The News That Matters about the Nuclear Industry Fukushima Chernobyl Mayak Three Mile Island Atomic Testing Radiation Isotope

Fukushima: Director Makoto Shinkai of “Suzume no Togome”: “If I don’t depict the scenery of Futaba-gun, I will be telling a lie”

C)2022 “Suzume no Togome

The protagonists stop their car at a coastal area in the prefecture along Route 6 and get off at a hill overlooking the beautiful sea. As they look around, they see a village with overgrown grass. Director Makoto Shinkai (49)’s latest animated film, “Suzume no Togome” (The Sparrow’s Doorstep),” depicts the Great East Japan Earthquake as one of its themes, as well as Fukushima Prefecture and other affected areas. In an exclusive online interview with Fukushima Minpo, Shinkai said, “I felt that if I did not depict the scenery of Futaba County, I would be telling a lie with ‘Suzume no Togomei’ (Suzume’s Door Closed).


 The film features Suzume, a 17-year-old high school student living in Kyushu. The film is an adventure story in which Suzume and her friends are trying to close the “door” that leads to disaster in abandoned buildings in various parts of the country where people no longer live.

 Suzume and his friends drive down National Route 6, passing by a sign that reads “Difficult-to-return zone. While the road has been cleaned up, the houses on both sides of the road remain abandoned. The view from the top of the hill where they arrived at the site shows buildings reminiscent of TEPCO’s Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant.

 Two summers ago, Shinkai visited the area and experienced firsthand the current situation in the hard-to-return zone. It is meaningful to indirectly convey to the audience that this kind of scenery exists in Japan,” he said. He was determined not to let the disaster fade away.

 There are many scenes that faithfully reproduce the scenery of various parts of Japan. However, in depicting Fukushima Prefecture, the shapes and layouts of the houses were fictitious while maintaining the atmosphere of the area. There are many people who want to return. I couldn’t just paint someone’s house without their permission.”


 In Shinkai’s works, background art plays an important role in the story. Many viewers are drawn to the sparkling sea and colorful grasslands. Memories of people who once spent their lives in abandoned schools and hot spring resorts float in the air. The film is a directing collaboration between Shinkai and the director of the hit film “Kimi no na wa. The art director of this film, Takumi Tanji, who has been working with Shinkai for about 20 years, including on the hit film “Kimi no na wa. He is like a ‘Superman’ to me,” he says.

 Tanji is responsible for setting up fictional locations such as hot spring resorts and amusement parks based on real landscapes. Even if I ask him to do something a little difficult, he smiles and says, “Well, we’ll figure it out. He has the full confidence of all the staff, including myself, that we can leave everything in his capable hands.


 Twelve years will soon pass since the disaster. An increasing number of people of that generation do not know what it was like at the time of the disaster. He analyzes that more than one-third of the audience is younger than the disaster victims and says, “If I could create an opportunity for people to learn about the disaster, I would like to think that it was only possible because it was an animation.

 About three months have passed since the release of the film. He has given stage greetings throughout Japan and visited Fukushima Prefecture on January 28. He received many letters through the theaters and was encouraged by the warm response, smiling and saying, “I felt that it was good that this film exists.

 There has been criticism of the depiction of the disaster in entertainment films, and he accepts that “there can never be a film that everyone agrees with, and I can’t easily say that it was a success. Still, he also believes that if films only avoid depicting the painful parts of the disaster, they will not move people’s hearts.

 I hope that animated films can play a role in society, and not just be interesting,” he said. He believes in the power of film and intends to continue to face this challenge.


February 13, 2023 - Posted by | Fuk 2023 | , ,

No comments yet.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: