|Yudan Taiteki (2004)
The Hunter and the Hunted
Koji Yakusho: Jin Sekikawa
Akira Emoto: Sadakichi Nekota(Neko)
Yui Natsukawa: Makiko Hamashima
Rio Sugano: Misaki (8 years old)
Ayaka Maeda (17 years old)
Kenji Mizuhashi: Shirotani
Masahiko Tsugawa: Tojo
Eiji Okuda:Owner of a pachinko parlour
Director: Izuru Narushima
Screenplay: Yoshiko Komatsu
Based on a non-fiction story by Satoshi Iitsuka
Release date:January 17, 2004
Running time 110 min.
When the film starts, we hear a man's deep voice softly mumbling, "Oi-chi ni!, Oi-chi-ni! "
(One-two! One-two!) Then we see a middle-aged man holding the hand of a little girl who is in
pain and lying on a bed in an ambulance. The man is Jin Sekikawa (Koji Yakusho) and the
little girl is his eight-year -old daughter, Misaki (Rio Sugano). At the hospital, Misaki's illness is
diagnosed as appendicitis. Sekikawa's funny mumbling utterance,( "Oichi-ni! Oichi-ni! ") in the
ambulance seems to have been a kind of incantation to ease his daughter' pain.
Sekikawa is a 35-year-old police detective in the burglary section at a police station in Gunma
prefecture. He is rather new in this section. He was transferred there a year earlier from a
"Chuzaisho" or a local police station in a village in Gunma. Consequent on his wife's death, he
has had to quit his position as sole police officer there, following the regulation that a
"Chuzaisho" police officer must be dwelling with his wife and not on his own.
Now that he has become a single father, Sekikawa finds it rather hard to cope with both doing
his job well and looking after his little daughter.
One summer day, when he is off duty, this police-detective father succeeds, quite by chance, in
arresting a thief while he is out with his daughter.
When both of Misaki's bicycle pedals get broken, a middle-aged man passing by kindly stops
and fixes them, using various kits in the box that he is carrying. While trying to appreciate his
kind deed, Sekikawa is stunned to spot a tin of fish food in his box and remembers that he came
across the same kind of tin in a shop from which a fairly large sum of cash has been stolen
Then the man (whom Sekikawa arrests) is duly identified as Sadakichi Nekota or 'Neko' (Akira
Emoto). Now this Neko is famous among the police, as a legendary thief, for two reasons: in the
first place, he has seldom got arrested, and secondly, even if he does get arrested, in most cases,
not having found enough proof, the police soon have to release him. Seemingly, it is dependent
upon his confession alone as to whether the police consider him guilty. Moreover, according to
hearsay, it depends on a police detective's nature as to whether or not Neko confesses his
Amazingly enough, on this occasion, Neko begins confessing to Sekikawa all the thefts that he
has committed, telling him that Sekikawa was the first police officer whose occupation he was
not able to sense intuitively. It seems that Sekikawa's sincere and honest attitude in the enquiry
room at the police station, evinced in such ways as his thanking Neko for having fixed his
daughter's bicycle pedals and his confessing his private worries about how best to bring up his
little daughter, has awakened Neko's interest in the detective. Moreover, while still in police
custody, after Neko has found that Sekikawa is an inexperienced thief detective, he starts
advising him on how to arrest thieves, on the basis of his own experience.
In the meantime, Sekikawa has fallen in love with a kind and attractive lady called Makiko (Yui
Natsukawa) who is in charge of children's after-school club activities at a near-by Catholic
church. It is Makiko herself who has taught Misaki, "Oi-chi ni! Oi-chi ni!" as an incantation at
a time of crisis. Sekikawa wants to marry her, but on becoming aware of their love, Misaki
starts showing strong objection towards their marriage by staying in bed and refusing to eat for
three days. Sekikawa then apologizes, telling Makiko that out of consideration for Misaki, he
cannot marry her. Getting emotional, Makiko agrees to his decision. As soon as she learns of
her father's decision, this little daughter instantly gets up from her bed and starts doing all the
household chores, declaring that she can do them by herself.
Ten years have passed. We now see that Sekikawa has become an experienced thief detective.
One day, Sekikawa once again suceeds in arresting Neko.
As if he has challenged Sekikawa to arrest him, Neko had started leaving odd items, such as the
tin of fish food, at the places where the theft was committed; which reminded Sekikawa of the
old days when he first arrested Neko.
This time, however, Neko is quite stubborn in confessing his theft, even to Sekikawa. Sekikawa
now has only two hours until the police must release Neko. Sekikawa once again starts
confessing to Neko his own worries about his 17-year-old daughter, Misaki (Ayaka Maeda) who
is now at a nurse-training college. Misaki has recently stirred her father's fears by insisting that,
after graduation, she would like to go to Cambodia to work as a nurse. Sekikawa also tells
Neko what he heard about Neko when visiting the village where he spent his childhood days.
While listening to Sekikawa's story about his unhappy childhood, Neko starts crying like a
child. Sekikawa has reminded Neko of the days when he did his first robbery to get a small sum
as the train fare to go to see his mother, who had left her violent husband and Neko.
It goes without saying that ,once again, Neko has told Sekikawa everything; but once again,
Sekikawa knows that it was by Neko's own will that he has led Sekikawa to arrest him. Actually
when he was arrested 10 years earlier, Neko was suffering from "Ji" or "piles"; and in the
present instance, Neko thinks, mistakenly, that he has lung cancer, although actually it is a
One spring day, in 2003, Misaki leaves home for Cambodia with her mother's wrist-watch, her
father's first gift to his wife. Before leaving, Misaki shows her father how to make good pickles
in a pot by mixing the ingredients thoroughly; she has done this as her daily routine ever since
she was a little girl, for her father's sake, just like her mother used to do. Left alone at home,
Sekikawa,grasping his left hand, starts mumbling the old familiar incantation, "Oi-chi ni! Oi-chi
ni! Oi-chi, Oi-chi, Oi-chi ni!", As he repeats this incantation, his tearful eyes gradually start to
show some glow of determination.