IMDb > The Only Son (1936)

The Only Son (1936) More at IMDbPro »Hitori musuko (original title)

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Yasujirô Ozu (short story)
Tadao Ikeda (adaptation) ...
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Release Date:
1 April 1987 (USA) See more »
In 1923, in the province of Shinshu, the widow and simple worker of a silk factory Tsune Nonomiya (O-Tsune)... See more » | Add synopsis »
User Reviews:
Ozu's first 'talkie' See more (15 total) »


  (in credits order)
Chôko Iida ... Tsune Nonomiya (O-Tsune)
Shin'ichi Himori ... Ryosuke Nonomiya
Masao Hayama ... Ryosuke Nonomiya, as child
Yoshiko Tsubouchi ... Sugiko
Mitsuko Yoshikawa ... O-Taka

Chishû Ryû ... Professor Ookubo
Tomoko Naniwa ... Ookubo's wife
Kiyoshi Aono ... Matsumura, old man
Jun Yokoyama ... Okubo's son (as Bakudankozo)
Eiko Takamatsu ... Jokou
Seiichi Katô ... Kinjo no ko (as Seiichi Kato)
Kazuo Kojima ... Kimiko
rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Tomio Aoki ... Tomibo (as Tokkan Kozô)

Directed by
Yasujirô Ozu 
Writing credits
Yasujirô Ozu (short story) (as James Maki)

Tadao Ikeda (adaptation) &
Masao Arata (adaptation)

Original Music by
Senji Itô 
Cinematography by
Shôjirô Sugimoto 
Film Editing by
Eiichi Hasegawa 
Hideo Mohara 
Production Design by
Tatsuo Hamada 
Set Decoration by
Tatsuo Hamada 
Yoshiatsu Hino 
Costume Design by
Taizô Saitô 
Makeup Department
Yû Kishimura .... hair stylist
Production Management
Den Takayama .... production manager
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
Kenkichi Hara .... assistant director
Hamao Negishi .... assistant director
Nobuo Nishikawa .... assistant director
Art Department
Yakichi Otani .... set designer
Sound Department
Eiichi Hasegawa .... sound
Masao Irie .... assistant sound recordist
Mikio Jinbo .... assistant sound recordist
Sachio Koyano .... assistant sound recordist
Hiroshi Kumagai .... assistant sound recordist
Rokusaburô Saitô .... sound effects editor
Matsuo Sekihara .... assistant sound recordist
Hideo Shigehara .... sound
Noriharu Yoshikawa .... assistant sound recordist
Camera and Electrical Department
Yûharu Atsuta .... lighting technician
Toshimitsu Nakajima .... gaffer
Seiju Sakurai .... lighting technician
Hitoshi Unozawa .... lighting technician
Other crew
Kentarô Abe .... film development
Hidesaburô Fujioka .... title designer
Masamiki Hiroki .... text photography
Fumikazu Miyagishima .... film development
Toshimi Nassho .... film development
Naoji Shimomura .... script supervisor
Sadaji Tara .... film development

Production CompaniesDistributors

Additional Details

Also Known As:
"Hitori musuko" - Japan (original title)
See more »
87 min
Aspect Ratio:
1.37 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:

Did You Know?

This was Yasujirô Ozu's first feature film with all-synchronous dialogue.See more »
Movie Connections:
Old Black JoeSee more »


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4 out of 5 people found the following review useful.
Ozu's first 'talkie', 5 June 2011
Author: jamesmartin1995 from United Kingdom

In which genre would you place an Ozu film? Most would say 'melodrama', simply for ease, but to put this director's body of work into a category cram packed with the saccharine misfires of Hollywood all the way to the recent, shamelessly OTT 'Black Swan' (which, bizarrely, has found its way into the IMDb Top 250) is surely either a sign of laziness, a misunderstanding of his work or a pure insult.

If the films of Ozu really can be classed as 'melodramas', then we must first state that they are in a league of their own, and revolutionary to the category, providing endless inspiration for artists of all kinds - filmmakers, authors, actors and theatre directors have all named him as an influence. While other directors were busy shamelessly masturbating the emotions of their audience with forced dialogue, contrived plots and unbelievable amounts of glamorous cheese, Ozu's films, by comparison, would be seen by many people as anticlimactic and boring. Yet never in his career did he make a poor film, and mediocrities are few and far between (most of which are lost in his silent work). Indeed, even though 'The Only Son' was Ozu's first sound picture, he had been working in film for many years before this production. What we see in this early film is the work of a director already confident with the medium in which he worked, and the result is an understated, dignified delight.

It seems wrong to give a plot summary, as the story itself is of little consequence. Ozu was one of the few directors who managed to master the art of transcending the confines of plot and escape to the much wider universe in which emotional honesty and character all come into their own.

Some may be wondering what I am talking about, considering that Ozu always seemed to focus on family relationships. There are many who would argue that in actual fact, he never really experimented at all, and limited himself to this one subject.

But what a fascinating subject it can be. Ozu, with graceful skill and extreme talent, managed to explore human existence more completely than any director before or since, all with a largely stationary camera disclosing to the viewer immaculately ordered shots, and often placed at the eye level of a person seated on a tatami mat.

In this film, a mother working at a silk mill in rural Japan decides to send her son to secondary school in the hope that he will be able to escape his poor heritage and make something of himself in Tokyo. Sounds underwhelming and clichéd enough, doesn't it? But forget about that. As always with Ozu, it is his humanity, the nuances of the performances and the beautiful dignity and sympathetic nature of his direction that makes the film worth watching. His films tap into emotional realms that others can only make pathetic, superficial attempts at penetrating, and for that and that alone, his films should be treasured. This is no exception, and it is the perfect starting point to first time viewers of Ozu's work.

PS - As it is no exception, mind you have some Kleenex at the ready. Tears tend to run freely down the cheeks of the most hardened critics during these excursions into Ozu's Japan.

And for Ozu fans, this also stars Chishu Ryu, Ozu's favourite actor, in a minor role as the young boy's primary school teacher.

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