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Manga / In This Corner of the World

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In This Corner of the World (この世界の片隅に, Kono Sekai no Katasumi ni) is a World War II drama manga written by Fumiyo Kouno, running from 2007 to 2009 in Weekly Manga Action. It later received a 2011 TV special Live-Action Adaptation and was made into an anime film in 2016, helmed by Sunao Katabuchi and produced by MAPPA. The 2016 film is famous for having been crowdfunded and beating Your Name at the Japan Academy to get Best Animation of the Year. In America, Funimation and Shout! Factory have made an unique deal to become co-distributors of the film. A nine-episode live action television series aired from July to September 2018. An extended version of the 2016 film, titled In This Corner (and Other Corners) of the World, adapts more content from the manga and was released in December 2019; this version is notable for being the longest animated movie in the world, at 2 hours and 48 minutes.


Suzu Urano lives in the small Japanese town of Eba near Hiroshima, working for a family business that cultivates seaweed and pursuing her love of drawing in her spare time. One day in 1944, when she's 18, Shuusaku Houjou, a young man from the port city of Kure, comes seeking her hand in marriage. She accepts his proposal and moves to Kure to live with him and his family, where she quickly learns to adapt. As World War II continues to turn against Japan, however, food rationing and air raids begin, and tragedy strikes. All the while, the clock continues to tick down towards the atomic bombing of Hiroshima...


This manga contains examples of the following:

  • Armor-Piercing Question: While she is very polite and friendly, Rin keeps asking Suzu what she really thinks about being pregnant and having a baby. Since she keeps gently prodding, this slowly but steadily removes societal norms and war-time propaganda, until Suzu is finally honest about her own feelings about being a mother and how simply scary the whole situation is for her.
  • Arranged Marriage: How Suzu and Shuusaku become a couple. She actually ends up stalling the whole process, deliberately not coming home when Shuusaku and his father awaits for her for formal introductions. It's unclear if she was hoping for the arrangement to fall through.
  • Art Shift:
    • In some scenes the world is rendered as if it's a painting, like in the first bombing of Kure, the explosions are put by a paintbrush and the skytrails are shown by dashes white paint.
    • After the explosion that kills Harumi and takes Suzu's hand, the art style shifts into childish chalk drawings.
  • Art-Style Dissonance: The characters are drawn in a cute and somewhat cartoony art style. While this isn't so bad at the beginning of the story when it's more of a historical Slice of Life, it gradually becomes this trope as the story's tone becomes more serious.
  • An Arm and a Leg: Suzu loses her right hand to the bomb that also kills Harumi. What makes this even worse is that the hand she lost was her drawing hand.
  • Beauty Is Never Tarnished: Averted; as mentioned above, Suzu loses her right hand and at one point we see the corpse of a woman who is all bloody and impaled by many glass shards.
  • Bittersweet Ending: In the end, Harumi is dead and Suzu has lost her drawing hand to a time-delayed bomb, and the war has killed most of Suzu's immediate family (her father died from radiation poisoning, her mother has gone missing and her brother was killed in action), while her sister is sick from radiation poisoning and it's likely that she could die from it as well - and her grandmother, while well, is an elderly person anyway. But Suzu still has Shusaku and the Houjou family with her, she adopts an orphaned girl from Hiroshima, and she is still determined to make the best of her life despite the hardships she's faced.
  • Brick Joke: One scene has Suzu and Harumi trying to keep ants from getting into the family's sugar supply by putting it in a bowl floating in the water barrel, only for the bowl to sink and cause the sugar to dissolve into the water. Later on, Keiko takes a drink of water while telling Suzu about ice cream and proclaims that water tastes sweeter even when you're just thinking about it, not realizing that the water really does have sugar in it.
  • Cerebus Syndrome: The story starts out as a mostly light-hearted historical Slice of Life, though with the realities of living during World War II still looming in the background. The story's tone gradually becomes more serious as the war makes the characters' lives more difficult, culminating in Harumi's death and Suzu's loss of her right hand to a time-delayed bomb, with the destruction of Hiroshima following not long after.
  • Cheerful Child: Keiko's daughter (and Shusaku and Suzu's niece) Harumi, whom Suzu quickly becomes friends with. It's all the more tragic when Harumi is killed by a bomb.
  • Chekhov's Classroom: As part of her neighbourhood duties, Suzu regularly attends civil defense classes. At first it exists entirely to contrast her day-to-day routine with the sort of things war effort drills into her, but then she has an "Eureka!" Moment that she's standing next to a crater caused by a time-delayed bomb - and before she can do anything about it, the thing goes off.
  • Death from Above: USAAF B-29s and USN F6F Hellcats are shown attacking Kure. For the most part, it only leads to minor injury and inconvenience, with Suzu and her new family becoming increasingly annoyed by the false alarms that happen day and night. Following a particularly devastating attack that kills Harumi, the bombs are taken much more seriously.
  • Death of a Child: Harumi is killed by a time-delayed bomb later in the story. Also, director Sunao Katabuchi mentions that several background extras, including a mother and her baby, are fated to be killed by the atomic bomb.
  • Defrosting Ice Queen: Keiko is rather cold and critical towards Suzu at first, though she gradually warms up to her sister-in-law as the story goes on. By the end, after apologizing to her for blaming her for Harumi's death, Keiko makes a point to help Suzu with chores since she only has one hand now.
  • Delicate and Sickly: Keiko's husband had a poor constitution, which spared him from being conscripted into the army but eventually led to his early death.
  • Demoted to Extra: Aside from her first meeting with Suzu, nearly all of Rin's scenes were left out of the 2016 film, along with the heavy implications that Shusaku was a customer of Rin's who may have had some kind of relationship with her in the past, and Suzu's conflicted feelings upon realizing this. These scenes are added back into the film's extended version, In This Corner (and Other Corners) of the World.
  • Distinguishing Mark: Suzu has a mole on her left side of her face. It's how Shusaku is able to remember her after they met when they were children.
  • Dramatic Irony:
    • The Yamato is referred to as "the world's greatest battleship" by Shusaku, and Harumi has a lot of admiration for her; this represents how many Japanese people at the time saw the ship as a symbol of their nation's determination and believed that Japan would never lose the war as long as she was able to fight. Later, Entaro informs Suzu that the Yamato was sunk just as it was in real life, a clear indication that Japan will eventually lose the war.
    • Suzu's sister encourages her to leave Kure and come to Hiroshima, since at the time it was safer from all the bombing strikes. Just as it was in history, Hiroshima became the most devastating bombing site in Japan.
  • Dude, Not Funny!: In-Universe, Suzu can't see the hilarity in the rest of the Houjous laughing about the military police suspecting her of being a spy.
  • During the War: The story is mainly set during the last two years of World War II, with Suzu adjusting to life with her new family while also dealing with rations, bomb threats, etc.
  • First-Name Basis: Suzu's younger sister Sumi calls her "Suzu-chan", which is actually quite unusual since she doesn't address her older sister with any typical Japanese Sibling Terminology.
  • The Flapper: Keiko is revealed to have been a "modern girl" (a Japanese girl who followed westernized fashion trends during the 1920s and 30s) in her youth, which is the Japanese equivalent of this trope.
  • Forgotten First Meeting: Suzu and Shuusaku had met before, prompting his interest in her, but she doesn't remember that occasion.
  • Genius Ditz: Suzu says herself that she's always had her head in the clouds, and she tends to be pretty clumsy both in her words and actions. However, she's also a talented artist and can come up with pretty creative solutions to dealing with things like food rations (like how she uses an old samurai recipe when there's a shortage of white rice).
  • Girly Girl with a Tomboy Streak: Harumi is a feminine little girl, but she's also very interested in Japanese warships and is able to recognize and name them by sight. It's mentioned that her older brother taught her about them.
