Grave Of The Fireflies
Script - Dialogue Transcript
Voila! Finally, the Grave Of The Fireflies
script is here for all you quotes spouting fans of the movie whose original
title is Hotaru no haka. This script is a transcript that was painstakingly
transcribed using the screenplay and/or viewings of Grave Of The Fireflies back
in 1992. Enjoy!
SCRIPT: THE GRAVE OF THE FIREFLIES 73 COLUMN VERSION
This script is a fan-produced translation of the animation movie, "The
Grave of the Fireflies," and is not meant in any way to infringe upon the
rights held by the creators or those in connection with the movie. The
script is purely an instrument to aid fans better understand the movie
when viewed legally.
Reproduction of this material is permitted for Non-Profit purposes only.
Any personal alterations made should not be included in the script when
distributed. In the use of this script for subtitling efforts, please
read the section "SUBTITLING" attached at the end of the script.
Maturity in the use of this script is expected.
Original Edits by K Hindall & Sheng-Te Tsao (CJAS), March 28, 1992.
Re-formatted to a 73-character line by Steven Feldman, August 11, 1992.
Please keep these headlines intact.
Griffin Script Miho Nishida 3/28/92
HOTARU NO HAKA
-Grave of the Fireflies-
Script and direction by Shun Takahata
( ) = scenery notes
[ ] = translational/cultural notes
Within translational notes:
LT Literal tranlation of Japanese;
ET Equivalent translation;
ALT Alternative phrasing of previous sentence or word;
= Definition or clarification of a word;
? Uncertain translation due to unclear dialogue.
< > = hidden reference of a dialogue
SEITA Son of a marine officer [general?].
SETSUKO Younger sister of Seita. ["Sett-chan" = Endearment of
R/SEITA Rei [= Spirit] of Seita.
MOTHER Seita and Setsuko's mother.
AUNT A distant relative of Seita and Setsuko. There seems to be
no direct blood ties to her and them (probably a wife of a
distant blood relative). [Note: She may seem like an ogre or
at least an abusive woman, but I would stress that her
actions are just a result of the hard time they lived in.]
SPECIAL NOTE: TRANSLATOR'S SPECULATIONS AND INTERPRETATION NOTES
1) In this movie, the "rei"s of Seita and Setsuko travel through their
flashbacks. This "rei" is not really a ghost but more a spirit.
2) In Japanese, like many other words, the word "hotaru" can be written
in different ways. "Hotaru" is usually written with one kanji character
that has the sub-character "insect" incorporated in it or written with
the hira-gana (kana) characters that sound out "Ho" "Ta" and "Ru". In
this movie, however, the author chose to use an archaic kanji formation
to write "hotaru". The characters "Fire" and "Leaking/Spilling" and the
hiragana "RU" are used. The use of the rather archaic formation leads
this translator to speculate that the author perhaps intended to convey
the meaning of "Life Leaking" or "Spilling of Life" to the audiences. Or
perhaps, in the 1940's, this particular "spelling" was still valid. This
is purely a speculation of this translator, but one that nonetheless was
thought to be worth mentioning. [So don't quote me!]
3) Hotaru [= fireflies] do not live long.
SPECIAL NOTE: TERMS, CONCEPTS & OTHER NOTES
In middle of the film, there is a song sang about frogs and heading
home. Song: "The frogs are croaking so let's go home". The reason for
the word "frog" in this song: "Kaeru" = frog; "kaeru" = to go home/back;
"kaero^" = let's go home/back. It should be noted that the kaeru from
the frog has no accent and kaeru to go home has accent on the "ka".
R/SEITA In 1945, on the night of September 21, I died. [ALT: On
the night of September 21, 1945, I died. NOTE: Sho^wa year
20 = 1945]
VOICES What a dirty guy. Oi! Watch out! How dirty! I wonder if
he's dead. The American troops will be arriving soon. It
would be an embarrassment if they find such a guy here at the
SEITA What date is it? (He slumps down.) Setsuko...
(Station workers arrive for clean-up.)
WORKER 1 (prods Seita's body) Again... (Searches Seita) Hm? What's
WORKER 2 Let it be, let it be. [ALT: Forget it, forget it.] just throw it away.
WORKER 1 (prods another body) This one's gonna go soon, too. When
they start staring into open air, they're goners.
(The station worker throws the rusted candy can outside. The cap opens
on impact and small white objects spill out. As the fireflies take
flight, the rei of Setsuko rises up from the weed beds. Seeing her
brother's form in the station, she starts to go there, but a hand
restrains her. She looks up to see the rei of her older brother. Seita
picks up the candy can and the can is no longer rusted. Handing the can
to Setsuko, they head into the station together.)
Title: Hotaru no Haka (The Grave of the Fireflies)
(Riding on the train, light washes over the reis of Seita and Setsuko.
As they turn around, they see the fires of an air raid...)
(Seita is putting food items into the hole he dug as the air raid sirens
sound. His mother is trying to put a protective cap on Setsuko.)
VOICE Take shelter! Take shelter! Please take shelter!
VOICES [?][?] If it's a bombing raid then the shelter-hole behind
the fire house is the safest. [?]
SETUSKO It's hot!
