By Lisa Matsumoto, Public Relations & Communications Intern
In the wake of the 2016 American presidential election, we welcomed Fran Rubel Kuzui, a movie director and producer, to our meeting on November 10th to discuss female empowerment. From Tokyo Pop to Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Ms. Kuzui has paved the way for not just fictional strong female characters, but also for women in the film industry.
The meeting started off with a small activity. Ms. Kuzui got up and drew a line on the whiteboard and asked how to make the line shorter without erasing it. As many of us pondered on the question, a member of the audience stood up and drew a longer line above the line. We can’t change what’s already happened, but there are ways to overcome it with doing bigger, greater things.
Fran Rubel Kuzui’s life has been far from ordinary. She found herself working as an “ass. prod.”, getting fired from PBS for being “too liberal” and falling in love at first sight with her husband. She grew up at a time when fax machines were magical devices that provided non-confrontational confrontations, when interracial marriage was still a great deal and when women were still taking the back seat. Although she didn’t have any prior knowledge when it came to selling movies, Ms. Kuzui decided to distribute films; American films into Japan and Japanese films into the U.S. After she brought a Japanese film to the Cannes Film Festival where it won first prize, the path was set for her and her husband to found Kuzui Enterprises, a film distribution company.
Ms. Kuzui changed the initially “stupid girl” that was supposed to be Buffy into an empowered young woman who would have to take on many responsibilities and brought her to life by making many sacrifices. That is her key to everything: to let go. “The process of letting go and not holding onto what you want” is how Fran Rubel Kuzui empowers herself.
Although the shock of the election loomed, the audience seemed to be empowered by Ms. Kuzui’s words. Women have become so much stronger in society. Buffy is now used as an important text to understand the waves of feminism as Kristie Collins, a professor from the University of Tsukuba, mentioned.
We are eager to see more of Ms. Kuzui’s work and anxious to see where the future takes us. Fran Rubel Kuzui said how she had always been helped and supported by other women to survive in her industry. The fight for women has just begun. We are stronger together.
How I Got Here: Tia Haygood
If you were to tell me that I would be an entrepreneur in a country 11,000 kilometers from my hometown of Charlotte, North Carolina, I would have laughed. Yet here I am running my own business, TopTia Photography. I officially moved to Japan in 2011 as an English teacher, biding my time before graduate school. […]Published on 1st March 2017
History of FEW Series: Illustrating Women in the Workplace
In celebrating 35 years of empowering women in Japan, FEW has been looking back on our unique collection of FEW historical items and information. One of our favorites is the FEW 20th Anniversary Newspaper, which highlights the early years of our organization. This newspaper is full of great mentions, interviews and historical anecdotes, all of […]Published on 1st March 2017
February Meeting Recap: Lean In: Japanese Women
By Lisa Matsumoto, Public Relations & Communications Intern On February 9th, FEW members and guests leaned in to listen to our guest speaker, Rena Suzuki, co-founder and leader of Lean In Tokyo. Lean In is a nonprofit organization dedicated to helping women achieve their ambitions. Lean In Tokyo helps women gain confidence and take an active […]Published on 1st March 2017
February 2017: Welcoming our new FEW Members
This month, we are proud to welcome five new members to the FEW community! Our members hail from all over the world and have diverse and unique experiences to share with FEW. As the go-to place for personal and professional learning and connection, we’re constantly inspired by our members. If you’re interested in FEW membership, click here for […]Published on 10th February 2017
Q&A with Rena Suzuki, Co-founder and Leader of Lean In Tokyo
Leading up to our upcoming monthly meeting on ‘Leaning In’ in the workplace, we’re featuring a Q&A with speaker Rena Suzuki, Co-founder and Leader of Lean In Tokyo. The Q&A is modeled on the Proust Questionnaire, designed to reveal insights into the respondent’s personality. Here, Rena reflects on following her passion, the power of connection, […]Published on 6th February 2017
The Art of Pricing and Negotiation
Join us for the fourth Women’s Start-Up Club meeting on Wednesday, March 29th, where we’ll learn about the "art of pricing and negotiation" in an interactive workshop featuring Vanessa Oshima, General Manager, Women's Category, at Nike Japan.
Midweek Lunch Mixer at Le Petit Marché
Join us for delicious food and great networking on Thursday, March 30 for our monthly midweek lunch gathering at Le Petit Marché in Roppongi.
Unveiling Japan: New Themes in Travel & Tourism
Get the inside scoop on tourism in Japan as Chiara Terzuolo and Rie Miyoshi, two travel industry experts, discuss how Japan is promoting tourism in the run up to the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, as well as new business opportunities in the industry and their top picks for Golden Week.
Special Lunch Mixer in Midtown Park
Join us for delicious food and great networking over a picnic in Midtown Park on Thursday, April 20, at a special edition of our monthly midweek lunch gathering.