Some Japanese Movies: Why do we keep on living?

Hi, it’s been a while since I reviewed Japanese movies, and maybe I’ve got too many that I forgot which ones I wanted to review. But, anyway, for previous review of Japanese movies, you can look here (can you click it?). Note that my review is not necessarily the summary of the movie or what the movie is about. More than often, it’s just what I happen to see or feel when watching the movie. It’s not always of the main character or story, it’s just some take-away message, a lesson I learn from the movie, so it can be different from other reviews. But, ugh, yeah, it might contain spoilers, really sorry for that. But, well, let’s continue with the movie ^^ It might not answer the question I use in the title, but anyway, I guess somehow it’s kinda “related.”

1. 12 Suicidal Children/十二人の死にたい子どもたち

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I watched this movie because Takasugi Mahiro and Kitamura Takumi had a role in it. I love them two so I decided to watch this one. The story is about 12 kids that want to end their lives together. When you watch the movie, maybe you’ll think that it’s “silly”, like, how come nobody doesn’t know that someone is organizing a meeting for these suicidal kids to end their lives and do nothing about it? It doesn’t make sense. However, I think, considering the high rate of suicide in Japan, I guess this movie wants to send one message: there is more to life, there are more reasons to live than to die.

I mean, in this movie, the suicidal teens somehow talk about the reasons they wish to die. We might consider some of the reasons ridiculous, like, “Why would you want to die “just” because of something like that?” However, for a suicidal person, a reason is never “just” a reason. While we see it as a little thing, or something not worth dying for, for them it might be a big thing. Some people want to die because they are unhappy with their life, maybe because they’re being bullied, maybe because they feel that they’re just being used and unloved, maybe because they feel they’re a burden to the people they love, maybe because they feel guilty of something bad they did in the past, maybe because they are really mad and hate someone so much they think their death will bring sorrow to them, etc. There are many reasons. And for us who have the will to live and fight, for us who think we’ve been suffering more and been going through more, those reasons to die might seem annoying and upsetting. But, again, what is trivial to us might be serious to them, and we can’t just take it lightly.

Nevertheless, in this movie, as the teens talk to each other about how they feel, about how much they want to die and why, they eventually find reasons to continue their life, to keep on living, i.e. they cancel their plan to commit suicide. And, I guess this is the beautiful part of the movie. Often, we think that our life is the worst, there’s no good reason to keep on living, and we think the best to end it all is by suicide. Or, sometimes we think that our life is better than many or most, yet we think we’re not grateful enough or we feel helpless as we cannot do more for those less unfortunate that we think we don’t deserve the life we have; hence, we think it’s better to die. But, we know it’s not true. Just like these suicidal teens in the movie, as they converse, they find some enlightenment through one another’s mind and perspectives. Neither do they forbid or provoke each other to die. However, somehow they find the will to live themselves again. They realize that maybe life is hard, maybe their life is the hardest or the worst, but it doesn’t mean they cannot give it a try or another chance. After all, while we have a solid and valid reason to end our lives, there are always more to life, there are more reasons to live than to die.

But, well, I don’t know how this movie will impact a suicidal person in Japan, but I hope it can give them some encouragement and motivation to continue to live. And I wish them the best of luck and happiness in life. Aamiin.

2. Have a song on your lips/くちびるに歌を

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I watched this movie because I fell in love with Shimoda Shota for voicing Kai in Lu Over the Wall anime movie so I kinda searched for his other work, and I found this one. It’s not about living and dying per se, but in this movie one of the characters (Satoru, the one played by Shimoda Shota) questioned his existence, and it’s really breaking my heart. Long story short, the students in this movie are asked to write a letter to their 15year-in-the-future self. And this is where Satoru seriously pondered about his existence and sincerely expressed his feelings. He wrote that he’s grateful for his autistic big brother, for if it’s not for his brother, maybe their parents wouldn’t have him. He thought and believed that he was born into this world just so he could take care of his autistic brother after their parents’ death. He believed that his parents were only concerned about his brother, that’s why they decided to give him a little brother to care for him. (This somehow reminds me of an English movie: My sister’s keeper). And, while he genuinely loved his brother, sometimes he wished that his brother would just disappear. But, well, it might sound mean, but for me, it’s understandable and heart-breaking. I mean, a kid shouldn’t suffer for the other kids. The kids are the parents’ responsibility. We shouldn’t sacrifice one for another. It’s not fair for them.

Nevertheless, I love this movie. At the end, the parents understand that Satoru has his own will too, that he deserves to pursue his happiness too. It’s beautiful for me: where kids try to understand their parents, and where parents try to understand their kids. It’s not always easy, and sometimes we’ll hurt or get hurt as well. But I think it’s beautiful that we try to understand instead of blaming each other. I mean, I myself have those moments where I thought my parents love my siblings more than me, and maybe my siblings sometimes think that my parents love me more than them, but as I grew up, I understand that they actually love us the same. Maybe the way we perceive it is sometimes different, or maybe sometimes the way they love us is not how we wish to be loved, but I know the love is always there. And I think it’s important to have this belief so when things are not like we expect them to be, we don’t get upset or frustrated easily, because there’s always that one thing: maybe there’s some kind of misunderstanding, maybe we can communicate this and overcome it together.

