Only Yesterday: Ecological and Psychological Recovery

Added by: David ten Cate


In his discussion of Only Yesterday (1991), an arguably undervalued Studio Ghibli film, Roger Hecht synthesizes two readings of the film: the ecological reading of 27 year-old unmarried woman Taeko leaving Tokyo for an organic farm, and her personal struggle to live with people she feels authentic with throughout her life. For Hecht, Only Yesterday is about an insecure, anxious woman who feels like she’s failed at life, unable to meet the expectations of her family, who want her to marry a wealthy businessman and find her weird for being a picky eater and failure at math, nor able to meet those of her friends, who find her weird for preferring a holiday of rural farm work above residence in a luxury cottage. To Hecht, Taeko’s search for an authentic life of her own is paralleled by the love for organic farming, which may exist outside of constrains of mass produce and emphasizes its own traditions.

(Abstract by David ten Cate)

Hecht, Roger W. 2015. "Only Yesterday: Ecological and Psychological Recovery." Resilience: A Journal of the Environmental Humanities 2, no. 3 (Fall): 166-171.