Yasujiro Ozu

Yasujiro Ozu – Todake no kyodai AKA The Brothers and Sisters of the Toda Family (1941)


The first box-office hit for Ozu in Japan, “The Brothers And Sisters Of The Toda Family” anticipates the later masterpieces such as “Tokyo Story” and “The End Of Summer”.

After the death of the father of an upper-class family, his wife and daughter have to struggle to survive. Tensions arise when they moved in with a married son, so they continue to move around from one household to the next, but they are always unwelcomed. When her youngest son returns from work in Tianjin, he scolds his siblings for their selfishness.

Kinema Junpo Awards – 1942 – Best Film Read More »

Yasujirô Ozu – Ochazuke no aji AKA Flavor of Green Tea Over Rice (1952)


A childless middle-aged couple faces a marital crisis of sorts.

Taeko (Michiyo Kogure) despises and regularly deceives her quiet, saturnine husband, Mokichi (Shin Saburi), who works as a corporate executive and who only seems to come alive when visiting bars, racetracks, and arcades with a younger friend. Meanwhile, Taeko’s niece, Setsuko (Keiko Tsushima), resolves not to accept an arranged marriage and end up in an unloving relationship like that of her aunt and uncle. Read More »

Yasujirô Ozu – Hogaraka ni ayume AKA Walk Cheerfully (1930)



Kenji is a small thief who likes drinking and fighting. When he falls in love with sweet and simple Yazue, and she finds out what kind of guy he really is, she leaves him ‘until he becomes an honest person’. But it is not easy to get rid of one’s past… Read More »

Yasujirô Ozu – Tokkan kozô AKA A Straightforward Boy (1929)


Strictly Film School wrote:
A purely fun, entertaining, and lighthearted short film, A Straightforward Boy follows the (mis) adventures of a kidnapper (Tatsuo Saito) who, on an idyllic, sunny day (that, as the film comments, is conducive for such nefarious activities), lures a cherubic, bespectacled boy (Tomio Aoki) with toys and treats back into the hideout. However, when the mischievous and precocious boy becomes too much of a handful, the kidnapper’s attempts to get rid of him proves to be a greater challenge than the abduction itself. Read More »

Yasujirô Ozu – Higanbana AKA Equinox Flower (1958)


The first color feature film from Yasujiro Ozu, Equinox Flower is a spare, evocative, and compassionate portrait of aging, transition, and change. The title of the film refers to a red amaryllis flower that blooms near the autumnal equinox, and red imagery pervade the film: the brick train station building, the carpeting of the wedding banquet, Yukiko’s obi, the tea kettle at the Hirayama home. Similar to Ingmar Bergman’s Autumn Sonata and Andre Techine’s Ma Saison Preferee, the season serves as a reflection of Hirayama’s generation, attempting to reconcile with the profound cultural and social changes of postwar Japan. The film opens to the image of the train station and cuts to a shot of the hallway of the wedding reception. It is a reminder of Hirayama’s own transitional passage – an elegy for the quickly vanishing traditions of an irretrievable past, and a celebration of renewed hope and promise. Read More »

Yasujirô Ozu – Tôkyô boshokuAKA Tokyo Twilight (1957)



Two sisters live with their father. The younger sister is embroiled in an affair and becomes pregnant. The elder sister has run away from her husband and returned with her child to her parent’s home. Both sisters are astonished when their mother, long thought dead, turns up alive. The sisters are even more stunned when they learn what their mother’s life has been. Read More »

Yasujiro Ozu – Ohayô aka Good Morning (1959)




“Sooner or later, everyone who loves movies comes to Ozu. He is the quietest and gentlest of directors, the most humanistic, the most serene.” — Roger Ebert

It took long enough, but I sampled my first Yasujiro Ozu film, Good Morning (Ohayo), and will soon indulge myself with as many of his works as I can locate. At one time, his films were thought to be “too Japanese” and weren’t available in the West, but if Good Morning is any indication of his craft and appeal, Ozu deserves a much wider audience. It’s a film that works at multiple levels, and only artistic geniuses like Shakespeare have been able to pull off such a universal work that works with both down to earth people and with the upper levels of critical audiences equally. Read More »