MOTHER You're a good girl, aren't you? You must bear it. [ALT: You
must endure it.] (Setsuko squirms away.) Well, I'll be
going to the air-raid shelter. You two be careful and join
me soon. Sett-chan [in reference to Setsuko], you listen to
SEITA Mom, never mind. You gotta go quickly!
MOTHER Yes, yes.
SEITA Mom, do you have the medicines with you?
MOTHER Yes, yes. I have them.
SETSUKO I don't like the air-raid shelter...
SEITA Saying such a silly thing... [ALT (poor): What a silly thing
to say.] You could be blown up by the bombs. [ALT: Don't
blame me if you get blown up by a bomb.] Hurry and get on!
SETSUKO The dolly! [ALT: My dolly!]
SEITA Where? Ah!
(They hear the warning bells. With a whooshing sound, the air raid
SETSUKO Nii-chan! [LT: Elder brother; ET: Brother]
SEITA Take cover! (They try to flee outside. As the fire bomb
(They rush back into the house to avoid the fire, then return outside.)
SETSUKO (As they prepare to leave, fire bursts from windows.)
Nii-chan! Nii-chan! Nii-chan!!
(The two manage to get away to a grove by the sea; various scenes
MAN Emperor [ALT: Lord Emperor], Ban-zai!! [ALT: Long live the
(The raid passes.)
SEITA No need to worry. We should be safe here.
SETSUKO Where did Mommy go?
SEITA She's at the air-raid shelter. The shelter behind the fire
station. She said it could withstand the direct hit of a
250 kilo bomb. There's no need to worry. Mom's probably at
the Nihon Matsu Station. We arranged to meet there. Let's
go there after we rest a while.
(Seita starts to wipe Setsuko's face.)
SEITA Are you all right?
SETSUKO I lost my sandal.
SEITA I'll buy you a new one, a much better one.
SETSUKO I have money too! Open this. (She upends the purse to show
SEITA My, you're rich.
(Rain starts to fall.)
SEITA So this is what they say falls after air-raids...
(Seita, carrying Setsuko on his back, climbs up to a road.)
SEITA My, it's become really...cleared... Look, that's Kohkaido.
We went there to eat zo-sui, remember? [zo-sui = soup-like
SETSUKO Did our home burn down?
SEITA Looks that way.
SETSUKO What will we do?
SEITA Dad will take revenge for us.
VOICES Mom! Mom! [ALT: Mother! Mother!]
MAN If your house was the only one that didn't burn, I guess
you'd feel uncomfortable. I'm glad that ours just burned,
clean and simple.
MAN It's really a good thing that you're all right.
MAN No, it's not Aunty.
SETSUKO Nii-chan, I need to go!
MAN Everyone! Please gather at the school! [LT: People's
School, Citizen's School]
SEITA What's the matter?
SETSUKO My eyes hurt.
SEITA You mustn't rub them. They'll be able to wash them at the
SETSUKO Where's Mom?
SEITA She's at the school.
SEITA Yeah. Let's hurry over there.
(At the school, a make-shift hospital has been set up.)
WOMAN Seita-san. (takes him aside) Seita-san, have you seen your
mother? She's hurt. Hurry, go see her. I'll watch her (in
reference to Setsuko). (To Setsuko:) It was scary, wasn't
it, Sett-chan. You didn't cry ?
WOMAN Your brother has some business. It won't be so long.
(Seita rushes down to the main hospital complex.)
MAN Ah, Seita-kun. We were looking for you. Are you all right?
SEITA My mom?
MAN This way. (As he leads Seita out, he turns back and hands
Seita a ring.) Oh... This is your mother's.
MAN Over here.
(Seita is shown into a room where his mother lies wrapped in bandages.
Her breathing is labored.)
MAN She's finally gone to sleep. It would be better if she was
placed in a hospital. I'm having people ask around. I heard
that Kaisei hospital in Nishinomiya didn't burn.
SEITA Ahm... Mom has a bad heart. [ALT: heart trouble] Is there
any way could you get her the medicine for that?
MAN I'll ask around. Well, I'll come again.
(Seita comes back to the school playground where the woman and Setsuko
is playing in the sand box.)
WOMAN Did you see her?
WOMAN It's really a pity.
SETSUKO I'm thirsty. (Seita hands Setsuko his water bottle.)
WOMAN If there's anything I can do, tell me. Oh, yes. Did you get
the dried rations? I'll get them for you.
SEITA Put this ring in your purse. You mustn't lose it. Mom's not
feeling great. She'll get well soon, though.
SETSUKO Where is she?
SEITA In the hospital. The one in Nishinomiya. So we're going to
stay over at the school tonight. And tomorrow... You
remember our Nishinomiya aunty, the one who lives near the
pond? Let's go there. Okay?
WOMAN We're at the second floor of the school. Everyone's there;
won't you join us?
SEITA Thank you. We'll be there later.
WOMAN Later, then. Sett-chan.
SEITA Do you want to eat them?
SETSUKO I want to go to Mommy.
SEITA Tomorrow. It's too late today.
(Setsuko starts to cry. After a while...)
SETSUKO Look! Nii-chan's [ALT: Brother's, I'm] good at this.
(Another day. The body of Seita and Setsuko's mother is being carried
out for cremation.)
MAN1 We can't take off the bandage. It's better not to look at
MAN2 With this heat...
