Dying at a Hospital (1993) - full transcript

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Produced by
The Japanese Worker's Union Collective
Opt Communications, Inc.

Space Mu Co., Ltd.
Shufu no Tomo Co., Ltd.
Television Tokyo Channel 12, Ltd.

Sincere thanks go to the many persons appearing
in the documentary segments. - Jun Ichikawa

From the book by Fumio Yamazaki
Directed by Jun Ichikawa


Awake already'?
Good morning.

Good morning.

Is that because your wife
will join you today?

Old people wake up early.

It rained last night.

- What's that?
- A stag beetle.

Where did you get that?


Excuse us.
Here's Mrs Kawamura.

- Welcome.
- So, I've come.

- You like this room?
- Be quiet.

- Cool, isn't it?
- You okay?

The hospital staff are kind.

A relief for Mom, too.

She hasn't been examined yet.

You look well.

We bought it for you.
It was expensive.

Don't tell him that!

A music box!

A music box...

What's this tune?

You know, a canon.

We picked the nicest one for you.


Take one more.

Give grandma new slippers.

This is better for you.

I suppose you're tired.
Please go back to bed.

I'll take her to her bed.

What's this?

Have a peek.

A stag beetle?

It's strong!

Look, Mom, a stag beetle.

Yes, it is.
He likes insects a lot.

Where was it?

Where did you find it?

At that window.

Unusual, isn't it?

Excuse us.

How do you feel?

Nice weather.

- Did you sleep well?
- So so.

May I?

You have a full belly.
Trouble with your stool?

We'll add more laxative, then.

You look well.

So, the two are together.

Hello again.
Have you calmed down somewhat?

- Yes, thanks.
- That's good.

You have a shadow here.

Can you see?

Which of Tokyo's 23 wards
can surprise you...

because the laundry there
dries so fast?

A ward where the laundry
dries so fast...?

Let's see...

- Edogawa Ward?
- No.

It's not Minato Ward, is it?



Not Suginami Ward?

Not Setagaya either?

What about Shibuya?

Not Bunkyo either?

Not Toshima?


Arakawa Ward, then.

Right! Because its name sounds like...

"Oh, it's drying so fast!"

Yes, it sounds like it!


Maybe I'll free the stag beetle...


Mr Kawamura had colon cancer,
his wife, lung cancer.

Our hospital couldn't
handle lung cancer,

so we transferred Mrs Kawamura
to another hospital.

Thus they had to be separated
to receive treatment.

Mr Kawamura fell lonely.

so he moved to a six-bed ward.

Excuse us, this is Mr Noguchi,
your new roommate. He came today.

Your bed's here.
You'll be near the window.

Let me introduce you.

Mr Kobashi.

- He's Mr Noguchi.
- Noguchi, pleased to meet you.

He's a musician.

And Mr Kimura.

Mr Hashimoto, not hungry?

Hang on.
He's Mr Noguchi.

Shall I get changed?

- How's your bed?
- It's okay.

I know! I'll phone my office

Starting today, eh?

Did you sleep well last night?

Let me examine you.

We'll examine you first,

to know how well you can take...

the operation you'll have.

We may operate on you the
19th of this month.

I should've eaten pork soup
and onion tempura.

You want to eat such things?

- Why not?
- You can't here.

- Does this hurt?
- Yes, a little.

- How about this?
- No, not at all.

You are getting better.

Can I walk now?

You still have a fever.

You'd better wait till it improves.

Shall I raise you?

Walking helps you get well faster.

Some refuse to walk even
a week after their operation.

- I'd like to go to the roof.
- Good idea.

Our garden here looks nice.

Do you like taking walks?

Yes. I don't like being inactive.

I suggest you walk briskly.

Take care of yourself.

How do you feel?

Today you can leave the hospital.

Thanks very much.

A gift!

- So much medicine!
- Indeed.

Eat easily digestible food.

- Take your medicine.
- I will.

Shall we go?

Thank you for everything.
Take care of yourself.

He seemed to be
recovering so well,

I couldn't tell him the truth.

How could we tell him...

he had cancer,
when he looked so active?

I knew he'd be back soon,

but I thought it senseless
to worry him...

with the truth,
when he was so vigorous.

I see.

Is that so?

Yes, it is.


It is hot.

Where do you live?

In a house near the highway.
It's so noisy there.

