Genpin (2010) - full transcript


- Hello.
- Hello, Mr. Nakajima.

- Such nice weather!
- It's really beautiful.

What a nice day.

- Good morning.
- Good morning.

- Good morning, doctor.
- Good morning.

It's our abnormal lifestyles
that disturb childbirths.

A long time ago,
like during the Edo period,

there were almost no complications.

The problems are not biological.

Culture is at their root.

To take care of that,
we rely on medicine.

It's a great mistake.
Medicine is not the answer.

It's easy as pie,
and doctors should know it.

But most people are not aware of it.

You stress too much.
It's because you're a doctor...

- You're a doctor?
- I am.

- What specialty?
- Surgery.

- I can't believe you're a doctor...
- But he's also a doctor!

- I stopped being one.
- Oh, really?

In the textbooks,
breech delivery is abnormal.

It's anxiety
that causes problematic delivery.

In a normal hospital,
they say a breech birth is dangerous.

They'll do lots of things
to straighten the position of the baby.

The more you do, the worse you make it.

And it makes childbirth complicated.

With me, it goes by itself.

It's true.

Just look at the facts...

Science should always start
from facts. Not from theory.

And for the next steps,
it's also important.

I have a friend who was
in labor for a long time.

They used drugs,
but the cervix wouldn't dilate.

Finally, the baby was born
using forceps. After 40 hours...

It was so terrible
she doesn't even want to recall it.

Really? Like a trauma...

I had my first child here.
I love recalling childbirth.

It hurt, but I like recalling
how it started, the water breaking,

how I shouted until
I lost my breath... I love it.

- So, childbirth...
- It's different for you.

It hurt, but I like thinking of it.

I know the natural childbirth
that Dr. Yoshimura practices here,

but at the university
I learned modern, medical childbirth.

For my first baby,
I chose to have it naturally.

I chose natural childbirth
with Dr. Yoshimura.

So, for you,
that's how childbirth is natural...

Right. For a doctor,
it may sound strange...

How many squats do you do?

I make 50 in a row. Around 300 a day.

I'm in better physical shape
and I feel way more relaxed.

Actually, I feel in top form.

I'm doing great.

You manage to make 300 squats a day?

We all manage.

When I read the doctor's book,
I thought: 300, no way!

But when I arrived,
a woman who was already here told me:

"Yesterday I skipped,
so today I'm making 600."

I thought it was so cool!

I remember something
from biology class in middle school.

They showed us
a very shocking video of a childbirth.

The images were truly shocking...

I thought: "I won't be able!
I cannot take it!"

Childbirth was synonymous
with extreme pain and suffering.

It became an impassable wall.

Now, I'm not upset anymore.

Today, I take pleasure in my pregnancy.

But at that time,
when I was that anxious,

it seemed unthinkable.

I'm really thankful!

Don't forget that childbirth
is a pleasure to a woman!

Nowadays, when you go
to school or to a hospital,

they make you think it's scary.

It's a grave mistake.

You believe it's terrifying,
and this causes a complicated delivery.

Since you're afraid,
you advance without an aim.

Your doctor prescribes rest,
sedatives and hospitalization.

That makes everything harder
and entails a complicated delivery.

You have no strength
and machines take over your place.

After everything's through,
you don't even feel a link with your baby.

Myself, I thought a pregnant woman
shouldn't move much.

Here, they tell her
to be active and move around...

I see that she's in great shape,
full of energy.

It's true, pregnant women
often look worried.

It's their expression that...

They're weird.

With her, it's the other way around.
She smiles so much.

Go upstairs, we'll meet there.

The toilets are on your right.

We'll wait for the others to arrive.

My first one was born
by Caesarean section. It was overdue.

They started labor, but
a Caesarean section became necessary.

For the second one,
I wanted natural childbirth.

I heard about Dr. Yoshimura
and read his book.

Even before being pregnant,
I started making squats.

I wanted to follow a parental course
and I told the doctor my story.

He generously said:
"You are accepted". And here I am!

I didn't say it so playfully.

- My own life is at stake.
- Yes.

In your case,
labor may last for several days...

It's tiring for me.

