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About the film

The Hunt For Matsutake explores Japanese-Canadian history and the history of Matsutake hunting. Matsutake mushroom – a delicacy in Japanese cuisine – can only be found in the wild, and is both a commercial and cultural symbol. The film chronicles annual trips into the forests of Canada in search of the elusive and much sought-after mushroom.

Much has been written about the unjust treatment to which Japanese-Canadians were subjected by the Canadian government (and Japanese-Americans by theirs) before, during, and after the Second World War. I strongly believe it is particularly important for us to homage to this part of our history. However, in The Hunt For Matsutake, I wish to look at Japanese-Canadian history in a different light, through a different lens: the tradition of matsutake hunting.

I believe there is something unique about these rare, precious mushrooms. For more than just their earthy aroma, they are special to many Japanese people in North America, symbolizing a connection to Japan yet rooted (literally) in Canadian and American soil. This simple Fall tradition flourished before and now alongside the now multi-million dollar matsutake exporting industry.

By documenting matsutake hunting, I hope to learn about our shared history. Yet perhaps most of all, I would like to tell a simple, sweet, and heartwarming story decades in the making.

Fall can’t come fast enough.

 

This film is being produced with financial support from the National Association of Japanese Canadians SEAD grant program.

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