Fune Wo Amu: The Great Passage (Japanese Movie 2013)



Set in the mid 1990’s (which means less emphasis on computers, with even – in one scene – the mobile phone seen as a new-fangled device) the film pays affectionate – and even old-fashioned – tribute to the world of words and dictionaries, while also finding space for a tender and slow-paced romance. The gently paced film – which relishes language and utilises low-key performances – shows how solitary and socially clumsy Mitsuya Majime comes to realise that even compiling a dictionary calls for teamwork. He gets the job to replace a chief editor due to his single-minded obsession with words, having been a post-graduate in linguistics, but struggling to make his way as a salesman.

Staying at the Sou-Un-Sou Rooming House, he enjoys the bluntness of his elderly landlady and the occasional company of a ginger cat named Tora-san, but finds his ordered world turned on its head by the arrival of his landlady’s granddaughter Kaguya Hayashi, whose own obsession with cooking (and super-sharp cooking knives in particular) tallies with his desire for focus and attention to detail.

The eccentric Majime eventually learns to bond with his co-workers and slowly and diligently gets to know Kaguya, eventually even learning how to win her over.

Excerpted from: MyDramaList

Words From Me:

This movie is heartwarming.

It shows how a person can change from a simpleton to someone who is respectable. Though the initial pacing of the movie was slow, Ryuhei Matsuda portrayed his character as Mitsuya Majime very well and made the movie enjoyable. I’m also very happy to see Aoi Miyazaki as a supporting actress in this film along with Joe Odagiri. I didn’t even recognize the guy until I looked up the main actors profiles. Despite being a supporting character, Odagiri had a vital role in the whole film and I liked how he was able to add a happy tone to the whole movie.

As for the story, being in a corporate setting and in a world where money runs, I love the concept that the main characters strive hard despite the fact that they are doing something which needs maximum effort but minimal financial back up and takes a LOT of time…  more like at least 15 years to be exact. Adding to it is that the start of the movie setting was in the 90’s wherein computers were still deemed as a simple tool for typing and storing devices. These were the setbacks the characters had to go through, but they were people who were looking for modern words and gave meaning to them.

Overall this movie was enjoyable because of the character development and setting. It has its own humor which catches me off guard most of the time because the movie runs in seriousness. 



3 thoughts on “Fune Wo Amu: The Great Passage (Japanese Movie 2013)”

  1. Great. I’m trying to develop a more well rounded taste in movies (i.e stepping away from the mainstream) I’ll check this one out. Great writeup! Do you ever feature with any other sites?


    1. Thanks for the compliment! Japanese movies tend to fit a person’s taste or personality so I hope this movie will be worth your time despite the slow pace of the story line. I do some movie recommendations for a site I frequent to and travel blogs for others, but I would definitely like to contribute for other sites as well.


      1. Great! Well if you’re interested in featuring your writing on movies elsewhere then feel free to shoot me an email here – – I think your writing style would work well with us at movie pilot and


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