Michio Sawada (I Wanna Hold Your Hand)

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Michio Sawada
Ryo Kase as Michio Sawada: a Japanese man with black hair. He's wearing in-ear wired headphones. He has a bandage on his forehead.
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Portrayed by Ryo Kase[1]
Appears in 'I Wanna Hold Your Hand (抱きしめたい, Dakishimetai)
Debut
Year 2002

Michio Sawada is a major character in the Japanese drama movie I Wanna Hold Your Hand (抱きしめたい, Dakishimetai).

Character creation

Michio and Mikiko as children

I Wanna Hold Your Hand is inspired by the book I Will Never Run Away Again: What My Autistic Brother Taught Me (私はもう逃げない~自閉症の弟から教えられたこと) by Ritsuko Shimida. The book documents the 30-year history of her family with her autistic younger brother. Nevertheless, the characters in the movie are wholly fictional.[2] The 30 years worth of events that happen are condensed into 3 days for the movie.[3]

Michio and Mikiko as adults

Prior to this movie, script writer Noriko Yoshida's only experience with autism was the movie Rain Man. She worried whether she would be able to accurately portray the feelings of autistic people and their families. She also met with Shimida family.[4]

Actor Ryo Kase stayed at an autism facility to prepare for the role.[1]

The official website for the movie contained an FAQ section with information about autism. The FAQ describes the main symptoms of autism such as communication-related impairments, special interests and ritualistic behaviors. It also emphasizes that all autistic people are different and Michio is just one example of an autistic person.[5] The FAQ also includes some book suggestions about autism and living with a disabled sibling (including With the Light).[6], and links to organizations related to autism.[7]

Synopsis

25-year-old Michio is the younger brother of Mikiko, the movie's main character. She experiences shame around Michio being autistic, and hasn't told her boyfriend Yuji about Michio yet. When Yuji proposes to her, she finally has to tell him about her younger brother's autism.[1]

Autism

Michio plays with the wheels of a toy car

Michio is stated to be autistic in the official synopsis,[8] and in the movie itself.

He has been in a specialized facility since he was 16 years old. He follows a strict daily routine. When confused or stressed, he panics and slaps himself in the face. He hates tunnels. His favorite things are Yujiro Ishihara, juice, cars, maps, and calendars.[1]

Their grandmother told Mikiko she'd never be able to get married due to having an autistic brother. Due to this, she doesn't tell those around her about Michio, including her boyfriend Yuji. Mikiko grew up somewhat estranged from their parents, especially her mother, due to how much time they invested in caring for Michio.[1]

Their father Ichiro is a banker nearing retirement age. Due to his job, the day-to-day care for Michio has been mostly the domain of their mother Tomoko. Ichiro and Tomoko are struggling with where Michio should live in the future. Ichiro wants him to go to a group home focused on independent living, whereas Tomoko is opposed to the idea of a group home. They are also considering building a facility with other parents of autistic children.[1]

Trivia

  • The Yujiro jigsaw puzzle in Michiro's room is not commercially available and was made specifically for this movie. The photo with sunglasses on is a still from the movie Red Quay (赤い波止場).[2]

References

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 Cast. NHK (in Japanese). Archived from the original on 2002-11-21. Retrieved 2024-04-21.
  2. 2.0 2.1 FAQ4. NHK (in Japanese). Archived from the original on 2002-11-24. Retrieved 2024-04-21.
  3. Director. NHK (in Japanese). Archived from the original on 2002-11-21. Retrieved 2024-04-21.
  4. Scriptwriter. NHK (in Japanese). Archived from the original on 2002-11-21. Retrieved 2024-04-21.
  5. FAQ. NHK (in Japanese). Archived from the original on 2002-11-21. Retrieved 2024-04-21.
  6. FAQ2. NHK (in Japanese). Archived from the original on 2002-11-24. Retrieved 2024-04-21.
  7. FAQ3. NHK (in Japanese). Archived from the original on 2002-11-24. Retrieved 2024-04-21.
  8. Synopsis. NHK (in Japanese). Archived from the original on 2002-11-21. Retrieved 2024-04-21.

External links