The Japanese Wife
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Top Customer Reviews
It all begins when Snehomoy is a student in Serampore College, living in a hostel,preparing for his graduation. Too shy to make friends among his "too-active" classmates, he writes a letter to a woman in Japan he finds in a magazine under the `pen friends' section. The reply arrives in a month which results in a friendship between two people who doesn't share a common language, does not share a common culture, and are yet compelled to communicate with the aid of dictionaries in a foreign language, often with hilarious results.
It would probably have continued in this vein if it hadn't been for Snehomoy's aunt's (Moushumi Chatterjee) adopted daughter Sandhya (Raima Sen).
She is brought to their house because the widowed aunt, who had brought Snehomoy up, is trying to find a prospective bride for her nephew. When Snehomoy writes to Miyagi about her, as he does about every important and unimportant event, a letter arrives that changes the course of his life.
In this particular letter Miyagi offers herself to him as his bride.
After weighing the matter over for some time, Snehamoy finally agrees to Miyagi's proposal. Tokens are exchanged between the two, making them man and wife. She sends him a silver wedding ring with her name engraved on it. He sends her a pair of conch shell bangles and a packet of vermillion powder - the traditional signs of marriage among Bengali women.Read more ›
Fortunately, though, the story is fairly simple, a combination of 84 Charing Cross Road and Marty (1954). A young Indian man begins a pen-pal correspondence with a young Japanese woman. They write in English, the only language they have in common, and their relationship soon grows into something rather powerful. Indeed, after a few years, she suggests they marry, which they do. Sort of. They still have not met at this time and are not able to afford to do so in order to get married, so each simply honors the marriage in his or her heart. This matter is facilitated by the fact that both characters are extremely shy and seem to find courage, freedom, and, indeed, love in their writing--which is odd in that neither is especially proficient at English.
Most of the movie is set in India, and the flavor of the film is one of its charms. The setting is as much a character as any of the humans, and it is used to good effect. But the heart of the film is ultimately very human, and it includes a love story as potent as any in my recent memory.
Oh and just to show how much I respected and loved this very odd film, I ordered two copies to be shared with two friends.
Aparna Sen needs no introduction, her movies have been great and I have managed to see almost all of them, 36 Chowringhee Lane and Mr. and Mrs. Iyer are personal favorites. The Japanese Wife may seem as an oddball film for many viewers will equally satisfy many of them.
Snehamoy (Rahul Bose) is a shy math teacher in a small rural town who takes up writing to an equally shy pen pal Miyage (Chigusa Takaku) in Japan. Little do they know that their relationship would soon blossom and they would become husband and wife. Poverty and circumstances prevent them for meeting each other for 15 years but their communication is frequent and love stronger than ever. A young widow Raima Sen ends up taking refuge at Snehamoy's house at the insistence of his aunt played by Moshmi Chatterjee and she is quietly attracted to him. Snehamoy remains fully committed to his Japanese wife. The movie ending was one of the most ironic and heartbreaking that I have seen in recent times.
Rahul Bose was great as the shy teacher. Moushmi Chatterjee makes a welcome return and Raima Sen and Chigusa Takaku both manage to play their difficult roles with ease. The photography was great and the Sunderbans look beautiful, it is hard to imagine that such pristine places still exist in India. The only grouse that I had was the poor film transfer to DVD, it seems that one is watching an old VHS tape and could be the reason for many people hating the movie. I enjoyed the film. Four stars 1/15/10
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Nice show. Slow pace and thoughtful. Unusual to match two different cultures (Indian and Japanese), but this show did it well. Read morePublished 24 months ago by rushin2
This movie, I think, is well done. I loved how it travels between two different worlds. Does make me wonder if this could really happen, but the idea of it is amazing to me. Read morePublished on May 26, 2014 by Shell
This is an unusual movie, very sensitive, touching and entertaining, even though it describes a relationship that is virtually impossible to imagine in this century.Published on January 6, 2013 by locust
This movie was stupid. An indian guy never met Japanese woman by face to face...only called on the telephone before he died. Lame!Published on June 1, 2011 by polaroid seeker
Don't be fooled by the lighthearted start of "The Japanese Wife"! Its protagonists - a shy, bumbling Bengali math teacher and a reclusive young Japanese woman - appear weightless... Read morePublished on December 13, 2010 by Jean E. Pouliot