Struggles of a Single-Parent Family

Hana with Ame and Yuki outdoors
Hana with Ame and Yuki outdoors

The movie is not only a cute and sad family movie, but it also depicts the life of a single parent family with almost pinpoint accuracy for both American and Japanese culture/lifestyles. The movie shows the struggles of being a single parent, let alone a widowed mother raising two young kids. It also has very similar problems that both American and Japanese woman face when it comes to wage gaps, raising children by themselves, and supporting kids while staring poverty in the face. The movie also focuses on children as they grow older and try to figure out who they are and what they want to be, or to do in life. It shows how Ame and Yuki grow up and how each of them mature differently as they get older. It shows the struggles of the kids fitting into school as they have to keep their secret, and how it is hard for them to fit in because they don’t always share the same interests with the other students since they aren’t part wolf. Both Ame and Yuki go through phases of being unsure of who they are but Hana, being both mother and father to these kids is an essential part of helping them develop as the unique individuals they grow up to be. Hana and her family of wolf children is represented accurately when it comes to what they face in their story as it is told.

the new country house
the new country house for Hana’s family

As the movie progresses Hana has to make difficult choices in order to do what is best for her two young children. She decides leaving the city and moving far into the country is the best decision possible for Ame and Yuki to grow up happily as both wolf and children. The family goes through the struggles that most encounter when raising kids whether it be messes, things falling over and breaking, or kids being troublemakers. Hana however also experiences what it’s like to live with two wolf pups. They would chew on furniture, tear apart toys, run around the house playing, and eat more than the average child. Regardless of what she was dealing with above all else Hana was constantly being a mother whether it be to the kids or when they wanted to be wolves. As Hana is thrown into this situation with little experience on both raising kids (her only experience is raising Yuki before Ame came along) and living life in the country, she consults her neighbors on many things that come along with the life she now lives with her kids. She asks for help when it comes to raising food for the family, what to do in certain situations with her kids, and other such things in order to be the best for the family.

Hana, Ame, and Yuki learning to farm
Hana, Ame, and Yuki learning to farm

Not only is Hana faced with raising wolf children, she also faces another challenge that is common in both Japan and America: being a single parent. Although the circumstances surrounding her are a bit different, as she is a widowed mother and not a divorced one, the repercussions facing her family and her position in society still affect how she raises her children and how she decides to provide for them. In Japan, there 1.24 million single parent households, and only 223,000 are families headed by the father(japantimes.co.jp). That leaves Hana as one of many who face the same struggles with equality, wage, and assistance for her family. Also in Japan there is an “allowance system” that benefits single parents based on how many kids they have. Theoretically if Hana were to be part of this system she would only make enough between her low rate job and the “welfare” she receives to only be able to barley support her family and just put them through school. This money however could not be spent on food or other items as it would cost too much. Hana’s family is one of poverty and very little benefits being she works for very little and still puts Ame and Yuki through school. In America, 21 percent of low income single parent families are Asian and Pacific Islander (Single Mother Families). So in both Japan and America Hana is the minority and would still be struggling to make ends meet for her kids. Most single parent families have the mother working on average two jobs with little to no benefits, and in the movie Hana works at a wildlife conservation facility making less than a high school student were to make. Despite all these obstacles Hana is still the best mother she can be for her kids when it comes to raising them to be unique individuals.