Humans tend to designate definitions by first establishing the polar extremes. There is white and there is black. Not only that those polar extremes need each other in order to exist, but also they need to coexist in order to establish the grey areas in between, forming arrays of the intermediate. With that in mind, they derive the universal binary: the existence and the non-existence. The state is then defined by the existence of the prerequisite into being defined as such, while its opposite is defined by the non-existence of that prerequisite.
With that elaboration of a rather fundamental philosophical thought, the limits of our consciousness, whether collective or personal, can surmise that in the highest order of things, there is life and there is death, which is the absence of life.
What fundamentally drives the whole of humanity is that grey area between life and death, which is rather a transition…and a certainty. Humans are restless on the thought of the inevitability of death, because the reason – that humans are blessed with – refuses to accept that it will soon cease to exist after running wild throughout the human lifespan. As a result, the human aspect of reason tends to find justifications and assurances for the inevitable fate of life which is defined to and as demise, hence the establishment of spiritualism and religion.
In search for assurances, which grow into human necessities, humanity, individually or collectively, establishes sets of beliefs which project reality so that humans, individually or collectively, can establish the purpose of life, which for them is the ultimate assurance.
However, those beliefs more than often stray from the reality that they were meant to project, thus backfiring and leading into projecting the reality as a depressing state, and superficiality takes over. Truth hurts, so that’s why humans rely into euphemisms and lies into convincing themselves of the otherwise. Even so, as those “remedies” stray further from reality, it has become more difficult to keep the projections as they are, leading to unrest and sometimes despair.
Especially when the matter scratches back to the fundamental notion of life and death. Can humans still seek their purpose in life? If the truth is a hard pill to take, can we make it less bitter? Living with Dying (共病文庫 | Kyoubou bunko): can those two coexist?
The short life of Yamauchi Sakura (山内桜良 | VA: Lynn) has asked all of those thing is what has become a rather lengthy introduction to her story. Her friends and classmates grieved upon her passing, except one: the narrator and the viewpoint character, who refers to himself as Boku (僕 | VA: Takasugi Mahiro).
He was probably the most affected by Sakura’s sudden passing as his relationship to her runs deep and significant, described and summarized into a rather peculiar set of words, words that also became the last message that he sent to her:
For the English readers, the romanji was Kimi no Suizou wo Tabetai, which means I Want To Eat Your Pancreas.
It is the title of the story… an animated film adapted by Studio VOLN from the novel by Sumino Yoru-sensei (住野よる), which premiered last September 1, 2018. It is quite an exotic title, yet it has become popular as the readers (…and hopefully the moviegoers) have found in that line one of the most exemplary metaphors ever written.
It centers about Yamauchi Sakura viewed from 僕 ‘s perspective, who was unable to attend her wake and funeral on that day when the rain fell hard, not only upon the landscape, but also from the eyes of the people whom Sakura have touched during her life which suddenly ended. And even though the rain has brought the gloom over the horizon, it has also brought replenishment to retain the green of the scenery, and also to console those suffering loss and misery as the sakura faded on the backdrop of the summer which ended the spring.
But it was still dry for 僕 as he was still unable to well-up any tear as he was seemingly lost due to the loss that was far greater than the others. The clues were written on that last message that he sent to her:
I Want To Eat Your Pancreas
…which was actually one of Sakura’s dark and morbid jokes as she recalled a superstition – that eating a certain organ would improve of the health of the organ of the person who ate it – in reflection to her failing pancreas which made her life terminal. 僕 learned about Sakura’s condition when he stumbled upon her diary, titled Living with Dying (共病文庫 | Kyoubou bunko | Disease Coexistence Journal), when he went to the hospital to remove the stitches from his latest appendectomy.
He then gained Sakura’s interest because on how he dismissed the revelation from Sakura, instead of offering some sage advice or cheering her up. He assured her that her secret was safe with him as he had no friends to begin with. With her interest piqued and her secret safe, Sakura began to hang out with him, as his only friends…or rather pestered him to no end by either volunteering to be his partner in the library duties or with her countless morbid jokes about her impending death, on which she retorted that everybody would die in the end, it was just a matter of when.
僕 insisted that Sakura should spend her remaining time into doing something meaningful, on which Sakura countered that deciding to spend it with him was meaningful on its own, to help her accomplish her list titled 「山内桜良の死ぬ前にやりたいこと」(Yamauchi Sakura no shinumae ni yaritai koto | Yamauchi Sakura’s things to do before dying). And so, Sakura took him to various places. They first went to have horumonyaki…grilling and eating (what else?) horumon (offals) or innards, as Sakura insisted to keep the joke about eating the pancreas going by offering him to eat her pancreas once she died so, according to a tradition, her spirit would latch onto him. A rather めんどくさい (troublesome) spirit to latch onto him, he replied.
