All About Japan

72 Women Present a Life at One Year Per Second

Food & Drink Sweets Japanese Commercials

This tear-jerking and jaw-dropping ad from Japanese confectioner Glico takes its lead role and divvies it up between 72 different actresses. Why 72? Because the average life expectancy in Japan is 71.8 years, and so the video, titled "71.8-Second Life," swaps in a new actress every second (once its time-flow gets underway at the 0:14 mark), with each woman representing a different year of life.

Now you might be thinking this is something like those now-clichéd projects where someone puts together a photo series of a person standing in the same spot, with a different image taken every year. Glico went above and beyond that, though, as the woman (well, women, actually) in the ad steps, skips, spins and strides about for the duration of her accelerated life.

The casting director did a remarkable job selecting actresses who, at least compared to the women who come directly before and after, look like they really could be the same person, just a year younger or older. For each second of screen time, the producers say it took roughly an hour to set up and synchronize the shot.

The video doesn’t shy away from the fact that our time in this world is limited, and in her final appearance, the woman passes away, with a peaceful look on her face after having lived a full life filled with happy memories made with family and friends.

Each and every actress in the lead role is actually the same age as she’s portraying, from the not-yet-one infant to the second-year septuagenarian who closes out the parade of life.

Along the way, a handful of Glico items show up. The young girl’s dad gives her a snack of Bisco cookies. The newlyweds and their friends share a couple boxes of Pocky. Grandma sits down with her daughter and granddaughter to eat some Bifix yogurt.

More than “Eat Glico products,” though, the video’s message seems to be that life is short, but also beautiful, with the rapidly aging protagonist contrasted with a relaxed, soothing song that reminds us that precisely because there’s no way to stop the flow of time it’s important to spend it with people we love.

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