MAN1 We have to use trucks starting today.
MAN3 Your sister... What did you do with her?
SEITA I left her with our distant relative in Nishinomiya. We had
arrangements for us to stay there in case we got burned out
MAN3 Is that so? That's good. Well, I have duties, so I'll leave
you here. Take care. [LT: Be well.]
(Seita's rei looks on as his past self returns to Nishinomiya via train,
carrying the ashes of his mother. Seita and Setsuko's rei get off at a
station and they walk down a hill. It is night and they see Seita
opening the gate to his aunt's home. Seita hesitates, and before
opening the door, he hides the wooden box of his mother's ashes. [Note:
Sadly, since it was a mass cremation, the ashes that Seita obtained are
not, strictly speaking, "his mother's ashes". Rather, they are what may
or may not contain some of her ashes.])
SETSUKO Mommy! Where's Mommy? Is Mommy still not well?
SEITA No. She got hurt in the raid.
AUNT Welcome back. How was your mother? Is she in the Kaisei
SETNA Uh... yes...
AUNT Marines are lucky. They get to use trucks for transport in
their pre-evacuation. ["Sokai" = pre-evacuation of items or
persons to rural areas by those living in more metropolitan
areas] Your spare futons are out in the room.
SEITA Thank you. ["Sumimasen" LT: Sorry]
SETSUKO I wonder if Mommy doesn't need it anymore. Did she give it
SEITA That's important, so put it away. Mom is... When Mom gets a
little better, let's go pay her a visit, okay? [ALT: Let's
go see her, okay?]
SEITA It's late, so sleep now. [ALT: So, go to sleep now.]
(Late that night, Seita sneaks out of the house to retrieve the urn.)
(The next day finds Seita going back to what is left of his house to
retrieve what he hid in the backyard. On his way back to his aunt's
house, he drinks a water from a broken water pipe. He tosses the
treasure he found, the candy can, into the back of the cart. He opens
a jar of umeboshi [= pickled plums; extremely acidy and sour, but good]
and suffers the consequences.)
AUNT herring, dried fish flakes, dried sweet potatoes,
eggs, and pickled plums. My! Isn't this butter? Even
during these hard times, some people have it all. the
military people get to live in luxury. [ALT: get to live in
excess.] So Seita-san, have you visited the hospital? I
want to discuss with your mother about what to do in the
future, so I was planning to visit her with Sett-chan.
(Noticing Seita's grim face,) She didn't make it?
SEITA Mom died at the school.
AUNT What? She died? If that was the case, why didn't you tell
me sooner? You're an unfrank child! ["Mizukusai" = not
being frank out of reservation or from politeness]
SEITA I didn't want Setsuko to know.
AUNT So she died... My goodness. You must write to your father
immediately and let him know.
SETSUKO Nii-chan! Sister bought me a new sandals!
SEITA That's good, Setsuko. [ALT: Aren't you lucky, Setsuko.]
GIRL Welcome back.
(Seita and Setsuko are playing in a bath tub at their neighbor's house.
They come out refreshed and amused.)
[Note: In those days, especially in the rural areas, not everyone had
bathing facilities. Neighbors borrowed from those who did have them.]
VOICE Rough time for you kids...
SEITA Thank you very much.
SETSUKO What's that sound?
SEITA That's the edible frog. There's nothing to
SETSUKO Ah! A firefly!
SEITA (Seita catches one.) Here, take this. [ALT: catch it.]
(Setsuko accidentally crushes the firefly.) Oh, you crushed
SETSUKO What is this smell?
SEITA It's because you squished it!
(They arrive at a field where there are plenty of fireflies both in and
out the air.)
SEITA My, there're so many of them; the fireflies. Oh yes.
Setsuko, close your eyes and say "Ahhhn".
SEITA It doesn't matter why. Just say "Ahhhn".
(Seita pops in one of the drop candies into Setsuko's mouth.)
SETSUKO A drop! Mmmmm! Drop, drop, drop! [ET: candy; "Dorop" which
comes from drop candy is synonymous to "Ame" = candy, in
(She runs around but suddenly comes to a halt.)
SETSUKO I almost swallowed it!
(Seita and Setsuko returns. Their aunt is scraping the bottom of a pot
to get the burnt scraps.)
SEITA We're back.
AUNT That was long. [ALT: You're back late.] Did you thank the
lady? [Note: In Japanese, "Oba-san" is not only "aunt" but
is also used in reference to any middle aged woman.]
(As the kids retire to their room, Seita peers back at the kitchen and
SEITA That looked good...
AUNT Seita-san. What happened to school? Don't you need to go?
[ALT: Shouldn't you attend?]
SEITA Well, the academy I used to go is a mess from the bombings,
and the school burned, so there's nothing I can do.
AUNT Really? [ALT: Is that so?] You did write that letter to
your father, ?
SEITA I did . As a certified mail.
SEITA It was as soon as I got here, so it's been more than 10 days.
AUNT That's strange. I haven't received any reply yet. (As she
leaves the room,) If you use the scissors you must put them
(Somedays later, at dinner:)
AUNT How goes the war?
BOY It's getting worse, I heard. Other factories have to cover
the load for those others burned in the air-raid. All they
keep saying is for us to pour all efforts into increasing the
production in preparation for the battle on the mainland.
