aku-aku: v.. To move a tall, flat bottomed object (such as a bookshelf) by swiveling it alternatively on its corners in a "walking" fashion. [After the book by Thor Heyerdahl theorising the statues of Easter Island were moved in this fashion.] source: LangMaker.com. Aku Aku also has another meaning to the islanders: a spiritual guide.
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Hotaru no haka (1988) and Ping Pong (2002)
Posted by dav at 2003 June 8 01:22 AM
File under: Movies

Tonight I watched the most wholly depressing movie I think I've ever seen, Hotaru no haka (aka Grave of the Fireflies). It is an almost unbearingly beautiful and heartwrenching work of Japanese anime which tells the tale of a young boy and his toddler sister who are orphaned by the Allied assault on mainland Japan and struggle to survive, seemingly subsisting only on hope, love and denial.

After that movie ended I really needed something to cheer me up, so I tried Ping Pong, a more recent Japanese film which concerns itself with high school table tennis players. In some ways it is like any sports film, thematically exploring competition, glory and discipline, and sociological constructs like heroes and friendships, but it covers it with a more pensive atmosphere (think asian philosophy) than your typical western sports film. The movie is well made and felt about as fresh as I could expect from something in the sports genre. It was inspiring; not in a overwhelming way, but in a deeper more subtle way like drinking chilled sake.


I saw hotaru no haka a long time ago...I remember it vividly.

There is a long list of that type of heart-wrentching dramatization about the war. I think we all grow up constantly hearing how hard it was 'back then.'

But regarding the war, we gotta keep in mind the whole victim narrative issue. The story does represent real suffering that many Japanese experienced. But when you think of the context - the Pacific War (vs. WWII), how Japan's responsibility was and continues to be blatantly ignored and supressed, how victims of Japan's crimes have a much lesser voice...I just can't sit and watch such movies in ease. No one should have experienced any part of that war, but what am I supposed to feel when Koizumi goes to Yasukuni Shrine and symbolically pays respect to some very ugly war criminals DESPITE clear protests from China and Korea (and the few enlightened politicians here). That makes me sick.

Posted by: mie on June 8, 2003 06:48 PM

I saw this movie not long ago this school year in my Japanese class, and it was terribly sad. There were those who were "in" and those who were left "out." I thought it was sad just to be sad though in my opinion. A little exaggerated, but heh.

Posted by: Eric Sor-Lim on June 8, 2003 07:26 PM

Sued? ya prolly won get paid!

Posted by: Cheez on June 28, 2003 12:59 AM

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