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The Distance of Japanese Youth via Byousoku

 
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zitch
Cubbie


Joined: 04 Feb 2008
Posts: 306


Location: Louisiana, USA

PostPosted: Mon Oct 20, 2008 6:45 pm    Post subject: The Distance of Japanese Youth via Byousoku  Reply with quote

While researching for a topic I was planning on writing here, I had stumbled onto and got distracted by this great essay on the distance themes in 5 Centimeters Per Second.

An excerpt:

Quote:
Byousoku 5cm – the elegiac loss of emotions in Modern Japan

Released in 2007, Shinkai Makoto’s latest feature film Byousoku 5cm – a chain of short stories about their distance (hereon called Byousoku 5cm) consists of three segments (short stories) inextricably woven together into a film that as the subtitle explains, is about ‘distance’. In contrast to his previous films, which dealt with fantasy and/or science fiction elements, Byousoku 5cm is firmly rooted in reality, thus effectively conveying the problems that the Japanese youth face against temporal, spatial and interpersonal distance. This is reflected in the title of the film, where Byousoku 5cm (the speed of 5cm per second) refers to the speed of which cherry blossom petals fall, being a metaphor for the transient nature of humans, of how despite the slowness of life, people who start at the same origin often drift into their own paths.

The 63 minute film is divided into three parts: Oukashou, Cosmonaut and the eponymous Byousoku 5 Centimetre; all centring around the relationship of three youths: Touno Takaki, the main protagonist of the film; Shinohara Akari, Takaki’s childhood friend who, under uncontrollable circumstances was separated from him; and Sumita Kanae, Takaki’s classmate in high school. The plot spans for over ten years, starting from when Takaki meets Akari in elementary school, till when they are adults. Shinkai compresses, what essentially is a life story between three people, into a compact feature of an hour, and in doing so, perhaps subtly defines the sheer amount of emotional distance present between the characters, that cannot be transcended in either 60 minutes or ten years.

Thus, through the metaphors of temporal and spatial distance, Shinkai creates a sphere upon which the emotional distance between youth is effectively explored – how feelings are kept within the characters themselves due to circumstances ranging from uncertainty of the future, fear of rejection, to an inability to let go of the past.
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Junpei
VNP 46b-512


Joined: 25 Jan 2008
Posts: 873


Location: Australia

PostPosted: Tue Oct 21, 2008 6:59 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Wow, great find zitch. Beautifully written too.
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Janny
Cosmonaut


Joined: 12 Jun 2008
Posts: 147


Location: Romania

PostPosted: Tue Oct 21, 2008 7:40 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

It's times like these that make me wish I was Japanese...
Thanks for the link, Zitch, it's a great read.
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gleowine
Ekusun Tsukinoe


Joined: 14 Apr 2008
Posts: 415


Location: Louisiana

PostPosted: Tue Oct 21, 2008 10:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks, zitch. I read the whole essay, and the writer did a good job, even with the word limitations.

The fact that 5 CM struck a chord with so many different people worldwide seems to me a clear indication that this inability to express true feelings that the write speaks of is not just confined to Japanese youth. It just took someone like Shinkai to open our eyes to it.

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