The Face of Jizo


It begins with Mitsue (Rie Miyazawa), a young librarian, rushing home in a thunderstorm, frightened out of her wits. Her terror, we soon see, is a product of the war, particularly the atomic bombing of Hiroshima, which she barely survived.

She lives with her father, Takezo (Yoshio Harada), in their bombed-out house, now partly repaired. Dad is her confessor, adviser and friend, the only one she can tell about her fears, dreams and past. Most of her friends and family died in the bombing – including Dad.

That Dad is with her only in spirit doesn’t faze her. He looks, acts and talks like one of the living. But, as befits a ghost no longer bound by selfish earthly concerns, he is interested only in her problems. Particularly her budding relationship with the shy, bespectacled Kinoshita (Tadanobu Asano), who is researching the bombing and wants Mitsue’s help – and possibly slightly more than that.

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