Tokyo Fiancée Movie Review

Director: Stefan Liberski 2014

“Tokyo Fiancée” is an interracial love story about how we failed to truly love the exotic others. The interesting thing is, this time the woman is the white person. My feeing is, it is a metaphor of how many of us can be at most engaged but not married to a new, foreign culture.

A Japanese-born young Belgian woman taught French lessons in Tokyo and fell in love with her student, a Japanese man who loves French (and perhaps some Belgian) culture and runs an all-man French Fanatics society. The story is simple and somehow typical: the interracial couple failed to go beyond their cultural assumptions about each other to build trust. They like each other, but the other is always the exotic other as if their love is inevitably screened through their cultural lens. At the end, the guy forced his fiancée to go back to Europe amidst the tsunami, though she insisted to stay. For her, this means that she was not accepted as a Japanese. They never saw each other since then, and the guy eventually married a real “French” woman. And the woman, who aspired to become a Japanese writer, is also forever engaged but not married to her Japanese home.

Pretty, touching, light. I especially enjoy the woman’s perspective. Some stereotypes are exaggerated but it’s exactly the woman’s fantasy about Japanese men.