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Satoshi Tsumabuki: Film ‘A Man’ rescued my life

Posted August. 28, 2023 08:25,   

Updated August. 28, 2023 08:33


“A Man,” a Japanese film that garnered eight titles in the Japanese Academy Film Prize, will premiere in South Korea this Wednesday. This thriller film asks philosophical questions about names and identities. “Film ‘A Man’ rescued my life," said Satoshi Tsumabuki, who plays the main character Kido.

In the film, Rie (Sakura Ando), a widow, asks Kido (Satoshi Tsumabuki), a lawyer, to look into the life of her husband who was killed in an accident, after she happens to be told that his life including his name was not real. The film is based on a novel of the same name by Keiichiro Hirano, the film that was awarded the 70th Yomiuri Prize for Literature.

The theme of this film is “johatsu" or evaporation that refers to people choosing to go missing at will – one of the most serious social issues in Japan. The story focuses on a man who changes his names, identity, family, and jobs overnight to wear a new identity.

Kido, who traces Daisuke changing his identities to start over a new life of someone else, also wants to hide his identity as a 3rd generation Korean Japanese. He possesses a multifaceted personality from a sweet father being nice to his son to a short-tempered man getting so angry at minor things to a husband leading a happy family but being somewhat at odds with his wife.

Tsumabuki said in a press conference held at Lotte Cinema Konkuk University branch in South Korea on Friday, “The original author of the novel mentions ‘Dividualism,’ a way of seeing persons as having different faces according to whom they are faced with. Kido is a great example.” He added that respecting different personas in each individual gives us an opportunity to take a different look at life, which actually rescued him.

“A Man” swept the 46th Japan Academy Film Prize in March, winning eight categories including Best Picture, Best Director, and Best Actor. It was also selected as the closing film of the 27th Busan International Film Festival last year.

Ji-Sun Choi aurinko@donga.com