Lit Reviews

One Litre Of Tears

What is One Litre of Tears?

One Litre of Tears, or 1 Litre no Namida, is a Japanese biographical drama. It is based on the diary of Aya Kitō, specifically on her life as a Spinocerebellar Ataxia patient.


Aya is just another normal, soon to be high school student with a heart of gold. She is the eldest daughter of a couple who owns a tofu-making shop with three other siblings in tow. She is portrayed as an active person, a filial daughter, and loving sibling. The first symptoms start to manifest with her losing her balance and walking strangely. Her mother takes her to a doctor who diagnoses her with Spinocerebellar Degeneration at the age of fifteen. The rest of the series shows her struggles and how she lived life to the fullest until the end.

What is Spinocerebellar Degeneration? (Aya’s disease)

Spinocerebellar Degeneration/Spinocerebellar Ataxia (SCA)/Spinocerebellar Atrophy

Spinocerebellar Degeneration is a progressive and degenerative genetic disease. A cruel disease wherein the person keeps their full mental capacity but loses physical control. It is a rare type of genetic disorder wherein the cerebellum progressively deteriorates. Patients experience problems with coordination and balance. Other signs and symptoms include:

  • Dysarthria (Abnormal Speech)
  • Uncontrolled/Involuntary Eye Movement
  • Problems with hand-eye coordination
  • Vision Problems

Difficulties depend on the type of SCA. With Aya’s case, she has SCA Type 2. She endured this for ten years before departing this world on May 23, 1998, two months before her 26th birthday.

Series Quality and Accuracy

It is a well-made series with only a few adjustments. Most re-tellings don’t have that preserved quality and that destroys the essence of a story. One of the few accurate stories that I have watched throughout the years.

A well-planned series development is evident throughout the series. The illness is portrayed as it should be. We see her hands tremble as she writes, the tests she had to go through, losing balance here and there. Furthermore, her cries, her smiles, the pain and the conviction in living her life to the fullest extent has affected many of the series’ audience.

One Litre of Tears includes the stigma that targets Aya. She was a hot topic for gossipers, taunted to the point that her brother became ashamed of her. Though it was resolved, it shows just how cruel people can be to those who are already suffering enough.

The series shows the need for love and support. Perfection has no place in it as it’s not all butterflies and sunshine. The characters fail, they disappoint and they make mistakes. It represents human nature in a raw state.

It is truly an on-point series that a lot of creators should learn from.

Note: Haruto does not exist in Aya’s real life. He is a representation of the love and support she received during her battle with SCA. 


To say I cried a liter of tears is an understatement. I was a wreck when I watched the series. Although it was a time wherein I was not sure if I was crying out of sympathy towards Aya or crying about myself.

One Litre of Tears is a great example of a good quality biographical series. In this day and age, we see everything is exaggerated to a bile-inducing, emotionally pumped and distorted show for the sake of drama. It is disappointing to see that representation in such cases reflect shallow guesses that cause confusion. In a time of ill-researched and depicted series that just blow things out of proportions despite being on the internet age, it is good to have something to look back on.

For a series that is bound to be tragedic, One Litre of Tears does not enforce an idea or thought. Instead, it makes you ask yourself the questions you need to answer. It makes one question their life, purpose-it challenges you to think.

A balance of heartbreaking, mind-opening and life-changing series. For this reason, I truly believe that people should watch this series.

Analysis and Recommendation

Yes, there are famous tv series today that advocate important matters regarding disabilities. However, we must not go by the popular vote alone. No matter how famous its cast members may be, that part must not weigh in on our thoughts. Though may shows advocate representation, if it’s not accurate, as a consequence, stigma towards disabled people grows.

In summary, shows must value correctness as much as it does with entertainment. Under the circumstances of a fragile and volatile topic still in need to be discussed, One Litre of Tears stands as a great example of how to deal with that. In conclusion, and basically, my only suggestion, is that you watch and decide for yourself.

It changed my life as it did to those I’ve suggested it to. With an open mind, so will you.

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