Still, it's my own house.

What a nice breeze!

He seldom worked,
he just kept drinking all day.

Yet he made me bear as many
as three kids.

Then he spat out blood and died.

You had a hard time.

Back then, her husband
was only 12.

My youngest was one year old.

How old was the middle one...?

- How are you?
- Wm; Shinji!

- For you. - Thanks. What is it?
- Pickles.

Silly! I can't eat yet.

I ran from the cops.

Are you still doing things like that?

- No more accidents, please.
- Worry about yourself.

- It's hot.
- It sure is.

My eldest son here's getting
more and more like...

my late husband.
How embarrassing!

Was he that good-looking?

It feels good.

You read books like this?

My kids brought it for me.

Until now, I've never had
the time to read.

I've done everything to live
but steal.

I've led the lowest kind of life.

But at least I managed to
bring up three kids.

And finally, just when
I thought I could relax,

I find myself with a stomach ulcer.

Luck is against me, eh?

Mr Kawamura, it's ready.

- You all right?
- I'm OK.

- Anything wrong?
- I'm fine.

Your lymph node is fighting off germs,
and it's making your legs swell up.

- It's nothing serious.
- Is that so?

When I was young,
people praised me...

for having strong leg muscles.

I was an athlete.
Iran the 3,000 and...

1,500 metre races.

By the way, does it hurt?

Sometimes it hurts a lot,
but I can take it...>

because of the medicine
you give me.

- To your wife again?
- Yes.

A regular service.

It hurts.

It hurts...

Be quiet.

Be quiet.

I haven't improved much.

Oh? Is that what you think?

Maybe in my condition,
I'm not up to it...

but I wish I could see my wife...
just once more.

I want to see Hideko...

while I can still walk.

As his family,

we want to respect
Father's wishes.

Mother can't move anymore,

so we think it best to
take him to see her,

while he can still walk at least.

You want him to see her,
but you're worried about them.

It's not easy to give you
a definite answer, though.

But as for letting your father
see your mother,

I think... if you postpone it now...

we'll have to discuss it again like this.

And, when I consider their situation,

I guess now is the time,
while he's still able.

Doctor, whether or not you agree,

we've already decided to do it.

Very well.
I'll think about it.

Maybe Mother will be happy,
if he shows up so abruptly.

- I'll think about it.
- Please do.

Mr Kawamura

Your husband's here.

You all right?

Toshiaki! You are here, too?

Mother, he's Toshiaki.
Do you know him?

We can see an ad balloon
again in the sky...

How I remember that song!

Yes, I remember it, too.

That I could meet you...

in my life...

I'm grateful for it.

Their reunion only lasted
30 minutes,

but we're glad we took
him to see her.

It'll be tough.

- Your operation?
- Day after tomorrow?

I've already had two operations.

- I'm tired of it.
- You came when?

- Let's see... last July.
- July?

Here four months already?

- That's pretty long.
- It was hot then.

I had a dream about making
Chinese cabbage pickles.

Women are like that.

We can't just stay doing nothing.
I'm so bored.

But you must get better.

To the toilet.

You can walk there.
I envy you.

You'll soon get well.

It was a pretty good show,
wasn't it?

But not very realistic.

You're right, it wasn't.

- In TV shows, patients get better
much too fast. - Right.

- Is this okay?
- Yes, thanks.

Mrs Ikeda,
it's time to go to sleep.

- Not for me.
- No?

Then just lie down.

- I'm tired of it.
- Tired?

The others asleep.

Please go back to bed.

Lie down at least.

Does that prevent you
from sleeping?

No, I don't think so.

Your incision's healing.
You'll soon be able to sleep.

So don't worry

How do you feel?
Can you eat alright?

No, I throw everything up.

Ileitis. Patients often have
it after surgery.

Whatever it is, I'm sick of it.

I'll get better, huh?

I've had two big operations already.

Did you get that book for me?

Is this the one?

That botanical garden is nice.

The pond in it is lovely.
It's a beautiful garden.

When I first started work,

I'd slip out once in a while
and relax there.

You feeling better?

The sedative's working.

From now on, you'll have
uncomfortable complications.

But please bear it.

He looks all right today.

When it hurts, Doc,
my balls start to jiggle.

- Silly!
- But it's true.

- How do you feel?
- So so. - Really?

Am I being punished?