[ALT: They tell us to pour all efforts into increasing the
production in preparation for the final battle.]
AUNT That must be so... Even the distribution of food items are
getting worse and worse. [ALT: Food rations are getting
sparser as well.] It's becoming tough for everyone, and not
just for the soldiers on the battle field. Koi-san is also
part of the country's work force; you must eat alot and gain
strength as well. [ALT: keep up your energy/strength]
["Koi-san" = Youngest sister in rural 'Kansai' tongue]
(The siren starts.)
(_In the shelter_)
WOMEN So at your place, two got burned out? That must be hard.
They're so young. Pity.
SEITA What's the matter? Your rash itches?
SETSUKO I'm hot! I hate shelters!
SEITA Bear it. Nii-chan's here, so you're not afraid, are you?
[ALT: I'm here, so you're not afraid, are you?]
(Some days later:)
SEITA Wanna go to the sea?
SETSUKO Yes, let's go. Let's go to the sea!
(On their way to the sea,)
SEITA My... They've turned everything into fields...
(_At the sea_)
SETSUKO What are they doing?
SEITA They're taking the salt water. The rationed salts and soy-
sauces aren't enough. Let's go. Hurry and get undressed.
SEITA It might be a little cold.
SETSUKO Noo! [ALT: Do--n't!] It's co--ld!
SEITA Doesn't if feel good around the rash?
SETSUKO Yes! It's a large bath tub!
SEITA Hey! (Starts chasing Setsuko) Stop! [ALT: Wait] I'll eat
(Seita starts to playfully chase after Setsuko. As they rest, Setsuko
comes across a crab and follows it. She comes across a body hidden
under a mat.)
SETSUKO What's the matter? [ALT: What's he doing?] He's lying down.
SEITA You don't have to see that. When it gets a little warmer, we
can swim; I'll teach you how.
SETSUKO If you swim, you'll grow hungry! [ALT: If we swim, we'll
VOICE "If you swim, you'll grow hungry!" [ALT: *as above*]
MOTHER Seita-san, Sett-chan. Come over here. You must be hungry.
The carupisu is chilled, too. [Carupisu = a sweet milk-based
(With the roar of the siren, Seita comes out from day-dreaming. They
head back home.)
GIRL Oh, Mother! Were you safe? It's great you came.
WOMAN How are you?
GIRL I'm fine. Everybody cared for me.
(The girl and the woman continue their discussion in the backdrop.)
SETSUKO I'm hungry.
SEITA Bear it. Hurry, or else the raid's gonna come here soon.
SETSUKO I'm tired. Nii-chan, piggy-back! (Seita sighs.)
VOICE Take shelter!
(_At the aunt's home_)
AUNT About your mother's kimono... I hate to say it, but since
there's no more use for them, why don't you exchange them
for rice? I myself have been bartering [="item-item
exchange"] a little at a time for some time to supplement
. I think this would be about one- toh . ["toh" = about 16 qt.]
SEITA One toh?!
AUNT You must get more nourishments. You're going to grow strong
and be a soldier, right?
SEITA This would be one toh ?
AUNT I'm sure your mother would be pleased about it, rather than
have these just lie about. Well, I'll be going.
SETSUKO You can't.
AUNT Why, Sett-chan, you were awake?
SETSUKO It's Mom's . You can't! It's Mom's. You can't,
SETSUKO No, no, no! No, no, no!
(Seita's rei covers his ears, not wanting to hear Setsuko's tormenting
cry. The kimono their aunt took for item exchange was a formal kimono
their mother wore. The fall of the cherry-blossom petals changes to the
fall of white rice into a container.)
AUNT Isn't it a good rice? I'll be cooking this white rice for
dinner, Sett-chan. (tightens lid) Here, you two hold on to
SEITA It's white rice, Setsuko! [ET: A white meal, Setsuko!]
(Seita pokes Setsuko. Setsuko begins to cry, but at dinner...)
AUNT There you go. It's a pity that both Koi-san and Nii-san are
working over-time and won't be able to eat this warm meal.
SEITA The white rice is sure delicious, isn't it?
SETSUKO (Nods.) Seconds!
AUNT Yes, yes. Sett-chan, you have an appetite when it's white
rice, don't you?
SETSUKO Yes! I like it!
(_Next day, breakfast_)
SEITA What's the matter?
SETSUKO I don't like zo^ sui. ["zo^ sui"=watered barley/rice meal]
SEITA The pickled plums that I brought... There're no more?
AUNT That thing... You know that it ran out a long time ago. (To
her son:) Here, your lunch.
BOY Thanks. [LT: Then, I'll be taking it.]
AUNT Gokuroh-sama [LT: Thanks for the labor/toil; ALT: Have a
GIRL Well, I'll be going!
AUNT Take care!
SEITA Look. Lunch will be white rice, so bear it and eat it.
AUNT Cut it out! For those that are here during the day, lunch
will also be zohsui! Why should the lunch for those that
work for the country and those that just sit around all day
be the same? Seita-san. You're old enough; start thinking
about how you can be of help. You two don't give us any rice
but expect to eat it. It just doesn't go that way. No way.
You let them eat white rice for a while and my, they become
so picky about taste. [ALT: picky about food]
SETSUKO But that rice is our rice... [ALT: But it's our rice.]
