‘The Witches of the Orient’: An Online Discussion with Film Director Julien Faraut

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In anticipation of our next exhibition Tokyo 1964 Designing Tomorrow, Japan House London is delighted to collaborate with the Japan Society on an online discussion with filmmaker Julien Faraut, director of The Witches of the Orient, a documentary about the gold medal-winning Japanese women’s volleyball team at the Olympic Games in Tokyo in 1964.

Combining archival footage, anime clips and newly-shot interviews with the players, Faraut captures the achievements and significance of this group of women at this time in Japan connecting sports, cinema and history. Faraut is joined in conversation by Dr Helen Macnaughtan (SOAS), expert on the history of the volleyball team and sport in Japan.

This event is organized by the Japan Society with support from Japan House London.

About the speakers:

Julien Faraut is a documentary filmmaker from France. After studying history, he has worked for the Institut National du Sport in Paris, where he supervises a collection of 16mm films. Using these collections, Faraut makes his own visual essays, combining sport history and documentary art. In 2018 he made In the Realm of the Perfection about American tennis icon John McEnroe. The Witches of the Orient (2021) is his most recent documentary.

Helen Macnaughtan is Chair of the Japan Research Centre and Senior Lecturer in International Business & Management (Japan) at SOAS University of London. Her research interests focus on a range of topics relating to gender, employment and sport in Japan. She has previously published on the history of women’s volleyball in Japan and is currently researching the history of rugby in post-war Japan with a focus on the corporate history of the game.