looking back at hopes & dreams / by Sarah Kakusho

“I live to tell stories. I live to tell my story and moreover, I live to tell people’s stories. As an aspiring filmmaker, I strive to seek perspective. As a Japanese American, I strive to seek perspective within myself, through both my Japanese identity and my American identity. Throughout grade school, I was brought up knowing very little about Japan or its language and culture. Looking Japanese, I was also treated differently even though I considered myself American. I found myself stuck in between two cultural identities: one that I was fully immersed in with my life here in America, and the other I could only obtain through watching television shows broadcasted in Japan. However, knowing little Japanese, I felt I was missing an essential part of myself. Being surrounded by many Japanese students at my previous university, I felt this void slowly fill as I learned more about Japan’s culture and even be able to read and write a little. Studying in Buenos Aires for one semester, I realized that being a filmmaker means having a voice, to have perspective and foremost, to have a sense a self. To make people’s stories influential and have an impact on others, one must have a sense of identity to be able to relate and connect to the very heart of the people.

What then, are the stories I want to tell? The stories of Japanese Americans. My motivation for wanting to study Japanese is to be able to connect to people through the medium of film and to contribute to the storytelling of the lives of Japanese Americans today. Of course, in studying Japanese, I would first be able to connect with my family members in Japan on a more philosophical level to learn about the nuances and similarities that make two different cultures different, yet the same. My love for film and my growing love for my Japanese counterpart has become the driving force in my life to contribute to the world’s efforts to connect people through understanding and education. My goal in life is to help create the connections between people through the medium of film. Film is my passion because I can combine all of my hobbies like composing music and writing stories. These two have the ability to transcend verbal language and reach people’s hearts through motion and music. Studying at an institute where it promotes global camaraderie, I hope I’ll be able to connect to Japanese and Japanese‐Americans alike to share our stories.”

— statement of purpose, S. Kakusho
Musings of an Aspiring filmmaker