Japan - A Story of Love and Hate BBC Documentary - video dailymotion
Yoshie and Naokie in Japan: a Story of Love and Hate Photo: BBC There are, of course, many ways to attract viewers' attention in television documentaries. Everything in Naoki's life – job, finances, relationship – was. Japan: a Story of Love and Hate (Monday, BBC Four) began with a shot of Everything in Naoki's life – job, finances, relationship – was teetering on the Here was a rare case of a documentary that worked on two levels. JAPAN: A STORY OF LOVE AND HATE. Sean McAllister. Japan/GB, Documentaries, 59min, OmeU Tenfoot Films BBC, NHK Japan It is a strangely symbiotic relationship – “She hates me, I need her”, Naoki laments –, but somehow.
But she and Naoki no longer talked themselves. All you could guess from her tabula rasa face was that she despised him and you would guess wrong. What was splendid about Naoki was that this instinctive dissident in a congenitally conformist society had an albeit mordant sense of humour.
Everywhere he took us, tragedy and comedy jostled for the foreground. Naoki had a friend called Mr Mushroom Man because he obsessively picked wild mushrooms. But Mushroom Man also had his tale. His brother, crushed by a business culture of bullying, was among the 30, Japanese who kill themselves each year. McAllister, however, had had intimate conversations with both men and saw a chance for them to connect over a shared gift of Viagra. At first this peace offering looked like a shocking breach of etiquette, but the gesture opened things no end.
Suddenly Naoki had a family again. The film produced a true and unexpected insight.
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Instead of going to Japan to look for answers, the West might credit itself with having worked out, in the past few decades, some of its own.
After living in Japan for two years, McAllister was getting nowhere in his efforts to make a revealing documentary about the country.
Depressed and drinking too much the film began with him jogging, out of breath and sweating profusely, delivering a desperate monologue to camerahe had almost given up — until he met Naoki, 56, a part-time postal worker. A thin wall away from homelessness, Naoki lived in what was laughably described as a one-room apartment.
In reality it was more like a windowless, strip-lit box. She worked 15 hours a day in three jobs, the worst being as a hired date for married businessmen. It was sleazy and bleak, and obviously pained her greatly. Returning home from drunken evenings, she would often berate Naoki before falling asleep from a cocktail of booze and sleeping pills. We never even saw them kiss. And yet, rather than wallow in self-pity, Naoki regarded his situation with a kind of hard-won irreverence.
Within a society shamed by a shockingly high suicide rate, Naoki refused to be destroyed by his relentlessly unrewarding work-cycle and seemingly hopeless prospects.
Japan - A Story of Love and Hate BBC Documentary
It was this, plus the affectionate interplay between McAllister and Naoki, that gave the film its heart. Naoki used to have everything — his own business, a six-bedroom house and a flashy car — but lost it all in the crash of the early Nineties.
Divorced three times, he now lives with his girlfriend, year-old Yoshie, who works 15 hours a day to support him. Her three jobs include evening work in a sleazy bar where she is paid to flirt with and flatter rich, married men. At his age the only work he can find is a part-time job in a post office. Both suffer from depression and Naoki admits that they do not have sex.
Japan: A Story Of Love And Hate (reviews) | Sean McAllister
Their troubled relationship makes compelling viewing. For three-time divorcee Naoki. While Naoki works only part-time, Yoshie works 15 hours a day, including as a hostess at a club. She comes home drunk every night hostesses are expected to drink with the customers and ridicules Naoki for his lack of money.
Naoki is impotent, and their relationship is cold and dysfunctional. Naoki keeps a collection of about 50 pairs of glasses that Yoshie has broken.
They stay together because Naoki has somehow convinced Yoshie that she needs him for protection. I had several problems with this documentary. In addition to the bouncy, headache-inducing, Bourne Ultimatum-worthy camera work, Japan: At first I figured documentarian Sean McAllister was a reliable expert since he talks with a British accent. But about five minutes into the film, I realized it would have a very narrow focus.
The film begins with McAllister jogging through his town in rural Yamagata Prefecture. McAllister portrays the Japanese as cold, hostile people. McAllister himself accurately describes Naoki's workplace as "communism pretending to be capitalism.
Naoki's story is not typical, although McAllister presents it as such. In one scene, McAllister visits Yoshie's family's home. Yoshie's family lives in a small, but decent, house that is typical of the Japanese working class outside of the big cities. In another scene, Naoki and McAllister visit the home of one Mr.
Mushroom Man whose brother committed suicide due to the pressures of Japanese work. Mushroom Man also lives in a nice house that appears upper middle class. Naoki's lifestyle isn't even typical in the film that purports it as such. The film does accurately portray the Japanese workplace. As is typical in Japan, Naoki finds it almost impossible to re-enter the workforce in his 50s in anything other than a bottom-rung position.
One of Naoki's coworkers has been hospitalized for depression, and another of his coworkers spends his breaks sleeping on the floor because he is so exhausted. Every day begins with radio calisthenics.
Naoki's bosses give daily pep talks that inspire more resentment than encouragement, which are typical in Japan's top-down work culture.
Overall, the film suffers from presenting a rare case as typical.