AUNT What was that? Are you saying that I'm cheating you, then?
What a thing to say! What's the use of taking in two
orphans, if they say such things to me? [ALT: Why should I
bother to take in two orphans, if they...] Fine! Let's cook
separate meals from now on. You won't have any complaint,
then. And Seita-san. You do have other relatives in Tokyo,
don't you? There's that someone from your mother's family.
Why don't you send out a letter? Nishinomiya [ALT: This
place] might be bombed any day .
(On a train,)
SEITA But I don't know their addresses...
(In front of a bank,)
GIRL Let's go home!
WOMAN Yes. Dad's waiting at home, isn't he?
BOTH The frogs are croaking, so let's go home...
[NOTED EARLIER: The reason for frog in this song: "Kaeru" = frog;
"kaeru"= to go home/back; "kaero^" = let's go home/back]
SEITA Sorry! [LT: Forgive me!] I had to wait a long time. What's
SETSUKO I'm hungry. I'm thirsty.
SEITA All right. [ ALT: Understood] Here. Lick these
drops. Mom had seven thousand yen saved in the bank. Seven
thousand yen! If there's that much, we can manage plenty.
There's no need to worry anymore.
(_At a post office_)
SEITA I'm writing to Dad, saying "Give us a reply, Setsuko's
(_At a store_)
OWNER You guys are lucky. In times like these, no matter how much
money you offer, you can't buy these items. Nowadays,
there're no items to sell and the business is dry.
Especially metal products. Can't find them anywhere.
SEITA I'll take that comb, and... do you have any umbrellas?
OWNER I don't have umbrellas... Oh yes.
(_Outside, in the rain_)
SEITA (Song to the effect of) "Rain, rain, fall, fall, Nii-chan has
come with an umbrella. Pitt-chi Pitt-chi Chap-pu Chap-pu
[the sounds of rain close to "splatter splatter droppity
drop"] Lan Lan Lan!"
(Home. Seita is making a fire.)
SEITA Isn't Nii-chan good with this?
AUNT Careful with the fire.
BOY What happened to those two?
AUNT They say they're going to cook for themselves from now on.
BOY Really... That's admirable. second, please.
GIRL Mother, didn't you say something harsh again?
AUNT Well, but, not a single word of apology and they went and
bought all those utensils. It's as if they're insinuating
(In a different room,)
SEITA I'm filled! [ALT: I'm full!] ["Gosso-san" = short for
"Gochiso^ sama"; said after meals to indicate gratefulness
or contentment with the meal]
SETSUKO [?: That's not proper, Nii-chan.]
SEITA It's okay. You don't have to sit so properly.
(At the rationing station,)
MAN There. That's the rationed portion for two.
SEITA Only this much?
MAN Yup. The next ration will probably be in July.
(Setsuko is crying in the street, expressing her hunger. Her crying
ceases temporarily when Seita hands over the candy can, but resumes
when she finds no candy drops. Seita hits the can and several candy
pieces that were stuck to the bottom of the can are found. Setsuko
looks at what she has left, and after some thought, eats the smallest
and puts the rest back into the can. Seita gives the can to Setsuko for
her to keep.)
(Having no more candies left, the two fill the empty can with water.
Seita begins to shake it, but gives it over to Setsuko who is eager to
do it herself. Seita pours the candy-water into a small cup and hands
it to Setsuko to drink.)
SETSUKO Ahhh! There're lots of flavors!
SEITA Grapes, strawberries, melons, mints. They're all in there,
aren't they? Setsuko, you can drink 'em all.
SETSUKO Whew! I drank 'em all!
(_At the kitchen, another day_)
AUNT My, my! They went to sleep without cleaning up !
They do as they like. They really aren't cute at all! [ALT:
They're not likable at all!]
(Setsuko starts crying in another room.)
(Aunt opens the sho^ji door.)
SETSUKO Mommy! Mommy!
AUNT Seita-san! Koi-san [= younger sister] and Nii-san [= older
brother] are both working for our country, so why don't you
at least try not to make her cry? [ALT: so why don't you at
least make an effort to stop her crying?] We're already
losing sleep from the sirens every night. We
can't sleep with this racket!
SETSUKO Mommy! Mommy!
(Seita takes Setsuko outside, and having her on piggy-back, tries to
lull her to sleep. Suddenly, the raid-sirens sound and he runs for
VOICE Emergency war status, emergency war status. The enemy is
approaching from the northern direction...
AUNT'S VC Seita-san, you're going to the shelter-hole, again? ["yoko
ana" = LT: Side Hole; A hole dug into the side of a mountain
for air-raid shelter] At your age, shouldn't you be [ALT:
isn't it natural for you to be] helping the fire-prevention
program of the community group?
(Seita comes to the shelter-hole. As they wait out the raid in the
SETSUKO I want to go home. I don't want to stay at aunt's anymore.
SEITA The house got burnt. We can't go home anymore.
(_Flashback -- Seita and Setsuko are playing the organ_)
BOTH (Singing:) Higher than the roof, the Koi-Nobori. The large
koi is the father and... [NOTE: Koi-Nobori = a colorful
cone-like flag in the shape of carps that is displayed
outside on the national holiday, Children's Day]
AUNT Stop it! What a thing to do in time of war? I'm the one who
will be scorned! How senseless! [ALT: How irrational!]
