Ikiru

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A fellow Pinterest junkie once pinned this quote, “Life is short. Smile while you still have teeth.” This is not exactly what Watanabe-san, the protagonist of Ikiru, learns, but I thought it was a good quote nonetheless. He definitely needed to hear that quote. ‘Ikiru’ literally means ‘to live’, which is actually what Watanabe-san learned. Well, in other words, he learned that life is short and how to make that short life worth living. Watanabe-san lived over twenty years of his life not really living. In the words of Victor Frankl, “Woe to him who saw no more sense in his life, no aim, no purpose, and therefore no point in carrying on. He was soon lost (85).” Watanabe-san had no aim or purpose, and so he was, figuratively speaking, dead. Or in other words, lost. There were no ups or downs in his life; which according to a heart monitor, signals that you are still alive. And then, the unthinkable happened! Watanabe-san realized that he “didn’t know what [he’d] been doing with [his] life all th[o]se years (Ikiru),” and he wanted to change. The first lesson Watanabe-san learned, or in other words, what he thought he learned, is that “we’ve got to be greedy about living (Ikiru).” But honestly, getting drunk and partying all night did not make Watanabe-san very happy. Spending your life ‘having a good time’ can be fun, but it is not exactly fulfilling. Enjoying life because it is our human duty (Ikiru) is quite selfish, in fact. Watanabe-san learned, and in turn taught us, that to live a fulfilling life, you must not be selfish. We then saw that Watanabe-san tried to live life by spending time with someone else who was happy. I guess he thought that he could leech happiness from someone else. Well, no. Actually, he told the young gi... ... middle of paper ... ...ru did have a good message, even if it was super boring. It was quite thought provoking, and I spent all night trying to decide what I would do if I knew I only had six months left to live. (In case you were wondering, I did not add the cliché skydiving to my list.) This movie actually made me think a lot about Victor Frankl’s book Man’s Search for Meaning, which is probably pretty obvious since there are so many quotes from it. But my favorite quote is a fairly okay conclusion: “We [need] to stop asking about the meaning of life, and instead…think to ourselves as those who [are] being questioned by life (Frankl 85).” What is life asking you to do? Works Cited Frankl, Viktor E. Man's Search for Meaning: An Introduction to Logotherapy. 4th ed. Boston: Beacon, 1992. Print. Ikiru. Dir. Akira Kurosawa. By Hideo Oguni. Perf. Takashi Shimura. Toho Co., 1952. DVD.

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