You’ve Mistaken Me For A Butterfly – film


Studies on the history of Japanese women in Australia, with a view to writing a love story, lead a Japanese Australian artist Mayu Kanamori to uncover a historical rape case in the gold fields of Western Australia during the gold rush, its subsequent court case and the history of karayuki san or early Japanese prostitutes in Australia. Her quest took her from the National Library in the Australian capital to a now forgotten ghost town in Western Australia, and finally to Southern Japan, where young women were taken on board coal ships as stowaways to brothels all over the world. You’ve Mistaken Me For A Butterfly is a film portraying a philosophical journey of a migrant woman, and her attempt to reconcile historical events in the contemporary world.

A Film By Mayu Kanamori

Music Terumi Narushima

Advisor Malcolm Blaylock

Camera Takayuki Odawara, Nick Payne, Mayu Kanamori

Editing Consultancy / Colour Darrin Baker

Voice Recording / Engineering Philip Muscatello

Performance / Butterfly Trick Ryuichi Fujimura

Artwork Shigemi Nakamura-Simms

Translation & Subtitling Junko Hirabayashi

Planning Yasushi Nagata Osaka University

Website Chie Muraoka

Co-Producers Mayu Kanamori and Malcolm Blaylock

Historical Photographs:

Commodore Matthew Perry’s Visit 1854, Wikimedia Commons

Japanese Acrobats in Australia / Karayuki / Women in Broome, Papers of D.C.S. Sissons,  Australia, National Library of Australia (NLA)

Acrobatic Performers Ogawa Kazumasa / Women Dancers and Shamisen Player / Tea Ceremony, Nagasaki University Library Archives

Butterfly Trick Yoro Takigoro Poster / Butterfly Trick Yanagawa Taneshirabe no den, Masaru Kawai Archives

Auditorium Princess Theatre Barrie, Andrew Weedon, Henry & Talma Studios 1896, State Library of Victoria

Steamers Melbourne’s port, C1910s Rick Ray/

Princess’ Theatre Melbourne, Samuel Calvert, The Illustrated Melbourne 1865, State Library of Victoria

Japanese Village Advertisement, Pemberton W. Willard, The Lorgnette 1886

At the Sydney Japanese Village, Phil May 1886 The Bulletin

Japanese sugar cane workers / Japanese divers on lugger Thursday Island,  Queensland C1896,  John Oxley Library State Library of Queensland

WA Cobb and Co coach Mt Malcolm,  C1890 National Gallery of Australia

Miners, North Star Mine, Mt Malcolm Western Australia 1896, Museums Victoria

Mt Malcolm Townsites & Map,  Shire of Leonora Economics & Heritage Services

Trial of Frank Gardiner, the bushranger at the Supreme Court Sydney, Samuel Calvert 1864, State Library of Victoria

Karayuki, Courtesy Yoko Hayashi, Institute for Study of Humanities and Social Sciences, Doshisha University

Karayuki Portraits,  Kuchinotsu Museum of History & Folklore

Japanese Passport 1866, Diplomatic Archives, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan

Supreme Court case file (no 2883), Depositions/Witness Statements 1898, State Records Office of Western Australia

Service & Casualty Form A112; MP1103/1 National Archives of Australia

Map, Tatura Internment Camp, Rushworth 1942-1946, Tatura Museum

Under license from

Butterfly – lexaarts

Clouds – Archao

Seagulls -New Africa

Crescent moon – muratart

Butterflies- micromotion

Washing- BlackBoxGuild

Moths – gonin

Outback -Jana Schoenknecht

Other Licenses:

2573 Clouds -Pixabay/Pexels


Jessica Ann Mccamey/Mixkit

Locations & Support:

National Library of Australia

Gwalia Ghost Town & Museum

The Old Court House Law Museum

Kuchinotsu History, Folklore and Marine Museum

Kuchinotsu Museum of History and Folklore

Risho-in Taishi-do

State Records Office of Western Australia

Shire of Leonora

Special Thanks:

Arisa Yura

Carol Hayes

Clarissa Bell

David Hinde

Jacqueline Lo

Jenevieve Chang

Keiko Tamura

Kraig Grady

Laura Dales

Lisa Iley

Liz Paddison

Martin Edmond

Masako Fukui

Mayumi Shinozaki

Melissa Miles

Rina Kikuchi

Susan Dowell

Tessa Morris-Suzuki

Vera Mackie

Yuji Sone

Yuriko Nagata