Jiro often meets with the famous Italian aeronautical designer, Gianni Caproni in his dreams. He realizes he cannot be a pilot being nearsighted, despite his beautiful dreams of flying. So he focuses on studying engineering to rather design his dreams. Jiro bewails that Japan’s technology is primitive and backward. In addition to the political and economic unrest, unemployment makes it hard for Japan to compete with other technological powerhouses like America or Germany. Jiro was later sent to Germany as a delegate to learn about their airplane technology.
The film follows the story of Jiro meeting Naoko Satomi, a fictional character created by Miyazaki based on the novel of Tatsuo Mori. Jiro met with Naoko for the first time during the 1923 Great Kanto Earthquake on a train. Many years later, Jiro runs into Naoko again. They develop feelings for each other, Jiro wishes to marry Naoko but learns that Naoko has tuberculosis and does not wish to marry until she recovers. She decides to go to a sanatorium to recover but cannot bear the distance. Having an impromptu traditional wedding later, they decide to lend each other support until Jiro’s first successful fighter plane flight.
However, Naoko’s health condition deteriorates as the story continues. On the day of the test flight, the test surely goes well but, with a burst of wind, Jiro senses that his wife has passed away. In the final scenes Naoko talks to Jiro, “ You must live…..” and she evaporates in the wind.
The Wind Rises is the mixture of both reality and imagination in the backdrop of the Second World War in Japan. This film conveys the story of success, love and failure. Scenes of Mount Fuji, cherry blossoms and planes symbolise the condition of Japan. The character, Naoko, was the metaphor of Japan.
The tale was first published by Hayao Miyazaki as a manga series in a monthly magazine Model Graphix.
The Wind Rises was the highest grossing Japanese film in 2013. This film was also nominated for several awards, including Academy Award for Best Animated Feature, Golden Globe Award for Best Foreign Language Film and Japan Academy Prize for Animation of the Year.
* Ayesha Humayra Waresa is a student at the Department of Mass Communication and Journalism, University of Dhaka.