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Tokyo Story (1953)

Tôkyô monogatari (original title)
Not Rated | | Drama | 13 March 1972 (USA)
An old couple visit their children and grandchildren in the city; but the children have little time for them.



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Chieko Higashiyama ...
Nobuo Nakamura ...
Shirô Ôsaka ...
Hisao Toake ...
Teruko Nagaoka ...
Yone Hattori
Mutsuko Sakura ...
Oden-ya no onna
Rinka no saikun (as Toyoko Takahashi)
Tôru Abe ...


An elderly couple journey to Tokyo to visit their children and are confronted by indifference, ingratitude and selfishness. When the parents are packed off to a resort by their busy, impatient children, the film deepens into an unbearably moving meditation on mortality. Written by Paul Watabe

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis




Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:






Release Date:

13 March 1972 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Tokyo Story  »

Filming Locations:


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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?


The film is included on Roger Ebert's "Great Movies" list. See more »


At timer mark 1:45:46, when the children are visiting their mother at home and leave the room to talk with the father in an adjoining room, just as they sit on the floor, you see the shadow of the boom-mic just drop into the scene and back out again, just over the sons head on the top right of the screen. This shadow is well into the frame against the edge of what appears to be a bookshelf and should not be considered a masking mistake of the projectionist. See more »


Sanpei Numata: I often wish at least one of my sons were alive.
Osamu Hattori: Must have been hard to lose both of them.
[to Shukichi]
Osamu Hattori: Didn't you lose one?
Shukichi Hirayama: Yes, my second son.
Osamu Hattori: I've had enough of war.
Shukichi Hirayama: Yes, indeed. To lose your children is hard, but living with them isn't always easy either. A real dilemma.
See more »


Referenced in Kazoku wa tsuraiyo (2016) See more »

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User Reviews

The excuses we make to justify our neglect of others
14 May 2002 | by See all my reviews

An appreciation of this movie may demand some understanding of Japanese culture. The Japanese are rather reserved, and were even more reserved back in the early 1950's, when this film is set. No embracing, even of parents, children, siblings; no dramatic histrionics; even a death scene in this movie is much quieter than a Westerner might expect.

Consequently I can't really blame several reviewers here for calling this movie boring and slow-paced. But it is not at all slow-paced from a different cultural perspective. It just depends on what you're used to.

If you do take the time to watch and try to understand it, you'll find an engrossing analysis of the dynamic of a middle-class family, the rift that grows up between generations, and of the many excuses we find ourselves making to justify our neglect for others, even those dearest to us. These themes are universal, but are couched in a postwar Japanese idiom, and so probably less accessible to the average Western viewer.

I have wondered awhile about a speech at the end by Noriko, the widowed daughter-in-law, in which she denies that she's such a good person (though her actions in the movie indicate otherwise). I'm still not sure I understand her motives in saying this. For the most part, however, this movie will not leave you puzzled, but it may leave you a bit wiser, and a bit more reluctant to make those excuses.

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