4 February 2018 | manfromplanetx
Tadashi Imai known for his left-wing social realist filmmaking boldly portrays the first film in Japan to show Blasians (mixed-race children) and the concept of interracial relationships. In recent history & directly linked to the American occupation of Japan following the end of World War II, African-Japanese children were born from unions between American GIs and Japanese women, many were conceived through prostitution.
As they aged the biracial children born from these liaisons faced public discrimination and suffered marginalization. Due in part to the re-emergence of nationalism in Japan, but universally, the base human traits of bigotry and ignorance come in to play.
The exceptional film explores the lives of two such children, sister & brother Kiku and Isamu, orphaned they live with their grandmother, each has a different black GI father.
The multi layered tale touches on race, culture and identity. Outstanding performances, the characterisations impart a tremendous humanistic dimension. Wise grandmother Tanie Kitabayashi is worldly wise, pragmatic, and in her only ever film appearance? Emiko Takahashi as Kiku gives a sincere, moving and spirited account.
The touching drama has a positive tone and is forward thinking. Each scene builds upon the last, deeply engaging its audience, the progressive story is not impeded by dwelling on the negatives or self pity. The future now holds confronting social challenges for coming of age Kiku and her brother. Under pressure from outsiders and community, difficult decisions must be faced...
At the heart of this brilliant film is Kiku, an inspired and bold casting choice from Imai, it would spoil to say anymore. Purely innocent KiKu asks her grandmother the most profound of questions " why are some people black and some people white ? " ...
Winner of the 10th Blue Ribbon Awards 1959
Won: Best Film
Won: Best Actress - Tanie Kitabayashi
Won: Best Screenplay - Youko Mizuk