Sawako Decides

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Sawako Decides
Japanese Sawako Decides poster
Directed byYuya Ishii
Produced byMayumi Amano
Written byYuya Ishii
StarringHikari Mitsushima
Masashi Endō
Kira Aihara
Music bySamon Imamura
CinematographyYukihiro Okimura
Edited byKoichi Takahashi
Release date
  • July 30, 2009 (2009-07-30) (PIA Film Festival)
Running time
111 minutes

Sawako Decides (川の底からこんにちは, Kawa no Soko kara Konnichiwa, "Hello from the bottom of the river") is a 2009 Japanese comedy-drama film directed by Yuya Ishii. The film stars Hikari Mitsushima as Sawako.

Sawako Decides premiered at Tokyo at the PIA Film Festival in 2009. At the Fantasia Film Festival, the film won the award for Best Feature Film and Best Actress for Hikari Mitsushima.


In present-day Tokyo, 23-year-old Sawako Kimura (Hikari Mitsushima) is in her fifth part-time job and with her fifth boyfriend since leaving high school. Kenichi Arai (Masashi Endō) is a second-rate designer at the toy company where Sawako works, and has a four-year-old daughter, Kayoko (Kira Aihara). Kenichi keeps pressing Sawako to marry him, but she considers him "only average" (as indeed she considers herself "nothing special"), and on top of that she dislikes children. At the same time, Sawako's uncle, Nobuo (Ryo Iwamatsu) keeps phoning, asking her to return to her hometown, as her father Tadao (Kotaro Shiga) is dying from cirrhosis of the liver and wants her to take over the failing freshwater clam packing company he owns. When Kenichi is fired from his toy-designer job, he persuades the reluctant Sawako to accept the offer to return home, and to take him and Kayoko along into the bargain. The trio arrive in the Pacific coast town of Kawaminami in southern Japan, where Sawako finds herself scorned by the womenfolk for having run away from home five years earlier with her high school tennis club captain, Yoshio (Ryu Morioka). At this point Sawako is forced to decide what she wants to do with the company, Kenichi, Kayoko, and her whole life.


Actress Hikari Mitsushima found the story of the film amusing and personally negotiated with director Yuya Ishii, saying that he would "regret it if he didn't cast me."[1]


Sawako Decides premiered at the PIA Film Festival in Tokyo on July 30, 2009.[2] It premiered theatrically in Japan on May 1, 2010.[2]

Sawako Decides had its North American premiere at the New York Asian Film Festival on July 1, 2010.[3] It was shown in the United Kingdom at the London Film Festival in October 2010.[4]


At the Fantasia Film Festival, the film won the award for Best Feature Film and Best Actress for Hikari Mitsushima.[5] Total Film gave the film three stars out of five, noting that the film's "jokes occasionally get lost in translation".[6] The Guardian gave the film two stars out of five, stating that the film is "somewhere between funny and irritating".[7] The Hollywood Reporter gave the film a mixed review by praising Mitsushima's acting, while stating that the film "does not challenge the status quo that makes life so miserable for non-achievers."[8]


  1. ^ Aoki, Mizuho (April 30, 2010). "Hikari Mitsushima: from pop idol to screen diva?". Japan Times. Missing or empty |url= (help); |access-date= requires |url= (help)
  2. ^ a b Elley, Derek (July 31, 2010). "Sawako Decides". Film Business Asia. Retrieved October 13, 2011.
  3. ^ "Sawako Decides (Japan, 2010)". New York Asian Film Festival. Retrieved October 13, 2011.
  4. ^ Frater, Patrick (September 9, 2010). "London Festival picks large Asian haul". Film Business Asia. Retrieved October 13, 2011.
  5. ^ Sachs, Micah (July 29, 2010). ""Sawako Decides" Cleans Up at Fantasia Film Fest". indieWire. Retrieved October 13, 2011.
  6. ^ Russell, Jamie (July 12, 2011). "Sawako Decides". Total Film. Retrieved October 13, 2011.
  7. ^ Shoard,Catherine (July 7, 2011). "Sawako Decides – review". The Guardian. Retrieved October 13, 2011.
  8. ^ Lee, Maggie (October 14, 2010). "Sawako Decides -- Film Review". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved October 13, 2011.

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