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(Ashita no kioku)


Genre: Drama
Starring: Ken Watanabe, Kanako Higuchi, Kenji Sakaguchi, Kazue Fukiishi, Asami Mizukawa, Noritake Kinashi, Mitsuhiro Oikawa, Eriko Watanabe, Teruyuki Kagawa
Director: Yukihiko Tsutsumi
Rating: PG
Year Made: 2006







Languages: Japanese
Subtitles: English/Chinese
Aspect Ratio: Anamorphic Widescreen
Sound: Dolby Digital 5.1
Running Time: 2 hrs 2 mins
Region Code: NTSC 3
Official Website:




Saeki aged 50 and a sales manager of an advertisement agency is active in nature and loved by his subordinates. His only daughter's wedding is coming up and he is to become a grandfather. He is looking forward to this new chapter of his life...

One day, however he is struck with a sudden physical downturn which started impeding his work. To his shock, the doctor diagnosed him with "early on-set Alzheimer's disease"! Saeki and his wife, Emiko are daunted with unspeakable fear that Saeki gradually but certainly loses his memory.


This reviewer has contributed quite a substantial number of reviews for this humble website since he started three odd years back. Today, he does not exactly what he has written over the years. He would browse through the site, chance upon a review, see his name at the bottom of the page and wonder to himself: “I wrote this?” After watching this finely produced Japanese film, this sentiment suddenly meant something to him: what do all these memories mean in this fast fleeting society we live in?

Banking on the star power of Ken Watanabe (The Last Samurai, Letters from Iwo Jima), this 122 minute picture is based on Hiroshi Ogiwara’s novel about a successful businessman’s perfect life being shattered to bits when he is diagnosed with an early onset Alzheimer’s disease. With a loving wife and a daughter who is about to get married, his dream of living a happy life with his family is suddenly brought to a halt when he begins forgetting details of his life. What’s next for the man is to embark on a new journey with his wife to a stage when he will eventually lose his memory.

If you think about it, this situation is a very sad one, and what’s scary about it is that it can actually happen to someone you know, or worse still, you. But in times like this, what will shine is the indomitable human spirit and courage.

Oscar nominee Watanabe may have shone in Hollywood with his high profile movies, but in this movie, he does not make you think that he is a bona fide movie star. The abovementioned human strength is personified by his delicate and thoughtful portrayal of a man who had everything in his life and is at risk of losing them all. Kanako Higuchi (Crying Out Love, in the Centre of the World) plays his supporting wife to great effect, making you wish that there are more of such people around you.

The movie does not exploit your tears by giving you an onslaught of melodramatic moments, Instead, it presents you with quiet and detailed scenes which allow you to silently appreciate the performances of the capable cast, most notably Watanabe’s measured and confident acting.

What this movie also does is to arouse your reflections for what it means to live a life. And that is probably the most important thing you’d take away after watching this affecting drama. 


The Code 3 DVD contains no special features.


There s nothing to complain about the disc’s visual transfer, and the movie is presented in its original Japanese language.  



Review by John Li


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