HOLD MY HAND (TEO TSUNAIDE KAEROUYO)
Director: Yoko Narahashi
Production Company: United Performers Studio, 2016
Having another career as a prominent Japanese casting director in many Hollywood blockbusters, from ‘Babel’, ‘Memoirs of a Geisha’ to ’The Last Samurai’, ’47 Ronin’ and ‘The Wolverine’, director Yoko Narahashi referred as a Japan’s gatekeeper to Hollywood.
Also listed as a producer (‘Emperor’ & ‘The Last Samurai’), actress and even screenwriter, ‘Hold My Hand’ (Teo Tsunaide Kaerouyo = Hold my Hand and Take me Home) is her third directorial feature after ‘Winds of God’ (1995; won Special Jury Prize in Yubari International Fantastic Film Festival in 1993) and ‘Waiting for the Sun’ (2008).
‘Hold My Hand’ is more like a labor of love for Narahashi over her long-span friendship with the screenwriter, Masayuki Imai (‘Winds of God’ was also based on his play), who passed awazy when in the movie casting process. Masayuki Imai himself was supposed to star in the film but the role goes to the actor Jay Kabira as his condition deteriorated.
The film tells the story of Makoto (Jay Kabira), who suffers from a slight learning disability that causes him to be bullied and humiliated since high school days. Later married to a high school best friend with similar affliction, Sakura (Nanami), Makoto fell into crime activities in attempts to protect Sakura. Years later, Makoto sets up a journey to recall his promise of the honeymoon he never had with Sakura and meets Reiko (Sumire) along the way, as the twist of fate begins to reveal itself.