Remembering 2017 part 9: In this Corner of the World

Kono-Sekai-1

In this Corner of the World had an extremely limited release in my home country, screening on far fewer screens than most of the other anime films that made it to our shores this year. And I honestly hope that every one of them was sold out. In the contemporary world where technology keeps the effects of war so far from the minds of most people in the advanced countries that benefit the most from the global arms trade, it is ever more important that we realise the terrible effect that conflict has on the people living within in.

Personally, I’d like to highlight one moment in the film, a moment that stuck with me because of my deep interest in Japanese politics over the last seven years. Towards the end of the film, Suzu and her family gather around the radio to hear Emperor Hirohito announce Japan’s surrender. The extremely formal language he used is not immediately understood—something we were amused by when we covered the war in class. But Suzu’s reaction jumped out at me. Instead of being happy that the war was over, she was angry, angry because she was still willing to fight, and angry that the losses they’d suffered had been so very much in vain.

That scene drove home to me one of the reasons why wars, once started, are so devastating. If we think about them logically, then many leaders would probably set a limit as to what the country as a whole would be willing to lose, and try to reach some kind of settlement once it hits that point. But for those who have lost something or someone significant, there is no relief. The sense of defeat, that emptiness of having accomplished nothing, only intensifies the pain of that gaping hole in your life. This is why humans continue fights that they cannot win. Once you’ve invested so much, victory may be hollow, but a clear loss is still far, far worse.

The lesson that we should learn from that seems to be clear…but is it already too late for many of the conflicts in our world today? The film itself ends on a hopeful note: no matter how much we lose, we can keep on living with the loved ones we still have. I can only hope that enough people in those war zones today will have that chance.

About karice
MAG fan, freelance translator and political scientist-in-training. I also love musicals, travel and figure skating!

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