This was an extremely painful movie for me to watch because I and my siblings were raised by by mother when my father passed away when I was very young. In the movie, the father was accused of being a Communist by the Imperial Japanese government during the time of the Second World War, incarcerated, and eventually he dies in prison without ever being allowed to see his daughters. It was a very emotional experience watching a mother raising her kids and all the challenges she and kids faced because it reminded me of some of the events of my own childhood.
Like the Grave of the Fireflies movie, one can see the devastating effect of war on children. Kayo Nogami (Sayuri Yoshinaga) finds herself raising her two daughters in the midst of a war when her husband is accused of being a traitor for opposing Japan’s imperial ambitions. While she gets some help from her husband’s student (Toru Yamazaki played by Tadanoby Asano), her fellow citizens are barely supportive and her father disowns her marrying a man who does not support the Emperor.
While it was one of the saddest movies to watch, it is also a sweet movie showing the tightly knit mother and daughter. Things turn out fine for the two girls as they become professionals but Kayo never forgets her husband and does not stop missing her till her last breath. Strongly recommended.