IMDb > Gion no shimai (1936)

Gion no shimai (1936) More at IMDbPro »

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Release Date:
November 1979 (USA) See more »
Two geisha sisters lead a hard life in the Gion district of Kyoto. After one of them feels obliged to support a bankrupt businessman, the other sister sets up various schemes to get rid of him. Full summary » | Add synopsis »
Plot Keywords:
1 win See more »
User Reviews:
I know this must be considered a classic, but I didn't particularly enjoy it---though it was very well made. See more (14 total) »


  (in credits order)
Isuzu Yamada ... O-Mocha

Yôko Umemura ... Umekichi
Benkei Shiganoya ... Shimbei Furusawa
Eitarô Shindô ... Kudo, the drygoods merchant
Taizô Fukami ... Kimura
Fumio Okura ... Jurakudo, the antiques dealer
Namiko Kawajima
Reiko Aoi
rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Sakurako Iwama ... Omasa Kudô
Shizuko Takizawa

Directed by
Kenji Mizoguchi 
Writing credits
(in alphabetical order)
Aleksandr Kuprin  novel "The Pit"
Kenji Mizoguchi 
Yoshikata Yoda 

Produced by
Masaichi Nagata .... producer
Cinematography by
Minoru Miki 
Film Editing by
Tatsuko Sakane 
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
Kazuo Mori .... second assistant director
Akira Sakamoto .... third assistant director
Kôichi Takagi .... assistant director
Sound Department
Hisashi Kase .... sound
Camera and Electrical Department
Kazuo Kishi .... gaffer

Production CompaniesDistributors

Additional Details

Also Known As:
"Sisters of the Gion" - , International (English title) (literal English title)
See more »
69 min | Argentina:95 min | USA:95 min | Japan:96 min
Aspect Ratio:
1.37 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:
Mono (Eion Sound System)

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1 out of 2 people found the following review useful.
I know this must be considered a classic, but I didn't particularly enjoy it---though it was very well made., 16 February 2013
Author: planktonrules from Bradenton, Florida

"Sisters of Gion" is a Japanese film directed by Kenji Mizoguchi. It apparently must be very well thought of, as it's part of a set of Mizoguchi films in a DVD set from the artsy Criterion Collection. While I could see the artistry of the cinematography, I wasn't super-impressed by the story. It left me a bit flat.

When the film begins, it looks a bit like a Yasujirô Ozu film because the camera in set at a level about that of a person sitting on the floor. And, like Ozu, the camera lens does not move back or forth.--it's a stationary box. But, unlike Ozu, while the cameraman does not move the camera, it does move on a track--making for an incredibly interesting opening shot. In fact, the film is full of interesting shots--with unusual angles, composition and depth. It's almost like the camera is a tiny one that is peeking into rooms--and it's very nice--probably the nicest looking Japanese cinematography from this era that I have seen.

Now the story of "Sisters of Gion" ("Gion No Shimai") is not particularly enjoyable--mostly because the folks in it aren't particularly likable and the story is only mildly interesting--except, perhaps, to someone wanting insight into the role of women in 1930s Japan. This aspect of the film is unusual--how one woman embraces power and her sister embraces conventionality and kindness. It's obvious the film was not meant as a feel-good film but a sad portait of the lives of women in the lower classes.

A man has just lost his business and moves in with the geisha he used to sponsor. You might have felt sorry for him, but in the process he left his family and seemed very self-involved. This geisha he goes to is a very nice and dutiful woman, as she is under no obligation to take him in but she does. However, her younger sister, also a geisha, is rather conniving and VERY practical. She will get a wealthy sponsor one way or another. This, ultimately, leads to a rather interesting relationship with Mr. Kimura--but you'll have to see that for yourself. I'd say that the acting, camera-work and direction were good. But I just didn't care a lot for the characters or their problems--though the story was darkly compelling and provocative.

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