Coming to theatres and being shown at the San Diego International Film Festival from director Hiroshi Akabane, Nikkatsu and Happy Science comes the journey of one man being TWICEBORN.
It is 1991 and Satoru Ichijo is speaking to a mass crowd of people at the Tokyo Dome. As the press give him coverage and tell the audience listening that he is the Great Charisma. Trying to get in to see him are people from the past who know how this all came to be.
Satoru begins as a young boy with a hunger for learning. His parents and teachers are proud that he continues to thrive and want to know more of the world he lives in. Saturo is also well liked by those around him and a few especially close friends. He is at the top of his class and instead of being jealous, everyone around him know he worked hard and earned it every step of the way.
After high school, Satoru (Hiroaki Tanaka) enters law school and studies just as hard, but it is also where he meets the lovely Chiaki Minase (Nao Hashegawa). She is also a studious young woman following in her father’s footsteps wanting to be a judge. While in school, Satoru’s father becomes ill as he returns to help where he can. All the while he has been writing to Chiaki of his feelings and thoughts about her.
When he receives a letter from Chiaki, he is crushed when she explains that he doesn’t know her true self. Month after month, Satoru studies for the mock bar exam and it is only when the essay questions come around is their a problem. His friends try to tell him that its because he is to opinionated and the professor doesn’t approve.
So Satoru makes a decision that shakes everyone. Instead of going into law, he starts work at a Trading House. It is right around this time that something amazing starts to happen. Satoru believes that the spiritual world is reaching out to him saying “your mission as the Buddha reborn is to save all people by spreading the Truth”. He wants to know more and struggles between wanting to embrace and teach what that world is sharing with him and being good at his work to help family and friends.
In 1982, Satoru transfers to New York to continue to learn about finance. Attempting to help a woman in distress, he discovers it is Chiaki! Seeing that her life is going as it should, he returns to Tokyo a year later and he is happy to be home.
Spending time writing the spiritual messages in a book, Satoru’s father tries to find a publisher. Moving up in the company once again, Satoru meets Miho (Fumika Shimizu) and strike up a friendship that becomes important to him. She shares her dreams of being a journalist and believes Satoru knows if it will come true.
Finally getting his book published, Satoru’s life changes again as love passes him for a second time. That is when he finally knows what it is he needs to do. Lead by the spiritual world, it is time for Satoru to become everything he was meant to be and spread the word to all that will listen.
Other cast include Shiro Namiki as Isobe, Shunsuke Kubozuka as Osamu Hinata, Miyoko Yoshimoto as Yumiko Nakamura, Yoshimi Ashikawa as Kimiyo Ichijo and Tamotsu Ishibashi as Nobutada.
HS Productions is a Los Angeles based movie and production house established in 2019. Our mission is to unite the world in Joy and Happiness through the power of films and music that carry a message of hope and lots of love.
Tanaka as Satoru gives us such a lovely performance of a man dedicated to learning and believing but also a tad socially awkward and unaware of the way he sometimes speaks to people. It is actually quite startling when he has moments because it seems so out of character for Satoru. Playing this character all through the phases of his life, Tanaka gives us an idea of the struggle between the material world and the spiritual world for Santoru. All that he has been through leads him to exactly where he should be, and those who know and loved him.
Hashegawa as Chiaki also comes from the same family and mindset to study hard and do well for a career and family. Trying to understand Satoru, she feels strongly but isn’t quite sure how to react to the letters he sends. When they part, she seems to take it better than Satoru but he has left an impression on her – one that followed her to 1991.
Shimizu as Miho is a young woman who isn’t sure why she is working at the Trading House. Befriending Santoru, she realizes there is something different about the way he speaks and acts. Leaving a lasting impression on her, Miho is surprised to learn that Satoru has been writing and keeping it away from his professional life. When she reads his books, she believes that he is something special and knows that they are on different paths.
TWICEBORN has received awards from the 2020 Madrid International Film Festival for Best foreign Language Feature Film, 2020 Raindance Film Festival for Off-Competition Special Screening, 2020 San Diego International Film Festival Official Selection and 2020 LA Femme International Film Festival Official Selection.
This film is about believing in ones self, going against the norm and realizing that sometimes the journey must be taken alone. There is so much to take in with this film in the one hundred and thirty five minutes of story telling. The cast, especially Tanaka, takes it upon themselves to hold up that time and make sure everyone who knew Satoru has the opportunity to tell what they know.
In the end – the sun shall rise again!