Movies- Dare mo shiranai and more…

Nobody Knows (Dare mo shiranai)

3 years ago via FlixsterNobody Knows (Dare mo shiranai) (2004)

Review: 誰も知らない (Dare mo Shiranai / Nobody Knows)

Dare mo Shiranai / Nobody Knows walks the same ground of one of the best, in my opinion, Ghibli films –Grave of the Fireflies. Both stories involve a young boy, somewhere between being a child and a teenager, who must become an adult in order to care for his sibling(s) in the absence of parents. Grave took place during a war, as the world and people around the characters became increasingly indifferent to them as survival became more and more difficult. Dare mo Shiranai, on the other hand, takes place in modern Tokyo, and the family circumstances are the problem. The story is about four children, each with the same mother but different fathers, who are forced to fend for themselves after their childish mother abandons them, leaving a note and an unsatisfactory amount of money. It is based on a true story which, in fact, is even worse than the one described in the film.

The film has some of the best acting by children I have ever seen. The film was shot chronologically over the span of an year, and the care that went into the direction of this film is evident. Yagira Yūya particularly deserves credit for his portrayal of the main character. There isn’t an excessive amount of dialogue of this film, and much of the emotion and heart of the film is carried by other means.

There is a moment, for example, when the main character waits at a payphone for the man on the other line to find his mother. The time slowly ticks away and he adds fresh quarters appropriately, but as we see the number of coins dwindle, we already know that he won’t be speaking to his mother, and it’s hard to not be affected by Yagira’s subtle, painful reaction. In another scene, he watches a baseball game and is invited to join by an adult, as there is a missing teammate. For a brief few minutes, we watch the boy escape from his life and become a regular child, and it almost satisfies us as much as it does him – yet throughout a sense of restraint tells us that it is just an illusion, and that is heartbreaking.

It’s impossible to give enough praise to the perfect performance that the director has managed to get from an untrained child actor. He gives the perfect impression of a child that has been forced to act beyond his years out of necessity – yet is still a child inside, yearning to do things like have friends, play at an arcade, and play sports.

The lack of overt sentimentality is what makes the film as powerful as it is. There are no sweeping moments of grief nor are there many tears shed (on-screen). The sadness in the film is elicited from, not forced onto, the viewer, and that makes it far more moving. The soundtrack is a muted one, most of it occupied by minimalistic guitar pieces which sound neither depressing nor optimistic.

Like many movies in the “depressing” genre, this isn’t a film that is always easy to watch, nor will it remain in front of your television for constant re-watching. However, it is the kind film that I recommend for everyone, and I assure you that you will be glad to have seen it, even if it isn’t the most cheerful film.


Someone stop the flow of time
Write a review
Tetsu Tetsu 3 years ago

in Tokyo- deeply emotional movie about a group of teens growing up together, while the mother travels to Osaka in order to work,and the father is absent.

No special powers can be seen but shop lifting and Akira, the leader of the group, has the responsibility over the money. Sometimes they can get free noodles but there are obvious references about teens or kids doing tuna things just
because they are hungry.

Kore-Eda, the director of the plot, based this movie on an authentic incident that happened in the year 1988, and surprisingly it won first prize in 2004, but did not really make it in the Cinema.

When you consider Akira, how he is seen towards the end of the movie, and then probably his youth powers are wasted for nothing if just food and survival, this movie is quite a painful one, and maybe it can change mentality of people.

* this is the same spelling as on my fansite, and as on flixster. I watched it again in 2010, 5 or 6 times.

* And here is what I think about if he deserves the 1st prize award. From one of my web diaries.

Now, if you ask me, does Yagira Yuya deserve his award, 1st Prize, best actor 2004, Cannes, France?

I do not want to give a false judgement, so I really searched a long while for an argumentation that I do believe myself.

OK here is my vote: He does deserve it. In the movie Nobody Knows, he plays Akira Fukushima as if he would be real. It is not much visible that it is a staged movie play!

There are many small scenes where he expresses him well.

But- why did Nobody Knows did not make it in the Cinemas?

