiction of the NOBUTOMO family's reality. Afterwards Dr Danely led a Q&A discussion session with the audience, where he shared his expertise on issues depicted in the film, as well as wider insight into the care system in Japan.

It was an interesting, thought-provoking and often emotional evening.

We would like to thank Dr Jason Danely for giving his time in leading the evening, and our friends at Japan House London for all of their support in hosting the event.