In an era when various traditions and memories across Japan are fading, there are those individuals who protect these, and strive to keep them alive. Set in Ichinoseki City, Iwate Prefecture, the protagonist is a middle school student from a school soon to be closed. The symbol of this film is mochi, nestling up to the important scenes of everyday life.
Iwate Prefecture’s Ichinoseki City, where the tradition of eating mochi at important times remains from the old days. I first visited the city and met many people. Middle schools shutting down, villages that have brought up children, teachers, adults, the traditional performing art Torimai. The plan I came up with was to get a performance of people’s feelings while attending this middle school for six months. The film is acted out without using any professional actors; with the residents of the city following along with scenarios but expressing their own thoughts through words. This is not a story that exists just here, but universally across Japan.
Yuna, a 15-year old student lives in Honedera, Ichinoseki City in Iwate Prefecture, which miraculously appears almost as it did 800 years ago. At the funeral for Yuna’s grandma, her grandpa insists that he wants to make mochi in the traditional method, using a wooden mallet and mortar. Her family attempts to persuade him, saying that similarly delicious mochi can be made without all that trouble, through using a machine, but grandpa is insistent on doing it the old-fashioned way. Adolescent Yuna is very sensitive to the atmosphere of her situation. As the middle school she attends will merge with the local middle school, her school will be shut down at the end of the year. At her school, students are carefully taught about the area’s traditions such as “Mochi Honzen” and “Kaguya no Torimai”, so that these traditions may be kept alive within them. Through the act of making mochi, Yuna slowly becomes aware of traditions, memories, and thoughts that will fade away if nothing is done. Over the course of the summer until her graduation, with the passing of her grandma, the loss of her school, her best friend moving away, the older student she has feelings for leaving the City, also being protected by the mochi which looks over important times, Yuna begins to change so that she will not forget.
- Yuna Sato (佐藤由奈), Jin Yomogida (蓬田稔), Shiho Sato (佐藤詩萌), Shun Sasaki (佐々木悛), Ikuo Hatakeyama (畠山育王)
- Written and Directed
- Mayumi Komatsu (小松真弓) / “Tamatama” (’11)
- Japan release
- April 18, 2020
- 60 min.
- Documentary, Drama
- Technical Specs
- Color / 16:9 / Digital / 2ch