The Garden of Words – Unveiling Symbolism: Exploring the Depths of This 2013 Makoto Shinkai Movie


Makoto Shinkai’s animated masterpiece, “The Garden of Words,” is a visual and emotional treat that transcends traditional storytelling. Beneath its breathtaking animation and poignant narrative lies a rich tapestry of symbolism, inviting viewers to delve into a world where every raindrop and every leaf holds a deeper meaning.

In this blog, we will unravel the layers of symbolism woven into the fabric of “The Garden of Words.”

The Garden of Words Credit Makoto Shinkai
The Garden of Words Credit Makoto Shinkai

Rain as a Symbol of Emotional Turmoil

From the opening scenes to the closing frames, rain serves as a powerful motif throughout the film. In the story, rain becomes a metaphor for emotional turbulence and personal struggles. As Takao and Yukari navigate the complexities of their lives, the rain mirrors their internal conflicts and serves as a bridge between their worlds.

The sound of raindrops hitting various surfaces becomes a subtle soundtrack to their emotional journey, emphasizing the pervasive influence of their feelings.

The Garden as a Sanctuary In The Garden of Words

The titular garden, a quiet and secluded place in Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden, becomes a sanctuary for Takao and Yukari. This lush green space serves as a symbolic refuge from the harsh realities of their daily lives.

The garden represents a temporary escape where they can find solace, share their thoughts, and forge a unique connection. As the story unfolds, the garden transforms into a metaphorical haven where emotions blossom and the characters find respite from their respective storms.

Shoes as a Reflection of Personal Growth

The meticulous attention given to shoes in “The Garden of Words” holds profound symbolic significance. Takao, an aspiring shoemaker, finds solace in crafting and repairing shoes. As the characters’ lives intertwine, the shoes they wear become a reflection of their personal journeys and growth.

Through the act of repairing shoes, Takao and Yukari symbolically mend the broken pieces of their own lives, emphasizing the transformative power of human connection and understanding.

Age Gap and Societal Norms

The film delicately explores the theme of an unconventional relationship between Takao and Yukari, highlighting the societal norms and judgments that surround age-gap relationships. The symbolic weight of their age difference adds depth to their connection, challenging viewers to reconsider preconceived notions about love and understanding. The garden becomes a space where societal expectations momentarily fade, allowing the characters to embrace the authenticity of their emotions.

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While TOTT Wraps

The Garden of Words” is a masterclass in visual storytelling, where every frame is carefully crafted to convey a deeper meaning. The symbolism embedded in the film elevates it from a mere love story to a profound exploration of human emotions, personal growth, and societal expectations.

As viewers immerse themselves in the beauty of the animation, they are encouraged to unravel the symbolic threads that connect the characters’ experiences to the universal themes of love, self-discovery, and the quest for a meaningful connection in a complex world.

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