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Isao Takahata on Grave of the Fireflies
A collection of short excerpts

Translated from Japanese to English by Ryoko Toyama in July 1998

Translated without permission for personal entertainment purpose only. This is not, by any means, an accurate word for word translation, and the translator is solely responsible for any mistranslation or misunderstanding due to it.


[Here are two excerpts about Takahata's view on his own movie Grave of the Fireflies.]


[Catharsis of tears; Seita the boy]


[An excerpt from a Takahata interview about Omihide Poroporo, in which he mentioned Grave of the Fireflies.]

Takahata: It wasn't my intention to give people the catharsis of crying. Yet, many people say "I cried so much," and some even say "I cried so much, and I don't want to see it again." I tell them, "it would be more fun if you watch it one more time." -laughs-

[The interviewer suggested that maybe people thought that the movie was just about the past and it just inspired their nostalgia.]

Takahata: That was regrettable. I intended to depict the boy in Grave as a contemporary boy, rather than a boy in that time. He doesn't bear with hardships. When the aunt threatens him by saying "OK, let's have meals separately," he is rather relieved. He thinks that it's easier to eat by themselves than to bear with the discrimination from his aunt. As a result, his life becomes harder. Such a feeling is closer to the one held by today's kids. I made the movie by thinking what would happen if a kid today was suddenly sent to that time through time machine. So, I didn't intend it to be retrospective or nostalgic, but mI didn't express it well enough...

[Animage, vol 151, January, 1991.]



[Raw human relationship when social restraints are gone]


[An excerpt from what Takahata wrote in the Grave of the Fireflies theater program.]

Today, the bonds among family members and the sense of community among neighbors have been weakened. Instead, we are protected by the several layers of social protection/control. We put mutual noninterference as the basis of our relationships, and try to find our own tenderness in playful but inessential consideration towards others. It doesn't have to be a war. If a big disaster hits us and the social restraints are destroyed, without an idea that makes people help each other or cooperate, it would be inevitable that people will become wolves towards others in such raw human relationships. It shadders me to think that I can be on either side. Even if one tries to escape from human relationships and tries to live alone with his sister, how many boys, or people, can keep sustaining their sisters as long as Seita did?



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