The latest film adapted from the works of manga artist Rieko Saibara, whose positive attitude toward life’s difficulties has won legions of fans, will open Saturday in theaters nationwide.
The fifth feature film based on her manga is “Mainichi Kasan” (“Everyday Mom”), a humorous yet touching depiction of Saibara’s own struggles in life — being a mother of two and the wife of an alcoholic, getting divorced and then taking her dying ex-husband back into her home as he battles cancer.
The original manga series has sold more than a million copies and was made into a weekly animated TV series still on the air.
“Her works make us feel that life may be only 10 percent happy things, but even the unwelcome things and struggles, which are 90 percent of it, make life so wonderful,” said Shotaro Kobayashi, director of the film starring Kyoko Koizumi and Masatoshi Nagase.
The 46-year-old cartoonist attributes the successful transition of her works into film to the current economic situation.
“Because of the recession, the stories give people more comfort compared with bigger productions or stories about being rich,” she said.
Her daughter cried throughout while watching the movie version of “Mainichi Kasan” because it made her remember the death of her father, Saibara said.
For her family, seeing the film was like “reopening the coffin” of her ex-husband, Saibara said, but she now feels good about this chapter of her life.
“Around the world, women are preparing meals, raising children and surviving their husbands. Life is fun because of a variety of things it contains,” she said.
Last year, Saibara’s “Permanent Nobara,” about a single mother who returns to her hometown in the country to work at her mother’s beauty parlor, was adapted into a feature film starring the popular actress Miho Kanno.
“Yoiga Sametara Uchini Kaero” (“Wandering Home”), now playing in theaters, is based on the autobiography by her late ex-husband, photographer Yutaka Kamoshida.
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