That is the big question.

And I found an answer! If you compare it to Harry Potter, especially the brand new one, people do not really want complex social drama. They do not even want a continuous plot that makes any sense!

People want to see explosions, dramatic effects, and characters just dying one after the one for no obvious reason!

That is what people want, and that is the reason why these movies always skyrocket so quickly.

However I think it was right to give him the award- the plot of Nobody Knows deserves to be seen, even now, and he himself also deserves the attention and popularity. He is a nice and funny guy- even if the movies I saw where he plays are considerably weird and dark.

If I would think otherwise, I would write it. I even think “Shining Boy and little Randy” is better in some sense- the plot is easier, and the movie is shorter! It just stops when you expect it would continue a little longer.

Some critics write “Nobody Knows” is too long, well I watched it about 5 or 6 times recently. Sometimes I stopped the DVD and watched the other day, sometimes I made food, not completely different than in the movie!

(something relating to the diary entry context) and these cutterblades are cheap- 30 cents. One evening I browsed old Beyblade magazines that I still have, and I did cut out Max Tate. However, Takao is also good (Tyson), according to the scheme he is not afraid to speak his mind, and neither I am.

Actually, I am done writing descriptions for 42 pictures, and listening to Astro Boy sample many many times. Mutants!

I was really thinking about that quite a long while. But I think I found an explanation.

The bad thing is that there are 1000s of boys like in the movie, like Akira Fukushima.

The bad thing is they do not experience introduction into secrects of boyhood at the age of 17. No usually it happens at the age between 10 and 12, and I would say, to the most of us.

So I think it should be seen again, even if �}*% is long beyond that plot, and there are many other movies now.

It should not be overestimated as if it would be the only movie he ever acted in, neither it should vanish from the memory.

Compared to Shining Boy and Little Randy- I only watched the latter once! If I just watch it once, it is much less likely that I put so much efforts into it (adding stuff to the internet).

Movie Details
Poster of Nobody Knows

529 ratings

In Theaters:

February 4, 2005

MPAA Rating:
PG 13 (for mature thematic elements and some sexual references)
Drama, Foreign
IFC Films
Box Office:
Four siblings live happily with their mother in a small apartment in Tokyo. The children all have different fathers and have never been to school. The very existence of three of them has been hidden from the landlord. One day, the mother leaves behind a little money and a note, charging her oldest boy to look after the others. And so begins the children’s odyssey, a journey nobody knows. Though engulfed by the cruel fate of abandonment, the four children do their best to survive in their own little world, devising and following their own set of rules. When they are forced to engage with the world outside their cocooned universe, the fragile balance that has sustained them collapses. Their innocent longing for their mother, their wary fascination toward the outside world, their anxiety over their increasingly desperate situation, their inarticulate cries, their kindness to each other, their determination to survive on wits and courage

Nobody Knows


User Rating

Current user rating: 96 (57 votes)
You didn’t vote on this yet.






Single mother Keiko Fukushima (You) moves into a new apartment with her 12-year-old son Akira (Yuya Yagira). They also greet their landlord and Keiko introduces Akira to the landlord as her only son. She also explains that his father is overseas on business. After they get settled into their new apartment, out of their suitcase pops out two more of Keiko’s children. Akira then goes by himself to the train station to pick up his other sister Kyoko (Ayu Kitaura).

Once everyone is together, they have their first dinner at their new apartment. Keiko explains the rules: no loud voices and nobody goes outside except for Akira. Otherwise, they will get evicted like they did at their last apartment. Keiko then leaves for work at a department store and leaves Akira to take care of the children.

The mother soon meets a new boyfriend and her absence at the apartment grows longer and longer, until one day, it seems the mother has abandoned the children for good. Akira with little money left, must take of care of his siblings, knowing that if he does not they will be separated into foster homes.


  1. Based on the true event know as the “Affair of the four abandoned children of Sugamo” – which occurred over a 9 month period in 1988 in Tokyo’s Toshima Ward.
  2. Singer-songwriter Takako Tate, who appears in the movie as a convenience store clerk, sings the movie’s theme song “Hoseki” (“Jewels”).


