An Encounter with 'My Japanese Niece'

AS Usham. *

Yu Asada of 'My Japanese Niece'

Yu Asada of 'My Japanese Niece'
Pix - Lawrence

I must be nothing less than one of the biggest movie lovers on this planet. And I find many Japanese movies much more than a couple of hours filled with cheap thrills or fantasy. I say this because many of them beautifully portray the beauty of Samurai's ways of life to take home and ponder and re-ponder upon.

But, their beauty does not end there. It shows in their other genres of movies too. That was partly the reason why when MSAD, a student body in Delhi organized an interaction program with actors and the director of "My Japanese Niece" I decided not to miss it. How could I?

It was one nice sunlit winter afternoon. The Delhi traffic had already done some damage on our expected time of reaching the place. And when we made it finally the first view was enough to catch anybody's breath.

There in the soft winter sun stood a beauty of a girl in all smiles and shining glory; fair, black haired, medium heighted and clad in one neat traditional Meitei dress. She looked more Meitei than those chanus from Kangleipak by her side.

Her smile was intoxicating; more so with the knowledge at the back of my head that she was a Japanese girl and not a Meitei, or even more so at the tremendous ease the traditional Meitei dress had transformed her into one among us. She was Yu Asada.

By her side was the other Japanese seasoned actor, Junichi Kajioka, who was to play the role of the uncle in the movie. Our very own Mohen Naorem was there too. Everybody was excited and discussed on many aspects of the movie in glee.

The flowers in the Delhi University lawn was witness to the wonderful time we shared with those beautiful people that afternoon under the honey-sweet winter sun. We expect a good movie for sure.

Many blame the Japanese army for their atrocities during WW II. Hollywood has abundant portrayal of how the allied forces were so damn goody-good and how the Japanese and Germans were so damn bad. Though the action sequences have always been spectacular, the portrayal of eternal moral superiority can't any longer hold much water.

Nothing comes perfectly white or completely black: everything comes in between as different shades of grey. That is one reason why many, including yours truly yearn for stories from the other side of the fence.

Again, with how many Manipuri films have been doing, this new venture holds a lot of promises and potentials for a new life. It can give a new life, and a new turn.

With this movie, the stories our elders tell of their Japanese encounters during the war will partly come to life. Here is my best of wishes to the young Manipuri director into his venture, to the seasoned actor in his foray into a place called Manipur and to the young Japanese beauty who stole many hearts. I am pre-booking my ticket for the show.

* AS Usham wrote this article for
The writer can be contacted at ushamas(at)rediffmail(dot)com
This article was webcasted on January 17, 2013.


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