Danchi Woman

The Lady from Public Housing

1 x 66’ & 1 x 27’

What happens when a Japanese octogenarian is forced to move after 30 years of life in one place?
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85 years old and never married, Shizu has spent the past 3 decades living in one “Danchi” - the Japanese word for public housing - and filling it with the lifetime of souvenirs that have always kept her company. When the danchi is scheduled for demolition, Shizu and neighbors must say goodbye to their homes, and move into newer danchi that are too small to hold all of Shizu’s momentos.

This intimate documentary captures Shizu’s sense of humor, and profound nostalgia, as she sorts through relics of her past, and chooses which memories she must fit into her new home, and which ones she can let go of.


Program Info

Title Danchi Woman Danchi Woman
Duration 66 min. & 27 min. 66分 & 27分
Location Yokohama, Japan 横浜
Language Japanese + English subtitle 日本語版/英語版(英語字幕)
Production Format 35mm HDV/Color
Genre Human Interest ヒューマン・ドキュメンタリー
Director Akiko Sugimoto 杉本 曉子
Producers Seiko KATO / Alexandre BARTHOLO 加藤 成子 / Alexandre BARTHOLO
Productions IMPLEO Inc. / Assemblage K.K. 株式会社インプレオ / Assemblage K.K.
Production Year 2017 (66')  / 2019 (27') 2017年(66分) / 2019年(27分)
Official Web https://danchiwoman.jp/
Twitter @DanchiWoman
Facebook Page https://www.facebook.com/DanchiWomanFilm

Copyright ©Akiko Sugimoto
Rights Worldwide

Background: Filming started in 2008

SUGIMOTO came across Seaside Road Danchi 9 years ago. The abandoned look of the apartment buildings against the overwhelming skyscrapers impressed her a lot. She wondered “what lives are inside these buildings” and started filming there. Once she began filming, she learned that the apartment buildings would soon be replaced. In 2008 and thereafter, she visited the apartment buildings every weekend with a video camera in hand. Later, she edited her ten months of video footage into her independent film, “Seaside Road Danchi Story” in June 2009.
As filming proceeded, she built relationships with the Danchi residents and naturally developed a strong wish to continue filming until after the reconstruction, to create a documentary. Later she teamed up with a freelance cameraman and began shooting “Danchi Woman.”
This project, whose shooting began in June 2011 and ended in June 2014, witnessed the reconstruction, the moving and the demolition of the Danchi, as well as life in the new place.

Director’s Statement: Living alone, dying alone, but still smiling

“Living alone in old age?”, “With or without family?”, “Living in rental housing forever?”, etc. I was forced to face these issues during the filming of the lives of these women. No one can escape from aging. What’s more, injuries and accidents sometimes change the living environment of people. This film follows the replacement of some apartment buildings in Yokohama. This topic is a local issue, but it also includes themes such as the life of women and rental housing for senior citizens. I believe these themes are common issues for people all over the world.
I was particularly fascinated by Shizu UCHICOSHI and the unbelievable number of cardboard boxes she had. For people of my generation, who are showing increased interest in minimalism and decluttering trends, the idea of our parents and grandparents keeping everything without throwing anything away is an extremely difficult one to accept and understand. It should be obvious that in order to live a happy life, one must get rid of as much garbage as possible and only keep the bare minimum.
But wait…is that really true? Were the contents of all her boxes really garbage? I would like each of the viewers to make that judgement for themselves through this documentary.

Director: Akiko SUGIMOTO

Akiko SUGIMOTOBorn in 1979 in Tokyo. After graduating from university, SUGIMOTO worked for a television production company. After working in various industries outside the visual industry for several years, she studied scriptwriting. Since 2008, SUGIMOTO has visited Seaside Road Danchi apartment complex in Yokohama and completed her own independent film, “Seaside Road Danchi Story” in 2009. The film was screened at the “CREAM International Festival for Arts and Media Yokohama” and independently mainly in Yokohama. SUGIMOTO is interested in recording and presenting some of the “lives” of people in “housing complexes” in Japan and the world.


Camera Kazuhiro Terauchi / Naoshi Yamamoto 寺内 一浩 / 山本 直史
Editing Azusa Yamazaki / Alexandre Cas 山崎 梓 / Alexandre Cas
Assistant Editing Yo Takahashi 髙橋 洋
Still Photography Keiko Sugawara 菅原 景子




撮影するうちに、団地の住民たちと関係が出来るようになり、自然と建て替え後までずっと追いかけて、一つのドキュメンタリー映画として完成させたいと強く思うようになった。そして、2011年6月からフリーランスのカメラマンと二人体制で、『Danchi Woman』の撮影を開始した。2011年6月からはじまった撮影は、「建て替え」「引っ越し」「取り壊し」といった事象や新居での生活の様子を含め、2014年6月にクランクアップした。

監督コメント: 「あなたは、何に囲まれて最期をむかえたいですか?」



Akiko SUGIMOTO1979年東京都生まれ。大学卒業後、番組制作会社東京ビデオセンターに入社し、テレビ番組のアシスタントディレクター(AD)として勤務。その後数年間、映像業界から離れて異業種をいくつか経験したのち、会社員として働くかたわらシナリオを学ぶ。2008年6月から海岸通団地の撮影を開始し、2009年に自主ドキュメンタリー映画『海岸通団地物語』を完成させる。東京都内、神奈川県など9か所で作品の自主上映を行う。