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From Lageri with Love: A Heartfelt Journey of Family and Pride


Recently, I watched the Japanese film "From Lageri with Love." The film stars Kazunari Ninomiya from the band Arashi as the protagonist. The story begins with Ninomiya’s character, who was part of the Kwantung Army occupying Manchuria, attempting to escape with his family following the Soviet invasion. Unable to move due to being struck by a stone, his family manages to flee back to Japan while he is captured and sent to a forced labor camp.

Kazunari Ninomiya’s Charisma and the Cast's Expressiveness

Despite the harsh labor conditions and the constant loss of his comrades, Ninomiya’s character maintains his pride as a human being. Initially, those around him are indifferent to his charm, but gradually they begin to open up to him. While this type of character can be seen in other works, Ninomiya’s performance and the expressiveness of his co-stars add depth to this film.

Family Love and the Issue of Low Birthrate
The central theme of the film is love for family. The narrative begins with a wedding scene and concludes with the introduction of the bride and groom, seemingly addressing the issue of Japan’s declining birthrate. While the birthrate problem is not something that can be solved merely by watching a moving film, conveying the beauty of family love and marriage can be significant as part of the efforts to address the low birthrate issue.

Japan’s Homeownership Ideal and Forms of Happiness
Post-war Japan promoted homeownership as an ideal, but its limitations have become apparent. Many people harbored the illusion of homeownership, but in the long run, they are beginning to realize it does not necessarily bring happiness. In the future, different forms of happiness will be sought. For instance, producing Japanese people through artificial insemination and raising them in isolated environments, focusing on elite training and AI-based education, might be necessary for the pursuit of new forms of happiness.

Horie Takafumi's Tears and the Film’s Emotional Resonance

Horie Takafumi’s tears while watching this film may have been due to his own experiences in prison and the emotional resonance of receiving a letter from his daughter. I, too, have been moved to tears by the intense emotions unique to Japanese films. However, there is a question of whether I was truly moved by the story. From an international perspective, as Japan is depicted as an aggressor nation, it is seen as getting what it deserves. How this film is received internationally is significant in today's context.

Ninomiya's Leadership and Servant Leadership

Ninomiya’s character exemplifies servant leadership, from protecting the funerals of deceased colleagues to caring for fallen comrades and teaching literacy. This type of leadership might become the mainstream in future management.

Depiction of Family Love and My Thoughts

The depiction of family love in the film is ideal and enviable to me. Listening to the farewell letter, I wondered if I could ever build such a loving relationship. It reminded me of the letters I wrote to my first love and still makes me wonder what that person is doing now.

Interpretation of Japanese Poetry

Here is the interpretation of the Japanese poem explained by Ninomiya in the middle of the film:

「たらちねの 母がつりたる青蚊帳(あおがや)を すがしといねつ たるみたれども」

This poem describes a peaceful, domestic scene but can convey different meanings depending on the context and situation. It carries a message of sharing past memories and a sense of security, accepting each other's flaws, and wanting to spend time together.

Conclusion

"From Lageri with Love" is a moving film that portrays family love and human pride. Kazunari Ninomiya’s performance and the expressiveness of the co-stars add depth to this film, prompting reflections on Japan’s declining birthrate and forms of happiness. I highly recommend watching this film to reaffirm the importance of family love.

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