Kaoru, a highschool boy, falls in love with a girl, Sonoko, a leading member of his high-school's swimming club. Though he cannot swim at all, he joins the swimming club to win her heart.



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Credited cast:
Michitaka Tsutsui ...
Mikihisa Azuma ...
Kazuko Shirakawa ...
Babah, Kaoru's grandmother
Orie Satô ...
Masae, Sonoko's mother
Tomoko Ôtakara ...
Kumiko Tsuchiya ...
Masatô Ibu ...
Kaoru's teacher
Reiko Yasuhara ...
Kinzô Sakura ...
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Hideki Kondô ...


Kaoru, a highschool boy, falls in love with a girl, Sonoko, a leading member of his high-school's swimming club. Though he cannot swim at all, he joins the swimming club to win her heart.

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Plot Keywords:

swimming | See All (1) »


Romance | Sport





Release Date:

2 June 1990 (Japan)  »

Also Known As:

Swimming Upstream  »

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The film Bill Forsyth might have made, had he been Japanese!
7 November 2001 | by (Longmont, Colorado) – See all my reviews

I saw this movie some years ago at a low-key film festival catering specifically for foreign movies. I recall that at the time I was reminded very much of Bill Forsyth's 1981 (pre LOCAL HERO) flick GREGORY'S GIRL wherein young schoolboy Gregory (John Gordon Sinclair) is totally infatuated by new-girl-on-the-block Dorothy, so dispassionately played by Dee Hepburn. Dorothy is one hot-shot soccer player while Gregory is about as mobile as the goal-post! A beautiful, though ultimately unsatisfying tale of first love, albeit a one-way street!

In this film, titled for western screening as SWIMMING UPSTREAM (not to be confused with either the 2001 or 2002 films of the same name), young Kaoru (Ysutsui) falls hopelessly in love with pretty young swimmer Sonoko (Takaoka) and is left with only one option - to join the High School swim team to be near his cherished dream. Only problem is, he can't swim! The comparisons with GREGORY'S GIRL are many, primarily though, highlighting the difference in maturity between 18 year old boys and girls at that age.

Although the version I saw was sub-titled rather than dubbed, it ADDED rather than detracted, from the film's appeal. Beautifully directed by Joji Matsuoka, Saki Takaoka was just 17 when she made the film. Trivia buffs might know that Michitaka Tsutsui (19 during production) is the son of Yasutaka Tsutsui, famed Japanese sci-fi writer.

If you ever have the opportunity of seeing this flick at a local film festival (it is a favorite) it would be a good idea to go and see it.

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