Realizing that she did not know a thing about him, she asked if, apart from his family he had any kind of relationship with others, on which he responded that it was just his hobby to see those non-existent yet imagined relationships begin and end within his head. He did imagine what people thought of him by assuming that it was the same to what he thought to himself. He shrugged off what others thought of him as long as it caused him no harm. He was contented of being uninteresting and being a loner. But Sakura asserted the otherwise and insisted into hanging out more with him.
So she dragged him next into a cafe, named Cafe Spring, but not right after she incurred trouble by intervening to a scene unfolding along the way. She remarked that the cafe’s name was a perfect match for her name, Sakura (cherry blossoms), which, according to her, actually just needed 3 months after its bloom on spring to sprout buds again, but just waited a year to warm the buds again in order to bloom all at once again. She alluded that just like the sakura, she was still waiting for the right time to warm herself up and bloom.
…But she did not have much time left so she wanted to accelerate things. She asked for his contact number to make sure a close contact as she also wanted to introduce her bestfriend Takimoto Kyouko (滝本恭子 | VA: Fujii Yukiyo). And the introduction event happened right on the very next day when Kyouko stumbled upon the two when she dragged him to another cafe, Paradise. Kyouko expressed her concern as Sakura and 僕 were the topic of the recent gossips, on which Sakura responded that he was just her nakayoshi-kun (Getting-along-kun). 僕 was also concerned about the rumors because he was experiencing inconvenience through indirect bullying (making his shoes missing and hostile stares, which was in the light novel but not in the anime).
He complained to Sakura that he didn’t want people to pry upon his life or to talk to him in the first place. But the blame really was to curiosity, on why such polar opposites such as them began to hang out in the first place, which made Sakura burst out of laughter, as that was made their interactions interesting.
Sakura kept on imploring him to be by her side until the day that she dies. 僕 had her confirm once more that she would really die soon. She added that she only wanted him to be the only one to know about her terminal condition, because unlike others, including Kyouko who would overreact and be crying all the way if she were to told her, he gave her a feeling of normalcy upon her reality. She didn’t have to put up a front. She didn’t have to hide anything. She didn’t have to pretend that everything’s normal. Nothing would change in the revelation of the reality as long as she’s with him.
He asked whether she would be asking for anything amidst her reality, whether she had done everything that she wished for, like going to the festivals, or like having a boyfriend…
…which had her asking whether he would do something about that. He didn’t catch her clues, and she further cast doubt on whether he would seek the purpose to everything that she had said (what a deflection to an indirect confession!), but she was still resolute into having him interact with other people, even though their actions to him were getting muddled and fishy, and with her, who invited him to a trip…a 2-days-1-night one.
During the trip, Sakura asked him for the correct spelling (Kanji) of his family name, while also asking him of his given name. He realized that she would be writing his name to the Kyoubo Bunko and made Sakura omit any mention of his name to her diary. Sakura obliged as she was also moved by learning upon his first name, with her expression saying that they were made for each other even though they were polar opposites.
And maybe it really was, as the events that followed went well (for Sakura), except the part in the hotel where a booking error was made and the two had to stay in the same room.
僕 began to become unnerved with this series of events, especially that Sakura was teasing him to sleep together with her at the bed or to peek at her during her bath. But what unnerved him the most was what he had found in her bag when he looked for the cream that Sakura told him to bring. The sight of what he saw in that bag stuck with him as he was just unfazed from further teasing by Sakura, like the alcoholic drinks or what were revealed during their “truth or dare”. Things like Sakura being the 3rd cutest in the class for him were revealed (the part of 僕’s first love from the light novel, that “-san” person, were omitted in the anime) and the dares were daring as well, 僕 being forced to carry Sakura to the bed (instead of saying what made her cute) and sleep(literally) with her there.
He slept with her in bed because he refused to answer her question, which reflected to the thing that he found in her bag, a box full of syringes, vials, and medicines, reminding him once more of the depressing reality that she did not have much time to live:
あたしは， 本当は死ぬのめっちゃちゃが怖いで言ったら， どうする? (If I were to tell you that I’m very scared to die, what would you do?)
Being brutally honest could be depressing, but also some of the times, it could also be refreshing as 僕 was beginning to unravel from his cold exterior, telling Sakura that he enjoyed their trip, which shocked the joy out of Sakura, but the spite out of his classmates upon knowledge of her trip.
