TOHO CO., LTD. - as SALES All rights, World

Drama - Completed 2013

Adapted from Kappa Senoh's original story ("A Boy Called H").

    • Year of production
    • 2013
    • Genres
    • Drama, Historical
    • Countries
    • JAPAN
    • Languages
    • Duration
    • 122 mn
    • Director(s)
    • Yasuo FURUHATA
    • Writer(s)
    • Ryota KOSAWA
    • Producer(s)
    • Hideaki ENDO, Motohiro MATSUMOTO
    • Synopsis
    • The time is pre-World War II Japan. The setting is the exotic city of Kobe.
      Hajime is an ardently curious young boy with a strong sense of righteousness, always pestering his parents with questions of “Why?” or assertions of “That just isn’t right.” Living with father Morio (Yutaka Mizutani), local tailor, and mother Toshiko (Ran Itoh), he wears a sweater his mom knitted for him emblazoned with a big letter “H”, for which he receives his nickname and is teased by friends at school. (“H” when pronounced in Japanese sounds like the word for “pervert.”) When World War II breaks out in Europe, Boy H begins to encounter a rise in what he believes are injustices such as the arrest of his opera teacher on suspicion of being a spy. As the military-government’s grip tightens around the nation muting dissent, Boy H’s father, Morio, refuses to let it ruffle his composure and therefore responds to his son’s incessant questions and protestations of injustice with instruction on seeing the world for what it is. Boy H thus matures and grows through these repressive times buoyed by the support of a humanitarian mother and liberal father who takes to mending the clothes of Jewish war refugees in secret.
      December 1941, the Pacific War begins, and Morio is now working in the city fire department. Amid regular fire drills, seeing local boys go off to war and even his own father, Morio, interrogated as a possible spy, Boy H enters middle school and thus begins a military education, and the relocation of his younger sister, Yoshiko, to the safer countryside. By March 1945, B-29 bomber raids over Kobe have begun, turning the city into a firebomb inferno, and keeping Morio busy. Gripping his mother’s hand, Boy H finds himself nearly gets consumed by the flames as he tries to save his father’s sewing machine. But his beloved city of Kobe has been razed, and lies barren and burnt. When the war ends, Kobe transforms into a military base for the occupying American-led forces. Yoshiko returns from the countryside, and Morio resumes his tailoring business with his charred sewing machine. No sooner has the war ended when Boy H finds new cause to fulminate at the rapid and repugnant changes taking place in the people and world around him. And one day, Boy H lashes out at his mother who has taken pity on a hungry returned soldier, strikes his father and then tries to kill himself on the rails. Failing that, Boy H returns to find his father, foot on the sewing machine pedal, welcoming him home. Boy H decides that, at 15, it is time for him to stand on his own two feet, vowing to remain true to himself in a world that is changing and a Kobe and Japan that is beginning anew. He takes a small, yet very large, step forward.