(Pymmik's translation of the story from the official site of "Zo no Senaka")
48-year-old Yukihiro Fujiyama, real estate company project department chief, has been enjoying the prime time in his life; both at
work and at home, with his wife, son and daughter. One day, however, he is diagnosed by a doctor as having terminal cancer and
likely to die within half a year.
Perplexed by the doctor's diagnosis, what Fujiyama has chosen to do is not to get any life-enhancing treatment but to seek fulfillment
for the remaining days of his life. If his remaining days are so limited, he would rather live the rest of his life more significantly.
Instead of resolving to face death, he has come to think that he would rather stick to life.
Fujiyama determines to see some important people whom he has been concerned with, and say goodbye to them face to face. Among
those people are the girl (Satomi Tezuka), to whom he was not able to tell his love; his senior high friend (Katsumi Takahashi) with
whom he has not got in touch due to a silly misunderstanding; and his elder brother (Ittoku Kishibe) whom he has lost contact for
By so doing Fujiyama wants to recall the life he has lived; but he cannot tell his wife, Miwako (Miki Imai) about his illness, although
they have been married for 23 years. How should he tell her? He has got some other secret that he has not told her.
Fujiyama has confessed his illness only to his son (Shun Shioya), though, asking him to help and support his mother and sister (Nao
Minamizawa); but when he collapses at his company, Miwako is informed of her husband's illness by a doctor. Miwako is utterly
shocked to know that her husband has hidden from her the fact of his illness. Asked about why he has refused any life-enhancing
treatment, Fujiyama says that he would rather live his present life not his future life. After listening to his confession, Miwako
finally makes up her mind to accept her husband's wishes.
Fujiyama has resigned his job and has started living his 'present' life. He now realizes how happy his daily life with his wife has been.
Koji Yakusho commented:
"While reading the novel, I became touched many times at the affection from the family of the hero and
the people surrounding him. I was impressed by the sincerity of this man. Apart from the judgment on
whether or not this man's decision is right, I'd like to portray his honest feelings as a father, husband
and man very carefully. "
Yakusho intends to lose weight five kilos prior to filming and in due course, to lose five more kilos before
Yukihiro breathes his last!
Zo-no Senaka (The Back of the Elephant)
Walking My Life (2007)
Created on April 10, 2007
Updated on August 22, 08
Koji Yakusho: Yukihiro Fujiyama
Miki Imai: Miwako Fujiyama
Shun Shioya: Shunsuke Fujiyama
Nao Minamizawa : Haruka Fujiyama
Haruka Igawa: Etsuko Aoki
Toru Masuoka: Yamashiro
Satomi Tezuka:Miho Fukuoka
Katsumi Takahashi: Sakuma Kiyoshi
Ittoku Kishibe:Koichi Fujiyama
Akira Shirai: Matsui (doctor)
Takashi Sasano: Haruo Takagi
Masatou Ibu: Imano
Based on a novel by Yasushi Akimoto
Directed by Satoshi Isaka
Release date: October 27, 2007
"Zo no Senaka/Walking My Life" will be shown at the Hawaii International Film Festival on August 23 and
25. You can watch the trailer with English subtitles here.
It is a great pity but as the official site of "Zo no senaka" has been deleted, we are now unable to see the
trailers for this movie and the cast interviews on this site. On this website, however, the first and the second
teaser trailers are still available, as well as some video clips for the cast interviews:
Here are the second teaser trailer and the cast interviews.
I have just found that Shochiku's English website for "Zo no Senaka / Walking My Life" has the trailer
with English subtitles.
On April 14 Koji Yakusho's official website announced that Koji was awarded the best actor award for "Zo
no Senaka" at the Madrid International Film Festival (FilmaMadrid) which was held from March 28 to
On April 1 "Zo-no Senaka" was shown at the first Madrid International Film Festival which was held from
March 28 to April 5. (Sources: The Hollywood Reporter and the official website of the Madrid Film Festival)
Here is the review by Variety: Mr. Russel Edwards starts his comments:
"A dying man seeks out those he he has wronged throughout his life in the touching if culturally
idiosyncratic Japanese meller "Walking My Life." This restrained effort may spark some interest due to the
international profile of lead actor Koji Yakusho ("Babel," "Memoirs of a Geisha"), but commercial
prospects will be confined to Asian markets. Skewing toward older auds, pic drew respectable B.O. in Japan
last October. Asian fests may take a look, but mainstream fests will find the sentimentality an obstacle."
After reading the original novel by Yasushi Akiyama, I went to see this film four times. Each time I felt very
moved, reminded of my loved ones of bygone generations. As was commented in this review, Koji
Yakusho's performance as Yukihiro Fujiyama was really outstanding. I am looking forward to seeing this
film on DVD again.
