The Miracles of the Namiya General Store shows us that human kindness transcends time and space [Review]

The Miracles of the Namiya General Store shows us that human kindness transcends time and space [Review]

In a tale of aspirations and advice transmitted between characters from two different time periods, this Japanese drama reminds us that strong bonds can be formed through the most mysterious of circumstances


Store owner Namiya helps people by writing advice letters though he gets help from three unlikely collaborators.
Photo: Emperor Motion Pictures

No one in the cinema could hold back their tears during The Miracles of the Namiya General Store , a Japanese drama with a time-travelling plot device based on Keigo Higashino’s world-famous fantasy novel of the same name.

Three Japanese delinquent teenagers break into the abandoned Namiya General Store to hide after committing a crime at midnight in 2012. Suddenly, a mysterious letter written in 1980 slips through the letter slot of the store gate and their outlooks on life are changed forever.

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As the boys receive more letters, they discern that former store owner Yuji Namiya (Toshiyuki Nishida) used to respond to letters from people seeking life advice, and begin to advise these strangers in his name through the mailbox which links the past to the present.

Transcending time and space, the soul-stirring movie beautifully intertwines the personal stories of Namiya, the juvenile delinquents, and four advisees. The interconnection of mankind and similarities between human encounters are further consolidated by the evocative theme song with very well-written lyrics.

Except a few slow-paced scenes, the heartwarming, yet sometimes heartbreaking, film cleverly untangles the ties between the familiar strangers little by little. One can't help but wonder if we are all connected in some grand scheme, after seeing how the pieces of the characters' lives fit together in a delightful, if not always perfect way.

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Another exceptional quality of the story comes from its exploration of the advisees’ inner struggles. For the kind-hearted philosophers who often ponder on whether they should take responsibility for the unfortunate consequences of those who follow their well meaning advice, the movie will liberate your pain by offering an empathetic yet reasonable answer.

The Miracles of the Namiya General Store is dedicated to the lost, the weak, the unloved, and the givers, which all of us have been at least one of before. Contemplate The Miracles alone or share its beauty with beloved ones. This is really an experience you can't miss.

Edited by Jamie Lam

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This article appeared in the Young Post print edition as
A great film that transcends time


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