Really, what burden have been tossed my way! [LT: Really,
what god-of misfortune has wandered in!] Even during the
air-raid, you're never of any use... If you value your life
that much, you should live in the shelter-hole!
SEITA Hey... Do you want to make this our home? No one would come
here and the structure is solid. We can do as we please.
SETSUKO Is it okay to make it our home?
SEITA Yup. [ALT would be a broken "yes": yeah, n-hmph, ah-huh]
(Seita is packing their stuff onto a cart. Setsuko notices the Aunt
SEITA We've overstayed our welcome. [LT: We've interrupted you for
a very long time.] We'll be moving elsewhere.
AUNT elsewhere? where are you going?
SEITA I don't know for certain, yet.
AUNT Well, be careful... Sett-chan, goodbye.
(They come to the cave. Setsuko is thoroughly enjoying herself.)
SETSUKO Here's the kitchen! Here's the front door! Where's the
SEITA It doesn't matter where. I'll be going with you.
(At the farm, Seita is returning the cart.)
SEITA Thank you.
MAN Just leave it around there.
SEITA Ahm... Can you sell me a little more hay and something that
can be a side-dish? [ALT: part of dinner]
MAN Sure... I only have what I have though...
(They cook. As they look at the fruit of their labor...)
SETSUKO Wow! My mouth is watering!
SEITA I'm hungry!
(They finish eating. They hear the bellow of a frog.)
SEITA If it could be caught, we can eat that ... [ALT:
It's supposed to be edible if we only could catch it]
SETSUKO The frog?
SEITA I heard it's good.
SETSUKO (Makes a noise in her throat indicating amazed acceptance.)
SEITA Setsuko, forget the rest and get inside the net. [ALT: I'll
do the rest so get inside the net.]
SEITA What's the matter?
SETSUKO I forgot my toothbrush.
SEITA It doesn't matter if you don't do it for a day.
SEITA Hey, you'll be bitten by the mosquitos. You should be in the
SETSUKO It's so dark, I'm scared. [ALT: It's all dark and I'm
SEITA I'm going to go to the bathroom, but do you want to go too?
(_Outside, finishing their business_)
SEITA That's the "special attack" unit. [ALT: suicide unit. Men
in the "Tokkoh-tai" never returned alive.]
SETSUKO Really? They look like fireflies.
SEITA I guess so. Hey... Do you want to capture fireflies?
(Seita comes into the net holding several fireflies. He releases them.)
SETSUKO Ah! I see your face.
SEITA Your face, too. (A firefly lands on Setsuko's hair.) A hair
(Setsuko is delighted.)
SEITA All right! Firefly's light, window's snow! [Note: Part of a
poem/song describing the changing season]
(Seita brings in a whole bucketful. The fireflies slowly emerge and the
inside of the net is soon filled with small points of stars.)
SEITA Before you were born, I once saw a ship-naming ceremony
[?: ship-opening?? "kankai ceremony"].
SETSUKO A ship-naming ceremony?
SEITA Yup. Dad got on board the front of the ship [?]. The
combined fleets were all there.
(Seita starts to sing the then-military anthem.)
SEITA Enemy ships attacking! Bababababa! Babababa! [Noise
associated with firing machine guns] (pause) I wonder where
Dad's fighting the war...
(Suddenly feeling lonely, Seita hugs Setsuko to him.)
SETSUKO You're suffocating me, Nii-chan!
(The next morning finds Setsuko digging a hole.)
SEITA What are you doing?
SETSUKO I'm making a grave. Mommy's in a grave, too, right? I heard
it from Aunty. < Aunty said> Mommy died, too, and she's in
(Hearing this, Seita begins to cry for the first time since the tragedy
befell him and his sister.)
SEITA (wiping his tears,) Let's someday visit her grave. Maybe you
remember... [LT: Setsuko, do you remember?] You've been to
the graveyard near the Inofuki [?], right? She's
there... Mother is... under the big camphor tree...
SETSUKO Why do the fireflies die so quickly?
(Kids from nearby find the conditions Seita and Setsuko are living
BOY1 What's this? Someone's living in a place like this.
BOY2 I wonder if they were burned out ?
BOY Do you think a scary-looking man might come out?
BOY When have they...? It's a swing!
BOY There's a grave! [?]
BOY What's this?
BOY May you rest in peace! (picking up a make-believe sweet-rice
cake) If only this was real!!
BOY (Pointing to the grass bed that Setsuko made,) Setsuko! It
BOY Look at this! It's a dried frog!
BOY What a thing to eat! [ALT: What are they eating!] I wonder
if Tatt-chan and Ken-chan who escaped to rural areas are
eating something like this, as well?
BOY Uggh! All soybeans! It's worse than our rice-soup!
BOY A ghost! (They laughingly run away.)
(_Seita at one of the farms_)
SEITA And... we've traded all of Mom's kimono for rice and don't
have anymore. From your place, we've purchased many things
with money before...
MAN I'm not talking about kimono or money. Though we're a farm,
we don't make enough to distribute it to others all the time.
(pause) Never mind that; don't you have other kin? [ET:
SEITA Well... I can't get in touch with them.
