Changing families

Source:AFP Published: 2018/5/20 17:08:39


Mamoru Hosoda Photo: IC


Mamoru Hosoda is one of the greats of Japanese animation, whose films like The Boy and the Beast and The Girl who Leapt Through Time are seen as modern classics.

But he admits he wasn't the greatest father in the world to his first child. And his wife told him so.

"When my son was born I was working on The Boy and the Beast and I was hardly at home. I relied an awful lot on my wife," Hosoda told AFP as he premiered his charming new movie Mirai, My Little Sister at the Cannes film festival.

"My wife still says that she brought my son up on her own. So she said to me, 'Are you going to be the same for the second child?'

"That really made me think. I wanted to bring up the children, so I changed," said the director whose films regularly top the box office in Japan and beyond.

The result is Mirai, a hilarious study of overstretched parents and toddler temper tantrums that came out of the time Hosoda tried to work at home after the birth of his daughter.

"A lot of what you see in the film really happened," Hosoda admitted, "especially after our second child was born. The stuff between the children and the conversations between the couple are very close to our experience."

Indeed, the antics of the film's 4-year-old hero, Kun, who is sent into a spiral of jealousy by the arrival of his little sister, will ring bells with most parents.

As will the strains parenthood can put on couples, as the architect father agrees to work from home while the busy executive mother tries to make up for lost time at work.

Trying not to fight in front of the children is one thing, but we should not lie to them either, Hosoda believes.

"If in the film you see the parents saying what they really think in some situations, it is because I did not want to lie to children. I wanted them to know what adults think. Maybe that is why it amuses the grown-ups so much," he said.

"If you want children to trust you, you should not lie to them. Long ago parents played the role of being the parent. Today that game no longer works, because the family has changed a lot.

"Japan may seem like a conservative country but the roles within a couple, and what constitutes a family, are changing."


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