It's not a game,
and you're also risking your life.

He tells me that so often
that I'm starting to become worried...

I had my first two in a local hospital.

For the first one, I gained 20kg.

Without my knowing, they put me
on a drip to speed up labor.

The cervix dilated
but it didn't come out.

They suctioned me, right there.

They crushed my belly.

I cry just thinking about it.

When I saw my baby,
I didn't even think it was cute.

When it was born...

I could only think of myself.

When I got pregnant...

I'm not easily upset,
but I'm a bit of a chicken...


Absolutely. I hate being in pain...

I wouldn't have imagined it.

At any rate, if I chose to come here,

it's because we're not
forced to do anything,

and definitely not to stay in bed.

I don't know who decided,
the baby or me, but it's magical.

Since I'm here, I'm no longer
lethargic, bulimic or chicken-hearted.

I have always been a bit fiery,
but now I'm just explosive.

You'd say only
my primitive brain is functioning.

I can't even count anymore.

- At which month are you?
- Now...

Almost done. Just one month left.

- First one?
- First one.

That's right. Almost there!

I'll meet it soon.

So cool!

You think?

- How old are you?
- I'm 31 years old.

Grandma! Grandma!

- Where will you work?
- Wherever you want.

I dug this row yesterday.

Today, it's muddy.

That's right. The rain
just stopped falling. It's muddy.

- You could dig this row here.
- This one? Will do.

- You could go in a bit deeper.
- I see. Like this?

Like this, look...

- As deep as that?
- Right.

Understood. Like this.

You feel like moving?


It's wonderful to do this.

There's the smell of the earth,
the sound of the hoe, it's beautiful.

It's soothing.

Did the idea of giving birth scare you?

Oh yes! It really scared me.

The hospital scared me.

I hated the big lamp
over the operating table...

The smell and the white walls, too.

But the most scary part was delivery.

Here, at Dr. Yoshimura's place,
I've made lots of friends.

I'm very active,
I listen to what the doctor says.

Pain or fear, I don't care.
I'm open to everything.

I really changed a lot, deep inside me.

Mari will soon have her baby.
How does this make you feel?

I eagerly wait for it and I ask myself:
will it be a boy or a girl?

Mari will have her baby
the traditional way.

- She will give birth on a tatami.
- Ah, yes.

It's true.

In my times,
we used to work until birth.

The bugs didn't eat them.

Are you picking them?

I already picked these.

Wow! It's great!

It's not in mint condition,
but I'll clean it.

Did I use it?

- Use what?
- This baby carriage.

Of course. You and your brother.

Second, no... Third generation.

Third generation!

Your carriage, my dear! I'm so happy!

It's your mom's carriage. It's amazing!

Can I borrow the broom? I'll clean it.

Grandma kept it for us. We're lucky!

What color will they be?

Yellow. They bloom in August.

In August? The baby will be with us.

Yesterday, they told me it dilated 3cm.

Looks like it'll be soon.

They say rain helps.

That's right. It's been raining a lot,
so I'm counting on it...

Dilated to 8 or 9cm.

Yuta, don't look. Come.

The baby!

You're here.

I was expecting you... You're so small!

We were all expecting you!

So warm!

Yuta, the baby...

The baby's born.

Hajime, thank you.

Motoki, thank you. Grandma, thank you.
You as well, the father...

Motoki, will you hold its hand?

And you, Yuta?
Will you hold the baby's hand?

Where's Grandma?

- Over there.
- I'm here.

Grandma, the baby's born.

- Wonderful!
- It's here!


Everything's fine.

Pretty baby.

I'm so happy...

Salted plums.

They need 3 days and 3 nights to dry,
but it was raining too much.

Now the weather's good,
so I take them out to dry.

Write down your name.

- First visit?
- That's right.

Write down your address, phone number,
name and expected date of birth.

Also today's date.

If you stand straight, you can
get hurt when your belly grows.

You have to move together
with the strike, at a good distance.

Then you'll just crouch
and the ax will fall where it must.

You'll get it right
with just a few tries.

Let the ax do its job.
You mustn't force it.

Here, I feel like
my body and my soul are one.

