Watched an interesting TV drama last night called ‘Message’. One more sign that my understanding of Japanese is improving: my eyes got a little watery. I am hardhearted enough that I seldom tear up watching a show in my native language.

Two brothers about 10 and 6 years of age at the end of the war discover a Sears catalog dropped by a passing occupation jeep. The older brother studies it at length and uses it to practice drawing. In the 60s the two work together making ground breaking TV commercials for Shiseido: the younger as a cameraman; the older, artist/director. Their dream is to make ‘uso ja nai’ commercials: that is ‘not a lie’.

In 1972, under pressure, the older brother feels forced to fake something for a commercial, but commits suicide shortly after that. The timeline pops back and forth between 1945, ’68, ’72, and 2006. It seems like the younger brother, shocked by his brother’s death, went into seclusion. In the modern timeline a young woman tracks him down because of his impact on the business. She tells him of her dream to make ‘uso ja nai’ commercials, which is just the trigger to get him active again.

Unfortunately, they have some setbacks when she is talking about things she will fix with CG (computer graphics). She tells him times have changed, he says something about a lie is still a lie, and they part ways.

If you want the ending let me know and I will include it here as well.

Shiseido sponsored this production and historical commercials were incorporated directly into the footage. This was a cool effect, but I couldn’t tell when the commercial breaks were starting since they were almost entirely Shiseido advertisements.

The timeline jumping around got me confused for awhile and I couldn’t tell if it was the older or younger brother who had killed himself. I also had a little trouble telling which was the director and which was the cameraman. This could have been fixed by me paying more attention at the beginning (I was reading a book at the same time.)


5 Responses to “Message”

  1. Keven Says:

    Given the likelihood of me seeing the show (zero), I would say you should give a full synopsis of the show!!

  2. びっくり Says:

    OK, in the end the woman realizes the value of sticking to the ‘uso ja nai’ concept. She also requests that the main character do her camera work when she is in his region. This was presented very well; you could see his sense of pleasure to help, yet he wasn’t getting roped into a full-time career which would make his retirement a little unpleasant.

    A catch phrase in the film was: Uso wo tsuite mo barerumono desu. I translate this as ‘pushing a lie is a thing that will be discovered’. This was the last line in the older brother’s suicide note.

    Personally, I find it a little ironic since they were making cosmetic ads; and, after all, cosmetics serve the purpose of hiding the truth. Aside from that bit of irony, I thought it was a very touching show.

  3. Keven Says:


    Cosmetics may hide the truth, but then so does clothing!!

  4. びっくり Says:

    Keven, are you promoting nudism now?

  5. Sunkissd1 Says:

    NO, no, no…don’t go there. The only people who are interested in nudism are the ones who really shouldn’t participate in it!! Boo!! Ü

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