Nobody Knows-Yuya Yagira.jpg Nobody Knows-Ayu Kitaura.jpg Nobody Knows-Hiei Kimura.jpg
Yuya Yagira Ayu Kitaura Hihei Kimura
Akira Fukushima Kyoko Fukushima Shigeru Fukushima
Nobody Knows-Momoko Shimizu.jpg Nobody Knows-Hanae Kan.jpg Nobody Knows-You.jpg
Momoko Shimizu Hanae Kan You
Yuki Fukushima Saki Keiko Fukushima

Abandoned in Tokyo- deeply emotional movie about a group of teens growing up together, while the mother travels to Osaka in order to work, and the father is absent. No special powers can be seen but shop lifting and Akira, the leader of the group, has the responsibility over the money. Sometimes they can get free noodles but there are obvious references about teens or kids doing tuna things just because they are hungry. Kore-Eda, the director of the plot, based this movie on an authentic incident that happened in the year 1988, and surprisingly it won first prize in 2004, but did not really make it in the Cinema. When you consider Akira, how he is seen towards the end of the movie, and then probably his youth powers are wasted for nothing if just food and survival, this movie is quite a painful one, and maybe it can change mentality of people.

Princess Mononoke (Mononoke-hime)

3 years ago via Flixster

Princess Mononoke (Mononoke-hime) (1999)

Freedom that japanese peoiple once enjoyed however iron was found, and soon greed settled in. In the anime the princess is pictured as a young girl however it was a totally dark age and indeed she did not have much to do with humanity at that point anymore. Freedom because the japanese did not belong to Christianity however they were also stricken and laden by plagues such as worms, animal spirits, and supernatural maggots. These caused the population to split into factions, and to begin to battle each other. Where did the incidents took place a thousand years ago? Eventually this would be Nagano, if not spread all over Japan.

Hotaru no haka (Grave of the Fireflies)

3 years ago via Flixster

Hotaru no haka (Grave of the Fireflies) (1988)

WW2 was a big scam especially for Japan. Actually many millions japanese died! To understand it better one should research the 1920s and the unrest within the population that was caused by greed and opulence within a small upper class. Soon inflation settled in and unemployment prevailed. Then in Germany, a new political movement promised employment for all! They indeed provided that- however, at the price to boot up a big military industry, and build concrete roads primarily designed for tanks. Japanese immigrants were rejected in the USA, and then soon they joined the Germans in their rush for world domination. In the end the price the japanese people paid was far too high, and to top up on that, America gave the holocaust survivers a “white-letter” of innocence, and built a nation for them initially just on paper. totally ignoring the problems that existed before the war and that caused heavy problems. Nonetheless it is true that human rights were grossly violated and there is no excuse for that. Here you see the “human rights” situation from the viewpoint of the japanese youths, not given a choice but forced into the scenario. To prevent that such a war which had bad strategy will happen again, all aspects must be researched, how the atrocities became thinkable, for instance, and what was the situation before the war started. One viewpoint is that initially, after 1860 during the Meiiji restauration, Japan opened its borders and invited scientists, engineers and the like, however, it is now known they can be cold-hearted, and at places where they prevail, soldiers and their merchants are not absent. Did you even know that Japan experiemented with democracy in the 1900s to 1920s? However it was brutally crushed and silenced. Very important movie for those who are interested in the history of Japan.

Hadashi no Gen (Barefoot Gen)

3 years ago via Flixster

Hadashi no Gen (Barefoot Gen) (1983)

something shipped however blacklisted for quite a long while, that is, until recently. don’t abuse our goodwill.