Understandably, her bestfriend Kyouko was the first one who confronted him. Indeed, he may be looking forward into seeing Sakura more often, however, can he take the responsibility into staying by her side? If they were not lovers, then what were he and Sakura in the first place? Seeing his half-baked feelings to Sakura, Kyouko threw all of the hostility to him, just like some of his classmates who began hiding his things (LN: shoes and the The Little Prince (book) that she lent to him). With the book lost, Sakura offered to lend him another copy…which was at her house.
…which was just actually her subterfuge in order to accomplish one daring item on her list:
“Doing something naughty with someone who’s not my boyfriend and who I’m not in love with.”
This was the point that our dense protagonist should have looked more into her signs. She started with a hug, on which did not count as part of her list. That part was the “not naughty part”. He braced for the naughty part, which was an approaching kiss, as he steeled himself into doing what Kyouko had demanded him to do: taking responsibility. But Sakura aborted it at the very last minute, leaving him with the courage that he mustered ridiculed… which made him snap. His energy for courage went into an uncontrolled anger instead as he pinned Sakura onto her bed.
For Sakura, who actually just intended to imply to him that he was not “someone she’s not in love with” and not “not her boyfriend”, the overwhelming force from him just culminated into whimpers and tears. That was enough to pull him back to his senses and from the house he’d just invaded.
However, his dejected bubble was invaded once again by their class representative, Takahiro (隆弘|VA: Uchida Yuma), who was now prying into what relationship 僕 had with Sakura, revealing himself to be their stalker as well as her bitter ex-boyfriend, bitter enough to throw some punch to 僕. However, despite Takahiro’s attempts to win Sakura back by branding 僕 as a stalker, she immediately sided with 僕 and permanently shunned Takahiro away.
With the string of misfortunes that came his way because of her, his disillusionment with going out of his comfort zone into interacting with others was expressed as he concluded that there was nothing good with him being with her, afterall, they just met by chance at the hospital.
Indeed, people live in an irony that they believe in something as fate that led them through a series of coincidences while also believing in free-will. Can those two contradicting thoughts ever reconcile?
Yes. Sakura asserted. It was the choices that people make led them to the present that they have at the moment. It was true that the coincidences were the ones who led people into various situations, but it was with the choices that they made that people got to decide their own fate. She specifically bought for her Kyoubo Bunko that notebook with the cover that got his interest. He specifically accepted her request into being her companion. All the string of choices that they made culminated into them being brought together into the present that made her happy. So she pleaded:
だから，もう少しだけ，あともう少しでの会えていいから，一緒に行ってほしい. (That is why, just a little bit longer, by my side, I want you to stay.)
So even though he thought that he could not be that much of a help, he accepted Sakura’s request of getting along until her death as they accomplished some of the remaining items on her list, like bowling, eating pasta, going to the photobooth, singing at the karaoke. The events unfolded like she was not sick in the first place. But surely, the dose of reality was just dormant during that time and now it returned to remind her of her borrowed time as she was hospitalized once again. Hearing your life clock ticking was enough to make you uneasy as it would remind you of your inevitable death. Sakura was just like that and she tried to dance her uneasiness away which 僕 saw, putting her into the domain of embarrassment.
However, he shared the same uneasiness as it was clear to him that there was something that she was hiding behind her smiles, something that was eating away at her. To dispel the uneasiness and to make way for the relief, they played one round of their “truth or dare”. Sakura, being the one wanted to play the game, wanted to ask him something, but ended up being asked instead as she lost. She was asked what was meant to live in which she answered:
Living means having a bond with others. That thing is what living refers to, I think. Paying attention to someone, loving someone, hating someone, having fun being with someone, taking someone’s hand: that’s what it means to live.
If you’re by yourself, then you won’t know whether you exist. Your relationship with others is the thing that defines being alive. If my mind exists, then I can interact with others. My body exists because others touch me. That’s how the purpose of being alive comes about, just like we choosing to live out this moment here and now.
僕 found her answer profound and thanked her for providing it. Sakura was grateful in response to his gratitude and lunged towards him for a hug. That hug was no longer a joke, as she was moved by the figurative warmth that he gave her and sought to have his physical warmth too. That was when the eavesdropping Kyouko, who was made to believe that she had an appendectomy, barged in as she smelled suspicion from the silence that followed. As if keeping Kyouko on leash so she would not bite people within the perimeter, Sakura latched onto her for another hug, as he signaled him to run before Kyouko went for the interrogation.
He too wanted to interrogate Sakura, as he felt that something was off, especially that her stay in the hospital was extended for another two weeks. Even though Sakura was seemingly strong enough to sneak out of the hospital for a better view of the fireworks display from a balcony upon a hill, his feeling that something was off precipitated into him expressing that concern to Sakura, asking her – this time – with a show of genuine concern if she would really die soon.
