In my country, most of us, including my kids and me, grew up with a popular Japanese manga and anime series called Doraemon. Doraemon (ドラえもん) is a blue robotic cat that has captured the hearts of children all over the world. Doraemon was created by Fujiko F. Fujio and published by Shogakukan as a manga series from 1969-1996. An anime series in 1973 followed and the animated show returned in 1979 and is still ongoing. When I decided to come to Japan in November 2014, my kids were excited to hear that we will live in Japan where Doraemon originated.
Since my children don’t have even basic hiragana and katakana skills, in order to prepare them before enrolling in Japanese Elementary School in April 2015, I decided to get help from Sendai International Center (SIRA). Or, as it is now recognized, Sendai Tourism, Convention and International Association (SenTIA). I still remember during that time, Stand by Me Doraemon, a 3D computer-animated film based on the Doraemon manga, was just released on 8 August 2014. Finally, on 24 October 2014, this movie launched an English-dubbed version at the Tokyo International Film Festival. Because of that, my kids and I didn’t miss the chance to see the movie.
Stand by Me Doraemon is a combination of 6 plots and short stories including “All the Way From the Country of the Future”, “Imprinting Egg”, “Goodbye, Shizuka-chan”, “Romance in Snowy Mountain”, “Nobita’s the Night Before a Wedding” and “Goodbye, Doreamon….” For us, the 95-minute duration of this movie is full of messages and emotions. I also recommend all parents (especially those who have children that will enter Japanese elementary school) to watch this movie and get a glimpse of real life at school in a Japanese environment.
In addition to exposing my kids to real life in Japan and mentally preparing them before they enter Japanese elementary school, there are 3 moral values that they learned from this movie:
1. Never Give Up
In one scene, Nobita has a fight with another character, Gian. Nobita confronts and has a brutal fight with Gian to prove that he is able to defend himself without help from Doraemon. He tries many times to fight against him, and finally, Gian admits that Nobita won the fight. Another scene also shows that Nobita never gives up in rescuing Shizuka when she is an adult in the heavy snowstorm. This is a very good message to encourage our child to always do their best.
2. Success is Journey, Not a Destination
In this movie, Doraemon as a protagonist character from the future (the year 2136) who tries hard to help Nobita when he is in trouble. In order to help Nobita find happiness and to make sure Doraemon is able to go back to the future after his mission is completed, Doraemon introduced several gadgets from his magic pocket. Not all of his gadgets are successful and achieve Doraemon’s objectives. For instance, in one scene, Doraemon introduces ‘Imprinting Egg’. Someone goes into the egg and after fifteen minutes, they emerge and fall in love with the next person they see. In this mission, Doraemon and Nobita plan to trap Shizuka, but the plan fails due to Shizuka falling in love with Desikugi when she sees him first upon leaving the egg. What my family and I learned from this is to do our best and learn from our mistakes.
3. Past, Present and Future
The future depends on what we do in the present. We cannot change our past, but we can change the future by doing our best in the present. In one scene, Sewashi, who is Nobita’s great-great-grandson from the year 2136, requests that Nobita change his bad habits. If he does not, Nobita will marry Jaiko, Gian’s younger sister. Not only that, Nobita’s future private company will be closed and he will be faced with a financial crisis. From this we learned that we need to release the past, stand firmly in the present, and prepare to step confidently for our future.
For us, this movie was not only entertaining, but we learned some important aspects of Japanese culture like friendship, respect for elders, and good manners. We also learned that Doraemon’s favorite snack is Dorayaki (どらやき) which is one of most popular traditional Japanese confections. Stand by Me Doraemon is rich in moral values and I personally rate this movie 10/10.
If you are searching for incredibly wonderful movies that you can watch with your kids, then make the next one Stand by Me Doraemon.