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JAPANESE GARDENS IN AMERICA - keeping the culture alive -

California has more Japanese gardens than any other state.

The two oldest Japanese gardens are located in Silicon Valley, a place of innovation. But more money and effort are needed to preserve the gardens for future generations.

And, the authenticity of these gardens is questionable.

How important is it for these gardens to be authentic to the Japanese tradition?

  • Rie Fukuno
  • Rie Fukuno
  • Rie Fukuno
  • John Larissou
    Key Cast
  • Project Type:
    Documentary, Short, Student, Television
  • Genres:
  • Runtime:
    28 minutes 30 seconds
  • Completion Date:
    May 14, 2015
  • Production Budget:
    4,000 USD
  • Country of Origin:
    United States
  • Country of Filming:
    United States
  • Language:
  • Shooting Format:
    HD digital file: Quicktime
  • Aspect Ratio:
  • Film Color:
    Black & White and Color
  • First-time Filmmaker:
  • Student Project:
  • Best Shorts Competition
    Merit Award
  • Broadcast on Tokyo TV
    San Francisco
    December 31, 2015
Director Biography - Rie Fukuno

Rie Fukuno was raised up in Japan and came to the United States in July, 2009.

Rie loves art and creation from her childhood. When in Japan, she studied Fine Art at the university and was drawing oil paintings. Then she entered the graduate school and studied Art Education and Art education theory.

Also, she belonged to a broadcasting committee at the university where she started making films with friends and enjoyed broadcasting. After graduation, she worked in Mass Communications fields such as NHK and FM Tokushima as a TV reporter, radio announcer, and radio personality (DJ).

In 2009, she moved to New York and learned English at Columbia University and some other language schools, and then moved to San Jose, California, the heart of Silicon Valley.

She had an opportunity to learn film/TV at De Anza College in Cupertino.

After getting a certificate of film/TV, she studied Journalism and Mass Communications at the graduate program of San Jose State University and took Master's degree.

As a master's project, she created this documentary on Japanese gardens.

Add Director Biography
Director Statement

Hello, I am Rie Fukuno. I just graduated from the graduate school of San Jose State University in May, 2015.

This short documentary is a corpus of my graduate study. I think the question of authenticity applies to every culture in the United States, the most diverse country in the world.

As a Japanese, I researched on Japanese Gardens in the U.S. for half a year and spent two and a half years for interviewing, organizing, filming, and editing.

As a non-native speaker, it was a big challenge for me to interview people in English, but it was quite enjoyable to get to know a lot of people who have kept the culture alive through the gardens and collect their real voice.

Through these years, besides taking the master's classes and making the documentary, I had some life changes: I had the wedding ceremony, got pregnant, and gave a birth.

Now I'm not only a documentary director but the mom of a baby boy. These life changes have changed my life to sleepless days, but it also changed my mind too in a good way and this eventually changed the main structure of the documentary.

I hope this documentary educates children about the history of the relationship between the United States and Japan, ultimately helping to preserve the beautiful Japanese gardens for future generations.