San Francisco-based Yuriko Gamo Romer is an extraordinarily talented documentary filmmaker – someone who knows how to combine storytelling and research into a beautifully-presented piece of art.
Released in 2012, “Mrs. Judo: Be Strong, Be Gentle, Be Beautiful,” is a biographical documentary about Keiko Fukuda, the first woman to attain the 10th degree black belt in judo. This film traveled to more than 25 film festivals internationally and was awarded the Grand Jury Award for Best Documentary at the International Festival of Sport Films in Moscow and was broadcast nationally on PBS.
Her current documentary project, “Diamond Diplomacy,” explores the relationship between the United States and Japan through a shared love of baseball. The film is currently in production. More information can be found at DiamondDiplomacy.com. Yuriko appeared on JapanBall’s “Chatter Up!” Zoom call in 2020 – check out our recap of that episode here.
Filmmaker Ema Ryan Yamazaki describes Japan’s National High School Baseball Championship (more commonly known as “Koshien,” for the stadium it’s played in) as a combination of the Super Bowl (for the national popularity and significance of the title) and NCAA basketball’s “March Madness” (for its intense, single-elimination format). In this film, Yamazaki grants viewers an insider’s look into two teams’ journeys to Koshien.
But this is not just a film about baseball, for baseball fans – this is a dramatic tale of the fighting spirit, harmony, tradition, and discipline that are the bedrock of Japanese culture, and how they fit into modern society.