I feel I'm in great shape
and full of energy.

I feel my emotions
more and more intensely.

As Dr. Yoshimura says,
it's the old house that causes it.

And what's more,
I'm proud of my big belly.

"I'm pregnant and in great shape."
I want to show that.

People generally think that
a big belly isn't beautiful.

But me, I'm happy to be a woman.
I openly speak about my pregnancy.

And when I pass people by in the street,
I want them to look at me.

Since I started coming here,
every day I feel great.

It's like my body is delighted...

I feel it change, too.

Up to now, I'd work on it
from the outside, with expensive creams.

Now I don't use make-up anymore.
I feel radiant from the inside.

I also feel like I'm discovering
the pleasure of being born a woman.

My husband,
when he thinks about the delivery,

says he's happy to be a man.

But for me, to be pregnant,
to come here and meet you all,

it makes me happy to be a woman.

Everything points to an easy childbirth.

Lie down there, please.

Head down, back to the left.

Placenta in correct position.

Placenta working fine.

Amniotic fluid... fine.

Breathing, 4+.

The heart's fine too, all OK.

Here's the baby's face.

At any rate, the baby's doing fine.
It doesn't matter it's late.

- Take your time.
- Yes.

- It's OK. No medical problems.
- Thank you.

Delivery will be easy.

Just stay active.

Active. OK. Understood.

You look relaxed,
but perhaps you're not.

It's the delay...

It's a bit delayed,
but it will be fine.


- It's God who decides.
- Yes.

Let Him do His thing.
The best thing to do is to pray.

- Yes.
- There's no problem.

Thank you.

It may be big, but it'll come out.

Good to hear.

- Even if he's big..
- Yes.

It's not that you don't want...

But the cervix doesn't open.
I must move around.

- Do some exercise.
- Yes.

- You can't do too much.
- Yes.

Are you going to walk for long?

I'd like to walk over 30 minutes.

But it's hard to walk aimlessly.

I hope it'll speed up the delivery.

These few trees left look lonely.

They just keep the big ones...

And the small ones?

They don't leave a single one.

Stop cutting everything!

She's heavy. 19kg.

She talks. She eats. She complains...
But this load is my treasure.

I'm not a load!

When I think there'll be two of them...

You don't want to walk, Miki?

I'm sleepy. I'm hungry.

You're sleepy and hungry?

I'm coming!

I'll push your butt!

Yoshimura Clinic

Look! They're not ripe.
Oh wait! There are some red ones!

Which one of these two is redder?

- Which one?
- Both.

You think? Isn't this one redder?


Is the skin hard?

The green ones become red
as the sun heats them up.

Try it!

Is it good?

- Sour!
- Sour?

They're great.

I tried to do that at home
but it's not comfortable.

- On the windows, there's a grid...
- Yes, in the middle.

My husband?
Will he be there when I give birth?

I don't know
if I should say this here...


He's been gone since March.

So I'll give birth on my own,
with my daughter.

We decided I'd give birth here
and he knows the date.

But I haven't had news from him.

To give birth here was
my desire, my hope.

It's what's been keeping me going
to this day.

In fact... when I see the other
mothers so happy, I envy them.

I haven't been able to talk
about my situation to my family.

That's how things are.

That's funny.
Is that a standard melodica?

Yes it is.

My daughter plays it,
but the tone is different.

I don't know how to say it...
I can't find the words.

I don't want to run away.

If I ran away...

my family would fall apart.


I don't feel I'm alone.

There's always somebody
to encourage me.

Even if I don't see it,
this presence is very strong.


Nothing unusual. No problem.

No problem? Let Nature do its thing.

- But they talked about sudden death.
- Who did?

A doctor in Suzaka.

When he read my file, he said:
"The only solution, is a Cesarean."

Whether the baby
or the placenta were fine,

well, he didn't even look.

If the baby was malformed,
would it make sense

to force delivery and keep it alive?

It only makes sense for the ego.
The human ego.

But in the natural order,
the order of the gods, it's madness.

What's dead, dies.
What's living, lives.

The world is what is is because
it doesn't stick to this order anymore.