Kishiwada Shônen Gurentai: Chikemuri Junjô-Hen (Young Thugs: Innocent Blood)

3 years ago via Flixster

Kishiwada Shônen Gurentai: Chikemuri Junjô-Hen (Young Thugs: Innocent Blood) (1997)

Saw it today and yesterday, stopped at about 55 minutes. Totally messed up Osaka, some rock music is played and our couple-in-love gets drunk! it is an 18+ movie so the street fights are quite brutal and you should really see it, as towards the end it is fulll of nasty surprises. The same as in the other “young thugs” plot, the name of our guy is Riichi, what else could it be- as for Osaka, they either think “rich”, or “reach”, when they choose that name, however, lately, i was considering it could as well mean “roach”. OK yes japanese can not have firearms that easily as Americans so they usally carry a baseball baton. In real world, sometimes, when I tried to write comments to japanese people, they just replied “It is a baton”, or some sentence containing that spelling. So I think unless you stay inside your car or the safety of your home, all what you see could really happen to youuuuu…hell wait, you are a foreigner, aren’t you? In this movie it’s more about adults while in the other “young thugs”, it is teen boys. If you enjoy nasty surprises and street fighting, go for it. On the other hand there is something about hair cutting but that is also imprinted on the backside…

Wonderful Days (Sky Blue)

3 years ago via Flixster

Wonderful Days (Sky Blue) (2003)

Dark vision of the future, made in Korea! Shua, our hero, thinks that the purpose justifies the action, so he’s actually not shy to murder however he developes feelings for a redhead girl. The movie is a wonderful attempt to picture humanity as such- everybody wins, but some win more! All in cartoon style and laid out with great detail. Highly recommend this one for any serious collection.

In Old Chicago

3 years ago via Flixster

In Old Chicago (1938)

Insight into America’s past, and for that time, a great effort was put into the making. The mentality of Chicago’s people is indeed a strange and special one, actually many of them have come from Ireland. Later in the 1940s this would become the place where the first atomic bomb was constructed, and in the 1970s, Motorola designed the 68000 microprocessor, maybe THE microprocessor as such, it was the world’s first 32-bit processor, and for that time, revolutionary. However it did not really make it, in favour of Intel, even if it looks very comfortable and efficient to use. Later Chicago would become arena for at times doubtful internet gallions life for instance a guy known as “Jimbo Wales”, however it is not fully clear if wikipedia specifically resembles Chicago. I would say, according to the movie plot, yea maybe it would, but in the end everything is destroyed. Many people actually like Chicago, it has beautiful city scape, a river flowing through the city, however it is not really seen in the movie. If you are interested in America, or specifically Chicago, this movie is a must-see. And it’s beautiful, really worth watching it more than once.

Kishiwada Shônen Gurentai: Bôkyô (Young Thugs: Nostalgia)

3 years ago via Flixster

Kishiwada Shônen Gurentai: Bôkyô (Young Thugs: Nostalgia) (1998)

Osaka as it lives, rocks, and spins all over Japan- lightless capital of the more weird ones. It is said the dialect can be hard to follow even for the native japanese. The plot is absolutely lovely, well with a few exceptions, basically it is built around a young boy who does not really have a clue but he rocks his female teacher, and towards the end, he and his friends engage in an expedition all over Japan, well that is from Osaka, through the bay, in order to visit relatives maybe 50 miles away. There are many references to boys youth such as fireworks and paper dolls but see for yourself!

Hiroshima Mon Amour (Hiroshima, My Love)

3 years ago via Flixster

Hiroshima Mon Amour (Hiroshima, My Love) (1959)

Spooky movie about Hiroshima, basically a love affair between a french woman who stays in Hiroshima for a movie cast, and a japanese architect. The woman actually turns haywire when she remembers her past time with a german soldier, in a small french town during wartime. Impressive insight into the weird depths of the human mind, was the prize winner of Cannes film festival back then in the late 1950s. In the plot suffering and romance are mixed however there is no specific end the movie just stops, as if they just had an affair with no past and no future.

Dark Myth

3 years ago via Flixster

Dark Myth (1997)

Interesting insight into the darkness of ancient Japan. The descendants of the ancestors continue to exist so maybe not much ever changed only the wallpaper is different now. In the movie the concept of hungry ghosts is explained, who have gained immortality but for an unimagineably high price.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *