Grave of the Fireflies | Kobe city【Anime Holy Place】

Anime Holy Place

Do you know “Grave of the Fireflies”?

Grave of the Fireflies is a 1988 Japanese animated war film based on the 1967 semi-autobiographical short story of the same name by Akiyuki Nosaka. It was written and directed by Isao Takahata, and animated by Studio Ghibli for the story’s publisher Shinchosha Publishing (making it the only Studio Ghibli film under Tokuma Shoten ownership that had no involvement from them). The film stars Tsutomu Tatsumi, Ayano Shiraishi, Yoshiko Shinohara and Akemi Yamaguchi. Set in the city of Kobe, Japan, the film tells the story of two siblings, Seita and Setsuko, and their desperate struggle to survive during the final months of the Second World War.

This time, I will introduce “Grave of the Fireflies” .


On 21 September 1945, shortly after the end of World War II, a teenage boy, Seita, dies of starvation in a Kobe train station. A janitor sorts through his possessions and finds a candy tin, which he throws into a field. The spirit of Seita’s younger sister, Setsuko, springs from the tin and is joined by Seita’s spirit and a cloud of fireflies. They board a train.

source: 火垂るの墓(Seita died in JR Sannomiyastation)
Current JR Sannomiya Station

Some months earlier, Seita and Setsuko’s house is destroyed in a firebombing along with most of Kobe. They are unharmed, but their mother dies from severe burns. Seita and Setsuko move in with a distant aunt, who convinces Seita to sell his mother’s silk kimonos for rice. Seita retrieves supplies he buried before the bombing and gives everything to his aunt but a tin of Sakuma drops. As rations shrink and the number of refugees in the house grows, the aunt becomes resentful of the children, saying they do nothing to earn the food she prepares.

source: 火垂るの墓( Sakuma drops )

Seita and Setsuko leave and move into an abandoned bomb shelter. They release fireflies into the shelter for light. The next day, Setsuko is horrified to find that the insects have died. She buries them in a grave, asking why they and her mother had to die. As they run out of rice, Seita steals from farmers and loots homes during air raids, for which he is beaten. When Setsuko falls ill, Seita takes her to a doctor, who explains that she is suffering from malnutrition.

In a panic, Seita withdraws all the money in their mother’s bank account. As he leaves the bank, he becomes distraught when he learns that Japan has surrendered. He also learns that his father, a captain in the Imperial Japanese Navy, is most likely dead, as most of Japan’s navy has been sunk.

Seita returns to the shelter with a large quantity of food, but finds Setsuko hallucinating – she assumes that a few marbles she finds are the previously mentioned fruit drops, and also attempts to eat a rock, thinking she had just made rice balls. He hurries to feed her, but she dies as he finishes preparing the food, and she herself falls asleep. Seita cremates Setsuko’s body and her stuffed doll in a straw casket. He carries her ashes in the candy tin along with his father’s photograph, and though his death is never explicitly shown again, it can be assumed this is where everything ends for them.

Seita and Setsuko’s deceased spirits arrive at their destination, healthy and happy, and sit on a bench surrounded by fireflies overlooking the present-day skyline of Kobe from a hill.

Sakuma drops

“Sakuma Drops” appearing in the movie.
Actually, It is a real food. You can still buy it today. Setsuko liked it.

Jananese traditional snacks"Sakumashiki drops"

This is “Sakuma drops”. The first photo is “Sakuma Drops” at the time.
You can buy it at the famous Japanese 100 yen shop “Daiso”.
Daiso is located all over Japan. Please try it when you come to Japan.

In the end, I want to tell you something

source: 火垂るの墓

If you haven’t seen this movie yet, make sure you watch it.
Especially the leaders of each country must see.
War creates a lot of misfortune. Don’t war anymore.
This is a story that modern people are forgetting. You can learn the dire reality of war in this movie.