garden of words
garden of words

The Garden of Words: Breakdown of Makoto Shinkai’s Masterpiece

I started finding out about Makoto Shinkai’s other notable works, and that’s when I came across “The Garden of Words”. The movie was short for an insatiable fan like me, but it captivated me. If you’ve seen his movies, you will realize there’s a lot of symbolism and metaphor that sets his movies apart. The sound of the rain. Teenage angst. Unrequited love. Ostentatious music of piano and songs that will haunt you for days.

“Will you stay here with me?”
Makoto Shinkai is someone who has been on my radar ever since I watched “Your Name”.

The Garden of Words has it all. However, this isn’t a movie for everyone. Like those who prefer predictable, happy endings. Instead, it’s for those who are daunting enough to explore the nature of human relationships. For those who are mature enough to distinguish between platonic and romantic love. For those who aren’t afraid to lend a helping hand to someone who needs it. This movie will leave you awestruck with questions and wanting for more.



The story is fairly simple. Young high schooler/ aspiring shoemaker, Takao Akizuki, skips school on a rainy day. He meets Yukari Yukino, a perplexed woman enjoying chocolates and beer in a garden. She leaves him a Tanka, classical Japanese poetry which consumes him as he tried to find the perfect response for it. Over the next few days, they meet again in the garden but never formally introduce themselves. Yukino doesn’t reveal herself to Akizuki, while Akizuki opens up to her. He expresses his love for shoes and even offers to make a pair for her.

By spending time with her, Akizuki saved Yukino as he makes her reflect on herself. While Yukino’s authority as an adult acts as an acknowledgment for Akizuki. He feels more confident about his career choice. When Akizuki learns Yukino’s identity, emotions come to a head as both learn that they have been teaching each other “how to walk” – figuratively and literally. The climax of the movie has an unexpected crude confrontation. There’s an outburst of emotions with a fair bit of yelling and crying. The plot may seem unorthodox for many viewers. After all, the protagonists have an age gap of almost 15 years. But somehow their similar EQs negated their age difference.


The greatest unfairness that can be inflicted on this movie by many viewers is to call it a story about romance. There’s so much more to this story. It has a subtle intricacy that can be felt if you pay attention to the dialogues and the surrounding visuals. It deals with the consequences of adult bullying. Yukino’s depression and self loathe is reflected by her inability to do even the most mundane tasks like cooking. Akizuki too has his own fair share of suffering: immature mother, financial issues etc. Yet he never let his struggles get in his way to fulfill his life-long dream of shoemaking.


Their story teaches you some important lessons about life too. Never let money come in the way of achieving your goals and aspiration, no matter how difficult it may look. Also, never let other people’s false accusations and gossips become the foundation of your identity.

A faint clap of thunder
Even if the rain comes or not
I will stay here,
Together with you.

If you’re intrigued by Makoto Shinkai’s works, you must read about the impact his recent film “Weathering With You” made in India. Here’s a summation of the Indian Anime Movement that took place this year.

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