Did you say something?

Am I being punished?

No matter what the disease,
your nails grow.

Here I am.

I came by myself.


Hiroki, act like a monkey, huh?

Want some oranges?

Hiroki! I'm amazed you came by yourself.

I brought a harmonica.

He can't play it here.

Never mind. Thanks.
I'll play it on the roof.

Excuse us...

May I move the TV?

This is your room.

Mr Fujii fell on the street.
He had oesophageal cancer.

He was filthy when he arrived,

but we washed him thoroughly.

I'll just cover your legs.

I'll raise your head.

Good morning. I'll take your temperature.

How many urinations and stools?

Three urinations? Fine.

Good morning, Mr Fujii.
I'll take your temperature.

How many urinations and stools?

Five or six urinations.

- I see. And stools?
- One.

Do you sometimes hear
a train whistle here?

A whistle?

I don't think I do.

Last night, I thought I heard
a train whistling.

Is that so?
I'll take your temperature.

Good morning.
I'll take your temperature.

How many urinations and stools?


I still have city grime.

Why didn't you get steady job?

I don't know.

I don't have a family, so...

I didn't have to work.

Thank you very much.

I know. Why don't we take
one of you?

- No, thanks.
- Don't say that.

- You go, too.
- Me?

Sorry to disturb you.

It turned out that...

Mr Fujii needed a tracheotomy
He lost his voice.

His corpse was taken away
by city caseworkers.

The sound of rain falling
is relaxing, isn't it?

Yes, it is.

Is Mr Noguchi here?

- We brought some fruit.
- It's a gift for you.

Thanks very much.

- It's wet.
- It's drenched.

- You look well.
- Do I?

- He hasn't changed.
- Really?

Excuse me.

A single room?
Only one bed in this room.

I was in a six-bed ward,
but they moved me here.

How's work? Busy?

- Sort of. - Mild.
- Just as usual.

We held a farewell party for Ohashi.

- Who's Ohashi?
- A part-timer.

- When was it?
- Two days ago.

How long...
was he at our office?

- Six months. - Great!
- Sure was.

He has taxes to pay.

He has loans to pay, too.

Please have some.

How old is Hayashi now?


We're making him tired.

Thanks for coming.

It's dark. The light...

This one?

Will you turn it on?

Your coats... they're still wet.

That's all right. Thanks.

- See you again.
- Thanks for coming.


- Thanks for coming.
- Nice room, isn't it?

When it's raining...

Quit writing a diary.

Excuse me.

It's New Year's again.

What's wrong, Mr Noguchi?

It's time to take your temperature.

Excuse me...

Don’t touch me!

What's the matter?

You are lying! You’re hiding something from me!

What's wrong?

Nobody wants to come here.

Don’t touch me!

Please lie down.
Then we'll talk.

I'll call the doctor,
Okay, Mr Noguchi?

Your waist will get cold.

I'm not getting better
at all, am I?

Mr Noguchi, please calm yourself.

I feel as if I've lost something...

like the energy even to read.

I'm no longer alive.

No longer...

I can't say you've improved
remarkably, but...

What am I saying?


I asked the doctors...

to tell my husband what
he really had.

I thought it too much if
he had to die while so young,

stilt not knowing the truth.

- Mr Noguchi...
- I know...

I was right after all.

Sorry I got upset.

We'll use mainly chemotherapy...

to keep your lymph nodes from swelling.

Mr Noguchi, don't lose hope.

We'll continue fighting together.


I have to go.

Sorry, I have to leave.

- Take care.
- Come to see us, too.

Kazuko, what was that stuff?


- That...
- Excuse us.

We're through now.

What was that stuff?
You said it was tasty.

You look all right.

This is just a simple check.

What's wrong?

It's easy.
It won't take long.

Get ready.

What's the matter?

No, no, no!

Be honest!

If I have cancer,
then say so clearly!

Just an ultrasonic wave test.

- It's very simple...
- It's not stomach ulcers!

It's hard even to throw up, right?

We're trying to ease your pain.

I beg you!
Please tell me the truth!

It's all right, see?

I'm not scared.
I'm not afraid of dying!

Say whatever you like.
You can make it.

We'll keep doing our best...

so we'd like you to do
your best, too.


About my bike shop...

I thought I could do well.

It's beside a national highway.

