Ohana Matsumae, a 16 years old high school girl raised by an irresponsible single mother, is sent to her unknown grandmother’s. Because her mother ran off with a sleazy dude. So, Ohana is delusional, claims to be a biracial girl, fathered by an unknown American soldier stationed in Japan with a Japanese female jazz singer. Yes, an abandoned child idealizing missing parents, just like Dreams From My Father was about young Obama’s delusion. Oh, maybe she wants to be like BENI, a famous biracial singer from Japan.
Yet, reality is, she’s just another Tokyo girl, not a biracial. That itself is harsh reality. And then, what’s more, she’s abandoned, so she moves to the countryside to live with her grandma in Kissuisou, an inn her grandma runs. There, a sweet little sixteen faces 3-D cruelty. In other words, she gets christened with Japan’s work society. She encounters power abuse, verbal abuse, corporal punishment, sexual harassment, sweatshop working conditions, and all of these are business as usual.
And angry Ohana protests that, as any American would do, but their attitude is, “That’s how it is…” Typical response of ippanjin (average people). Notorious kotonakare-shugi (事なかれ主義), the principle of conceding anything to avoid trouble.
This anime has made me utterly resentful. Dehumanization of workers is like the colonizer abusing the colonized, yes, whipping slaves in cotton fields. Even in the 21st century, this sh@t still happens in Japan, especially to precariat.
And unfortunately, the whole Japan is like this. A rigid seniority system still runs amok. Though they know it’s not right at their heart, they’re like, “I also went through hazing when I was a greenhorn, so deal with it.” That’s what company’s senpai would tell you. And Kissuisou symbolizes the obsolete Japanese feudalism work ethics. Individual rights are easily trampled upon in Japan on a daily basis. Unless there’s the Second Coming of General Douglas MacArthur, there’s no way Japan would change. There’s no way you can enjoy as an grownup, so better go to 2-D instead. See how many Japanese young people are taking refuge in 2-D!
So, I would like to see Ohana take this matter to court, and punish these evil doers. Send me a jury duty letter! We will make these bastards all guilty. Especially I would like to see her grandma lose her business license. She MUST pay the price for her wrongdoings. Maybe court wouldn’t even bother to hear Ohana’s case, yeah, after all it’s Japan. So, the best way for her is to move out of the land of oppressed like I did.
Yes, it’s true that Japan is the most democratic state in Asia, I wouldn’t even need to bring up China to make that point, but compared to the United States and Western Europe, it’s way too backward. Who would be proud of this country? Ohana should get out as quick as possible, or otherwise, she’ll lose her opportunity forever and trapped in this absurdity like Sisyphus.
May Day is around the corner, so we should celebrate this coming May Day! To Ohana! To her freedom!