MAN Then, it's better for you to go back to that house. Besides,
everything's rationed now. If you're not part of a community
group, you can't eat. Apologize and ask them to let you
SEITA (pause) Sorry . I'll try other
MAN You're the son of a marine, aren't you? Don't lose heart.
[ALT: You got to be strong.]
(Air raid. Seita and Setsuko take cover in a tomato garden. Finding
the tomatoes all ripe, Seita, unable to resist, takes some for himself
and Setsuko--a grave crime in times of war.)
SETSUKO Is it okay? [ALT: Is it right?]
SEITA (makes a noise in his throat indicating "yes, yes")
(Walking back to their shelter, they meet a military officer. Fearing
discovery of the crime they committed, they run away.)
SEITA Damn! [LT: No good!]
(Seita is combing Setsuko's hair. Finding lice, he angrily kills one.)
SEITA Whether it's soy-bean or whatever, you mustn't be picky. If
you don't eat well, you won't be able to grow up!
SETSUKO Nii-chan? [ET: Brother?]
SETSUKO I... I have a bad stomach. [ALT: My stomach is feeling
SEITA Did you chill your stomach? [ALT: Did you leave your stomach
exposed while sleeping?]
SETSUKO I've been having diarrhea for a long time now.
(Seita is found stealing from a farm.)
MAN You bastard!!
SEITA Forgive me! I'm sorry. Please forgive me! My sister's ill,
so I wanted to let her drink potato broth!
MAN What nonsense do you speak of? Stealing from a farm during
times of war is a grave crime!
(Seita tries to get away, but is captured again.)
MAN You little bastard. Come on. Stand up! (he flashes his
light at Seita) What's this? You pulled up even the small
potatoes. You must have been the one who has been stealing
from the farms around here!
SEITA I'm sorry! I won't do it again!
MAN If sorry is all it took, we wouldn't need police! Walk, why
SETSUKO Nii-chan! Nii-chan!
SEITA My sister's really sick! I gotta be with her...!
SETSUKO Nii-chan! Nii-chan!
(At the local station,)
POLICE I understand what happened . Regarding this case,
I'll consider the best solution after I talk to the offender
and prepare a report, so you may leave.
POLICE You've hit him this much, you must be satisfied. (Seeing the
man is still reluctant to leave,) Violence against a minor,
causing injury [ALT: bodily harm].
MAN (panicking,) Then, I'll ask you to take care of the rest!
[ALT: Then, I trust you'll take care of the rest.]
POLICE I heard that today's air-raid was unexpected. Well, why
don't you take a drink of water from the back?
(Seita comes out from the station after some time.)
(Seita begins to cry.)
SETSUKO Nii-chan... (pause) Where does it hurt? That's not good.
We'll have to call the doctor and have him give you a shot.
SETSUKO Nii-chan, I want to go to the bathroom.
SEITA Can you hold it for a little distance?
SEITA Get on my back.
(Air-raid. Setsuko awaits Seita's return but seems delirious.)
SETSUKO Brother went to the mountain for firewood. Grandmother went
[Note: This is the famous beginning sentences to the children's story
"Momotaro". She changed the phrases from "Grandfather went to the
mountain for firewood. Grandmother went to the river to wash clothes".]
(Seita, meanwhile, rummages through the home of those who fled. Coming
back with his booty--food and other items--he presents them to Setsuko.)
SEITA Setsuko, let's have supper. Today's pumpkin is really tasty!
Look. Isn't it like a bean jelly?
SETSUKO I don't like bean jelly.
SEITA What are you saying? If you don't eat, I'll be scolded by
Dad! Here, I'll help you eat, so get your spirits up and
eat! Eat well, get well quickly, and we'll go to the sea
(Sirens sound. While the people flee, Seita plunders through homes.)
SEITA Do it, do it! Yeahy! [ALT: Go, go! Yeahy!]
(Seita returns from the rampage well stocked. He drinks from the river.
He points his flashlight and says "Bang", then laughs.)
SEITA This time I'll really treat you to something good to eat,
SETSUKO (Wandering around the shelter-hole,) Nii-chan. Nii-chan...
(At a farm house, Seita is trying to barter his plunders for food.)
WOMAN You say this is your mother's keep-sake? Fool! Why would
something so cheap and thin be a keep-sake? Don't fool with
me! [ALT: Get real!]
(Seita returns to the shelter-hole and finds Setsuko's doll.)
SEITA Setsuko... Setsuko...!
(He finds her collapsed nearby.)
SEITA Setsuko! (Finding that she still breathes, he sighs.)
SETSUKO Nii-chan... water...
DOCTOR Breathe in. Breathe out.
SEITA And her diarreah hasn't stopped for several days now. Her
rashes don't seem to be heat-rashes either... When I wash
her with salt water, all it does is give her pain.
DOCTOR It's a prostration due to malnutrition. Her diarreah is the
result of that. Okay, next person!
SEITA Some medicine or shots...?
SETSUKO I don't like shots.
SEITA Anyhow, please give her treatment of some kind. Please.
DOCTOR medicine or anything... Well, I suggest that
she get some nourishment. That's all that can be done.
SEITA You say nourishment, but...
DOCTOR (To the next patient,) What seems to be the matter?
SEITA Where can you find nourishment?!!
