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Returning the Favor (2006)

Sukoshi wa, ongaeshi dekitakana (original title)
Kazunori Kitahara, a young man that is diagnosed with Ewing's Sarcoma in his second year of high school. Kazunori decides his best legacy would be to pass the university entrance exam.

Director:

Ken Yoshida
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Cast

Credited cast:
Chizuru Ikewaki Chizuru Ikewaki ... Mio Sasaki
Ryô Katsuji ... Takumi Makiuchi
Masanobu Katsumura Masanobu Katsumura ... Hiroaki Sakaki
Takehiro Murata Takehiro Murata ... Ichiro Kitahara
Kazunari Ninomiya ... Kazunori Kitahara
Shigemitsu Ogi Shigemitsu Ogi ... Takatoshi Agawa
Issey Takahashi ... Masaichi Kitahara (as Issei Takahashi)
Kei Tani Kei Tani ... Principal Tanokura
Shinobu Ôtake Shinobu Ôtake ... Mikiko Kitahara
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Storyline

Kazunori Kitahara, a young man that is diagnosed with Ewing's Sarcoma in his second year of high school. Kazunori decides his best legacy would be to pass the university entrance exam.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Drama

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Details

Country:

Japan

Language:

Japanese

Release Date:

22 March 2006 (Japan) See more »

Also Known As:

Returning the Favor See more »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Color:

Color
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Did You Know?

Goofs

Possible gaffe: About one hour into the movie, a crowd of students throng to outdoor bulletin boards to see their school marks. You can see the sound operator with a mic on a pole twice in the middle of the crowd, as though he was being carried away in the crush. There is no explanation offered as to why he is there, and no other crewmembers are visible. See more »

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User Reviews

 
True story; more reverent than inspirational treatment
31 July 2008 | by freddyfraudSee all my reviews

Made-for-TV "weeper of the week" movie, based on the true story of KITAHARA Kazunori who was diagnosed with cancer in high school. The infinitely likable pop idol NINOMIYA Kazunari stars, with competent support from the other actors.

The story follows Kitahara's life from school athlete to his dealing with Ewing's Sarcoma. Strangely, the movie is not about his battle against the disease, but his struggle to fulfill his duty to his parents. He decides his best legacy would be to pass the university entrance exam.

Kitahara kept a journal of his thoughts during this time, which his mother later published as a book, and which served as the basis for this story. Some photos of the real Kitahara appear in the movie.

The power of the story comes from the knowledge that this is a true life tragedy and not from any filmic craft involved. The doleful production is straightforward and surprisingly passionless. The performances are subdued, even eclipsed by the events represented.

A welcome break from the drama-by-numbers direction is when the Kitahara family is out for a walk and begins spontaneously to sing "Ue o muite arukō"("Sukiyaki" to Westerners) which is about being optimistic in the face of life's trials.

All in all, it's a personal story given a respectful but very conventional handling.

I'll guess that actor "Nino" went bald for this role since he was going to need short hair for his excellent role in "Letters from Iwo Jima", released later the same year.


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