February 10, 2008
"Zo-no Senaka" is being shown now at the Berlin Film Festival as market premiere. The title that the
distributor Shochiku has put for this film is not the literal English translation, "The Back of the Elephant"
but "Walking My Life".
The DVD for "Zo no Senaka" will be released on March 19, 2008.
Koji Yakusho was nominated for the 31st Japanese Academy Best Actor Award for this film.
Here is the report about the Japanese Academy Awards.
Another interview with Koji Yakusho for Sankei Shimbun (dated October 26).
On the official website of this film, the interview with Koji Yakusho was finally put on. Please enjoy the
photo. The interview with Kishibe Ittoku on this site is very good and moving. I have touched at the the
hospice scene where Yukihiro and his brother Koichi (Kishibe) talk each other, eating watermelon on a
bench there. Kishibe-san said that while shooting this scene, he had seen Yakusho-san's tears for the first
time. I have already seen this film twice!
At 10:55 today, Koji Yakusho and the other main cast for "Zo-no Senaka" are due to greet the audience
from the stage before the film starts, together with the director Satoshi Isaka and Yasushi Akimoto, the
author of the novel, "Zo no Senaka" (The Back of the Elephant"). I'm going to see this film at this theater
this morning! Here is the photo taken at the time of the stage greeeting.
You can now see the seven-minute long interview with Koji Yakusho about "Zo-no Senaka" on this site.
You will see that Koji has become extremely slim! In some of the magazine interviews, Koji said that he
had lost seven kilos before the shooting of this film and another five kilos by the time of the shooting of
Yukihiro's death scene.
If you want to see the five-minute long video-clip, visit this site and click the 'play' on the top right. (Until
November 27, 07)
The premiere of "Zo no Senaka/The Back of the Elephant" was held on September 27 in Tokyo.
The main cast greeted audience from the stage. Here's the photo. This photo of Koji is very impressive.
The theatrical trailer is now ready. Koji has certainly lost a lot of weight at the hospice scenes.
If you want to see the photos of the main cast, click here. I love the photo of Koji as Yukihiro.
And here are some photos from the movie scenes. Each photo can be enlarged. I was very
moved by the last photo where Yukihiro holds Etsuko.
The introduction to "The Back of the Elephant " by Twitchfilm.net .
The title is "Koji Yakusho Travels The Tear-Jerker Road With THE BACK OF THE ELEPHANT".
We can now see the poster for this film. (Sobbing!)
The first photo of Koji Yakusho and Miki Imai as Yukihiro and Miwako.
We can now see the trailer for this film on the official site of "Zo-no Senaka".
It was announced yesterday that the young Japanese vocal duo, Chemistry would sing the theme song of
"Zo-no Senaka". The title is "Saigo no Kawa" (The Last River). Their CD will be on sale from October 24,
07. The words of this song were created by Yasushi Akimoto, the author of the novel.
The trailer for this film will be shown at movie theaters from August 18.
Koji Yakusho's official website reported that On August 15, Koji finished shooting "Zo-no Senaka".
Not one photo of Koji Yakusho as Yukihiro Fujiyama is available yet, but if you want to see some filming
scenes of this film, click here.
I am anxious to know 'the stage of Koji's illness.' He may be in a hospice now.
I found two more websites which reported the press conference for "Zo no Senaka".
Please enjoy very handsome Koji Yakusho photos here and here.
Here's Pymmik's unofficial translation of Koji's comment at the press conference held on June 21:
"I now feel strained at the thought that quite soon the film will finally start shooting. I have got
a feeling that it will be rather difficult for the hero whom I'll portray to get full sympathy from the movie
audience in the way that he loves his wife as well as his mistress. I am wondering what his special charm is. I
would like the movie audience to see the last of this man at the end of the film, feeling high praise for a
sense that he has done his best."
Koji is quite happy with Miki Imai as his wife. He says that he has got lots of her CDs and that he has been
encoureaged and healed by her singing. Therefore Koji says that it will be very nice to co-star as the
husband of such a lady.
Koji says that he intends of loosing nearly 10 kilos of weight during the film shooting in order to portray
the dying man.
The press conference for "Zo no Senaka" was held today with the presence of director Satoshi Isaka, author
Yasushi Akimoto, Koji Yakusho and singer/actress Miki Imai. Here is the photo. The filming will start in
early July and end in late August. It is due to be released on October 27, 2007. This photo is also good!
June 15, 2007
The official website of "Zou no Senaka" was updated and the cast were announced.
The cover photo of the film
program. The photo will be
The cover photo of the paper back version
of the novel,"Zo no Senaka" written by