JUNE BRIDE: REDEMPTION OF A YAKUZA
Directed by Derek Shimoda
What is the difference between being a mobster and a preacher? A former Yakuza (Japanese organized crime syndicate), Tatsuya Shindo, humorously says, “In some ways, the Christian world resembles the outlaw world; what God says is absolute, what your boss says is absolute”. With members laughing and listening closely, Pastor Shindo gives his Christian preaching in June Bride. What was once a bar full of smoke is now a spiritual shelter for people who are looking for possibilities to improve or start over.
Shindo narrates his life transformation: from starting his Yakuza career at the age of eighteen, to transitioning his to his life as a pastor, he faced many difficulties in gaining church members, with only twenty members joining over four long years. The documentary explores Shindo’s story as well as those of other former Yakuzas who discover the difficulties faced when starting over. How did they come to terms with a dishonorable past while attempting to embracing a new and unknown future? It is a question that Shindo explores and answers as he connects with others on the same road.
Through this lens, Shindo confronts the cruelty of Yakuza’s rules, while also discovering honesty, courage, and love for others as he and others learn acceptance, patience and persistence on the journey to redemption.
A Los Angeles native, Derek Shimoda produced the feature film IN MY LIFE as well as the acclaimed documentary SECRET ASIAN MAN, an official selection of the Sundance Film Festival. His directorial debut, AUTONOMOUS SOUL, was winner of a Visionary Award at the Pan African Film Festival. Over the past several years, Derek has worked on nonfiction series for several cable networks including The History Channel, The Travel Channel, and A&E. His debut feature length documentary THE KILLING OF A CHINESE COOKIE won a Best Documentary award at the Asian Film Festival of Dallas.