  • Happily Adopted: Towards the end of the story, Suzu and Shusaku take in a girl from Hiroshima who was orphaned by the bombing. The ending credits show her all cleaned up and much happier with Suzu and her family.
  • Historical In-Joke: After buying some sugar at the black market for 25 yen, Suzu starts to pondering that at this rate, prices will be soon in thousands - and country that's having such issues will obviously collapse and how can Japanese people survive. By the 1960s, Japanese government deliberately devaluated yen in such a way to stimulate export.
  • Hooker with a Heart of Gold: Rin, a courtesan who Suzu becomes friends with after getting lost and ending up in Kure's pleasure district.
  • I Am Not Pretty: Suzu does not consider herself to be very pretty, especially not compared to her sister. Her husband and former classmate-slash-crush disagree.
  • Important Haircut: Suzu dramatically cuts her braid off after learning of the nuking of Hiroshima, trying to convince the other women that she can be useful in helping the survivors since this way no one will have to do up her hair for her since she now only has one hand.
  • Irony: At one occasion, Keiko bough a small sachet of komatsuna seeds, mostly to just poke fun of Suzu being a housewife and a simple-minded villager in the big city. Everyone ends up appreciating the additional greens once rationing turns into outright shortages.
  • It Gets Easier: Big focus on the story is how the ever-increasing war struggle, air raid alarms, actual bombardment and eventually your close kin dying left and right keep getting easier and easier, reduced into mundane day-to-day occurrences.
  • Kill the Cutie: Harumi, Suzu's Cheerful Child niece-in-law and the only child in the family, is killed by a time-delayed bomb.
  • Killed Offscreen
    • Suzu's family suffers this thrice. Her brother is reportedly killed in action, with the only sign of him being a rock sent to the family in place of his remains. Her mother was in Hiroshima when Little Boy went off and she is never seen again. Her father fell sick from radiation poisoning and died afterwards.
    • The audience also does not see Harumi's death at the hands of the bomb. Suzu reaches for her, grabs her hand, and dirt and dust go flying into the air before it cuts to black.
  • Life Saving Misfortune:
    • Keiko's house is demolished to create a fire break in case of fire bombing. That's bad. However, she is left with all the wood, which becomes very useful as timbering for securing and even partially furnishing the family's bomb shelter.
    • Suzu plans to move back to her family in Hiroshima, but is only able to get a doctor's appointment the day of the atomic bombing, meaning she's still in Kure when the bomb is dropped.
  • Lighter and Softer: The theatrical version of the anime adaptation skipped few chapters of the manga, omitting certain plots. Most importantly, everything related to Suzu finding not only Shuusaku has seen a prostitute, but it being Rin out of all people got cut, and that was one of the more serious and quite unpleasant plotlines, especially since by that point, war wasn't going all that bad and the story was rather cheerful so far. This also leads to a minor Plot Hole in anime adaptation, regarding Shuusaku - in the manga he figured what's wrong with Suzu sudden change in behaviour and that was the reason he left her with Tetsu alone, along with feeling regret and guilt over dragging Suzu into an Arranged Marriage. The director's cut restores that entire plotline.
  • Love Triangle: A very subdued and rather tragic variant. Tetsu is in love with Suzu, something he never got over with since they were children, but also doesn't want to hurt Suzu after finding she wasn't forced into a marriage. Suzu is in an Arranged Marriage with Shuusaku, but loves him very much... yet still has her old feelings toward Tetsu. Shuusaku loves Suzu, but also feels guilty over separating her from a man she loved and the fact he got dragged into a brothel by his colleagues. They are all conflicted over their feelings and marital issues, but ultimately each party remains happy and Hojou marriage endures.
  • Maybe Magic, Maybe Mundane: The sequence at the beginning of the story where Suzu is captured by an ogre who plans to eat her is portrayed as an example of the wild daydreams Suzu had as a kid, but apparently one of her sheets of seaweed really was missing afterward (she used one to cover the ogre's telescope and trick him into thinking it was nighttime so he would fall asleep), and the boy who also got captured and escaped with her is heavily implied to be Shusaku as a child, explaining in part their first meeting which Suzu can't recall but Shusaku remembered (Shusaku explained he had met Suzu when they were still school children). Finally, the ogre briefly shows up again towards the end of the story.
