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Dodes'ka-den (1970) More at IMDbPro »Dodesukaden (original title)

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Dodes'ka-den -- By turns tragic and transcendent, Akira Kurosawa’s film follows the daily lives of a group of people barely scraping by in a slum on the outskirts of Tokyo.


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Akira Kurosawa (screenplay) &
Hideo Oguni (screenplay) ...
View company contact information for Dodes'ka-den on IMDbPro.
Release Date:
9 June 1971 (USA) See more »
Various tales in the lives of Tokyo slum dwellers, including a mentally deficient young man obsessed with driving his own commuter trolley. Full summary » | Add synopsis »
Nominated for Oscar. Another 4 wins See more »
User Reviews:
obscure and underrated; it's another of Kurosawa's dramas on the lower class, this time bleaker, a little more abstract, still a masterpiece See more (25 total) »


  (in credits order) (complete, awaiting verification)
Yoshitaka Zushi ... Roku-chan
Kin Sugai ... Okuni
Toshiyuki Tonomura ... Taro Sawagami
Shinsuke Minami ... Ryotaro Sawagami
Yûko Kusunoki ... Misao Sawagami
Junzaburô Ban ... Yukichi Shima
Kiyoko Tange ... Mrs. Shima
Michio Hino ... Mr. Ikawa
Keiji Furuyama ... Mr. Matsui
Tappei Shimokawa ... Mr. Nomoto
Kunie Tanaka ... Hatsutaro Kawaguchi
Jitsuko Yoshimura ... Yoshie Kawaguchi
Hisashi Igawa ... Masuo Masuda
Hideko Okiyama ... Tatsu Masuda
Tatsuo Matsumura ... Kyota Watanaka
Imari Tsuji ... Otane Watanaka
Tomoko Yamazaki ... Katsuko Watanaka
Masahiko Kametani ... Okabe
Hiroshi Akutagawa ... Hei
Tomoko Naraoka ... Ochô
Noboru Mitani ... Beggar
Hiroyuki Kawase ... Beggar's Son
Akemi Negishi ... Good-Looking Housewife
Eimei Esumi ... Detective
Minoru Takashima ... Policeman
Kazuo Katô ... Painter
Michiko Araki ... Restaurant proprietress
Toki Shiozawa ... Waitress
Masakazu Kuwayama ... Western-style restaurant owner
Hiroshi Kiyama ... Sushi Shop Proprietor
Kôji Mitsui ... Foodstand owner
Jerry Fujio ... Kichi the Carpenter Bee (as Jierî Fujio)
Masahiko Tanimura ... Mr. Sô
Atsushi Watanabe ... Mr. Tanba
Kamatari Fujiwara ... Suicidal Old Man
Sanji Kojima ... Thief
Kayako Sono ... Kichi's Wife
Yoshiko Maki ... 2nd Wife
Toshiko Sakurai ... 3rd Wife
Toriko Takahara ... 5th Wife
Matsue Ono ... 4th Wife
Reiko Niimura ... 1st Wife
Akira Hitomi ... 1st Man Calling Out
Shôji Ichimura ... 3rd Man calling out
Shin Ibuki ... 5th Man Calling Out
Masaya Nihei ... 4th Man calling out
Takashi Ebata ... 2nd Man calling out (as Kanji Ebata)
rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Minoko Kaizuka ... Kumanbachi's second child (uncredited)

Directed by
Akira Kurosawa 
Writing credits
Akira Kurosawa (screenplay) &
Hideo Oguni (screenplay) &
Shinobu Hashimoto (screenplay)

Shûgorô Yamamoto (novel "Kisetsu no nai machi")

Produced by
Kon Ichikawa .... planner
Keisuke Kinoshita .... planner
Masaki Kobayashi .... planner
Akira Kurosawa .... planner
Akira Kurosawa .... producer
Yoichi Matsue .... producer (as Yôichi Matsue)
Original Music by
Tôru Takemitsu 
Cinematography by
Yasumichi Fukuzawa 
Takao Saitô 
Film Editing by
Reiko Kaneko 
Art Direction by
Shinobu Muraki 
Yoshirô Muraki 
Costume Design by
Miyuki Suzuki 
Makeup Department
Sakai Nakao .... hair stylist
Shozo Takahashi .... hair stylist
Production Management
Hiroshi Nezu .... production supervisor
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
Koji Hashimoto .... assistant director
Yoshisuke Kawasaki .... assistant director
Kenjirô Ohmori .... assistant director
Nobumitsu Takizawa .... assistant director
Art Department
Akio Nojima .... property master
Tsuneo Shimura .... assistant art director
Sound Department
Ichirô Minawa .... sound effects editor
Hiromitsu Mori .... sound recordist
Mamoru Yamada .... sound assistant
Fumio Yanoguchi .... sound recordist
Camera and Electrical Department
Naomi Hashiyama .... still photographer
Shinji Kojima .... assistant lighting technician
Hiromitsu Mori .... lighting technician
Daisaku Omura .... assistant camera
Editorial Department
Reiko Kaneko .... assistant editor
Transportation Department
Isamu Miwano .... transportation
Other crew
Shoichi Koga .... production assistant
Shôji Nakayama .... production assistant
Teruyo Nogami .... script supervisor
Etsuo Yamamoto .... acting office
Crew believed to be complete

Production CompaniesDistributorsSpecial EffectsOther Companies

Additional Details

Also Known As:
"Dodesukaden" - Japan (original title)
See more »
140 min
Color (Eastmancolor)
Aspect Ratio:
1.37 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:
Mono (Westrex Recording System)

Did You Know?

