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Went to see the movie “Tokyo Family”


I went to see the movie “Tokyo Family” directed by Yoji Yamada. The film was conducted as a homage to the masterpiece “Tokyo Story (1953)” directed by Yasujiro Ozu. Not to boast but there was a story that the location group by Ozu visited our small house at Onomichi and filmed for the movie. As a 5 years old kid, I was so excited to see them and played around cameras that they needed to warn me not to get closer to the camera. I also remember young actress, Kyoko Kagawa, kindly played with me, however, there is no memory to recall about Setsuko Hara.

With those memories, I watched the movie. Such as camera angles, the plot, and lines in Onomichi dialect, had so much similarity to those in “Tokyo Story” Ozu directed. It was memorable experience that the plot went with grownup sons and daughter, busy to manage their livings, with their parent visiting them, hardly have time face-to-face in Tokyo. The movie portrayed the old mother at the age of 68, passed away in the house of the eldest son. Perhaps it was the age more than average at that time though it is hard for me to accept, nowadays. As same story as “Tokyo Story,” after the wartime, big families dispatched to explore individual happiness, resulted family isolating each other.

Since I was deeply impressed with “Tokyo Story,” I could enjoy various scenes, however, somehow the movie was lack of thorough depth and brightness compared with “Tokyo Story.” Setsuko Hara acting as a widow of the second son lost in the war was the one of reasons, which made difference between two movies. Her expression was full of love to father and mother over her acceptance of national action towards the war and of death ceasing down her husband. It might be too harsh demand for recent actors to perform thorough smile, which overwhelmed emotional conflict for the future.

Japanese sprit has changed for last 50 years, meantime, the physical condition has changed as well. Like Setsuko Hara, who has a solid constitution with thick arm and whole lot of smiling embracing everything, the movie had made clear about what has missed in past 50 years in Japan.

Yoshiki Toda

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