• Re.Create

Sweet Potato Miso Soup from Grave of the Fireflies (火垂るの墓) | Ghibli Food Inspired 🥣

Grave of the Fireflies (火垂るの墓) 1988: A Japanese animated war tragedy film based on the 1967 semi-autobiographical short story of the same name by Akiyuki Nosaka. It is based on his real experiences before, during, and after the fire bombing of Kobe in 1945. One of his sisters died as the result of sickness, his adoptive father died during the firebombing proper, and his younger adoptive sister Keiko died of malnutrition in Fukui. It was written as a personal apology to Keiko, regarding her death.

This anime depicts the story of a brother (Seita, 14 years old) and his little sister (Setsuko, 4 years old) during the World War II in Japan. The movie starts when their mother dies in the firebombing and their father was at war. After their home gets destroyed, having little or no choice left, they had to live in a relatives' home but after some time their relatives become resentful toward them so Seita and Setsuko choose to leave the house soon after they found an abandoned bombed shelter. This anime shows the everyday fights of a brother how he tries to fights with all odds just to collect some food for his little sister. One day he is able to collect compensation from the navy and finally manage to buy some food. He hurried back to the bombed shelter to give some foods to his little sister, Setsuko but its already too late... Seito saw Setsuko sucking marbles which she believes are fruit drops. She offers him 'rice balls' which are really only made of mud. Seita hurries to cook but minutes later... Setsuko dies of malnutrition and starvation. After cremating her body, Seita becomes a homeless vagrant, and eventually he starves to death himself on September 21, 1954.

"Why do fireflies have to die so soon?" - Setsuko

“Mama is in a grave too. She told me. She said mama died and she’s in a grave now" - Setsuko

"Seita, thank you..." - Setsuko

To be honest this is the only anime that break my heart into pieces. For real. It's been almost 10 years since I first watch Grave of the Fireflies and I still can't move on. Even writing this makes me cry 😢 There are many haunting images in this film, one of the most hard to watch ones is Setsuko sucking on marbles like they’re candy or playing with bowls of dirt like its rice...Setsuko’s last words are, “Seita, thank you” and she died. Even in her last moments, she shows the kindness, innocence, and gratitude absent in adults during those hard times. This anime shows the real picture of the world and how cruel it is but also shows how lucky we are to have a family and a place to live in. It makes me laugh, cry, sympathize, guilty and what more can I ask. The saddest Japanese anime ever made. I'm very lucky that I came across this anime and highly recommend everyone to watch this.

If you have already watch this anime, in one of the scene after Seita and his sister lose their home and mother to an air raid, they then come to live at their aunt's house, having nowhere else to go. Their aunt only fed them soup but not rice while her daughter and her house guest got plenty and only gave them a small portion each when they agreed to give her their mother's clothes to exchange for rice then she chastised them when they wanted rice for dinner instead of soup (even though the rice that they exchanged for their mother's clothes technically belonged to them).

Judging from the image below, the soup looks like miso soup with sweet potato and potato leaves. So for today's recipe, I'm going to recreate this simple Japanese soup hoping that I could give it all to Seita and Setsuko and they don't have to die from starvation! 😭


  • 1 - 2 pcs sweet potato (cut into bite sized)

  • Dried wakame soak in water (I don't have potato leaves so I use wakame seaweed instead)

  • 1 - 2 TBS miso paste

  • Half onion (shredded)

  • 1 TSP dashi powder

  • 500ml water


1. Heat up water in a cooking pot and add in onion and sweet potato. Let it boil until the sweet potato is cooked through.

2. Add wakame seaweed and simmer for 2 - 3 minutes. Then, add in dashi. Next, add miso paste and stir until incorporated.

3. Let it cook for another 1 - 2 minutes and all done! Very easy and simple.

This is my first time making miso soup with sweet potato and frankly speaking the combination of sweetness from sweet potato and miso flavor is simply amazing, best to eat with a bowl of rice! This is why I love Japanese dish. Healthy, simple and delicious.

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