27 April 2003 | Tabihaku
A Wonderful, Overlooked Film
The English title is an inaccurate and misleading translation, as it really has little to do with MacArthur or his children. However, it does focus on the impact of the Japanese loss of WWII through the eyes of children, and it's in those childhood responses, relationships, and dynamics that the film becomes charming. Counterpointing the world of children struggling to cope in guileless ways are adults dealing with the shift and disruption to their own lives and futures, and in Kurosawa-esquire fashion (though more subtly), the ethical adult struggles of right and wrong, of giri and ninjo. We also get to see actor Juzo Itami before his directing debut as well as the film debut of Ken Watanabe. Cinematography is by Kazuo Miyagawa who was behind the lens for Rashomon, Yojimbo, and Ozu's Ukigusa Monogatari. It's a gentle, restrained view into the tumultuous transitions in Japan set in motion after the war defeat, full of humanity and compassion.