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I Was Born, But... (1932)

Otona no miru ehon - Umarete wa mita keredo (original title)
Not Rated | | Comedy, Drama | 3 June 1932 (Japan)
Two young brothers throw a tantrum when they discover that their father isn't the most important man in his workplace.

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Writers:

(scenario), (adaptation) | 1 more credit »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Tatsuo Saitô ...
Yoshi (Chichi)
Tomio Aoki ...
Keiji (as Tokkan Kozô)
...
Haha (Yoshi's Wife)
Hideo Sugawara ...
Ryoichi
...
Juuyaku (Iwasaki, Executive)
Teruyo Hayami ...
Fujin (Iwasaki's wife)
Seiichi Katô ...
Kodomo (Taro) (as Seiichi Kato)
Shôichi Kofujita ...
Kozou (Delivery boy)
Seiji Nishimura ...
Sensei (Teacher)
Zentaro Iijima ...
Asobi nakama (Friend)
Shôtarô Fujimatsu ...
Asobi nakama (Friend)
...
Asobi nakama (Friend)
Michio Sato ...
Asobi nakama (Friend)
Kuniyasu Hayashi ...
Asobi nakama (Friend)
Akio Nomura ...
Asobi nakama (Friend)
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Storyline

The Yoshi family - husband and wife Kennesuke and Haha, a middle manager at an office and a housewife respectively, and their two adolescent sons Keiji and Ryoichi - have just moved from the inner city to the suburbs of Tokyo, into the same neighborhood where Kennesuke's boss, Iwasaki, and his family live. The boys get off to a rocky start in their new neighborhood as they end up being bullied by a group of similarly aged boys, led by slightly bigger Kamekichi. Keiji and Ryoichi even secretly play hooky from school, not wanting to have to confront the bullies. After befriending Kozou, the older delivery boy at the local store who ends up being their protector of sorts, Keiji and Ryoichi are able to stand up to their tormentors to become the ones among the boys who call the shots. Their newfound pride takes a hit when they end up being at the same social gathering as their father and his coworkers at Iwasaki's house, and see that their father is a proverbial apple-polisher toward ... Written by Huggo

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Comedy | Drama

Certificate:

Not Rated

Parents Guide:

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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

3 June 1932 (Japan)  »

Also Known As:

Children of Tokyo  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The film's release was delayed by many months when Shochiku Studio's Kido Shiro felt the movie's story was too dark in tone. The film would go on to win Kinema Jumpo's first prize that year. See more »

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User Reviews

The sparrow's eggs
12 December 2011 | by See all my reviews

This is remarkably gentle stuff, I felt completely exhilarated whilst watching, an intimate openness like being welcomed into someone's home on an afternoon. It helps that it's a silent, they were still making them in Japan by that time albeit usually with what was called a benshi narrating the whole, it abets the languid flow of childhood spring that permeates the whole thing. It is cleverly structured, again a gentle touch but carefully applied; two brothers new on the block have to carve their own space while fending off a gang of bullies, this is mirrored in the adult world by having their father similarly have to struggle for advancement in the working place. The extra layer is our insight into the beginnings of the Showa period; capitalist industrialization is intensified, Western styles increasingly applied over traditional mores. The adults are smartly dressed in suits, wear hats, smoke cigars. The family's house is situated on the side of railroad tracks, now and then trains come shooting off in the back of the frame, constant reminders of a modern life lunging forwards. Again this is cleverly mirrored in the weave of the film itself, the specific image of the house by the tracks recalling La Roue, a French film that had spoken very clearly to the Japanese with its transient world of circular suffering. The whole carries hues of Chaplin's bittersweet whimsy, with a mobile camera derived from Sternberg, another favorite of early Japanese filmmakers. There is no benshi narrating this, just the intertitles, another Western norm. Having just asserted power in their microcosm, the kids eventually discover that their father is a servile buffoon, a kind of court jester at the office; this revelation tearing down the facade of respectability the kids were looking up to, implicitly posits the whole working structure to be feudal, with the capitalist boss as just another kind of daimyo surrounded by fawning servants. This happens in a superb scene where everyone is gathered at the house of the boss to watch this newfangled thing called the movies. So it is the cinematic reflection that reveals truth, it was exciting to discover this moment of self-reference in a Japanese film of the time. So even though Ozu's name usually brings to mind connotations of a purity distilled from tradition, this is breezy stuff, attuned with an emerging film culture abroad, explicitly modern in view and subject matter. And knowing what we do now, there is biting commentary in the parting notion; asked what they want to do when they grow up, the two brothers very seriously assert that they want to be generals. The Japanese army had just invaded Manchuria the previous year.


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