His portrayal of the beggar was Noboru Mitani's first film role in a career that continues to be active after more than 60 feature films and over 35 years.See more »
Movie Connections:


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22 out of 23 people found the following review useful.
obscure and underrated; it's another of Kurosawa's dramas on the lower class, this time bleaker, a little more abstract, still a masterpiece, 24 January 2008
Author: MisterWhiplash from United States

If there was anything Akira Kurosawa did wrong in making Dodes'ka-den, it was making it with the partnership he formed with the "four knights" (the other three being Kobayaski, Ichikawa, and Konishita). They wanted a big blockbuster hit to kick off their partnership, and instead Kurosawa, arguably the head cheese of the group, delivered an abstract, humanist art film with characters living in a decimated slum that had many of its characters face dark tragedies. Had he made it on a more independent basis or went to another studio who knows, but it was because of this, among some other financial and creative woes, that also contributed to his suicide attempt in 1971. And yet, at the end of the day, as an artist Kurosawa didn't stop delivering what he's infamous for with his dramas: the strengths of the human spirit in the face of adversity. That its backdrop is a little more unusual than most shouldn't be ignored, but it's not at all a fault of Kurosawa's.

The material in Dodes'ka-den is absorbing, but not in ways that one usually finds from the director, and mostly because it is driven by character instead of plot. There's things that happen to these people, and Kurosawa's challenge here is to interweave them into a cohesive whole. The character who starts off in the picture, oddly enough (though thankfully as there's not much room for him to grow), is Rokkuchan, a brain damaged man-child who goes around all day making train sounds (the 'clickety-clack' of the title), only sometimes stopping to pray for his mother. But then we branch off: there's the father and son, the latter who scrounges restaurants for food and the former who goes on and on with site-specific descriptions of his dream house; an older man has the look of death to him, and we learn later on he's lost a lot more than he'll tell most people, including a woman who has a past with him; a shy, quiet woman who works in servitude to her adoptive father (or uncle, I'm not sure), who rapes her; and a meek guy in a suit who has a constant facial tick and a big mean wife- to those who are social around.

There are also little markers of people around these characters, like two drunks who keep stumbling around every night, like clockwork, putting big demands on their spouses, sometimes (unintentionally) swapping them! And there's the kind sake salesman on the bike who has a sweet but strange connection with the shy quiet woman. And of course there's a group of gossiping ladies who squat around a watering hole in the middle of the slum, not having anything too nice to say about anyone unless it's about something erotic with a guy. First to note with all of this is how Kurosawa sets the picture; it's a little post-apocalyptic, looking not of any particular time or place (that is until in a couple of shots we see modern cars and streets). It's a marginalized society, but the concerns of these people are, however in tragic scope, meant to be deconstructed through dramatic force. Like Bergman, Kurosawa is out to dissect the shattered emotions of people, with one scene in particular when the deathly-looking man who has hollow, sorrowful eyes, sits ripping cloth in silence as a woman goes along with it.

Sometimes there's charm, and even some laughs, to be had with these people. I even enjoyed, maybe ironically, the little moments with Rokkuchan (specifically with Kurosawa's cameo as a painter in the street), or the awkward silences with the man with the facial tics. But while Kurosawa allows his actors some room to improvise, his camera movements still remain as they've always been- patient but alert, with wide compositions and claustrophobic shots, painterly visions and faces sometimes with the stylization of a silent drama meant as a weeper. Amid these sometimes bizarre and touching stories, with some of them (i.e. the father and son in the car) especially sad, Kurosawa lights his film and designs the color scheme as his first one in Eastmancolor like it's one of his paintings. Lush, sprawling, spilling at times over the seams but always with some control, this place is not necessarily "lighter"; it's like the abstract has come full-throttle into the scene, where things look vibrant but are much darker underneath. It's a brilliant, tricky double-edged sword that allows for the dream-like intonations with such heavy duty drama.

With a sweet 'movie' score Toru Takemitsu (also responsible for Ran), and some excellent performances from the actors, and a few indelible scenes in a whole fantastic career, Dodes'ka-den is in its own way a minor work from the director, but nonetheless near perfect on its own terms, which as with many Kurosawa dramas like Ikiru and Red Beard holds hard truths on the human condition without too much sentimentality.

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