Nichi Bei Foundation to present 20th anniversary screenings of Kayo Hatta’s ‘Picture Bride’ Sept. 25 in S.F.’s Japantown

‘PICTURE BRIDE’ REVISITED — Actors Youki Kudoh (L) and Akira Takayama in a scene from Kayo Hatta’s “Picture Bride.” photo courtesy of Park Circus/Miramax

‘PICTURE BRIDE’ REVISITED — Actors Youki Kudoh (L) and Akira Takayama in a scene from Kayo Hatta’s “Picture Bride.”
photo courtesy of
Park Circus/Miramax

The Nichi Bei Foundation will present two screenings of late director Kayo Hatta’s groundbreaking and award-winning film, “Picture Bride,” on Japanese immigrants (Issei) Friday, Sept. 25 at New People Cinema, 1746 Post St. in San Francisco’s Japantown.

Actress Tamlyn Tomita and co-screenwriter Mari Hatta will attend the second screening at 6:30 p.m.

“Picture Bride” was the first theatrically-released feature film written, directed and produced by Asian American women. The winner of the Audience Award at the 1995 Sundance Film Festival, it featured a cast that included Youki Kudoh, Akira Takayma, Tomita, Cary Hiroyuki-Tagawa and legendary Japanese actor Toshiro Mifune in his last acting role.

“In her attempt to leave behind a troubled past, Riyo exchanges photographs and letters with Matsuji, a Japanese sugarcane worker in Hawai‘i, and a marriage is arranged,” a synopsis of the film reads. “Upon her arrival in Hawai‘i, she discovers that her new husband bears little resemblance to the handsome young man in the photo and her world is not the paradise she expected. What ensues is a time of hardship, struggle, and unexpected joy.”

The first screening, at 3:30 p.m., will include the film and a brief discussion led by San Francisco State University Asian American Studies Professor Christen Sasaki.

The 6:30 p.m. benefit screening will serve as the Nichi Bei Foundation’s fall fundraiser, featuring actress Tamlyn Tomita (“Karate Kid, Part II,” “Come See the Paradise,” “The Joy

Luck Club,” “Picture Bride” and “Glee”) and co-screenwriter Mari Hatta, the sister of director Kayo Hatta.

tamlyn tomita 039.jpg sag-aftra # 10085088

Tamlyn Tomita. photo courtesy of Tamlyn Tomita

The 6:30 p.m. benefit screening will include a behind-the-scenes short feature, the 1995 film “Picture Bride,” a discussion with Tomita, Mari Hatta and others involved in the film; and a reception featuring Hawaiian-themed food,  wine, sake-tasting, and a performance by Francis Wong, Wesley Ueunten and Friends from Genyukai Berkeley.

There will be a tribute to Kayo Hatta as well. Media personality Jan Yanehiro, former co-host of KPIX-TV’s “Evening Magazine,” will  emcee the 6:30 benefit screening and reception.

“Upon the 20th anniversary of this landmark film, which was a grassroots effort to honor the legacy of our Issei generation, we wanted to make ‘Picture Bride’ accessible to an entirely new generation who may not have seen the film,” Nichi Bei Foundation President Kenji G. Taguma said. “At the same time, we wanted to honor the legacy of Issei women, who helped to build our Japanese American communities, as well as pay tribute to the work of Kayo Hatta and the rest of the cast and crew.”

The cost of the 3:30 p.m. screening is $15 for general admission, $10 for students and Nichi Bei Foundation members. The cost of the 6:30 p.m. benefit screening and reception, including the discussion with cast and crew, is $50.

Various sponsorship levels are available.

For more information, e-mail Tickets can be ordered by visiting

Under a combined theme of “Reconnecting to our Nikkei Legacy,” the Nichi Bei Foundation will also present the second Nikkei Angel Island Pilgrimage Saturday, Oct. 3, following last year’s historic and unprecedented pilgrimage — which more than 600 people attended.

For more information on the Pilgrimage, presented in partnership with the Angel Island Immigration Station Foundation and the National Japanese American Historical Society, visit


  1. Recently watched this film – what a sensitive and beautiful film. This film transcends time and being an immigrant myself, can relate to the travails that these women and men went through to forge a life in a new land so far away from their motherland. The characters have been superbly portrayed. As I do more research into the background of this film, I am truly surprised and impressed that both Mari and Tamlyn live in California, where I live as well. This film is truly a story for all times and all generations of immigrants. Deeply touched….


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