Kamihate Shoten / カミハテ商店
At the fishing village of Kamihate at the end of the bus line on a small island, lost souls at the end of their ropes come to throw themselves off nearby cliff. They stop at the only store, the Kamihate Shoten, to buy the only things available there, homemade loaves of bread and bottles of milk. The proprietress, Morita-san (Keiko Takahashi) knows what exactly they’re there for, and resignedly sells them their last meals. This is the essence of Tatsuya Yamamoto’s heartfelt and flawless exploration of the human condition, Kamihate Shoten. The people who cross her life get a small uplift with her natsukashi bread, but it doesn’t save them. Yamamoto deftly illustrates their personalities and humanity with succinct brevity. He focuses mainly on Morita and her ever-increasing burden. In counterpoint is the story of her brother (Susumu Terajima), alienated in the big city, whose brief encounters will bring the circle back to Kamihate. Takahashi (Tokyo Rhapsody) delivers the performance of a lifetime with Yamamoto’s sure direction and his brilliant script co-written with Ryuushi Mizukami.
Originally published in EL Magazine, November 2012.