Naomi Kawase’s documentary Genpin focuses on the Yoshimura Clinic, a traditional childbirth clinic in the forest where many women in their second pregnancies are drawn to the natural methods after unsatisfactory experiences in hospitals.

As Kawase slips into the circle of expectant mothers, she draws forth deeply personal stories of childbirth anxieties and lingering losses. Her own experience with natural childbirth elicits a tender empathic connection with the women. Through her camera, the rural, rustic forest brims with life, mirroring the exuberance of the content mothers. Genpin poignantly draws from a Lao Tzu quote, "The valley spirit never dies / It is named the mysterious woman (genpin)." Like the valley spirit, women are the wellspring of humanity, and Genpin is a reverent tribute to female strength in a purpose of life that never ceases.


  • naomikawase-profile Since her emergence in the 1990s, Naomi Kawase has cemented herself as one of the most respected and adroit filmmakers of contemporary Japanese cinema. Her films are a window into the inner worlds of nature and humanity, illuminating the quiet humanism that is present in all our lives. She has made more than 30 documentary and fiction works that have been lauded by critics, festivals and audiences all over.
  • Yuko Naito
  • Naomi Kawase
  • Tadashi Yoshimura
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