The Value of Acknowledging the Unfathomable in Personal and Global Relations
– What this film made me think about is that, although the basic premise is that people cannot understand each other, they still wish to understand each other and are troubled by the “still” part of that desire. The play has a line “What does it mean to understand someone? I would like to ask the director’s opinion on this question.
Imaizumi: It is the same for me. It is difficult to completely understand other people. I don’t think I can even understand myself. Depending on the person I confront, I may be respected or taken lightly, and I cannot define “me. When even I don’t understand myself, it is only natural that I don’t understand others.
On top of that, I thought that this film may have been a film that considered a lot of “still” parts, after hearing your current impressions. Every interaction is trivial, but it depicts an “attitude of trying to know the other person.
– What do you think about the behavior of other people that you don’t understand?
Imaizumi: I am the type of person who, even if someone says or does something that is completely different from what I think, I don’t reject it outright and say, “That’s different,” but rather I accept it and say, “There is another way of thinking. I want to accept it. I don’t mean that I accept everything, but I accept it and then discuss it.
I think that such “discussion after acknowledging the existence of incomprehensible entities” is important not only between individuals, but also between two regions with different cultures, even in the case of wars between countries.
– I thought that “family” is especially difficult to understand and to talk about one’s true feelings, like Kanae and Satoru. My own theory is that “if we always clashed with each other about our true feelings, we wouldn’t be able to live together.
Imaizumi: I understand that opinion, though (laughs). I think the important thing in a family is not to be tied down. I myself have no memories of being tied down by my parents, and I am very grateful for that.
Even family members like different things and think differently. For example, as a parent, I worry about my child watching YouTube all the time. I really don’t want them to watch YouTubers with bad mouths or anything like that (laughs). But everyone likes different things, so as long as they keep to a minimum promise, I try not to restrict them.
I think there is always something to learn from everything. It’s like playing NES when we were kids. We were told, “If you play it all the time, you will become an idiot. It’s the same thing. So I try not to easily deny what they are enjoying, even if I don’t think it’s interesting.
– Do you think the same way when you are faced with a major choice, such as your career path?
Imaizumi: I think that parents should not ignore their children’s wishes and guide them in their career paths or love lives. Of course, they want to guide their children because they are important to them, and they have a responsibility to nurture them, but whether the “good life” you think is a good life for them is a different matter. Even when dealing with children, I want to be open to their opinions.
My wife and I are on equal footing, so we share our opinions with each other.
– Do you ever feel afraid to tell your wife how you really feel?
Imaizumi: I am not afraid because she is the only person with whom I can talk about my true feelings. But we fight a lot. It can’t be helped (laughs). (laughs) Recently, I had a headache because I couldn’t convey my feelings to the other person properly.
– What kind of topics do you disagree about?
Imaizumi: I myself am not particular about anything except about my creative work, so there is not much disagreement in my daily life. I remember when I first got married, I was asked every day, “Do you want to have dinner? I hated being asked that question every day when I first got married.
I was used to the freedom of living alone, and since we started living together when we got married without living together, I thought, “I don’t know what I’m going to do at night when it’s daytime. The person I was talking to was always trying to be helpful, but it was hard for me.
– I can understand both sides of the argument, so it is difficult.
Imaizumi: I know it is an extravagant statement. It is not so cramped as to be “constrained,” but I felt that my life was very restricted.
– You mentioned that you were not tied down by your parents, but I imagine that they did not have a relationship that pushed you away as much as they left you alone. How did you develop a relationship of mutual trust?
Imaizumi: They were strict in some ways, but they respected my opinions. For example, when I told him that I wanted to work in film in the future, he was very understanding and did not oppose me.
I later found out that my father wanted to be a writer, but his parents were against it. His bookshelf was filled with books on novels and scenario writing, and I am sure he really wanted to be a writer. However, his grandfather did not approve, saying, “It is not something that the eldest son in the countryside should do. Perhaps he looked back on that experience as a lesson to me, but he was very supportive of me.