Netflix’s Japanese thriller drama film, ‘The Village,’ pitches the transformative life of a man within a dejected village full of secrets. Directed by Michihito Fujii, the film features Ryûsei Yokohama alongside Haru Kuroki and Shidô Nakamura, among others. In the scenic but secluded village of Kamonmura, Yu Katayama, a young man, works at Kamon Environment Center, a garbage disposal facility. Crushed under debt, Yu has no hopes of escaping his destructive village or living a better life. However, after his childhood friend, Misaki Nakai, returns to the village, Yu discovers a chance to turn his life around. If you’re curious to see where Yu’s life leads him and what it means for Kamonmura, here is everything you need to know about the ending of ‘The Village.’ SPOILERS AHEAD!
The Village Plot Synopsis
At a young age, Yu witnesses his father die from afar after he commits suicide in a house fire. Growing up, Yu’s mother takes to alcoholism and develops a gambling problem due to the constant ostracization from the community. Likewise, Yu learns to take the punches, refusing to fight back against his bullies. At work, Yu and his co-workers sort through the recyclable waste to minimize the amount of waste that gets buried. Yu deals with the string of whispers that follow him on top of his family’s debt and his mother’s issues, day in and day out, turning into a shell of a man.
Meanwhile, at night Yu, alongside some of his co-workers and manager Toru Ohashi, helps loan shark Maruoka dump industrial waste into the landfill. Although Maruoka’s operation is illegal, the town mayor, Shusaku Ohashi, does nothing to stop it. Eventually, Yu runs into an old friend, Misaki Nakai, at work after she leaves her job in Tokyo to return to the village. Misaki tries to extend a hand of friendship to Yu, but he only rebuffs it mistaking it for pity. However, after Yu wearily reconnects with his and Misaki’s old Noh instructor, Kokichi, Yu ends up spending more time with Misaki.
As a result, Yu and Misaki attend the village festival together and watch Noh together for the first time in years. Later at work, Miskai, who works at PR, pitches a new center tour program for kids, suggesting Yu as the hired tour guide. The decision is met with resistance, especially by Toru, who cites Yu’s family’s criminal record as a dealbreaker. Afterward, Misaki invites Yu to her house, where she gives him an Omete mask. Misaki empathizes with Yu’s loneliness and offers him a supportive shoulder. As such, the pair finds comfort with each other and starts dating.
Yu agrees to the tour guide gig, polishing up his former scraggly look, clean-shaven in work formals. The program proves to be a success, and Misaki proposes a TV special with Yu, which soon gets approved. Time passes, with Yu and Misaki finally finding happiness in their lives with each other. Meanwhile, the landfill workers start to become agitated by the media coverage, and Toru’s envy of Yu grows. Due to the latter, Toru shows up at Misaki’s house one night, harassing her and beating Yu up. The next day, Yu covers his bruises with makeup and goes live on TV. Months pass, and the village sees a huge turnover in tourist numbers due to the processing plant’s PR techniques.
Soon, however, Misaki’s brother Keiichi, a rookie landfill worker, finds biohazardous trash in the landfill. A born rule follower, Keiichi reports the discovery to Kokichi, who works for Law Enforcement. Following the report, Kokichi busts landfill workers down for illegally dumping waste on the site and opens an investigation. Likewise, the recent disappearance of Center Manager Toru also attracts Kokichi’s attention.
The Village Ending: What Happened To Toru?
Throughout the film, Toru constantly belittles and bullies Yu. Although the rest of the village shuns Yu and his mother, Toru has a unique yet stereotypical high-school-bully approach. Once Misaki enters the picture, unapologetically expressing her fondness for Yu, Toru’s dislike for him increases. Furthermore, Toru is also envious of Yu for his professional success. Toru believes he deserves Yu’s opportunities and success, perhaps since he’s the mayor’s son. Nevertheless, he’s just unlikable enough for even his father to see Yu as a better fit for the role than him.
As a result, Toru tries to sabotage Yu and shows up at Misaki’s house late one night. Toru has a habit of constantly recording things on his phone. Due to the same, he has photos and videos of Yu working the illegal night shift at the landfill. Only people indebted to Maruoka work the night shift, but after Yu becomes a tour guide, the Mayor excuses the millions of money Yu’s family owes Maruoka. Therefore, Misaki has no idea about Yu’s involvement in the same. Through exposing it, Toru wishes to turn Misaki against Yu and win her affection.