Sakura retorted that everybody would die, only that she would die sooner because of her failing pancreas. But no…he wanted her to live. とても. Realizing how important she had become to him, Sakura was unable to contain her happiness as she was also “rewarded” by another hug from him…a tighter one, as she told him that she would inform him when she would die and she would be taking him to the beach as a token of apology of making him worry.
At this point, I want to segway into remarking on how well Sumika did this song insert, Himitsu, along with the opening theme, Fanfare, (I was already tearing upon seeing its MV), and the closing theme, Haru Natsu Aki Fuyu (Four Seasons). The song had captured this moment, which brimmed with overwhelming happiness.
Two weeks had passed in no time, and her promise of taking him to the ocean was now set to unfold. 僕 brimmed with excitement, and his family had caught, not only with his monotonous lie of having friends back then, but also having a person who changed him for the better.
Having made aware of that, 僕 tried to describe his admiration, his relationship, and his feelings to her. The feelings had grown to be strong to the point that he wanted to take out a page from her life’s story. However, he concluded that it should not just be condensed into something that cliché. So, he set to find a certain description, the description that only the two of them would understand and share, and he came up with…
I Want To Eat Your Pancreas.
So that, according to some foreign religion, her soul would latch onto him and live inside of him. He wanted to be with her as he was infused by her soul which pulled him up from his lonely slumber into seeing the wonderful colors of spring. He wanted to tell her those things once they would get to the beach. With all of the choices in life that they’ve made leading them to this moment, he chose this moment as a moment to confess.
…which didn’t happen, as she wasn’t able to meet him. The reason was all over the news: she became a victim of a random knife attack which was running rampant those days, and despite attempts to revive her, Yamauchi Sakura passed away.
To further describe his grief, which the anime hadn’t provided, here is the passage from the light novel:
She had died.
I had been depending on it.
I had still been depending on it at this stage.
I had been depending on the one year’s worth of time she had remaining.
Just maybe, even she had been doing so too.
At the very least, I had been mistaken about the reality that no one’s tomorrow was guaranteed.
I had thought that it was a given that the girl who didn’t have much time left would’ve had a tomorrow.
I didn’t know about myself who still had time, but I had thought that the girl who didn’t have time would’ve been promised a tomorrow.
What foolish logic it was.
I had fully believed that the world would indulge only the life of the girl who had not much time left.
Of course, something like that that wouldn’t happen. It didn’t happen.
The world didn’t discriminate.
It refused mercy to its inhabitants – be they humans with healthy bodies like me, or that terminally ill girl who had a foot in the grave.
We had misunderstood. We were fools.
But, could anyone mock us for misunderstanding?
A drama that had its final episode determined wouldn’t end until its final episode.
A manga that had its cancellation decided wouldn’t end until its cancellation.
A movie that had a preview for its final installment wouldn’t end until its final installment.
Everyone should have been living while believing that.
They should have been taught as much.
I too had thought that.
I had had believed that a novel wouldn’t end until its last page.
Perhaps she would laugh, saying that I’d read too many novels.
Even if I was laughed at, I didn’t mind.
Even though I had wanted to read it till the very end.
Even though I had meant to read it.
Her story had come to an end with the remaining pages still blank.
With all the build-up, foreshadowing, and red herrings neglected.
I’d never be able to find out a single thing.
What she really thought of me too, I’d never be able to find out.
…………That was what I had thought.
Because she had died, I had given up on that.
But I only realized later that that wasn’t true.
Even after her funeral, even after there was nothing left of her but bone, I hadn’t gone to her house.
To those who didn’t know about her terminal illness, including Kyouko, Sakura’s sudden death was rather a misfortune. But to 僕 and to the readers and viewers who were given a false assurance that she’s to die due to her illness, shock rocked the notion that fate might turn lenient into someone like Sakura who had not much time to live. Even though we convinced ourselves of those assurances, even though we made neologisms into making us feel special, even though we made assertions into making us feel righteous, even though we twisted definitions to our benefit, it would all still come back to the truth, ever indiscriminate, ever bold, ever cold, and ever cruel.
The outlook that 僕 has grown to love because of Sakura is now in shambles. He stays cooped up at his home, never attended either Sakura’s funeral or wake, as he cannot accept the fact that the person who was once his everything is nothing now but ash and bones. Yet, there is still something that puzzles him. The loss for him is not yet real. The sadness does not break him yet into tears. There are still things for him to do. The ten lethargic days lead him into collecting himself as he seeks out the last piece of the puzzle: what Sakura has written on her Kyoubo Bunko.