(A farmer is cutting ice block for delivery. Seita, standing by, picks
the ice scraps and feeds them to Setsuko after the man leaves.)
SEITA I'm so hungry... [ALT: I'm so starved...] What do you want
SETSUKO Tempura, and Otsukuri, and Tokoro-ten... [ET: Tempura, and
Sashimi, and Sour Jelly]
SEITA Anything more?
SETSUKO Ice cream... And I want to eat drops again.
[Note: During the war, food items were rare and the variety scarce. The
fact that she knows about them and expresses that she wants to eat them
indicates that she has eaten them regularly and shows how well-off her
family actually was.]
SEITA Drops, huh? Alright! I'll go withdraw all the savings.
I'll bring back all that you wanted to eat.
SETSUKO I don't want anything. Just stay here, Nii-chan. Don't go.
Don't go. Please don't go.
SEITA Don't worry, Setsuko. [ALT: There's no need to worry,
Setsuko] After I withdraw the money and buy rice and things
with nutrients, I won't go anywhere anymore. I'll stay by
your side for ever and ever. [ALT: for always] It's a
(_At the bank_)
TELLER Here, 3000 yen.
MAN1 I hear the typhoon's nearing?
MAN2 No matter how much the Kami-kaze [ET: God-Wind] blows, if it
comes after we surrendered to the Americans, it's of no use
whatsoever. How ridiculous!
SEITA Surrender? You mean we lost the war?
MAN1 You don't know anything?
SEITA Is it true that we lost? Japan? The Japanese Empire?!
[ALT: The Imperial Japan?]
MAN2 Yup. Unconditional surrender.
SEITA What happened to the combined fleet...
MAN2 No good, no good. That got sunk long time ago and there's
not one left anymore.
SEITA What!? You mean Dad's cruiser got sunk as well?!
Is that why we never got any letter back?!
MAN2 Why should I know !? [ALT: How should I
know?] What a strange kid!
SEITA Dad, you fool! [grrrrr: doesn't translate well. It's like
"Damn you, Dad", but not that strong]
(He runs, but hunger slows him.)
SEITA I'm so hungry... (pause) Dad...
SEITA Dad died, too. Dad died, too. Dad...!
SEITA Setsuko, I'm sorry I'm late. I'll cook you a white rice
SETSUKO It went down... It went up... Ah, it stopped...
SEITA Luckily, I was able to buy fish and eggs. And... (notices
that Setsuko has something in her mouth. Picking up the drop
can,) Setsuko! What are you licking! These are marble
pieces. it's not drops! Today, I've gotten
something much better . It's something you like.
SETSUKO Here you go, Nii-chan...
SEITA What's this, Setsuko?
SETSUKO It's a meal. I'll give you the the cooked okara. [Note:
"Okara" is soybean milk crust that is a by-product of making
SETSUKO Go ahead, eat. Aren't you going to eat?
SEITA Setsuko...! Look, watermelon. Isn't it great? I didn't
steal it . Here, watermelon.
SETSUKO It's delicious...
SEITA Wait a moment. I'll cook you a rice-porridge with eggs
immediately. I'll leave the watermelon here. Okay?
SETSUKO Nii-chan... Thank you...
R/ SEITA After that, Setsuko never opened her eyes again.
(_At the coal shop_)
MAN Here. The one sack of coal, special delivery. [ALT: one
bale] If it's a child, you should borrow the burning ground
from the temple. You take her clothes off and if you light
the fire with soybean skin, it'll burn nicely. But... what
[Note: Do not think this man to be insensitive. Everyone has been
desensitized to some degree during the war. It is truly sad that a
child's death is nothing new or anything sensational.]
(People are returning to their homes from rural districts they had fled
to. Two such girls enter their long deserted home.)
GIRLS My, it hasn't changed at all! Home is definitely great!
[ALT: There's no place like home!] It's been a while; the
record player!! Familiar sights!
(Song: "There's No Place Like Home". Visions of Setsuko in all the
places she had been near the shelter-hole that was their home.)
SETSUKO Hurry home!
(At an open field, Seita is preparing Setsuko's cremation. Setsuko is
placed in the empty container the coal came in. Her few "treasures" are
placed lovingly along side of her. Seita pauses on the drop can, and
sets it aside. He lights the fire and grimly watches the cremation.
Morning turns to day, and day turns to evening. With the last remaining
flames, the fireflies take flight from their resting spots among the
R/ SEITA The following morning, I placed the remnants of Setuko's
bones that were like a fragment of a jewel into the drop can
and left the mountain, never returning to the shelter-hole.
(Seita's figure is slowly replaced by Seita's rei. From the darkness,
Setsuko's rei appears and runs to Seita.)
R/ SETSUKO Nii-chan...
R/ SEITA It's late, so sleep now. [ALT: It's late, so go to sleep
R/ SETSUKO Okay. (She snuggles close and closes her eyes.)
(The rei of Seita watches over Setsuko; then, as if to beseech to the
audience, he stares out towards the viewers. He returns his attention
to the sleeping form of Setsuko...)
[If I may add my opinion here, the strongest message of this film comes
when Seita's rei stares out at us. I heard "Look at what war does to
people. Please don't ever repeat what happened again. War is not
glorious nor honorable. We just wanted to live more..."]