  • Mistaken for Spies: When Suzu decides to take a break from housework and sketch the battleships in the harbor, a military officer spots her and mistakes her drawing the battleships as espionage. The officer drags her back to the Houjou house and lectures the whole family, with everyone having tense and nervous faces the whole time. When the officer leaves, so does the tension...because everyone but Suzu was just barely holding in their laughter over the very idea of someone mistaking Suzu, of all people, for a spy.
  • Moment Killer: At one point, Suzu and Shuusaku have a tender moment at the entrance to their bomb shelter and proceed to making out, only for Mr and Mrs Houjou to walk in on them.
  • Mood Dissonance: Suzu's Cloud Cuckoolander personality and the occasional bits of comedy and light-hearted moments can almost make you forget that the characters are living through horrible tragedies.
  • Never Found the Body: Suzu's brother is allegedly killed in action; all the Uranos get of him is a rock instead of any remains. Suzu's mother was in Hiroshima when Little Boy went off and she is last stated as missing.
  • No Name Given: We only ever learn Keiko's husband surname (since she's bearing it now), but not his name.
  • Not What It Looks Like: A big source of humor for the story, even if it tends to be black as tar at times.
    • Suzu is sitting in her vegetable garden, watching Kure's harbour and doodling the warships in it. Two Kempeitai officers patrolling the area instantly take notice and take her for a spy. That's both scary and funny, but then they spend half a day in Houjou household, reprimanding everyone present and everyone looks tense. Then its revealed Houjous struggled to keep their faces straight, rather than being terrified, because only the biggest idiot would take Suzu for a spy.
    • During one of the air raids, when caught outside of cover, Entarou Hojou, her father-in-law, covers Suzu and Harumi with his body. Shrapnel flies around, causing all sorts of damage, one piece even hitting his military helmet. Once the raid is over, he's immobile and doesn't react to Suzu talking. The next panel/scene is that of Suzu and Harumi crying their eyes out, while Mrs. is sitting next to them, smiling. Next panel/pan out and Mr. Hojou is asleep and well, simply dozing out during the air-raid after a hard day in the shipyard, while the cries being result of shame over their hasty assumptions.
  • Nuclear Weapons Taboo: Completely avarted. The bombing of Hiroshima is an important plot point and it is shown fully in all of its destruction and further problems caused by the radiation. If you pay attention, chapters of the manga (and corresponding sequences in the film) are first titled after Suzu's current age, then overlapped with current day date and ultimately only the date is left - and you realise it is a countdown to 6th of August, 1945.
  • Obnoxious In-Laws:
    • Completely averted with Suzu and her in-laws, even if at first it looks they've took her in and married to their son solely to have a rent-free maid. They get along perfectly fine and while Suzu does work hard, so does everyone else.
    • Keiko is the closest thing to it, both for Suzu and her own in-laws. In fact, it's heavily implied her behaviour toward them was one of the factors why they took Hisao, her son, away from her, as the sole male heir to Kuromura family, in the process becoming terrible in-laws for Keiko.
  • Oh, Crap!: When Suzu realizes that she and Harumi are standing next to a time-delayed bomb.
  • Outliving One's Offspring: Keiko's daughter Harumi is killed by a time-delayed bomb, and her grief initially makes her blame Suzu for it.
  • Perfectly Arranged Marriage: Suzu moves to Kure when Shusaku, a man she doesn't know, proposes marriage to her (though according to him, they had met when they were still schoolchildren and Suzu didn't remember him). Despite how sudden this is, Suzu grows to love him.
  • Pregnancy Scare: About halfway through the story, Suzu and Shusaku discuss her sudden change in appetite, followed by a silent Oh, Crap!. It turns out that Suzu isn't pregnant and that stress and a poor diet due to wartime is just preventing her from getting her period. Keiko is rather annoyed that nothing actually happened and gives Suzu less food the next day since she doesn't have to "eat for two".
