Down 5,712 this week

When a Woman Ascends the Stairs (1960)
"Onna ga kaidan wo agaru toki" (original title)

Not Rated  |   |  Drama  |  25 June 1963 (USA)
Your rating:
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 -/10 X  
Ratings: 8.2/10 from 2,358 users  
Reviews: 17 user | 42 critic

A middle-aged bar hostess, constantly in debt, is faced with numerous social constraints and challenges posed to her by her family, customers and friends.


0Check in

On Disc

at Amazon

10 Best Action Heroes

We consulted IMDb's Highest-Rated Action-Family Films to came up with 10 scene-stealing action figures your kids can relate to, look up to, and be inspired by.

Visit our Family Entertainment Guide

User Lists

Related lists from IMDb users

a list of 49 titles
created 13 Jan 2011
a list of 34 titles
created 12 Sep 2011
a list of 28 titles
created 05 Mar 2014
a list of 32 titles
created 25 Apr 2014
a list of 28 titles
created 5 months ago

Related Items

Connect with IMDb

Share this Rating

Title: When a Woman Ascends the Stairs (1960)

When a Woman Ascends the Stairs (1960) on IMDb 8.2/10

Want to share IMDb's rating on your own site? Use the HTML below.

Take The Quiz!

Test your knowledge of When a Woman Ascends the Stairs.



Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

What is the life of a Geisha like once her beauty has faded and she has retired? Kin has saved her money, and has become a wealthy money-lender, spending her days cold-heartedly collecting ... See full summary »

Director: Mikio Naruse
Stars: Haruko Sugimura, Ken Uehara, Sadako Sawamura
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.2/10 X  

Ishun is a wealthy, but unsympathetic, master printer who has wrongly accused his wife and best employee of being lovers. To escape punishment, the accused run away together, but Ishun is certain to be ruined if word gets out.

Director: Kenji Mizoguchi
Stars: Kazuo Hasegawa, Kyôko Kagawa, Eitarô Shindô
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  

Schoolteacher Hisako Oishi forms an emotional bond with her pupils and teaches them various virtues, while at the same time worrying about their future.

Director: Keisuke Kinoshita
Stars: Hideki Gôko, Itsuo Watanabe, Makoto Miyagawa
Drama | Sci-Fi
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8/10 X  

A businessman with a disfigured face obtains a lifelike mask from his doctor, but the mask starts altering his personality.

Director: Hiroshi Teshigahara
Stars: Tatsuya Nakadai, Mikijirô Hira, Kyôko Kishida
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.2/10 X  

Follows a woman's fight and survival amid the vicissitudes of life and the cruelty of the society.

Director: Kenji Mizoguchi
Stars: Kinuyo Tanaka, Tsukie Matsuura, Ichirô Sugai
Crazed Fruit (1956)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

Spending their summer on an exotic beach, two brothers fall for the same beautiful girl, whose charm and looks may hide more than they they bargained for.

Director: Kô Nakahira
Stars: Masahiko Tsugawa, Yûjirô Ishihara, Mie Kitahara
Drama | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.4/10 X  

An entomologist searching for insects by the seaside is trapped by local villagers into living with a widow whose life task is digging up sand for them. He eventually develops strong feelings for her as his hope for escape dims.

Director: Hiroshi Teshigahara
Stars: Eiji Okada, Kyôko Kishida, Hiroko Itô
Pitfall (1962)
Crime | Drama | Fantasy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

A man wanders into a seemingly deserted town with his young son in search of work. But after a bit of bad luck, he joins the town's population of lost souls.

Director: Hiroshi Teshigahara
Stars: Hisashi Igawa, Sumie Sasaki, Sen Yano
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  

A tragic social drama set in post war Japan and concerns a lonely women trying to find purpose and stability in a devastated Tokyo.

Director: Mikio Naruse
Stars: Hideko Takamine, Masayuki Mori, Mariko Okada
Repast (1951)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8/10 X  

Michiyo lives in the small place Osaka and is not happy with her marriage, all she does is cook and clean for her husband.

Director: Mikio Naruse
Stars: Ken Uehara, Setsuko Hara, Yukiko Shimazaki
Yearning (1964)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.2/10 X  

19yo girl loses husband in war. Bombing destroys his family's shop and the widow stays to rebuild it as the rest of the family flee and runs it for 18 years out of love for her dead husband... See full synopsis »

Director: Mikio Naruse
Stars: Hideko Takamine, Yûzô Kayama, Mitsuko Kusabue
Flowing (1956)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  

Otsuta is running the geisha house Tsuta in Tokyo. Her business is heavily in debt. Her daughter Katsuyo doesn't see any future in her mothers trade in the late days of Geisha. But Otsuta ... See full summary »

Director: Mikio Naruse
Stars: Kinuyo Tanaka, Isuzu Yamada, Hideko Takamine


Credited cast:
Keiko Yashiro
Nobuhiko Fujisaki
Reiko Dan ...
Junko Inchihashi
Kenichi Komatsu, the manager
Daisuke Katô ...
Matsukichi Sekine
Ganjirô Nakamura ...
Eitarô Ozawa ...
Keiko Awaji ...
Jun Tatara
Yû Fujiki
Masao Oda
Ken Mitsuda
Chikako Hosokawa
Sadako Sawamura
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Toshiko Higuchi


This is the story of Mama, a.k.a. Keiko, a middle-aged bar hostess who must choose to either get married or buy a bar of her own. Her family hounds her for money, her customers for her attention, and she is continually in debt. The life of a bar hostess is examined as well as the way in which the system traps and sometimes kills those in it. Written by PastaQueen

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

bar | money | bar hostess | widow | ginza | See All (12) »




Not Rated | See all certifications »




Release Date:

25 June 1963 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

When a Woman Ascends the Stairs  »

Filming Locations:

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(Perspecta Sound encoding) (Western Electric Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Keiko Yashiro: I never dreamed I'd become the wife of a factory owner.
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

Worth-watching and very interesting
3 September 2015 | by (Venezuela) – See all my reviews

My rating: 6.5/10

My opinion on the film:

This film directed by Mikio Naruse is a feminist social drama centered on a recently widowed middle-aged bar hostess in Tokyo, Japan during the late '50s/early '60s struggling to keep things in order and trying to gain independence in a male-dominated society. She faces many difficulties with her family and in her work, besides the fact that she is constantly wooed by some customers. As a portrait of an era and of a situation that, as far I know, still continues to this day not only in Japan but in many parts of the globe as well, this movie is worth-watching and very interesting. At times it had some pacing issues and the plot got somewhat repetitive, but in spite of that, it had some really poignant moments and the ending was very moving and lyrically symbolic.

0 of 0 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
The music Balok-2
Discuss When a Woman Ascends the Stairs (1960) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for: