“Shiawase kazoku keikaku” (Happy Family Plan) was a television game show televised in Japan by Tokyo Broadcasting System from 1997 to 2000, where the father of the participating family is given an extraordinarily difficult task to perform and one week to practice. In order for the family to win their stated "dream", the father must perform the task flawlessly on- air, in front of a live audience. The slightest mistake results in failure, making for nail-biting and nerve-wracking game show. The family must also document their progress during the week on video to convey their emotional struggle to the viewers during the on-air performance. Due to its success, the "Happy Family Plan" program has been adopted in many other countries around the world and consistently achieves high viewer ratings.

The film tells the story of the Kawajiri family and their participation on "Happy Family Plan". Fujio, the father of the Family, who has so far lived an unremarkable life as a "salaryman", is suddenly advised that his job no longer exists due to a company restructure. As the Kawajiri family are kicked out of the house provided by Fujio's company, they wind up staying at the house of his wife's parents. With no apparent prospects of re-employment for Fujio, the family loses sight of all their hopes and dreams. Until they unexpectedly receive an invitation to be contestants on the popular TV game show "Happy Family Plan" for the chance to win 3 million yen and make their dreams come true.

Fujio's designated task is to perform a piano recital of the song "Home Sweet Home" without mistakes on-air in exactly one week. Having never even touched a musical instrument before, Fujio is tormented by the frustrating challenge of forcing his clumsy fingers to learn the piece by heart with the added pressure of knowing that this is his last chance to save his family from imminent poverty. He accepts the challenge and their week of laughter and tears begins. Days pass and Fujio is still fumbling hopelessly with the first bar of the music. How will he complete his task successfully and save his family against such small odds? Will he break under the pressure on the night?

2000 / Colour / 104min / © Shochiku Co. Ltd / PG classified
Happy Family Plan is a Golden Award Winner (Family/ Children’s Division) at 2000 Houston International Film Festival
 

© Shochiku (Disk 1) © The Japan Foundation, Sydney / Shochiku(Disk 2)
Published by the Japan Foundation, Sydney
Distributed exclusively on DVD by Madman Entertainment Pty Ltd.