  • Rage-Breaking Point: After the surrender of Japan is announced, Suzu breaks into Berserker Tears, screaming about how the government had spent so long preparing the people to resist invaders or die trying only to fold like a cheap tent after the atomic bombings.
  • Red Light District: Suzu accidentally wanders into Asahi Pleasure Quarters (the red light district of Kure) when she gets lost on her way home from the black market. She gets directions from Rin, a courtesan who later becomes friends with her. Historically, Asahi was one of the largest red light districts in western Japan; it's destroyed by an air raid later on in the story which also kills Rin, and in real life it was never rebuilt.
  • Scars are Forever: After Suzu is caught in an explosion that kills Harumi, she has a small scar on her face that remains there for the rest of the story along with the loss of her right hand.
  • Scenery Gorn: There are many shots of Kure damaged by air raids, with collapsed buildings and the countryside reduced to craters.
  • Sexy Discretion Shot:
    • On Suzu and Shusaku's wedding night, the two lean into their First Kiss, followed by the camera panning upwards and fading to black.
    • In the manga, Shusaku and Suzu are trying for a child and their sexual intercourse is paneled without showing nudity but showing their clenching fists and their expressions.
  • Shown Their Work: Fumiyo Kouno did a lot of research in order to accurately portray life in Japan during World War II. The last volume of the manga even includes an extensive bibliography of all the books and documentaries she used as reference. Same goes for the 2016 film, where the director and his team extensively researched what Kure and Hiroshima looked like during the time period in which the story takes place.
  • Slice of Life: The story mostly follows this format, portraying Suzu and her friends and family's everyday lives during World War 2, even when they have to deal with things like food rations, air raids and building a bomb shelter. The tone becomes much less laid back after Harumi is killed by a time-delayed bomb and Suzu loses her right hand, and then things become even more serious after Little Boy is dropped on Hiroshima.
  • Sour Outside, Sad Inside: Keiko is portrayed as particularly feisty and temperamental, easily lashing out at people. However, few scenes where Suzu walks on her reveal she's just in deep grief, first over her late husband, then going over the edge after Harumi is killed by a bomb.
  • Surprisingly Realistic Outcome: Due to the war-time rationing and then shortages, along with the stress that comes from the fact the war is closer and closer to her, Suzu's menstrual cycle is completely out of whack and she can't get pregnant.
  • Time Passes Montage: Certain chapters of the manga cover extended periods of time, without directly making it clear until next chapter informing how old Suzu is now or what's the date. The film adaptation makes it even more dynamics, allowing to put weeks into a single sequence, without breaking the flow of the story or current sequence. Also, the joke with Kempeitai works better in film format, allowing to show the amount of time passing.
  • Title Drop: Towards the end of the story, when Suzu thanks Shuusaku for finding her "in this corner of the world".
  • Too Desperate to Be Picky: During a time of food rations, Suzu decides to use more resourceful recipes from what are basically survival guides. They work well in making more from what they have, but after one meal, the family learns that hard way that survival food was for, well, survival. It tastes awful. However, they remove from the menu only that one particular dish and continue eating everything else.
  • Unusual Euphemism: Before she's married off, Suzu is taught by her grandma a stock, customary conversation about a newly bought umbrella that hasn't been opened yet and letting her husband be the first one to do so, as a very flowery way to assure that she is a pure virgin who's ready to consummate her marriage (but without explaining that last bit to Suzu). It gets played for laughs when not only Suzu gets equipped by her parents with an actual new umbrella, but Shuusaku then asks for it literally, confusing the girl completely.
  • War Is Hell: Entire manga had the effects of the Second World War that ranged from relatives killed in action, people enduring bombing runs, and eventually aftermath of atomic bomb on Hiroshima.
  • You Should Have Died Instead: Keiko's reaction to Suzu surviving the bomb that killed Harumi. It takes a while before she recants it.