We have forsaken the gods.
If they want, they kill.

Nothing we can do.

That would bother me...

- Huh?
- If I came this far...

Talk to the gods.
Just pray to the heavens.

You have to respect Nature's law,
only it decides who lives or dies.

You have no symptom whatsoever
indicating anything wrong.

On what basis did he tell you that?
Should I go see him?

There may always be eventualities.

But precisely, those "eventualities"...

They're of the order of around 0.01%.

Practically zero,
but you cannot know in advance.

For those that choose to come here,

that follow our approach
to pregnancy and childbirth,

it is my duty to lead them
to a natural delivery.

And, in fact,
it's almost always the case.

The babies are born naturally,
no injections, instruments or surgery.

- That's what I thought.
- Right.

But in this case,
the doctors don't make money.

It thought it was that simple,
but I heard so many things...

I thought I was cursed.

- And as a result, you feel unhappy.
- Exactly.

Instead of feeling optimistic,
you feel down.

I see only doom and gloom.

- Like that, it won't go well.
- I only see the bad side.

They're so heavy with grain!

It's looking good!

Man is full of contradictions.

It may be what makes him grow.

But in fact,
it's not clear he's grown much.

My therapeutic techniques
aren't just the traditional ones.

I use everything from
modern medicine that can be useful.

I make tests, scheduled check-ups,

Before, those things weren't done.
Everybody died.

Doctor, do you fear death?

I used to fear it.
During childhood, it terrified me.

But I'm not scared of it at all anymore.
On a personal basis.

I was still afraid a year or two ago.
But not anymore.

Maybe I still have some
purely biological or instinctive fear,

but on the surface,
consciously, the fear is gone.

It's strange to see
how fast it vanished.

Why is it so important
to give birth naturally?

Why is a Caesarean section
so frustrating for the mother?

I believe the center
of a woman's fulfillment is the vagina,

the natural way of birth.

When she completely accepts
the person she loves, it happens there.

During the sexual act, the final goal
is to form a single body.

It's the same thing
when a baby is born.

I would now like
to hear your thoughts.

Let's start from you.

I worked at a maternity ward
for some time.

It was famous
for having "celebrities" come.

It was so different from what
I thought was natural childbirth...

I had some doubts, and I still do,
about what's not natural.

So I physically prepare myself
hoping to give birth naturally.

I'm expecting my second child,

and I want Dr. Yoshimura to follow
my pregnancy from the beginning.

I'm very happy about it.

I've reached a definitive decision.

I've decided to continue my work
as an obstetrician until my death.

If I must die, then so be it.
But I will go on until the end.

I'll keep applying everything
I've learned in the past 50 years

as my contribution, with your help,
to deliver beautiful Japanese babies.

Somebody else? The lady in the back...

I'm expecting my second child
and I'm being monitored here.

Today I had a check-up,
and while I was being examined...

the baby's heart stopped beating.

I couldn't stop crying.

Its heart doesn't beat anymore,
but it's still in me.

They said that, in a normal maternity
ward, they'd take out the fetus.

But I'm waiting for the contractions
for it to come out with the placenta.

That's what I'm waiting for now.

I don't really know what to do
with those who lost a baby.

It's extremely upsetting.
Death is a very heavy load.

When I visit the parents
of a dead child,

and I have to listen to them,
it's very difficult.

From my position, I try to go
as deep as I can in the matter.

No matter how much
I look at it, case by case,

and how much I consider
all the possibilities,

it's practically impossible
to find an explanation.

I think it can only worsen things.

It's really tough.

These days, I think about
birth and death a lot.

For modern-day medicine,
death is the ultimate evil.

For me, in a way, it's
the starting point for other research.

They let me had a natural miscarriage,
so I knew it was true.

If they had intervened,
I could have asked myself

if it was really a miscarriage,
or perhaps the baby was alive...

It took me a long time
to have a new pregnancy.

And then, I got lucky...
and I gave birth without problems.

With that previous experience,
going through it again without problems

is a very powerful experience.

I've been working on and off here
as a midwife for 5 years

and everything has changed a lot.
This meeting, the participants...