What is revealed to him when he asks for Sakura’s Kyoubo Bunko is a same measure of relief, peace, and joy written on Sakura’s mother’s face as she reveals that Sakura has entrusted her diary to him in her will.
At this point, I can concur on how tough it is to adapt Kimi no Suizou wo Tabetai into an anime, because of the main reason that unlike in the anime, readers have gotten to share the viewpoints of our viewpoint character from a first person perspective. Sumino-sensei has written it as such in order to deliver the exclusivity of the story’s experience in making the readers feel that it was their story with Sakura, on which the animated film understandably lacks. The formula might have worked for anime adaptation of Makoto Shinkai’s Your Name because the perspectives shifted between Taki and Mitsuha, but not for Kimi no Suizou wo Tabetai because it was more intimate…more of a story of me and you… which Sakura had remarked on her final letter to him.
That was what Sakura wanted to ask if she were to win that one round of “truth or dare”. 君, 君, 君, 君, 君… she revealed that she got tired on hearing that pronoun, yet she was puzzled on why he was insistent of not calling her by her name. Maybe, he was just annoyed to her. But Sakura had supposed that there were deeper meanings behind the usage of 君(kimi). It was hard to suppose or even assume what the person was thinking, because, in a world that deplored mistakes, being wrong on our suppositions could be a shameful thing. Overcoming the doubts requires strong will and courage, and for Sakura who was threading life and death with her illness, she had what it takes to do that. And she got it all right.
Even though cowardice into putting meanings and values into someone who’s about to die like Sakura was what was holding him back and making him refer to her as kimi at first, the meaning behind the usage of that pronoun has grown into something more beautiful and poetic. Sakura, just like most people, was establishing her worth and her value with the people around her. Admittedly, most people are being defined with and by the people that they’re with. Drawing an allusion to Jean Jacques Rosseau’s Discourse on Inequality, she has told that all of those are for the sake of comparison, which chains our freedom into finding our own worth and appeal.
But 僕 was different. Being a loner, or rather, not caring about what others thought, he was him. He was always himself. That’s where he’d drawn his own appeal. That was why she was so grateful when he expressed his concern to her. He wanted her to live. In what has become a story of 君 (you) and 僕 (I), she has found out that she was needed, her alone, hence she has confirmed her own appeal, her own worth, and her own purpose. However, she surmises that their story should not be just like taking a page out from their own life’s story or anything cliche. The same line of thoughts runs across as her descriptive summary of their story matches his:
I Want To Eat Your Pancreas
It might be the same line as his but it has a different meaning altogether when it came from her. The superstition about the innards that they were talking about earlier suggests that if she were to eat a pancreas then her own pancreas would get better and she would get to live. She has gotten to live her life normally, into being alive, all because of him as represented by “eating his pancreas”. He has given a part of himself so she has lived on, not only on the memories that she’s left but also on her own regard.
The rest of the Kyoubo Bunko (Disease Coexistence Journal) gave the picture on how Sakura’s relationship with her disease and him grew through time:
29th November 20XX
I don’t really want to write about dark things, but it wouldn’t do not to write down something like this, huh. It was when I learnt that I had contracted my illness. My head went completely blank, and not knowing what I should do, I got anxious and cried, got angry and took it out on my family, and I did various other things. First off, I’d like to apologize to my family. I’m sorry. For watching over me since then until I calmed down – thank you. …………
4th December 20XX
It’s gotten cold recently. But after learning that I was ill, I started thinking of various things. One of which, was my decision to not resent my own fate of becoming ill. That is why, I’m not naming this a disease-fighting, but a disease coexistence journal. …………
12th October 20XX
I got a new boyfriend. It’s an odd feeling. If I continue with him for longer, I’ll probably have to tell him about my illness. I don’t really want to though.
3rd January 20XX
We broke up. Something like breaking up within the first three days of the year – guess it might be a bad omen. I got comforted by Kyouko.
20th January 20XX
One day I’ll have to tell Kyouko about my illness too. But that can wait till the very last moment. It’s because I want to keep having fun with Kyouko. Just in case Kyouko reads this, for keeping quiet, I’ll apologize right here. For not telling you that I’m dying, I’m sorry.
15th June 20XX
It seems like I’ve slowly become more like a high schooler. I was totally split on whether to join a club or not, but I decided not to enter one in the end. I even considered joining a few of the culture clubs, but in order to treasure the time I have with my family and friends, I chose the go-home club. Kyouko’s the same as before, getting all sweaty everyday playing volleyball. Do your best, Kyouko!
