In 1890, Dr. Motosada Tamura's kindness in caring for his patients is winning him the trust of Kashino, a poor village in Wakayama prefecture. Assisting him is Haru, who the shock of losing her fiance to drowning has left mute. In the night of 16 September of that year the Turkish frigate Ertuğrul is driven aground in a typhoon near Kashino village. Hearing the alarm bell that warns of a vessel in distress, the villagers rush to the shore and are confronted there with the grisly spectacle of vast numbers of dead and dying. With more than 500 crew members dead, it is the largest sea accident in history at that time. Risking their lives, the villagers rescue who they can, while Tamura and Haru go to work treating the injured. The next morning there are 69 survivors. Although being very poor and having hardly to eat, the villagers share what little they have with strangers from a country 9,000 kilometers away.
In 1985, during the Iran-Iraq war, Turkish embassy official Murat encounters Harumi, a teacher at a Japanese school. Iraq announces that in 48 hours it will start an indiscriminate attack and shoot down any aircraft over Iranian air space. Japanese ambassador Yutaka Nomura requests rescue flights from Japan, but is told that a quick response is not possible. Meanwhile rescue flights from other nations are arriving, leaving only the Japanese stranded. Harumi wants to save her students and prevails upon Nomura to ask the Turkish ambassador for help. Out of gratitude for the rescue of Turkish sailors in 1890, Turkish prime minister Turgut Özal decides to evacuate the over 300 remaining Japanese nationals. In the morning of 19 March a Turkish Airlines aircraft takes off for Tehran. But not only are there only a few hours remaining until Iraq's ultimatum expires and Tehran is already under heavy rocket fire. By now Tehran Mehrabad International Airport is full of Turks trying to find a flight to safety. They still need to be convinced that they won't be able to board their own country's evacuation flight.
Did you know?
Virtuous director Mitsutoshi Tanaka's masterpiece was nominated for the Japan Academy Film Prize in ten categories, including Best Film and Best Director, and won the awards for Best Sound Recording and Best Art Direction. Read More