I feel it because
I'm not here constantly.

Now, we take the time to sit down
and talk, it's wonderful.

Truly wonderful. Almost makes me cry...

It was hard here, as a midwife.

We did a good job,
but we were isolated from each other.

It was stressful.

We felt things but the atmosphere
didn't allow us to express them.

I felt my heart pressed
and I didn't know what it was.

In fact, you have to be able
to say what you think.

It's not about small talk or chit-chat.
We needed a space

to express what we felt.

The boss makes such a great job...

To call him a dictator would be
exaggerated, but he tends to play solo.

He could take our opinions
a bit more into account.

This clinic wouldn't exist without him,
but we, the midwives, play a role.

If the soloist
would take our opinions into account,

I think it'd be better.

My little sister
chose not to give birth here.

She would have liked to,
since I work here.

But when she took part
in the Mother's Class,

she was really overwhelmed
by the ambiance,

so she lost her confidence
and got scared she wouldn't take it.

I didn't know that. How long ago was it?

She told me recently...

But the Mother's Class
has a different style now,

and it will continue
to change little by little.

If we don't improve our communication,
we can't help the moms.

You're back!
Sorry. I had a stomach ache.

Did you have fun?

I'm sweating. Can you wipe it?

It's just sweat, but I can't.


Breathe slowly. Slowly.
Give the baby some oxygen.

Very good.

I've been expecting the birth...

I'm so happy.

Thank you, thank you...

You're moving, you're moving...

Thank you, thank you...

Mom, it's great.

Miki, thank you.
Thank you, thank you.

It's wonderful.

You're warm, my baby.

It's all worm.
Miki, you want to touch it?

A kiss on the cheek!

Normally, she kisses on the mouth.

Afraid to give it some microbes?

Your beloved big sister is next to you.

Would you free its hand?


We're all here. We're all here.

Miki, you love your daddy, don't you?

You also love Saya.

1, 2...

1, 2, 3, 4, 5,

6, 7, 8, 9, 10.

I did what I did,
but my wife believed in me.

I came back, I'm here again.
And I'm happy.

The preparations for delivery
are very popular with the future moms,

but the boss thinks
they have no interest.

So we don't offer any,
either for pregnancy or for delivery.

We ask of women that they become active,
according to how they are.

And to stay alert to avoid being
"lethargic, bulimic or chicken-hearted".

By doing this, their body
is transformed in the right way.

Feelings also change,
just like the body.

That's what the boss
has been saying for a long time.

When it was decided that I had
to be transferred to a hospital,

I thought they'd do a Caesarean section
as soon as I'd arrive.

Everybody here
was very supportive up until the end.

The midwife who came with me
told me, in the ambulance:

"I don't know how much
they'll listen to you,

"but you have to tell them
what it is you want."

I tried...

as much as was possible,
both for her and for me, until the end,

to have a natural childbirth
in an ultra-modern hospital.

I think if I was born during
the Edo period, in the 19th century,

it would have meant
only one of us survives.

It was, at any rate, very risky.

But since I was born in our times,

I got to experience
the natural approach to childbirth

while also having access
to modern technology in the end.

It was not what I expected,
but that's how it happened.


Ultimately, I just wanted
to hold my child in my arms.

Since it was possible, even if
through a Caesarean, I was very happy.

Isn't that right, Kaho?
What have you got?

She's as happy as one can be.

Her legs are too short...
She loves being scratched.

To film a guy like me,
egocentric, eccentric and stubborn,

is a funny idea.

You must sometimes ask yourself
what made you do this...

Isn't that right, doggy?

Me, I'm a happy man.

Really happy.
Every day. But I'm tired.

Your face looks
like the god's in the rice field.

- What? Whose?
- From the sculpture in the rice field.

Really? If only my life of hard work
had sanctified me!

Alas, I still feel much attached
to the things of this world.

But that sculpture
is fascinating, isn't it?

It wasn't even made by a sculptor,

but it's an accurate depiction
of the heart of man.

Man is great.
He can do things like that sculpture.

Orie, do you remember
when you were a kid?

I remember barely anything at all.

I've pictures from that time.

