When Kappa Senoh published his semi-autobiographical novel, A BOY CALLED H , in 1997, brimming with endearing episodes and rich in humor, it struck a chord with readers that transcended age and time, capturing hearts and skyrocketing to bestseller status. At long last, A Boy Called H has become a feature length movie.
With masterful direction by Yasuo Furuhata and a brilliant screenplay by Ryota Kosawa, "A Boy Called H" tells the story of a Kobe family living bravely through, without being consumed by, the mad furor and upheaval of wartime Japan in the 1940s as the exotic and idyllic port city became transformed into a war-ravaged wilderness.
Real life husband and wife, Yutaka Mizutani and Ran Ito play H's father and mother in what is a rare treat collaboration of "husband and wife."
It begins in Kobe in the early 1940s. Morio is a tailor of fitted western suits; a warmhearted and tolerant father with a flexible and open mind. His wife, Toshiko, is unsparing in her love for her two children, elder brother Hajime, nicknamed "H", and his little sister, Yoshiko. They are thus a happy and contented family. But around them, the world is rapidly beginning to darken. A neighborhood noodle delivery boy is arrested by the authorities for thoughtcrimes, while “Man Lady”, a female impersonator attempts to escape conscription into the army only to be hunted down by military police.
Eventually, the Pacific War begins, putting civilians under increasingly strict military rule and censorship. But amid this repression, H remains unswayed, growing up with a realistic view of the world, full of questions and remonstrations against the status quo under the tutelage of his father.
Waiting for him as he enters middle school is a relentlessly harsh regimen of military training and propaganda. His father, Morio, joins the fire brigade while Toshiko conceals practice of her Christian faith to instead head a community organization. Daughter Yoshiko is sent to live in the countryside with relatives as the war deepens, and Japan's fortunes begin to wane. At long last, when Kobe, too, becomes the target of bombing raids, the end draws near. What is left are charred streets as far as the eye can see. And from the ashes, Kobe and Japan rise again anew. H and his family come out from the darkness of war to take a beleaguered but positive step forward. Here is a true story of a "family without a name" that was able to retain its moral moorings, and principles through courage and love in the wildly turbulent maelstrom of wartime Japan.
- FURUHATA Yasuo
- Original Story
- SENOO Kappa
- MATSUMOTO Motohiro
- KOSAWA Ryota
- AIDA Masahiro
- OKUBO Takeshi
- Sound Recording
- KAKIZAWA Kiyoshi
- Release Date in Japan
- Running time
- 122 min