Yuuzai: Guilt and Forgiveness

I don’t know what picture I should post with this, so here’s my pic in Yosemite National Park, May 4, 2019.

I could finally watch Yuuzai/My friend “A”. This is a new movie of Ikuta Toma’s (ok, I owe you a post about him. I will do it later). Well, it’s not that new of a movie actually. It was released last year (2018). Remember when I had a transit in Japan and planned to watch this movie when it was newly released? But I failed at that time because the cinemas I went to didn’t have it and I was short of time, so yeah, I was really sad at that time. But no worries, now that I have watched it, I can say that this movie really is awesome.

Ikuta Toma’s acting is, for sure, undeniably amazing, but the story of this movie itself is also meaningful. From my perspectives, this movie teaches us about guilt and forgiveness. Somehow everyone of us will make a mistake and we have to live with the guilt. But the main, important-relevant-and-significant, lesson that I learn from this movie is: we need to forgive, ourselves for making awful mistakes and for hurting others, and others for their awful mistakes and for hurting us. We need to forgive ourselves, we need to forgive others. I might not be able to tell everything here, so maybe you’ll need to watch it yourself. Really, I think it helps us to see things from multiple perspectives. Okay, I say this again and again in most of my movie reviews so maybe you’ll find it boring, but really, watching this movie really helps me see from first-person’s perspectives, like we can understand how one cannot forgive himself, we can understand how one finds it hard to forgive others, but on top of it, we’ll feel like: enough is enough, everyone should stop suffering and just move on. The past is in the past, and everyone can have a second chance, and they deserve to be happy, too. That’s why we need to forgive. It’s not easy especially when we think it’s just unforgiveable, but nobody’s perfect, right? We all make mistakes. It’s not a justification that it’s okay to keep making mistakes, but we can never change what happened in the past, right? We can only learn from it and try our bests so that it doesn’t happen again. Yup, this is another lesson that is implied at the end of the movie.

But, well, I’ll try to summarize it as short as possible. (Yeah, short is kinda impossible for me, but I’ll try). And, oh, this will be full of spoilers because I connected the dots as I was watching the movie. If you plan to watch the movie and hate spoilers, you might want to skip this part so you can connect the dots yourself. But I guess it’s also the interesting part of this movie. Like, as we’re watching the movie, we can see many dots. Some people might not like it because it will make you “think”. But some others might love it because they can keep watching as they try to figure out how the dots are connected or if they are connected at all. But, well, here we go: the movie in summary.

  1. A father is so resentful because his son drove carelessly and killed 3 children. After the accident, the family split up. It seems to me that he cannot forgive himself (and her wife) for not being able to prevent his son from “committing such a crime.” He cannot forgive his son for causing the accident. He also blamed his son for the split of their family. He kept showing up to the family’s victims to show how sorry he was, but the family’s victims disliked that because his showing up only reminded them to the loss of their kid. It was painful – and it seems that they cannot forgive him-and his son. The father went so far such as not allowing his son to get married and build his own family later. The father believed that they have no right to be happy after he “killed” three innocent lives and hurt their family with that. The son, however, wanted to be happy, too. He caused the accident when he was so much younger – probably when he was still a kid because he hadn’t got a license. (See how guilt and the importance of forgiveness are portrayed yet here?)
  2. A guy was abused by her mother when he was a kid. He was also bullied at school and then he killed three (I forgot exactly how many) of his “friends” (probably the bullies). He was sent to kid’s penitentiary (the prison for kids/juvenile delinquents?) and somehow managed to live on. He knew he was wrong. He was also disgusted at himself. But deep inside, he also wanted to keep on living – normally like everyone else. He distanced himself from people because (I think) he was scared he’d hurt somebody else. He’s repressing his destructive behaviors (and his urge for violence)-which (I believe) resulted from abuse at home and bullies at schools. He wanted to have friends too. But people, when knowing his past, tended to be scared of him. See how we cannot really blame “anyone” here? Like, we cannot blame people for being scared of or avoiding him, but we can’t really blame him for his violent behaviors either. There’s no justifying his violence here, but understanding why he did what he did is, I think, important. And, we just need to be kind and patient enough to deal with – and try to help such people.
  3. A guy felt guilty – and it seems to me that he cannot forgive himself – for not being able to save his friend – for not being able to prevent him from committing suicide. This friend who committed suicide was bullied and he opened up only to the guy. The guy, however, scared of being bullied himself, “joined” the bullies. He regretted it.
  4. A woman worked in a kid’s penitentiary. She cared for the juvenile delinquents, loved them, and wanted to help them have a normal life in the society. However, in doing so, her own kid felt “neglected.” (I am not going to focus on this point in this post, though).

What I see is how complicated everything is. How frustrating it can be for someone who committed a crime to bear such guilt. And why it’s important to (forget and) forgive. Ourselves and others. When we cannot forgive, the pain will keep on existing, one’s heart will keep on breaking. When you cannot forgive yourself, you’ll just add to the number of people suffering in this world: you. You break your own heart. You let yourself suffer. And thought it might be your way coping with your problem, I don’t think it’s right. Always give yourself a chance and don’t betray it so you won’t have the same regrets.

Me @ Yosemite National Park. May 4, 2019.

Well, I have a friend. (You can skip this part, though). I don’t know exactly what she did in her past, but to me, she’s a really great and kind person. She often says that she couldn’t forgive herself that easily. It seems to me that she couldn’t forgive herself for not helping her friends back when they were bullied. She often wished she could’ve done something. She resented herself so much that I feel like she doesn’t allow herself to be happy. Maybe she feels like she has no rights to be happy. I understand that everyone copes with their problems differently and that she only applies it to herself and not to everybody but sometimes I cannot help making it all about me, it makes me think: Do I forgive myself too easily? Am I a bad person for allowing myself to be happy when there might have been people that I hurt in the past or that I failed to help or save? Am I too selfish then? Well, when someone who, you believe, is better than you keeps whining about a bad thing she did/does, you cannot help feeling worse about yourself sometimes. And that’s how she sometimes makes me feel. Her hatred for herself is sometimes contagious that it makes me wonder if it makes me hate myself – and her – too. Or maybe I am just frustrated with myself because I feel like a failure while futilely trying to help her see how great she is, desperately trying to make her accept that she cannot do anything to change what happened in the past and that her now resentment is only hurting herself and doesn’t, cannot, and will not make anything (or anyone feel) better. But maybe it makes her feel better. This is the only excuse I have for doing nothing and just letting her be – and for not giving me the excuse to hate her. But I admit that sometimes I still feel bad because it looks like I ignore her. But I should hold onto my principle: My happiness is my responsibility. I cannot make everyone happy and if I cannot make one happy so the least I can do is not making it worse for them and just letting them be. And if one cannot make me happy, the least I can do is not letting them get into me or ruin the happiness I’ve worked hard to build. So yeah, I know I should not blame anyone for what and how I feel. Though, yeah, it makes me question myself: Am I a good friend? Does she still think of me as a friend when it seems that she doesn’t trust me with her problems? But maybe it’s about privacy. She needs her privacy – and maybe I’m just not the right person to share it with nor the one she can feel comfortable with the problem she has. And it’s not right to intrude into her privacy when she doesn’t want or trust me to right? Though yes, sometimes I cannot help thinking, “She’s so concerned about (hurting) her other friends (in the past), but doesn’t she realize that in doing so she’s also hurting another friend: me?” But, alright, maybe I just want to be an important friend and she makes me feel unimportant, so I tell myself that I don’t have to be important for her or that maybe I’m important for other matters – and for other people. Anyway, I’m going astray. I’m truly sorry for making it all about me. Let’s just leave it here.

Back to the movie. I’m not sure how this Yuuzai movie will psychologically or personally impact you, so I cannot really tell if it’s going to make you feel depressed or such. For me, movies can be a way to reflect about ourselves, our views, and our surrounding. It can entertain us but it can also teach us one or two things. It’s not to justify ABCD or such either. It’s just to help us get a better and maybe deeper understanding about something and from another perspective. Like in this movie, do you think the son in point (1) above should not get married or have a kid of his own because he’s caused the loss of three lives in his past? Do you think he doesn’t deserve to be happy and build his own family? Do you think he should just live with all regrets and sins punishing herself for the rest of his life to atone for his crimes? The guy in point (2) as well. Do you think he doesn’t have the right to live on – normally and happily? The guy in point (3) as well. Till when should he live with regrets? Till when should he keep blaming himself? Well, I know it’s easier said than done. If it happened to me (God forbids!), I might not be able to forgive them or myself either. But I guess, we also need to learn to just “shrug it off.” We need to stop being bitter and negative (especially because it’s “contagious”). In my opinion, if we really feel guilty about something, if we really feel sorry about what we did, if we really have some regrets about the past, the best way to atone for it is not by letting ourselves suffer, not by punishing ourselves so we feel the “same pain”, and not by continuing to blame ourselves and not allowing ourselves to be happy. I think, the best way to atone for our past mistake is by acknowledging it, admitting it, learning from it, trying our hardest to be a better and more useful person, not only for ourselves but for others, and preventing ourselves from doing the same thing as well as from having the same regret. We must move on. We must learn to forget and forgive. So, mmm, I don’t know what grudge you have in your heart, whether against yourself or others, but just remember that nobody’s perfect. Nobody can justify our past mistakes, no, and whatever we do will not make it forgiven, but still, we can always have a second chance. We deserve to be happy – and have a chance to make others happy by being happy ourselves. Be happy 😊

*And if you decide to watch this movie, I hope it can help you understand things from others’ perspectives. I hope it can help you forget and forgive – yourself and others.

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