Directed by Isshin Inudou, Yellow Tears (Kiiroi Namida) is a 2007 Japanese film based on a manga by Shinji Nagashima about the pursuit of dreams of five friends. The five members of J-pop band Arashi star as young men living in Tokyo in the summer of 1963 who have decided to spend the next few months focusing completely on their goals until they become successful in their respective crafts. But surely life can’t be that simple right?
Title: Yellow Tears
Other Names: 黄色い涙 (Kiiroi Namida)
Director: Isshin Inudou
Cast: Kazunari Ninomiya, Sho Sakurai, Masaki Aiba, Satoshi Ono, Jun Matsumoto, Yu Kashii, Hirotaro Honda, Hanae Kan, Chieko Matsubara, Mariko Miyamitsu, Kotaro Shiga, Kin Sugai, Tomoko Tabata, Mai Takahashi
Running Time: 2hrs 8mins
Yellow Tears wasn’t one of those movies that stood out for me. I passed it a few times, but I never actually considered it as material to be added to my “Asian movies to watch” list. I recognised the actors in it, who form the JPop boy band Arashi (which I’m not a fan of, but I have come across them when watching Japanese programs), but I wasn’t jumping with joy or anything, like why would I ever consider watching a movie who’s cast is made up of the Back Street Boys (or some younger boy band…as you can guess I’m not an avid listener of pop, so I wouldn’t know of any boy bands of today’s youths)? Anyway, I happen to come across a review of the movie, and that plot did seem somewhat intriguing to me. I also found out that Yu Kashii was in this, I don’t know about you but that pretty much sold it for me.
Yellow Tears, based on the classic manga by Nagashima Shinji, is a nostalgic film takes the audience back to the 1960s Tokyo with a moving story about youth, friendship, and the pursuit of dreams. The compelling coming-of-age drama tells the story of five young men who have developed a strong friendship. There is the protagonist Eisuke (Ninomiya Kazunari) the aspiring manga artist, Ryuzo (Sakurai Sho) a novelist, Kei (Ono Satoshi) a painter, Shoichi (Masaki Aiba) an aspiring singer, and Yuji (Matsumoto Jun) who does deliveries. Each is in Tokyo in order to find their goal in life over the summer months. But when things don’t end up going their way, they find themselves living under the same roof. What will become of their goals in life?
It starts off with Eisuke who, with the help of his three friends, manages to get his sick mother to a hospital, by impersonating doctors, with the hopes of her being treated. I guess this shows us how strong the relationships between the characters are.
The summer has begun, and the four characters decide to pursue their dreams and be successful. Which would seem like a reasonable thing to do if you have talent, which they do, but the post-war-era didn’t really present the opportunities for our four friends, and very soon, they end up living together in an unbelievably small studio apartment. Short on money and neither with a job, they go to desperate measures in order to survive each day. But this doesn’t stop any of them from giving up on their dreams. They continue to do what they do best in the hopes of making it big. Eisuke, realizing the situation they are in, takes it upon himself to make life easier by getting a job, but without him, what sort of antics will the other three friends get up to? Nothing too crazy it turns out, but it is entertaining.
A lot more happens, but I don’t want to spoil it for anyone who hasn’t seen it yet. As you may or may not know, Arashi (the boy band in this movie) consists of five people; so far I’ve only mentioned four characters. All five are actually in this movie, however one of them doesn’t have anywhere near as much screen time as the rest, but, later on in the movie, is a friend that helps out our struggling gang. Each character has their own little side plot going on, but collectively the movie provides great entertainment with subtle touches of comedy to keep its viewers from boredom.
I only picked up Kiiroi Namida because I was bored and it had actors that I knew in it. Also I wasn’t expecting much because the actors in question were members of the JPop group Arashi. But what to do when you’re bored, right. Anyway, the movie didn’t turn out that bad. Although it the main cast is the boy band Arashi, the movie does not really have anything to do with the music industry (except for one of the characters), which is what I was expecting. Instead its one of those laid back, lazy Sunday type movies.
If you’re looking for a fast action packed flick with unthinkable plot twists, I suggest you look elsewhere. Kiiroi Namida doesn’t fit into that category. In fact I would say it is the complete opposite, which is why I found it enjoyable. Slow movies like this seem to appeal to me actually. I guess its probably reflects on how lazy I am, but I think that it’s a breath of fresh air when compared to many of the movies that have been released. Sometimes all you want a simple story where you don’t have think about twists and turns throughout the movie, a story that looks into the lives of it’s characters and gives us a chance to reflect on our own. Yellow Tears is that movie. I’m not too sure how Tokyo was in the 60’s, but you could say this movie is an insight into the struggles that many were faced with during that period.
Overall this movie is consists of a unique, down to earth plot, with good touches of humour here and there, and an interesting mix of characters. I also think because the main actors are in a sense amateurs, it provides more realism to the movie.
I give this a 7/10.
Check out the official site for Yellow Tears!
You can buy Yellow Tears from Yes Asia.
You can buy Yellow Tears from Amazon.
You can buy Yellow Tears from Yes-Asia.