Tooki Rakujitsu (1993)

Run Time - 119 min.  |   Countries - Japan   |   MPAA Rating - NR
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This extremely uneven biography will be of particular interest to those familiar with notable scientific figures in recent Japanese history. Others may wonder what all the fuss is about. The story, which begins in the late nineteenth century, concerns the life of Hideyo Noguchi (Hiroshi Mikami) an apprentice fisherman who suffers an accident that renders him unfit for fishing. Instead of becoming a shrimp-picker like the other men in his village, he is motivated to study medicine, and becomes the first person to isolate the bacterium which causes syphillis. The main focus of this biography, however, (and the reason for its unevenness) seems to be on the medical pioneer's mother (Yoshiko Mita), whose struggles in the absence of her son occupy much of the film.