The Yellow Handkerchief (1977)
"Shiawase no kiiroi hankachi" (original title)

 |  Comedy, Drama  |  28 April 1978 (USA)
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Ratings: 7.5/10 from 423 users  
Reviews: 6 user | 4 critic

Three complete strangers embark on a road-trip to Hokkaido.



(screenplay), (screenplay), 1 more credit »
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Chieko Baishô ...
Mitsue Shima
Akemi Ogawa
Tetsuya Takeda ...
Kin'ya Hanada
Hisao Dazai ...
Ryokan Manager
Makoto Akatsuka ...
Mari Okamoto ...
Ramen Shop Girl
Sakae Umezu
Chieko Misaki
Kazuhiko Kasai
Saburô Satoki
Yasujirô Ono
Sabu Kawahara ...
(as Hiromasa Kawahara)
Tako Hachirô
Kôei Yamamoto


Three complete strangers embark on a road-trip to Hokkaido.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Comedy | Drama





Release Date:

28 April 1978 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

The Yellow Handkerchief  »

Filming Locations:


Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


While talking about his times with his wife, the ex-con Yusaka mentions that he hopes to put Koi-nobori carp flags up the pole beside their house. These traditional Japanese flags are flown in early May to celebrate the health of children. Yusaka notices them flying when they stop to listen to some people performing music. See more »


Remade as The Yellow Handkerchief (2008) See more »

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User Reviews

Ken makes it watchable
31 August 2013 | by (Sydney, Australia) – See all my reviews

This confection is hard to watch for the first twenty minutes. The loudmouth driver in the cowboy hat is particularly irritating, and the poor distracted girl he eventually persuades to take for a ride is only just tolerable. Things begin to settle in when the great Ken-san finally moseys on in (about 25 minutes in).

Another reviewer observes that Hokkaido is a co-star. The local tourist bureau could certainly use this movie as a promotional video, as the lovely scenery of Japan's frozen north is handsomely on display here. Frankly, it is about the only aspect of the movie that held my attention while waiting for Ken-san, and remained a considerable asset from then on.

In case there can be any doubt, I will state it clearly. Yes, I can see that the young couple are mainly in this story as a foil for Ken-san. But I still contend that they take up too much screen time, and the film could only have been improved if their parts had been substantially cut. For instance, the first twenty minutes could have been cut to five minutes or less with no appreciable loss.

I hardly need say that Takakura puts in a subtle and moving performance, for which he is justly famous. And the longer he is on screen, the more the young couple improve. By the end, they are almost bearable, and the cowboy has even managed to develop some gentleness. Better late than never.

Ken's character's past is gradually revealed, and though there are no surprises here, the journey is compelling and moving. Very sentimental but highly watchable.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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