From Up on Poppy Hill (story)

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The following information was translated from original Japanese sources by T. ISHIKAWA

WARNING: minor plot spoilers may follow

Toshio Suzuki discusses the big theme that Hayao Miyazaki put in the script of Kokuriko and a spoiler about Umi's father in the advertising caravan to the masters of theater of the Kyushu area.

Suzuki: Miyazaki writes to the project paper that we must be careful about their natal secret. In fact, he was troubled about this problem very much when he had begun to write a script.

Hayao Miyazaki's project paper titled "Harbor View Hill" (this was written before Miyazaki wites a script.)

  • Miyazaki writes the ending of the Kokuriko in this paper. If you don't want to know the spoiler, please do not read it. But it is unknown whether the script is same as this paper because official website shows it since last December.

Umi continues rising the signal flag every day in the garden of the old hose on a hill looking down at Yokohama Port. U.W flag, it means "I wish you a pleasant voyage". The flag of the return is raised on the mast of a tugboat going along the bottom of the hill frequently. It becomes like daily work of the morning when a busy day begins.

One morning, a different signal is rised on a tugboat. "UWMER" and a pennant of the return. Someone who knows my name is on a tugboat. MER is the sea(Umi) in French. Umi is surprised, but she is rolled up in business of the housework of the morning in a moment. The boy on a tugboat which father handled knew that Umi rises the signal flag every day.


About a natal secret(Umi and Shun's), because it is the cheap and mannerism motif, the careful handling is necessary. How did they know the secret. How do they react then. The two advance straight. They do not commit a double suicide and do not give up the love either. The two go to check it with their leg to know the truth. It is not easy. Then the two know how their parents meet, love and lived during the war and postwar confusion period. Old sailor companion and fellow soldiers of the special attack unit will cooperate, too. They will pay the biggest respect to the two.

In the last chapter, the two leave for home by the tugboat of the old friend(He is also Shun's foster father) of their father. Umi looks the Japanese-Western style house where she lives in and a fluttering flag for the first time from the sea. She returns with father now whom she has waited for long time. A smart and manly boy is standing besides her.

It is not necessary to unfold like the manga. We cut off the comics-like point, too. Realistic depiction of the space and time. Must not place a supporting role for a gag. Boys need presence. They do not need to be handsome. School friends of Umi need presence, too. Must not make them for a setoff. Umi's grandmother, mother and lodgers are eccentric each, but I want to make the people whom we can sympathize with.

If this becomes the movie that the audience has a feeling that oneself had such a youth and attracted by their way of life, I am glad.


18 years after the war, Japan accomplished miraculous revival from the burnt field. And, in the times when rapid economic growth was going to begin, as a symbol of the revival, the holding of the Tokyo Olympics was near at hand.

People broke all old things and believed that only a new thing is splendid. The soot sent up from the chimney.The dust of a car crowding on a road. The town which is crowded with people. The noise of construction and the demolition work of the building.

However, the sea is still blue, the green shines, the sky is large, and the world was filled with hope and shined. In such times, a small dispute about a venerable building built in the Meiji era was taking place in a high school in Yokohama. It is a old building, but it is fulled with the history and memories. Should demolish it or should save it. A high school girl and boy meet in such a case, and help each other while communing. What was "Bright the future" of Japan that the two had found?

16 years old Umi and 17 years old Shun's love and the friendship as the weft, the dispute about the building as the warp, this story draws the group of high school students who live straight refreshingly.

Yokohama Port Showa 32

  • Note: Showa 32 is around the year 1958 A.D.

Kokuriko-zaka is set around Harbor View Park. There are many western house in Yamate area.

According to Yokohama web magazine, Hotel Newgrand, Sakuragicho station and other places appear in the film.

Hotel Newgrand