A Review on The Tale of Granny Mochi: Kuwata Misao (2018)

If you are at your home in Bandar Utama or Puchong or even anywhere you are, you might want to watch some wholesome documentary. You do not want a boring documentary aren’t you? Some spoiler alert! Here is what I have learned through The Tale of Granny Mochi. I highly recommend this documentary by NHK: The Tale of Granny Mochi: Kuwata Misao (2018) This documentary revolved around Grandma Mochi as the main subject. Kuwata Misao is known as Grandma Mochi due to her handmade mochi. Kuwata Misao was born in 1927. The documentary started to star her in the documentary when she was 92 years old. 

Who Is Grandma Mochi?

Grandma Mochi is still working by selling her handmade mochi. All of the mochi making process was delicate, graceful and the mochi is carefully made one-by- one. Grandma Misao found a reason to sell mochi when she was 60 years old. At that time, she visited a newly opened nursing home for the elderly. She brings mochi as her gift for them. She noticed the two women cried when they bit into her mochi. Therefore, she decided to make mochi for the rest of her life. The process of making mochi started by climbing the mountain to harvest bamboo leaves. Her customer said that her bamboo leaves are different from other generic mochi that they tasted. As noted by Grandma Misao, pick soft and shiny leaves, not the dry one. She follows her mother’s mochi recipe. When shaping the mochi with her hand, she keeps the same size and weight of the mochi with 100 grams.

 Her hands have so many experiences that they can tell the weight of the mochi without having to weigh the mochi on a scale. In 2016, the retirement age for Japanese is 65 years old. However, recently the Japanese cabinet approved raising the retirement age to 70 years old. The documentary took a turn that one can expect when Misao announced that both; his son and his wife have been diagnosed with cancer. She took care of them with their bathroom visits and meals. 

At her golden age, she is still a mother. Taking care of his child and his wife. Misao is unable to focus on her work when his family falls sick. However, a smile was carved on her face when they said her rice balls are good. Misao is happy when she knows people are enjoying the foods that she made. That might be one of the reasons why she stays attentive while making mochi everyday even though the profit margin was not much. 

Cinematography in The Documentary

The cinematography of the documentary is suitable with the scenes and shots taken. When shooting Aomori, a drone was used to capture the whole scenery with the mountains, sky and greenery. Viewers can imagine the coldness of Aomori. When Granny Mochi is riding his bicycle to go around Aomori, the shot from behind her back shows her slow-paced life while enjoying nature to its fullest. 

During crisis, Misao is not being her usual self. No music was added when Misao’s pondering face were taken. When Misao received a call and she suddenly get up, the camera was shaky. The camera was shaky resulting into not-so-perfect shot taken. It describes Misao feelings while showing the camera crew was also taken aback with the situation.


The Tale of Granny Mochi: Kuwata Misao is healing the viewer and providing warmth to the heart. Advice accompanied with laughter left a mark on the viewer. This documentary is not only centered around mochi but also towards the meaning of life.

Uncalled For Improv