Synopsis by Eleanor Mannikka
This gripping docudrama is a fictionalized account of what could happen to a Japanese family when one of their sons shames them in front of the entire nation. Director Masaki Kobayashi has used real events so the dramatic turns in the film are based on fact -- a 1970s shootout in the mountains between a band of Japanese terrorists and the police in which many men on both sides died. The Kidoji family bids good-bye to their son Otohiko (Kiichi Nakai) as he heads off for the mountains, keeping his objective a secret from them. After the shootout, other families publicly apologized for their sons' behavior out of a deep-seated sense of responsibility. Not so Otohiko's father -- he goes against cultural norms and says his son is an adult and is solely responsible for his own actions. The agony caused by society's stigma, the son's actions, and the father's lonely stance drive Otohiko's mother to suicide. The daughter in the family has to go to America after a clandestine wedding, and at first, the younger son in the family rebels against his father. After meetings with Otohito in prison, the younger son starts to reconsider his own attitude, but even now, fate is waiting in the wings with one more surprise for the long-suffering paterfamilias and his family.