© 2010 Sosuke Natsukawa / Shogakukan
“The Chart of Love” is based on a best-selling novel by practicing physician, Sosuke Natsukawa. It is directed by the much in demand Yoshihiro Fukagawa and features two of the most sought-after actors in Japanese film - Sho Sakurai (“Yatterman”) and Aoi Miyazaki (“The Great Passage”). They are reinforced by an inspired supporting performance by A-list actor, Tatsuya Fujiwara (“Death Note”, “Shield of Straw”). Set in the pristine setting of Shinshu (Nagano Prefecture), the film is rich with sublime visuals and sound.
Working tirelessly at Honjo Hospital in Shinshu at the foot of the Japanese Alps, doctor Ichito Kurihara (Sho Sakurai) looks forward to a welcome change in his life, the birth of his first child with wife, Haruna (Aoi Miyazaki). The couple lives in a traditional-style boarding house with the landlord and full-time painter, dubbed “The Baron” (Taizo Harada) and a new boarder, college student Yakusugi (Gaku Hamada), who brings a breath of fresh air to their domestic lives.
One day at work, Ichito welcomes an elite, full-time doctor to the hospital and is surprised to find him to be an old university friend from med school, Tatsuya Shindo (Tatsuya Fujiwara), once acknowledged as “the Conscience of Medicine.” But Ichito’s joyful reunion is short-lived when he sees that Tatsuya is not the man he once knew. Tatsuya leaves work the moment the clock signals the end to his shift, and refuses to respond to any calls afterwards. Ichito, who himself has grown accustomed to sacrificing his own personal life for the care of patients, doubts Tatsuya’s attitude. When Tatsuya refuses to accede to a nurse’s plea to tend to a patient before leaving the hospital, an aggravated Ichito pours coffee over his head to “wake him up.” Tatsuya calmly responds. “What constitutes a good doctor? Someone like you who always works and never has time for his family? What kind of marriage is that?” The attitude reflects Tatsuya’s problems with his own wife, Chinatsu (Kazue Fukiishi), a doctor herself.
When Ichito’s lifelong mentor and internal medicine chief at the hospital, Dr. Nukita (Akira Emoto), collapses due to fatigue, he notices that the incident ironically affords Nukita and his wife, Chiyo (Yoshie Ichige), time they haven’t had together in years even though it must be spent in a hospital. Like Ichito, Nukita has dedicated his life to treating patients, and Chiyo has done nothing but provide unquestionable support. In contrast, Tatsuya and Chinatsu struggle over the choice of work or family while Ichito and Haruna, themselves, prepare for the birth of a child and the start of a family.
Ichito anguishes over his failing friendship with Tatsuya whose humanistic dedication to medicine he once admired, lamenting that he doesn’t have time for his wife. He worries that Dr. Nukita, after whom he has patterned his own life, may not have long for this world. But it is Nukita who ultimately provides some light as he prepares to pass on his compilation of his work to Ichito: “Despite my fate,” Nukita beams, “I have great hope. In the two of you.” Will Ichito and Tatsuya be able to return the favor?
- FUKAGAWA Yoshihiro
- Original Story
- NATSUKAWA Sosuke
- KAWADA Takahiro
- GOTO Noriko
- KAWABE Takayuki
- YAMADA Kosuke
- Sound Recording
- HAYASHI Daisuke
- Japan Release Date
- Running time
- 116 min