Josee, the Tiger and the Fish

image for Josee, the Tiger and the Fish

Short takes

Not suitable under 10; parental guidance to 12 (strong emotional scenes, mature themes; in Japanese with English subtitles)

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This topic contains:

  • overall comments and recommendations
  • details of classification and consumer advice lines for Josee, the Tiger and the Fish
  • a review of Josee, the Tiger and the Fish completed by the Australian Council on Children and the Media (ACCM) on 17 June 2021.

Overall comments and recommendations

Children under 10 Not suitable due to mature themes (romance), and possible lack of interest (please note: film is in Japanese with English subtitles).
Children aged 10–12 Parental Guidance recommended due to strong emotional scenes and mature themes (please note: film is in Japanese with English subtitles so ok for confident readers at approximately grade 4 level and above).
Children over the age of 12 Ok for this age group.

About the movie

This section contains details about the movie, including its classification by the Australian Government Classification Board and the associated consumer advice lines.

Name of movie: Josee, the Tiger and the Fish
Classification: PG
Consumer advice lines: Mild themes
Length: 98 minutes

ACCM review

This review of the movie contains the following information:

A synopsis of the story

Tsuneo Suzukawa (voice of Taishi Nakagawa) is a young man living in Osaka, Japan. He is a poor university student, working several jobs to save towards his dream of doing a student exchange to Mexico. One day whilst walking home, Tsuneo is bowled over by a young woman, Kumiko (voice of Kaya Kiyohara), who has lost control of her wheelchair and is careering down a steep hill. Kumiko flies out of the wheelchair and lands on top of Tsuneo, knocking him to the ground. Kumiko’s grandmother (voice of Chiemi Matsutera) comes running up to see if she is ok, and then invites Tsuneo back to their apartment for lunch. Over lunch, hearing about his struggles, the grandmother offers Tsuneo part-time work as a carer for Kumiko. Kumiko tells Tsuneo that he must call her Josee. At first, their relationship is tense and Josee is horrible and rude, and unhappy, but slowly Tsuneo’s kindness wins her over and together they begin to explore the city. When disaster strikes, it puts both their relationship and their dreams in jeopardy.

Themesinfo

Children and adolescents may react adversely at different ages to themes of crime, suicide, drug and alcohol dependence, death, serious illness, family breakdown, death or separation from a parent, animal distress or cruelty to animals, children as victims, natural disasters and racism. Occasionally reviews may also signal themes that some parents may simply wish to know about.

Love; Romance; Growing up; Disability; Dreams and Ambitions; Japanese culture; Diving; Facing your fears.

Use of violenceinfo

Research shows that children are at risk of learning that violence is an acceptable means of conflict resolution when violence is glamourised, performed by an attractive hero, successful, has few real life consequences, is set in a comic context and / or is mostly perpetrated by male characters with female victims, or by one race against another.

Repeated exposure to violent content can reinforce the message that violence is an acceptable means of conflict resolution. Repeated exposure also increases the risks that children will become desensitised to the use of violence in real life or develop an exaggerated view about the prevalence and likelihood of violence in their own world.

There is some violence in this movie, including:

  • Several scenes where Josee throws objects at Tsuneo. She also uses threatening language like, “I’ll beat you senseless”.
  • Kumiko’s grandmother grabs Tsuneo by the testicles and threatens him, saying, “next time I’ll chop it off”.
  • Kumiko bites Tsuneo hard.

Material that may scare or disturb children

Under fiveinfo

Children under five are most likely to be frightened by scary visual images, such as monsters, physical transformations.

In addition to the above-mentioned violent scenes, there are some scenes in this movie that could scare or disturb children under the age of five, including the following:

  • Kumiko loses control of her wheelchair and goes flying down a hill, crashing at the bottom.
  • A dramatic scene of a hit and run incident where someone is left injured.
  • Several emotional scenes of people arguing or crying.

Aged five to eightinfo

Children aged five to eight will also be frightened by scary visual images and will also be disturbed by depictions of the death of a parent, a child abandoned or separated from parents, children or animals being hurt or threatened and / or natural disasters.

In addition to the above-mentioned violent scenes and scary visual images, there are some scenes in this movie that could scare or disturb children aged five to eight, including the following:

  • Children in this age group are also likely to find the above scenes scary or disturbing.

Aged eight to thirteeninfo

Children aged eight to thirteen are most likely to be frightened by realistic threats and dangers, violence or threat of violence and / or stories in which children are hurt or threatened.

In addition to the above-mentioned violent scenes, there are some scenes in this movie that could scare or disturb children aged eight to thirteen, including the following:

  • Children in this age group will be more sensitive to the emotional tension in some of the scenes.
  • Josee talks about her dad dying and missing him.
  • Tsuneo confides in Josee about his parents’ divorce.

Over thirteeninfo

Children over the age of thirteen are most likely to be frightened by realistic physical harm or threats, molestation or sexual assault and / or threats from aliens or the occult.

  • Nothing further of concern.

Product placement

  • None noted.

Sexual references

There are some sexual and romantic references in this movie, including:

  • Tsuneo rests his hand gently on Josee’s back, and she responds by biting him and calling him a pervert. She calls him a pervert several times, even though it seems unwarranted.
  • Tsuneo’s work colleague talks several times about how they should be trying to meet women. He is a flirtatious character and is also seen reading a magazine with a woman wearing a small bikini on the front cover. He swoons when he meets Josee, and talks about how delicate and fair skinned she is.
  • Josee is trying to seem more mature/worldly than she really is, so she brags to Tsuneo that she has once had five boyfriends all at once.
  • Josee and Tsuneo fall in love and kiss. There are several scenes of lingering glances and charged eye contact.
  • A woman who works with Tsuneo has also fallen in love with him and she is jealous of Josee.
  • Josee’s grandmother grabs Tsuneo by the testicles and tells him that next time she will, “cut it off”.

Nudity and sexual activity

There is some nudity and sexual activity in this movie, including:

  • Tsuneo sits in a boat with his top off after a diving session.

Use of substances

There is some use of substances in this movie, including:

  • Adults drink beer in a pub.
  • Josee’s grandmother goes out to drink and play pachinko during the day.

Coarse language

There is mild coarse language in this movie, including:

  • Jerk
  • Stupid
  • Pervert.

In a nutshell

Josee, the Tiger and the Fish is a sweet, Japanese animated romance, originally a short story by author Seiko Tanabe (also released as a film in 2003). The visual animation is detailed and beautifully portrays the day-to-day life in Japan. As the film is in Japanese with English subtitles, it will be hard for younger children to follow along unless they are quite proficient readers (approximately grade 4 or 5). In addition, the film’s themes of young romance and following your dreams despite adversity are better suited to teens and up, than young children who may find the film a little boring.

The main message from this movie is that even when you have big obstacles in your way, you can find a way to follow your dreams and face your fears.

Values in this movie that parents may wish to reinforce with their children include:

  • Bravery
  • Empathy
  • Kindness
  • Sense of adventure
  • Becoming independent.

This movie could also give parents the opportunity to discuss with their children attitudes and behaviours, and their real-life consequences, such as:

  • Sometimes people will behave in a rude or angry way because they are feeling hurt, scared or in pain. Parents could discuss how Tsuneo was respectful to Josee, even when she was treating him badly, as he knew how vulnerable she was.