In 1987, a Japanese doctor, Koichiro (Takao Osawa), is dispatched by a university hospital to a research facility in Kenya. This is a dream posting for Koichiro, whose medical career was inspired by Albert Schweitzer, a lifelong medical missionary in Africa. This assignment, however, also means a long separation from his girlfriend, Takako, also a doctor, who had taken over her father’s practice on a remote island in Japan.
The idealistic Koichiro is soon requested to work for one month at the local Red Cross hospital. He is shocked by the overwhelming numbers of wounded child soldiers who are drugged and forced into combat, and decides to stay at this hospital. Dispatched from Japan to the same hospital is an extremely capable nurse, Wakako (Satomi Ishihara), and while butting heads, the two develop a bond of mutual respect.
Welcoming the wounded boy soldiers with a warm “Okay! Daijobu!,” Koichiro becomes not only their trusted doctor, but also their friend.
One day, a child soldier named Ndung’u is carried into the hospital. Suffering from gunshot wounds, Ndung’u’s greater trauma was witnessing his parents’ massacre in front of his own eyes. Drugs mask his deep emotional scars. Koichiro confronts the boy’s physical and emotional wounds head on, but…
This inspirational story recounts the “baton of hope” passed on by a Japanese doctor in the magnificent setting of Kenya.
Directed by Takashi Miike. The cast also includes Yoko Maki, Masato Hagiwara, Ryohei Suzuki, Ayako Fujitani, Kumi Nakamura, Hajime Yamazaki, Renji Ishibashi, Erick Oketch, Patrik Oketch, Nick Reeding and Lydia Gitachu. In Japanese with English subtitles.
Co-sponsored by Japanese American Cultural and Community Center.
Tickets are $20 at the door, $15 in advance. Also $15 for students, seniors, Aurora Club members and JACCC members. For more information, call the Aurora Foundation at (323) 882-6545, email email@example.com or visit www.jlsf-aurora.org.
Tickets also available at Kinokuniya Bookstores in Little Tokyo, (213) 687-4480, and Costa Mesa, (714) 662-2319.