Travels in Okinawa and the love story of Shiro and Marilyn

August 23, 2011

During the summer break I was lucky enough to travel to the beautiful Kerama Islands in Okinawa with my girlfriend. We set off from Naha on the main island by ferry where we enjoyed some spectacular island scenery and flying-fish viewing. After making a brief stop at the neighbouring Aka Island we arrived at our destination, Zamami Island. On Zamami my girlfriend took a photo a statue of a dog facing out to the ocean. The statue was called ‘Statue of Marilyn’. Today I will tell the true story of Marilyn by translating the plot of a 1988 Japanese film ‘Maririn ni aitai’, or in English ‘I want to meet Marilyn’.   

Daisuke Nakazato returns to the place where he was born to open a guesthouse with his puppy Shiro who he found up in Tokyo. Shiro is interested in Marilyn, the female dog of Sawako the daughter of a guesthouse on Zamami Island called Tamashiro. Daisuke also meets Minami Kubota, an office lady from Tokyo, there for the first time. Daisuke starts to build his guesthouse on Aka Island, which is around 3km from Zamami. His ex-yakuza older brother Tatsuro also comes home and ends up helping out. Shiro often swims across 3km of sea to visit Marilyn. The first customer at Daisuke’s guesthouse, Koko Kula, is Minami. She is soon to quit her job as a cameraman to get married. Tatsuro attempts to sell Shiro to TV and takes him to Naha. However, this ends in failure as a stray dog attacks Shiro. Nevertheless, Shiro is still intent on meeting Marilyn. There is a fire at Koko Kula caused by Tatsuro smoking in bed. Daisuke tells Minami about his feelings for her, but she tells him that she has to go to Tokyo to get ready for the wedding. At this point Marilyn dies from illness. The injured Shiro drags his wounded legs across the 3km sea in order to meet Marilyn. Daisuke is worrying because he doesn’t want to say goodbye to Minami, so he follows her to the airport where they are reunited.  

A little research revealed that there is also a ‘Statue of Shiro’ on Aka Island. The plaque next to the statue reads:

恋人マリリンに逢うため、阿嘉島から座間味島までの3キロの海峡を、泳いで渡った雄犬シロの恋物語は、多くの人々の心に愛と感動を与え、1988年、映画”マリリンに逢いたい”を通して座間味村の海と自然を全国に広めました。2000年11月26日、17歳(人間だと80歳以上)で亡くなったソロの志を慎み、その功績を永遠に残すために、全国から寄付を募りこの記念碑を建立いたしました。 

And in English:

The love story of Shiro, the dog who swam across 3km of sea from Aka Island to Zamami Island to meet his girlfriend Marilyn, struck the heart of many people and in 1988, knowledge of the sea and nature of Zamami village spread throughout Japan thanks to the film ‘Maririn ni aitai’. When Shiro died at the age of 17 (over 80 in human years) on 26th November 2000 , we collected contributions from all over the country and built this memorial statue to honour the will of Shiro and to leave a permanent reminder of his achievements.

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2 Responses to “Travels in Okinawa and the love story of Shiro and Marilyn”

  1. Yoko Says:

    wow….its very moving! so the statue we saw was the female one then….we should go and see the male one called shiro some time! anyway well done for this translating babe! 🙂 xxx


  2. […] d’en Shiro, es va mudar a la illa d’Aka. Aquesta història d’amor entre els dos gossets, Shiro i Marilyn, basada en fets reals, va trencar el cor a més d’un, quan un dia en Shiro va saltar al mar i va […]


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