Tsuritama – Justification of Slaps
In various mediums, and especially of the drama genres, we see some characters getting slapped. While most of the time, the one getting slapped is the one at fault, at times, it’s the other way around, so the right or wrong in the act of slapping itself might prove to be difficult to judge.
To me, the act of slapping is initiated when one thinks the other party is wrong. “Slapping” in a way, is like setting someone straight. When a person couldn’t see and end to his problems, and had begun feeling lost as a result, he would begun complaining, flaming and could even escalates into more violent behaviors as it progresses. After all, we are all humans, we made mistakes, and easily get frustrated as a result. If an originally timid person starts losing his temper and starts to say or do things he normally wouldn’t do, a slap on the face might just do the trick. That’s just on the surface however, in real-time, it’s actually difficult to judge whose right or wrong.
In Tsuritama, Natsuki, due to having major family issues; the awkwardness with his dad escalates into a fight in one of the episode, and it’s ironic that they were originally on a fishing trip to celebrate Natsuki’s birthday. In the middle of the father and son, is Natsuki’s little sister, Sakura. Sakura is an innocent little girl who had been trying to mend the relationships of her broken family. She tried various methods, and one of them is handcrafting bracelets for each of her family members, including one for their passed away mother. The originally patient girl finally gets angry when the bracelet for her mother fell off the boat and in the heat of the moment, Natsuki slapped her.
Looking at the context, it is obvious that Natsuki’s at fault, and it was him who deserved a slap to the cheeks.
After all, who slaps their own imouto like that? Treasure your own imouto! It gets incredibly difficult however when one looks at the full picture. Indeed, you could blame Natsuki for always being so apathetic towards his dad, never opening up to him, or you could say his dad is the one at fault, for not telling Natsuki about such important things like renovating the place.
The most important thing in slapping is to make sure you managed to deliver the message when you slap, indirectly telling the slapped that he or she is wrong, since words could no longer get through. The act of slapping is just like how those boys in shounen managed to understand and comes to term with each other through their fists, instead of words, or in Sakamichi no Apollon’s case, through music instead of words; but these are discussions for another time.
When one slap without this mindset though, I think it’s simply violence, and it’s even worse when the slapper was actually someone at fault. In this case, it is important to think whose right and wrong first before making the move, though as humans, it will be an incredibly difficult feat, especially in times of desperation. When one slaps someone else out of the blue, the slapped won’t understand since the slapper wasn’t even trying to tell anything, and as a result, the mind of the slapped will get even more confused and chaotic, and indeed, a little after the slapping incident, Sakura immediately went missing (not implying anything). In such situations though, it is important to calm down, relax and to think back what’s the root cause in the first place. In Tsuritama’s case, Sakura got extremely lonely ever since her mother passed away and her brother and father are always fighting, alienating her in the process. Both Natsuki and Sakura ultimately managed to reconcile with each other though, and the relationship between him and his father started to got better from there too. In the end, something DID come out from the slap, however “rough” it was.
Slaps, like confessions, are a powerful human movement that evokes human emotions, empathy and understanding. If done right, a good smack to the face would “wake” any person up. Because it’s so powerful though, it is important to think of the consequences; whether or not your message got through, what will the other party feel, how will they interpret it, and so on. But when done right, slaps are an important key element to human understanding.