Many people around, too.


not many young guys who
ride motorcycles live there.

I'm disappointed.
My judgment was wrong.

- Are you all right?
- Don't worry...

he's tough, just like you.

There are lots of people who
have it much rougher.

But I wanted to feel
a little easier... by myself.

It looks like...

I became a selfish, hopeless old woman.


I want to go home.

When Mrs Ikeda said
she wanted...

to go home,
I knew how she felt.

I thought top priority
should be...

given to her wishes now.

Hospitals are strange places.

They were never prepared
from the beginning as...

places necessary for people's lives.

Sometimes I felt as if
doctors and nurses...

suddenly appear...

in the course of a patient's life,
and block the way.

If we could wish something
good for patients...

who knows they're dying,

I wish they'd think of hospitals...

not as "places to die in", but as...

"places for a better life"
till their last breath.

I'd like hospitals to be places...

where patients live
in defiance of their death.

- Where are you from?
- Me?

I'm from Niigata.

You're from Niigata?

Your Kyoto accent is soft.
I like it.

Do I have that accent?

Can you tell?

I thought I didn't have
an accent, but actually, I have.

I thought I didn't have
an accent, but...

- You have.
- A Niigata accent.

When my relatives come
to stay with us,

I tell them,
"Please take a bath".

My Grandma always says...

"Enjoy yourself. Be quiet."

She says, "Be quiet."

By saying that, she means...

"Please take your time and relax."

She means that?

When my relatives first
hear her say it,

they undress very quickly,
then they bathe quickly.

When Grandma asks them how it was,

they answer,
"A very nice bath."

But they still look tired!

They say they can't tell
what she really meant.

Regional dialects often cause misunderstanding.

What about the Kyoto dialect?

It rarely happens with
the Kyoto dialect.

It rarely means anything
completely different.

I’m almost through.

What do you mean, "almost"?

- One more button.
- Then I can see the finished sweater, too.

He too told me...

that he had a wish to
go home... just once.

Doctor, what's your
favourite colour?

Let's see... If anything,
I like that colour.

I wasn't at all afraid of the fact...

that I might die before long.

That's true.

Everybody dies someday.

It was harder for me to
think I could no longer...

see you children grow,

and that you'd have
a rough time of it after I'm gone.

I cursed the fate that
had caused this disease.

Tomorrow, I'm supposed to
go back to the hospital.

To tell the truth,
I'm in very bad condition.

Chances are I won't be able
to come home again.

I wish I could stay home
and live with you, until I die.

But, I'll hang on one more time...

I'll cling to my hope.

The five days I've spent
with you were very rich.

I was really happy.

I came home planning
to stay three days,

but I prolonged it
for another two.

The moment you saw me when
you came back from school,

you cried happily,
“You're still here!“

Your smiling faces a! that time...

they were wonderful.

My wife looked happy.

It made the children happy, too.

And I was among them.

I think I had many times like that...

when I was a child.

When parents smile,

their children start smiling, too.

Did you tell your children
about your disease?


I told them everything,
two days before I left.

It's ready, Doctor.


I know I'll never get well, but...

I want to live as long as I can,
for my children.

Try everything for me.

Yes, I will.

You are here?
It's time. Please come.



Let's go.

I saw you while you were asleep.

I thought it might be
my last chance to see...

your sleeping faces.

While watching you,

I realised how much I love you.

And now I know why
I'm not at all afraid...

of my impending death.

What helps me overcome death...

is neither courage,
nor reconciliation.

It's love.

I never thought about love at all.

But there's something in life
that we can call 'love'.

I think I'm lucky that I could
live in a world that has...

such a rich and generous heart.

I love you children with all
my heart and soul.

Goodbye. Your father.


Ittoku Kishibe, Akira Yamanouchi,
Masayuki Shinoya, Ikuyo Ishii,
Taeko Shimizu, Hiroshi Shimizu

Planning: Yuzo Nagato

Executive Producers:
Koichi Ito & Shogo Sekiya

From the book by Fumio Yamazaki

Fumi Itakura

Tatsuhiko Kobayashi

Hiroki Nakamura

Art Direction:
Shigeo Mano

Yukio Watanabe

Co-operation in Production:
Kindai Eiga Kyokai Co., Ltd.

Screenplay & Directed by
Jun Ichikawa

Subtitles ripped & retimed
by lordretsudo