I dedicated my afternoon watching 5 episodes (75min each), of a japanese TV series.
Shokuzai, which biblically speaking, refers to God’s forgiveness was directed by Kiyoshi Kurosawa (Cult, Bright Future), an adept of japanese horror genre, who took a step down, and adapted this novel written by Kanae Minato, into a TV drama.
In a nutshell, the story is about a five little girls who, one day were in a playground, when a man came and ask one them to help him fix a fan (how the hell a 10 years old girl is supposed to help with those things?!). She followed him, but was gone for too long, that’s why her friend went to check on her and found her dead body.
But the story is especially about a mother, who will never forgive children from refusing to help arrests the one who took away her daughter, and the consequences of that tragic event.
Kurosawa structured his episodes just like chapters of a book; the four first focusing on each girl and what they become 15 years later. They appeared to me powerful and captivating. We are entering their lives, and observing their evolution knowing their similar trauma, and the different effects it had on them depending on their environment.
Kyôko Koizumi, performing the mother named Asako Adachi, exudes a palpable coldness, so attractive, that you admire her, despite her questionable behavior towards the girls. She imposes herself as their tormentor, and required from them, to pay for playing mute during the investigation of the murder of her daughter, Emiri. Her anger provide her a partial control of herself, hiding some dark side and insanity.
The whole drama shows how one event can have different effects on the people experiencing it. It shows the hardness of loosing a friend, a child; the hardness of feeling guilty, and how trauma on children leads to a dysfunction in the mental system.
The atonement, is therefore, not about receiving the forgiveness of a mother they betrayed against their will, but about reconciliation with the guiltiness they were feeling the whole time and the perpetual seek of freedom.
Shokuzai, is a great piece of work, that shows indirectly the japanese state of mind in the 70’s and which exposes a bunch of values and psychological portraits interesting to learn about.
The human psychology is big sea, and you’ll never know what fishes you will catch.