12th March 20XX
It’s often said that watching the sakura scatter would make one feel an ache in their heart, but watching them bloom makes my heart ache too. Because I’ll end up estimating how many more times I’ll get to see the sakura. However, there’s an upside to that too. Surely, the sakura I see are more beautiful than the sakura anyone else in my generation sees. ……
5th April 20XX
I’ve become a second year! I got to be in the same class as Kyouko!! I’m so glad!!
There are also others like Hina and Rina, and as for the boys, I’m also with Takahiro-kun. My luck’s good huh. Well, if I think of it as all of the luck from my pancreas being brought over to this, I guess it’s only appropriate. Speaking of which……
22nd April 20XX
Today was the first time I’ve talked to someone about my illness. The other party was my classmate, ̷志̷賀̷-kun. He happened to pick up this paperback at the hospital, and he even read it, so thinking “it doesn’t matter anymore!” I talked to him. Maybe I wanted someone to listen me too. Not to mention, 志̷賀̷-kun doesn’t seem to have many friends, so I think that’s why he seemed to have left an impression inside my heart. The truth is that since before, I’ve been interested in 志̷賀̷-kun. We were actually in the same class in first year, but I wonder if he remembers that? He’s always reading books after all – it’s as if he’s quietly fighting against himself. Besides that, having a go at talking with him today was amusing, and I got interested in him right away. Simple as that. 志̷賀̷-kun gives off a slightly different vibe from other
people. I want to get along better with him. He even knows my secret after all.
“23rd April 20XX
I’ve become part of the library committee. Nothing’s going to change even if I say it here, but just what kind of school system allows people to freely choose their own
committees? I called out to 志̷賀̷-kun and he made a troubled face. But it looks like he properly taught me about the roles of my job and such. I think I’ll be asking him about various things.”
7th June 20XX
I got full points on a small test. As expected of me (sasuga)! Actually, doesn’t “sasuga” sort of look like the name of a flower (sakura)? Recently my heart has been feeling light. Sometimes, when I make jokes about me dying, 志̷賀̷-kun would frown, and he’d say interesting things! It’s just by a little, but I’m starting to understand his character. As I thought, he really is fighting against himself.
30th June 20XX
It’s hot. But it’s not like I hate the heat. Sweating makes me feel like I’m alive. We’re doing basketball for gym class. Apart from that, 志̷賀̷-kun said not to include his name in the Disease Coexistence Journal. Though I imitated him and hit back with disobliging words, unlike him, I’m basically obedient, so I’ll humour his requests from time to time. From here on out, I’ll refrain from mentioning his name.
8th July 20XX
Today, I received advice that I should use my time to do I want to do. When I thought “hmm what do I want to do…”, I decided that I wanted to go out and have fun with the person that gave me advice, and that I wanted to eat some yakiniku, so we promised to do that on Sunday…………
11th July 20XX
The yakiniku was delicious! And I enjoyed today too. It’s regrettable that I can’t write about it in detail. The one thing I’ll say is that, I’m thinking of hammering in the deliciousness of horumon into others until I die. After that…………
12th July 20XX
Today, I hastily made plans to, and went to eat dessert. It only occurred to me after my morning classes, so I had to come up with a way of dragging someone into those plans, and carry it out. Since I kept on thinking about it, I probably didn’t do very well in my tests.
13th July 20XX
From today onwards, if I think of anything I want to do, I’ll write it down in here.
・I want to go on a trip (with a boy)
・I want to eat delicious horumon
・I want to eat delicious ramen
I thought of some good things.
15th July 20XX
・I want to do something that shouldn’t be done with a boy that isn’t my lover (lol)
I’ll write about my trip after I reach home.
20th July 20XX
My test results were better than I thought! I enjoyed my trip, and was forgiven by Kyouko too – it seems like I’m going to start summer vacation feeling pretty good. Or so I thought, but there’ll still be supplementary lessons. Darn it.
21st July 20XX
“It was a very bad, and very good day. Just a little bit, I cried alone. Today was full of crying.
22nd July 20XX
I’m in the hospital. For around two weeks, I’m going to be hospitalized. Something about how the numbers were weird. Just a little – no, I’ll stop lying here. I’m quite worried. But even so, I’m putting on airs to those around me. I’m not lying though. I’m just putting on airs.
24th July 20XX
Thinking of blowing my uneasiness away, I was dancing, but I got caught in the act. I was embarrassed, but also relieved that I was visited. Tears came out, and I desperately hid them. After that, time passed by enjoyably. My heart has become lighter…………
27th July 20XX
Something interesting happened, but I can’t write about it because of a rule. So I guess I’ll write about magic tricks………….
“28th July 20XX
My remaining life expectancy has been cut in half.”
