Satoshi, who is working hard to support his family, suffers a stroke, and loses the use of one side of his body. His family tries to carry on as they previously did, even though Satoshi is let go from his job. Satoshi and his son Hajime always bonded over fishing before his stroke. Hajime, a junior-high school student, loves fishing. He has always preferred fishing over studying, and his test scores reflect it. On a calm summer day, Hajime is fed up with studying and decides he will not go to high school, but instead get a job and work to support his family. Satoshi catches Hajime abandoning his studies to go fishing, which infuriates him so much he snaps Hajime’s fishing rod in half and yells “Never go fishing again!”. Hajime shouts back “Go to hell!”, then storms out of the house. At the pond Hajime lies on the grass. Worrying about his son, Satoshi attempts to follow him, only to fall down and lose consciousness. Hajime finds his father and helps him up. Satoshi reminisces about when his father was alive and three generations went fishing together. Nine-year-old Hajime quickly learned how to pull the fishing lure and caught the most fish. “Love what you do”, says Satoshi. Hajime’s eyes begin to tear up from his father’s encouraging words. Hajime becomes recommitted to studying and his test scores are picking up. While preparing for the entrance exam of his first choice, a less expensive high school, he passes the entrance exam of his safety school which is more expensive. Under financial pressure Hajime does not pay the admission fee of the safety school, but then fails the entrance exam of his first choice school. When Hajime believes that all is lost, and he is resolved to find a blue collar job, his father Satoshi informs him that he secretly paid the fee to the safety school, and Hajime can continue his education. Just as everything is looking up, while Satoshi is taking a walk as part of his physical therapy and rehabilitation, he gets hit by a car and dies. 30 years later, Hajime is dropping a line alone in the pond where he and his father promised to go fishing. Sitting next to him is the vision of his father dropping a line and smiling at him just like old times.
“Fishing with Father” – Shigeru Hirai, Japan, 2018, 23’