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Pale Moon (2014)

Kami no tsuki (original title)
A mellow drama following the moral decline of a housewife turned bank employee who embezzles a fortune from her customers and indulges in an affair with a younger man. Set in 1994, shortly after the burst of Japan's economic bubble.


Daihachi Yoshida


Mitsuyo Kakuta (based on the novel by), Kaeko Hayafune (screenplay)
8 wins & 11 nominations. See more awards »


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Credited cast:
Rie Miyazawa Rie Miyazawa ... Rika Umezawa
Sôsuke Ikematsu Sôsuke Ikematsu ... (as Sosuke Ikematsu)
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Juri Ihata Juri Ihata ... Bank co-worker
Renji Ishibashi
Satomi Kobayashi Satomi Kobayashi
Yoshimasa Kondô Yoshimasa Kondô
Seiichi Tanabe
Mayumi Tenkô Mayumi Tenkô ... Mitsuko Osanai
Yûko Ôshima Yûko Ôshima ... (as Yûko Ohshima)


A mellow drama following the moral decline of a housewife turned bank employee who embezzles a fortune from her customers and indulges in an affair with a younger man. Set in 1994, shortly after the burst of Japan's economic bubble.

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Release Date:

15 November 2014 (Japan) See more »

Also Known As:

Pale Moon See more »

Filming Locations:

Bangkok, Thailand See more »


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User Reviews

Challenges for kind and hardworking Japanese women in modern Japan
17 June 2015 | by KicinoSee all my reviews

I was looking forward to see this movie, got a little disappointed and went to read the novel. Well, there is a quite a big change during the adaptation and I have to say that the transition in the novel is better but focusing the couple in the movie is probably a better idea.

The movie is choppy because there seems to be little depiction of why the main protagonist, middle-aged wife bank employee Rika Umezawa (Rie Miyazawa) would fall for a university student Kota Hirabayashi (Sosuke Ikematsu) who could be her son. Equally unconvincing is why the young man would fall for her apart from the money and the material comfort it brings.

The economy backdrop and the social issues brought about from the movie and the book are interesting though: after the economy bubble burst in the 1990s in Japan, everyone work hard to maintain a life their parents take for granted. More women and hourly-paid workers join the work force but they are not respected or supported by their company, or even by their own family members. Yet these women work very hard, though some slight skid and falls into affairs with their supervisor while some, like Rika, begin to let greed take over.

In her work, neglected housewife Rika finds satisfaction as well as distraction from her efforts in having babies. To prove her existence, she begins to embezzle from her bank to finance her material comfort and starts an affair with a young man, the grandson of one of her clients. She sinks deeper and reaches a point of no return.

The novel describes two side lines of Rika's friends falling into the same trap of defining themselves by consumerism. But the movie focuses on Rika which I think is a clever move. Yet the building up and fading out of the affair seem to flow rather weakly. The detached marriage can also be better portrayed/ traced.

It is an excellent move to place Satomi Kobayashi as a loyal and single bank employee in comparison with Rika. She seems to serve as a conscience in contrast. This character does not exist in the novel and is a great addition in the adaptation. Both actresses are great. In fact, the whole cast is quite good, but the weak plot kind of hampers the movie.

To understand contemporary Japan and the country's predicament in dealing with the new millennium, perhaps we have to watch both the movie and read the novel to reach more insights. More food for Minister Abe to munch on too.

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