I was so happy! When you
came out, you were so cute!

Incredibly cute. I couldn't
stop calling you "My little Orie"!

Everybody laughed at me.

The nurses imitated me:
"My little Orie!"

They openly mocked me.

It brings back so many memories...

When Orie comes to the clinic to help out,
I want to see her, talk to her.

But it's complicated between us,
and I fear her reactions.

She was here today,
but I didn't see her.

- 4 months.
- Breastfed?

Yes, exclusively.


Thank you for having brought
all these kids. It's some real work!

But in doing that, you show
your affection. I thank you.

Mr. Yoshimura is still alive...

In fact, I should be dead already.

Oh my! You don't say that!

If I hadn't known this clinic
and I hadn't had my 2 children here,

given my morphology,
they'd have operated me.

I think today's doctors
believe in what they do.

But, in my opinion, few of them
deserve the women's trust.

Excuse my vehemence,
but I sincerely believe that.

What do you think?

I don't think they really try

to find the best
and safest approach for each woman.

They don't think about it. They try
to keep it simple and lucrative.

All of that needs to change.
It's what I try to do.

It was wonderful.
I'm happy I came here.

- Thank you.
- Thank you.

I work hard in order
to listen to words like that.

It makes me really happy.

- You only cared about others...
- Who did?

About other families than your own.

- Who did?
- You, dad.

Who would that be, precisely?

Those who came to the clinic,
the future moms,

the families, the kids. I know very well
they had your whole attention.

But they were external people.

I should have
thought more about our family?

Not "thought",
but be close to us.

- But...
- I wanted you to listen to me.

You think my heart is made of stone?

Your heart is good,
but you didn't listen to us.

What's the use talking about it now?

I'm a happy man. I can die
anytime without any regrets.

Because I always made my best.

I won't come back for some time.

It's not that I don't love you, dad.

But I feel you can carry on without me.

I won't be coming back soon, but...

You don't need to say that.

- I wanted to say I don't hate you.
- I understand.

When I listen to you, I don't feel
I'm listening to a doctor,

but to the man, Yoshimura Tadashi,
as a human being.

You say what you think at all times.

In fact, death is always with us.

Some lives are cut short
at the moment of birth

and some souls die before being born...

It's with this thought in mind that,

from last spring,
I got involved in this place

and came here with my camera.

In my opinion, instead of thinking
of your own death,

you're starting to think
of life after death.

If we come, like you,
to see things under that light,

we'll understand that after the end
of our lives as ourselves,

this life goes on in some greater sense
beyond our understanding.

Thank you.

I'm very moved,

so I don't know if I'll say this right.

According to the Society of Obstetrics,
the baby's or the mother's death

must never occur during childbirth.

It's wrong. Death can happen.

That's why there is life.
If we deny death, we deny life.

That's why
I accept death during delivery.

But most people don't think like that.

In my opinion,
this means they deny life.

But when this way of thinking
is widely spread among society,

I cannot openly say
what I really think.

Alone, I have no power
to change things, so I keep silent.

But now, thanks to your words,

I feel... very happy.

As an obstetrician,
I let my convictions overtake me.

In fact, I would like
to cease my work as an obstetrician.

I would like to stop
working at this clinic.

To say this to you for the first
time today is a true relief.

But to you, who wanted
to follow this crazy guy around,

I say thank you. Thank you all.

Ms. Kawase, thank you.

Thank you.


My kidneys hurt.

This baby wants to come out!

It looks like it...

You're trying hard. Thanks!

Take it easy. Relax.

The baby!

I feel good. I feel so good.

The baby's coming.

Really? No way! Thank you!

I was waiting for you...

It's wonderful.

I waited so much for you. Thank you!


The spirit of the valley never dies.
It's Genpin, the mysterious woman. LAOZI

With: Tadashi Yoshimura

French subtitles: Catherine Cadou
English translation & retiming: bruno321@KG

Producer: Yuko Naito

Sound: Nobuyuki Kikuchi

Music: Rocket Matsu (Pascals)

With the support of the
Agency for Cultural Affairs

Production: Kumie, Inc.

Directed by: Naomi Kawase