But, anyway, I think this idea of writing to our future self is great. Like the main character in this movie, she found courage to continue her passion after reading the letter that her past self wrote to her. And, going back to the topic of existence and living our life: Why do you think you’re born into this world? Why do you keep on living?

3. Aiuta: My Promise To Nakuhito/愛唄 約束のナクヒト

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I watched this movie on my flight back to USA from Indonesia and I fell in love with the song. Well, with a part of the story too. And, maybe, somehow, this movie confirmed (?) my second-lead syndrome; I mean, I tend to fall in love with the second-lead character.

But anyway, long story short, there’s this A guy, the main character, who’s told that he’s got only 3months left. He grew so bitter and frustrated. He felt like nobody could understand his pain and how he felt. He ran into this B guy, his friend, and as you might’ve guessed, the second lead character I fell for. The B guy tried to cheer A up, set up a timer/countdown for him, told him to do whatever made him happy, to do everything he had always wanted to do/experience but might haven’t been done, i.e. to make his life meaningful and full of happy memories for him, and along the way he tried his best to be that kind of supportive friend. He tried to make him laugh and all. Alas, sometimes A just thought that B only made fun of his nearing death. A bitter person will sometimes remain bitter.

The plot twist, though: Not long after A’s death, B’s countdown came to an end too. Nobody knew that he himself also had little time to live. Nobody saw or understand his pain. Nobody knew he actually suffered. Nobody tried to comfort him the same way he tried to comfort A. And I was like, “I knew it. I fell for the right guy.” But that’s not the point. The point is, there are people who are like A, who are so focused with their own pain and there are people like B, who do not let others see their pain, but always try their best to make others suffer less. I’m not saying we should be like A or B; after all, every feeling is valid, and A learned and grew as a person too as, towards the end, he came to help others as they suffered. But, imagine all those times A thought B didn’t understand him when in reality B perfectly understood it because he was actually in the same situation, except that A didn’t know about it…

But, why do I include this movie here? Well, I guess there’s another important point, and I might’ve written it in my other post but let me just write it again: whether we know or not when we’ll die, every second of our life matters; be happy, make every second worth living 🙂 Again, we’re often so absorbed of making life meaningful for them whose life we know will end when, but we often forget that we, too, can die any time without us knowing. Every second is precious. It’s not gonna be happy all the time, but I guess when there’s a chance to be happy albeit just a little, we should not neglect it. Life is already hard; we don’t need to make it harder….

PS: Actually this is not the main story. The main story line involved a girl’s character. However, this is one that I loved the most.

4. Too Young To Die

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This one might not be in the same category. It’s a musical comedy. I mean, it has music and it’s really “funny”. And, maybe some will consider it offensive. Like, they make light of so many things, of heaven and hell, of reincarnation, of some serious crimes, etc. Like, they portray how boys record videos of girls while changing their clothes and present it as a “normal” thing despite how wrong it is. They also have this story where one of the characters goes straight to hell because of sexual assault and molestation as his sins, and the way they present it is so “nonchalant”, as if it’s “nothing”. It’s so wrong. But, I guess that’s not how they mean it to be. First of all, they acknowledge that it’s wrong, that’s why it’s considered a sin, and that’s why they go to hell for it. Secondly, it’s a comedy. I guess they’re just trying to portray the reality in a comic way. But, well, enough with the excuse. Maybe I’m just trying to make myself feel better for laughing a lot throughout the movie.

Why do I put this movie in this post, though? Well, I guess there’s a lesson that might be related. In this movie, it’s portrayed that Daisuke, one of the main characters, even after his death and falling to hell, strove to get back to life, to be reincarnated as a human again. And, while he’s condemned in hell as he was considered committing suicide, he actually had a reason to want to keep on living. And maybe this is the beautiful part of the movie: We tend to look for a grand and spectacular reason to continue on living or to live our life, but actually, we don’t always need such a grand reason. The reason to keep on living can be very simple and yet still meaningful, and it’s as precious and important. Like, in this movie, Daisuke wants to go back to life and get reincarnated to human realm because he wants to know how his crush feels about him; he wants to be with her; he wants to show how much he loves her; he wants to protect her; he wants to be the one making her happy, etc. Maybe it’s “silly”; it’s “just” a crush anyway. But, I think it’s beautiful. Such simple reasons to give someone the will to live on. There are always those things worth fighting for. Life is, after all, worth another try and chance; we just need to find something worth fighting and living for, and that something doesn’t have to be something grand.

PS: This movie has a really funny ending and I love it so much. At the end, Daisuke could go to heaven but decided to drop himself to hell again because he found heaven boring; he found hell more fun 😀

PPS: I found out that Kamiki Ryunosuke, the one playing Daisuke in this movie, is actually the one voicing Tachibana Taki in Kimi no Na Wa! Just where have I been? LoL And, oh, I think I like him-and his voice 😊

PPS: There is also a movie that I reviewed before. I think that movie is really good. In that movie, one of the main characters wanted to die. He was so sick of life he couldn’t stand it anymore. He thought nobody would be sad if he died. He believed that he’s not needed, that he’s just a burden. He’s convinced that his problems would end, and everyone would be happier when he died. He was wrong. It’s the first movie I reviewed in this post back then.

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