Kimi ga Kureta Natsu
Minna, gomen nasai. I am editting this now because I just saw a lot of grammatical mistakes…I wrote this right after watching the film and it was already two in the morning and I was puffy eyed by then…hehehe!
English Translation: The Summer You Gave Me The 730 days of my son who fought cancer
Casts: Takizawa Hideaki, Kyoko Fukada and Takei Akashi
Tackey (Kizaki Masato) and Kyoko Fukada (Kizaki Tokiko) play a young couple, who had to get married early because the girl got pregnant. He was 17 and she was 16 at the time. They lived comfortably if not an affluent life but they were happy; they had two sons.
Early on in the story it is easily recognizable that Masato was very close to his first born son Naoya, the two were often seen sharing interests and enjoying each other’s company. Nao was a vibrant boy, happy, smart and active; a loving brother and an ideal son. Masato doted on his first born, playing video games with him and buying him books he loves. Nao was especially interested in bugs like most young boys his age..but he especially loved butterflies.
Then when Nao was about 5 years old he complained of chest pains and they rushed him to the hospital. It is then that they found out that the boy has a tumor on his left lung and had to undergo surgery. After the surgery it was found out that Nao had a very rare disease called Ewing’s Sarcoma. Thus started the numerous radiation and chemotherapy sessions that the boy had to undergo but even through these painful treatments Nao maintained his happy demeanor always friendly with the nurses and developing friendships with other children in the hospital. It was also during this first stay at the hospital that his mother, with the doctor’s advice, told Nao about his illness, honestly telling the boy that if he does not receive treatment for his illness he may die.
After sometime Nao was allowed to go home and he was even able to attend school, he was excited to go to school; he wanted to be an expert on bugs be often told his friends. Then his pains attacked again and he was again confined at the hospital. It was at this time that the doctor informed the couple that another tumor had appeared on his other lung. Again, Nao under goes surgery. His mother Tokiko stayed with him all this time, caring for him and assisting him through the painful aftermath of the chemotherapy. Once his mother suggested that they just go home because she couldn’t bare anymore the pain that he had to go through but Nao refused saying that he didn’t want to die and that his father’s son was not afraid of anything.
During his hospital stay Nao always look forward to rainy days, because those were the days when his father could get off work early and spend time with him. Unknown to him his father was also battling his own demons, unable to accept his son’s illness and unprepared to cope with the possibility of losing his first born.
On Nao’s third confinement in the hospital the doctor informed his parents that this cancer had metastasized and that they should ready themselves for the inevitable. The couple was devastated but more so Masato. It was also during this time that Masato was reconciled with his father whom he had been estranged for sometime since he got married. Unknown to him his father had been spending time with his grandson and it was also through him that Masato learned that Nao had known for a long time that he would not make it but he kept on fighting because he didn’t want his parents to quarrel and separate.
When Nao was strong enough to be taken out of the hospital the couple pleaded with the doctor to let him go temporarily, Masato wanted to give his son what he had promised him – that come summer time they would go up to the mountains and catch butterflies. It wasn’t even summer yet but the doctor had only given Nao one month to live and the couple wanted to make sure that they give Nao the best of what they can give him.
They wanted Nao to spend as much time with his family, building memories with them. Once his father asked him why he loved butterflies so much Nao answered that it’s because they’re reborn from the chrysalis, that they live on.
Masato took Nao camping and butterfly catching as he promised. I guess it is true what they say that the dying knew that their time is near, because during one evening while father and son was sitting around the camp fire, Nao started talking about his illness, he said he would keep on fighting no matter how painful because he didn’t want to die yet.
Unable to bear the conversation any longer Masato made the excuse that he was going to pee but instead made his way toward the river there started crying.
Everything was fine for a while Nao was back at home and spending time with his parents and teaching his little brother. He even gave his younger Ryu his favorite butterfly book. Then tragedy struck once again and Nao was again back the hospital. Masato who was at work at the time left immediately to be with his son, knowing that this attack may be fatal and may be his last chance to be with him.
As he was being rushed to the emergency room Nao refused to put on the gas mask and instead started talking to his mother, he asked where his father was. Masato arrived at the emergency room just then and there with his dying breath Nao kept keeping that he would keep fighting – that Kizaki Naoya would keep on fighting and his parents repeating the same mantra with him and holding his hand Nao took his last breath and went to his rest.
This is probably one of the most touching and heartrending story I had ever watched. May be it was my being a mother and thus have a very soft spot for anything that has to do with losing a child. I remember admiring the mother for her strength and courage in dealing with her son’s illness. I guess being there during her son’s pain treatments and being the one who always has to care for him after his chemotherapy and seeing his pains, she was more accepting of his death than the father was. I guess she loved her son with all her heart but it was also very painful for her to see him in so much pain that she actually felt that he would at least be at peace and at rest finally. True she went hysterical and questioned why this had to happen to her sweet Nao but in the end she was more emotionally ready.
Understandably, Masato, the father was slower accepting the situation. The one time he was shown to have been there during Nao’s treatments; he was unable to cope with it and left. Most fathers are like that, when it comes to seeing their own child in pain very few father can actually just stand there and allow it to happen. I remember even simple vaccinations when the kids were little can cause their father to want to knock the doctor out…just because their baby was crying irregardless of the fact that they were actually doing something beneficial to the baby. But that’s how fathers are; they’re instinct is always to protect their child.
It was also timely that the movie should tackle the painful subject of cancer; it and for sometime will be one of the most dreaded and painful disease of our time. One very notable action of the parents here was that they’re always honest about the illness with their son, and during his last operation Masato, the father, took his son alone and the two of them talked about the operation and he gave Nao the decision whether to undergo the surgery or not. I especially love that the film focused on the relationship between father and son; it is very rare that we see that in any movie. But then again, leave it to the Japanese writers and movie makers to always be the pioneer in putting forward an original story.
For an avid Takizawa Hideaki fan like myself, it is really something new to see Tackey playing the role of a father, and he did it so magnificently. Goodness, he sent me bawling like a baby when he cried so piteously after Masato and Nao’s conversation by the camp fire. It was also wonderful to see Kyoko Fukada and Tackey working together again, they make a real cute couple. I loved them on Strawberry on the Shortcake and I adore them in his dorama. They look good as teenage lovers and they work well as a married couple. I wonder if there was ever some truth to the rumors that they used to go out together?
Oh and I especially would like to put 1001 kudos to Takei Akashi who played Kisaki Naoya; this boy is just the greatest! I am a bonafide fan from this day onward! I cannot even begin to say how great his acting was, you just have to see it for yourself. This boy is a genius!
Now, my only regret on this film is that I can only understand half of what was being said, my Nihongo just isn’t that good yet to allow me to understand all the nuisances of the language. I have to settle for watching the RAW or non-subtitled version of the film as I cannot find an English subtitled version but even then I shed buckets upon buckets of tears while watching this movie. Imagine how much more would have cried if I can understand everything Nao was saying to his parents during their last time together. Perhaps I wouldn’t have stopped crying from beginning to end if I were able to understand everything. I really wish someone, some good-hearted fansub group would actually take the time to work on this film.