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When a Woman Ascends the Stairs (1960) - Plot Summary Poster

Plot Summary

  • 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
  • Keiko, whom everyone calls Mama, narrates her story: she's a hostess on the Ginza, 30, a widow. She describes life's vicious cycle: acting cheerful around drunks, dressing and living well to convey confidence, needing money for these expenses and for her demanding mother and brother, and knowing she's growing older. She's of an age when she must choose: to seek marriage (difficult given her tarnished occupation), to be a kept woman, or to borrow money to buy a bar of her own. Each route has dangers, including investors demanding a return on their loans. Keiko has a quiet dignity that attracts men, but are they what they seem? Does she actually have choices?

    - Written by <jhailey@hotmail.com>

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