However, Misaki turns down Toru’s advances. Nevertheless, Toru persists and continues to harass her, even setting up his phone to record the ordeal. As Toru tries to rape Misaki, Yu returns home and pushes Toru off her. Although Toru stops assaulting Misaki, he turns to Yu and starts beating him to a pulp. Toru tries to goad Yu to fight back, but Yu refuses. In the end, as Misaki watches Toru almost kill Yu, she makes a choice.
Reaching out for a pair of scissors nearby, Misaki grabs them and stabs Toru in the neck with the blades. Staggered and profusely bleeding, Toru dies in Misaki’s front yard. The couple makes a decision and carries Toru’s body to the landfill site, where Yu buries Toru under heaps of garbage. Yu and Misaki keep the incident a secret. Months later, the police dig up Toru’s half-decomposed and unrecognizable body during their investigation.
Why Did Yu’s Father Commit Suicide?
After Yu’s father dies, his life takes a turn for the worse, forever changing Yu. Yu spends his childhood happy, learning Noh from Kokichi and enjoying the village productions of the same. However, after his father’s death, Yu stops practicing Noh, and the last show he attends is the one that happened on the day his father burned himself and his house. Before the inception of the processing plant and the Kamon Environment Center, a part of the village opposed the idea.
The people of Kamonmura valued their traditions and felt like the industrial plant would ruin the village’s connection to nature. Yu’s father was one such opposer, who was cast out by the rest of the community and driven to isolation. As an act of revenge, Yu’s father killed an official and later committed suicide, burning his own house down. As a result, he left Yu fatherless and prone to ridicule from the rest of the villagers. As an adult, Yu has to carry his family’s financial burden and pay back their debts to Maruoka. Yu’s father’s efforts also go in vain as the Center gets built, continuing to expand over the mountains, looming above the village’s shrine and polluting its waters.
Why Does Yu Burn Down The Mayor’s House?
Once the police investigation begins at the Environment Center, the Mayor pressurizes Yu to deal with the situation. As such, Yu watches his fellow co-workers arrested for a crime he also committed without being able to speak out against it. Likewise, Maruoka threatens Yu and asks him to keep the police off his radar. The Mayor champions the Center so vigorously because the funding he gets for the plant’s expansion can be used to put Kamonmura back on track.
Additionally, the plant also puts Kamonmura on the map for tourism once Misaki and Yu begin their media initiative. As such, the Mayor doesn’t want anything to jeopardize everything the company has worked for. Due to the same, he asks Yu to cover up the plant’s involvement in polluting natural water. Ironically, by doing so, Yu goes against everything his father fought for. Nevertheless, Yu continues to work with the Mayor.
While investigating Toru’s death, Kokichi finds Toru’s phone and the numerous recordings inside. As a result, he figures out that Yu and Misaki had something to do with Toru’s death and informs the Mayor about the same. However, the mayor cares far more about the center’s business than his troublemaking son. Due to the same, he is unperturbed by the news and calls Yu in to figure out a plan to cover it up.
The mayor plans to stick to their original story and deny the center’s involvement in illegal industrial dumping practices. As for Toru’s death, the mayor wants to use Masaki as a scapegoat to brush Yu’s hands off the murder. Although Yu and Masaki have broken up recently due to her inability to stay in the village anymore, Yu still cares deeply for Misaki.
Moreover, he sees the mayor for his duplicity and indifference to his people. Yu asks the mayor if covering up his father’s death was as easy as covering Toru’s murder. The mayor crassly admits to not remembering his father’s case at all. The admission acts as the final straw, leading Yu to finally give in to his anger and frustration with the system and the village.
He chokes the mayor to death and covers his house with gasoline. The scene mirrors his father’s actions from the film’s beginning. Where Yu has refused to fight until now, preferring to let people mistreat him, he finally takes a stand. He burns the entire house down, with the mayor, Shusaku Ohashi, and his old cancer-ridden mother, Fumi, inside. As Yu leaves the premise, Kokichi confronts him, but Yu only manically laughs with tears streaming down his face. In the end, Kamonmura does to Yu exactly what it did to his father all those years ago.
Read More: Where Was Netflix’s The Village Filmed?