Kikujirô no Natsu or Kikujiro (International Title) is a Japanese movie that describes the tale of a young boy’s search for his mother through his summer vacation diary.
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Released in 1999, the movie was written and directed by Takeshi Kitano, a Japanese filmmaker. He also plays the key role in the film accompanied by Kayoko Kishimoto as his wife, Yusuke Sekiguchi as Masao, Yuko Daike as Masao’s mother, Kazuko Yoshiyuki as Masao’s grandmother, and several other actors playing significant character roles.
The key character was inspired by the real-life character of the director, Takeshi Kitano’s father who lost everything to his addiction to gambling and struggled to make two ends meet. Throughout the movie, the familiarity to his real-life instances could be seen primarily through the elements like Angels, paintings and drawings, seashores, etc. The Movie was inspired by the movie The Wizard of Oz where the film was based on the spines of a trip on road. The movie also describes the various demarcations existing within Japanese Society. The Characters portrayed in the film are set apart from the society due to the social aspects of society and their life is shown mostly at differences with the protagonists. The story planes on the sadder aspects of life and the tragic events but the plot has been composed with care on the lighter side which keeps the audience entertained. The Protagonists are setback from the society and is shown through the characters of Kikujiro as anger and Masao as grief but as the story goes on, the characters realize their similarities and the events which occur in Toyohashi helps them attain a change in their perspectives and begin their friendship through their troubles. Each part of the story is described in series of chapters as a part of Masao’s diary.
The Movie begins with Masao, a boy who sets out to find his mother during his summer vacation with a man, Kikujiro, who is known for his rude behavior and bad manners. Masao after receiving his mother’s address in Toyohashi begins his journey with his grandmother’s neighbor who gambles away all their money. A series of humorous yet realistic incidents are shown throughout the journey to reach his destination. On reaching the destination, he is disappointed to see that his mother has completely forgotten him and is living happily with her other family. Kikujiro, who has had a similar experience, tries to comfort Masao by giving him an angel and he believes that angels will come and help him when he sounds the bell. Later on their return journey, Kikujiro has the urge to meet his mother too but finally returns without seeing her. Masao and Kikujiro are both depressed and disappointed but try to keep each other comforted and happy. Several characters like the Bikers, Poet, Masao’s Grandmother, Jugglers, and many other characters that are related to real-life circumstances are shown in the movie. The story ends with Kikujiro and Masao departing as good friends who enjoyed the trip and Masao is seen disappearing down the lane with the faint sound of the bell which he believes to call the angels.
Throughout the movie, various traditions of Japanese society are shown. The Japanese language is spoken over Japan and some parts of Korea, Taiwan, and China. This language is similar to the Chinese language but the Japanese consider it to be very unique and believe it to be of high standards. The Kimono is the traditional dressing attire for Japanese men and women and they range from different styles and bold colors. The Japanese people are mostly from Honshu, Kyushu, Hokkaido, and Shikoku islands and a large number of the people are settled around the world. Their population remains quite low due to the low birthrate and the western influence on the families of a lesser number of people in the household. The Japanese cinema has made a wide mark after the Second World War, some of them even reaching a significant status of International Exposure. The Japanese cuisine has a great variety of flavors often eaten with chopsticks. It includes noodles, rice soup, vegetables, fish, crabs, meat, spiced with Soya sauce, and many others. Paintings have also captured the culture of the Japanese lifestyle. The writing tool used by the Japanese during earlier times was a brush and later developed for artistic purposes. The Japanese native artistic styles have been collaborated with Continental Asia and Western Countries and reproduced still today.