31st July 20XX
I told a lie. I guess this isn’t the first time. I plainly told a lie. I was asked if something had happened, and I almost ended up crying. I almost ended up talking about everything. But I thought that was no good, so I didn’t say anything. I didn’t want to let go of the everyday that had been given to me. I’m weak. I’ll reveal the truth, one day.
3rd August 20XX
I got worried about. And I told a lie again. After all, if someone makes such a relieved face, you can’t tell them the truth. But, it made me happy. Enough to make me wonder if it was possible to have something in life that made me this happy. Because I didn’t know I was this needed. [The part that was shown in the anime begins here] I was so happy, so happy, that I ended up crying once I was alone. Even though I’m writing about it like this, I want to leave my rue feelings to be found out after I die too – as I thought, I’m weak. I wasn’t seen through, I think. I’m, unexpectedly good at putting up a poker face.
4th August 20XX
Seems like the me from just recently has been too weak! I’m going to stop writing dark things now! I forgot about how I decided to always keep facing forward! Maybe I’ll even erase the past few days’ records later.
7th August 20XX
The truth is that ever since I’ve been hospitalized, as much as I could, I’d try to have two certain people run into each other, in the hopes that they’d start to get along, but it seems like that’s quite difficult (lol). I’ll keep wishing until I die that the two of them will get along. Recently I’ve been practicing a grand magic trick! I can’t wait to showcase it………….
10th August 20XX
My plans after getting discharged have been decided. I’m going to the beach. Starting off with something like that seems just about right, I think. It feels like the recent us, without pacing down, have been going as far as we can (lol). That’s fine too, but it’d be nice we could take it slow y’know. The magic trick is difficult. …………
13th August 20XX
I got a visit, and I ate my first watermelon this summer. I like watermelon more than melon. I guess a person’s likes don’t really change from when they’re a child, huh. But even with that said, it’s not like I’ll always love horumon . I really can’t stand it when children chew noisily on mino (lol). I’ve explained the rules of this book to my mom. So I’ll write it down once more. Until a certain person comes to retrieve this book, it absolutely cannot be shown to anyone outside of our family. Don’t go asking Kyouko or anyone else for a hint either. …………
16th August 20XX
I’m going to be discharged soon! Two people came to give me one last hospital visit. Since I’ve received notice from both sides to cut it out, I decided to stagger their visiting timings for them (lol), but even once is fine so, I’d like the three of us to get along and eat a meal together!
18th August 20XX
I’m going to be discharged tomorrooooooooow! I’m going to enjoy my remaining time to the fullest! Yaaaaaaaaaaay
Then the farewell letters followed after dozens of blank pages:
Will (Draft) (To be rewritten many times over)
This is my will. If this enters anyone’s eyes, I’ll probably no longer be in this world huh. (Maybe this is too conventional?) Firstly, for keeping silent about my disease from almost everyone, please forgive me. I’m really sorry. Even though it was selfish of me, I wanted to live normally, have a lot of fun, and laugh a lot with everyone. That is why I died, remaining silent about it. Perhaps there may even be some people who were thinking of telling me something. If you are one of them. Please tell everybody else everything that you want to tell them. Whether you like them or hate them, everything like that – I want you to tell them. Otherwise, they might die before you know it, just like I have. Though you may no longer be able to make it in time for me, you can still make it in time for others, so please tell them what you want to.
To everyone in school (maybe I should write individually to some people?), I really enjoyed studying together with everyone. While I seriously enjoyed the cultural festival and athletic festival too, what I especially enjoyed was living an everyday life together with everyone. It’s frustrating that I’m unable to see everyone enjoy
yourselves doing various things in the various places that you’ll go to from now on. So please, make many more memories to reminisce about, and tell me about them in
heaven. That’s why, everyone better not do any bad things (lol). To the people that loved me, to the people that hated me – thank you.
Dad, Mom, Big Bro (would this count as writing individually?), for everything up till now, thank you so much. I really loved our family. Dad, Mom, and Big Bro too, I really, really loved you all. When I was still little, the four of us would go on trips pretty often, right? Even now, I still remember them pretty well. Though I’ve been very rowdy and have only caused problems since I was young, I wonder if I’ve become a daughter to be proud of. Even in heaven, I want to be dad and mom’s child. Even if I’m reborn, I want to be a daughter to the both of you. That’s why, let’s get along forever. And when I’m reborn, I’ll be raised by the two of you again. Together with Big Bro, I want to live as a Yamauchi again. Hmm, there’s too much that I want to write, I can’t get them all down huh.
(Like I thought, I’ll write individually to my precious partner. I’ll rewrite the part for my family again.)
Let me say this first. I love you.
I love Kyouko. Without a single doubt, I love you.
