Synopsis by Jonathan Crow
Though he died of tuberculosis in 1903 at the tender age of 23, Rentaro Taki managed to write a number of songs that are still beloved and widely performed throughout Japan. This biopic -- directed by Shinichiro Sawaii -- pays solemn tribute to this composer, charting his life from his teens until his untimely death. The film opens with Taki (Toru Kazama) venturing from rural Oita prefecture at the age of 15 to attend the Tokyo School of Music. There he is wowed by the sight of a grand piano and by the school's bevy of foreign teachers. Though a complete beginner, his raw talent and his sincerity soon win the respect of blustery Suzuki (Ryo Amamiya) and the exceedingly proper Yuki (Isako Washio). Obsessed with having Japan catch up with Europe musically, he overworks himself and contracts the disease that would eventually kill him. While convalescing at a hot spring, Taki meets a beautiful maid named Fumi (Miki Fujitani), who promptly falls for him. Unfortunately, he is so obsessed with his work that he fails to notice her amorous feelings completely and soon she's forced to become a concubine to a wealthy lecher. Later Yuki falls for him too, but this time romance is blocked by Taki's tuberculosis.