MOTHER'S TREES

OKASAN NO KI

By Itsumichi ISOMURA

TOEI COMPANY, LTD. - as SALES All rights, World

Drama - Completed 2015

“You are not to cut those trees. Those are the “Mother’s” trees.” During the World War II, the “Mother” raised seven of her sons by herself. As the war became fiercer, her son was called for the military service one by one. Wishing they would return alive someday, she planted a tree for each son.

    • Year of production
    • 2015
    • Genres
    • Drama
    • Countries
    • JAPAN
    • Languages
    • JAPANESE
    • Budget
    • 3 - 5 M$
    • Duration
    • 114 mn
    • Director(s)
    • Itsumichi ISOMURA
    • Writer(s)
    • Essei OKAWA
    • Producer(s)
    • Kazuma KURYU (TOEI COMPANY, LTD.)
    • Synopsis
    • ‘You can’t cut those trees down. They’re Mother’s trees.’

      In the years before the outbreak of World War II, an 18 year-old girl married a young postal worker. In time she became the mother of seven healthy boys. The first was named ‘Taro’, or ‘first son’; the second ‘Jiro’, or ‘second son’. Next, following the same pattern, came ‘Saburo’, ‘Shiro’, and ‘Goro’. Her sixth son was adopted by the woman’s elder sister and her husband, so the seventh son took the name ‘Rokuro’, or ‘sixth son’. The boys grew quickly, and their little house was full of the sound of happy laughter. But then their father died suddenly. The woman despaired, but realized that she would have to persevere for the sake of her children. The boys sensed this, and did their very best to support her.

      In 1937, war broke out between Japan and China, and Taro was drafted. His mother saw her son off on his journey to the battlefield, planted a paulownia tree, and gave it his name. But the war, which was supposed to have been a short one, did not end. One day, an official from the town office came and announced Taro’s glorious death in battle. His mother was determined not to shed tears in front of anyone, but once she was alone she ran out back and threw her arms around Taro’s tree.

      After Taro, Jiro, Saburo, and all the rest of her sons were sent to fight. For each she planted another tree behind her house until there were seven of them, all of different heights. Still she busily cultivated her field, growing potatoes and millet and beans against the day they would return.

      After eight long years, the war finally ended. No one returned, though; only a succession of notices of their deaths. Still, believing that one day one would return, she went to the snow-covered railway line every time a train was due. Age clouded her eyes, shriveled her cheeks, and stooped her back as, day after day, she spoke to her sons’ trees, and gathered the leaves that fell from them.

      One day a soldier dressed in a ragged uniform stepped down from the train. Alone he walked through the light snow along the track, stopping to rest, dragging his feet, as he made his way towards his mother’s house. This was no dream; it was Goro, missing for many years in the jungle. From his mother’s door, however, there was no answer. Making his way around to the back, he found her, leaning against his tree, a fallen leaf clutched in her hand.

      He called her as he would, but she was beyond answering him now.
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