That’s why, I’m really sorry.
For informing you at the very last moment, I’m sorry. (I have to properly think about this too)
Forgive me – I won’t say something like that.
But, believe just this. I loved you.
And because I loved you, I couldn’t tell you.
I loved being with Kyouko. Laughing, getting angry, saying foolish things, crying – I loved all of it. I’m sorry, that’s wrong.
Even now, I love it.
Always. In present progressive tense, I love it. Even when I go to heaven, even when I’m reborn, I’ll always continue to love it.
I love the time I spent with you whom I love, and I don’t have the courage to break it.
It’s a little mean to my other friends, but Kyouko will always be my number one. Perhaps I’ve even fallen in love with Kyouko. Alright, then, in our next lives, Kyouko should go become a boy (lol).
Be happy alright. Kyouko.
No matter what happens, it’ll be fine if it’s you, Kyouko. After all, the Kyouko whom I love won’t lose, right?
Find a wonderful husband, and give birth to a cute baby. Make a family that’s happier than anyone else’s.
Truth be told, I wanted to see it you know. Kyouko’s home. ○ (←I won’t cry when I write the real thing)
I’ll always watch over Kyouko from heaven.
That’s right, I have just one request. I’ll be happy if you think of it as my final request and listen to me.
My request is that I have a person I want you to get along with.
Yes, it’s the boy you’re always glaring at (lol).
That boy is a good person y’know. Really. Though he’s mean to me sometimes (lol).
(I guess it’s fine to leave the explanation about him for a
(I need to better convey the things I want to tell Kyouko)
At this point was where I think (IMHO) that the anime adaptation got sloppy in interpreting this part of the light novel. Again, I understood that this part where our viewpoint character got to read Sakura’s letter which was addressed to him was admittedly hard to interpret. That’s why the movie, which starred Oguri Shun, had to alter some things for the screenplay, like Shiga (There. I spoiled our viewpoint character’s family name) finding Sakura’s letter hidden somewhere else (Little Prince) instead in the Kyoubo Bunko (Disease Coexistence Journal) and finding it a little late, unlike the anime which decided to make it like Sakura was saying the words from the letter from an imagined world of abstract along with flashes from the past.
Again, that was understandably the shortcoming of converting first-person perspectives into a film-appropriate third-person ones, the impact of Sakura’s final letter was great in the light novel, because the readers got the freedom to conjure how Sakura’s saying those words themselves. Not meeting what the readers had imagined, which varied greatly, was what any singular interpretation kind of disappointing.
What I imagined for the interpretation of this scene was Shiga imagining their trip to the beach that didn’t happen. Sakura’s letter turned into a conversation with Shiga’s thoughts which culminated into both of them saying:
I Want To Eat Your Pancreas
…the message that he had found to has reached her. She has read it. Shiga feel overjoyed as he was glad to be able to help and also sad now that the loss finally hit him. All of those stirred into a waterfall of tears which he has held for so long.
Many things have dawned upon Shiga after reading what was actually the epilogue to Sakura’s story. Even though they were the polar opposites, even though they were looking at opposite ways, they were looking at each other, both in admiration, realizing that they were the same finding their perfect fit and match, just like how the trees of spring – which was actually his first name, Haruki (春樹) – brought the blossom of the sakura (桜)…桜良…just like how the cherry blossoms waited for the spring, just like she had lived her whole life in order to meet him.
Even though the anime adaptation of Kimi no Suizou wo Tabetai turned out to be less impactful as the light novel, unlike the movie adaptation, it has remained loyal to the light novel as the viewers get to see Kyouko and Haruki ending up together, thanks to Sakura whom they visited on her grave in the film’s epilogue.
Sakura taught us that the purpose of living is to be alive on which is achieved by affirming that we exist.
During her exchange with Haruki, affirming one’s existence was not accomplished by the imposition of appeal, which they learned that was not something derived from the people that they’re with, nor something that was not imposed, but rather something that only they themselves can find.
But by being needed. She has affirmed her existence, not because of the people that flocked around her but because she was needed by Haruki. Anybody can give the intimate moments and gestures that Sakura has given to him, but of all the people in the world, Haruki specifically needed her. 君だけ。Only her. Not anyone else. Her as a person. She had gotten to live during her short life as if her pancreas got better because she ate one.
By being needed by her, Haruki, in turn, has departed from his old ways and lived his live more vibrantly, as if somebody’s soul is living within him…as if he had eaten the pancreas of the owner of that soul.
And all of those exchange culminated into that simple, but rather weird set of words: Kimi no Suizou wo Tabetai. It’s a simple exchange, but rather a poetic and intimate one.