Madadayo (1993)

 |  Drama  |  20 March 1998 (USA)
Your rating:
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 -/10 X  
Ratings: 7.5/10 from 3,314 users   Metascore: 76/100
Reviews: 39 user | 25 critic | 11 from

Following World War II, a retired professor approaching his autumn years finds his quality of life drastically reduced in war-torn Tokyo. Denying despair, he pursues writing and celebrates his birthday with his adoring students.



, (essays), 1 more credit »
0Check in
6 wins & 4 nominations. See more awards »
Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

Three generations' responses to the atomic bombing of Nagasaki.

Director: Akira Kurosawa
Stars: Sachiko Murase, Richard Gere, Hisashi Igawa
Dodes'ka-den (1970)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

Various tales in the lives of Tokyo slum dwellers, including a mentally deficient young man obsessed with driving his own commuter trolley.

Director: Akira Kurosawa
Stars: Yoshitaka Zushi, Kin Sugai, Toshiyuki Tonomura
Donzoko (1957)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

In a Japanese slum, various residents play out their lives, dreaming of better things or settling for their lot. Among them is a man who pines for a young woman but is stymied by her deceptive family.

Director: Akira Kurosawa
Stars: Toshirô Mifune, Isuzu Yamada, Kyôko Kagawa
Dreams (1990)
Drama | Fantasy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

A collection of tales based upon the actual dreams of director Akira Kurosawa.

Directors: Akira Kurosawa, Ishirô Honda
Stars: Akira Terao, Mitsuko Baishô, Toshie Negishi
Red Beard (1965)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.3/10 X  

In 19th century Japan, a rough tempered yet charitable town doctor trains a young intern.

Director: Akira Kurosawa
Stars: Toshirô Mifune, Yûzô Kayama, Tsutomu Yamazaki
Kagemusha (1980)
Drama | History | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8/10 X  

A petty thief with an utter resemblance to a samurai warlord is hired as the lord's double. When the warlord later dies the thief is forced to take up arms in his place.

Director: Akira Kurosawa
Stars: Tatsuya Nakadai, Tsutomu Yamazaki, Ken'ichi Hagiwara
Crime | Drama | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  

A vengeful young man marries the daughter of a corrupt industrialist in order to seek justice for his father's suicide.

Director: Akira Kurosawa
Stars: Toshirô Mifune, Masayuki Mori, Kyôko Kagawa
Dersu Uzala (1975)
Adventure | Biography | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.3/10 X  

The Russian army sends an explorer on an expedition to the snowy Siberian wilderness where he makes friends with a seasoned local hunter.

Director: Akira Kurosawa
Stars: Maksim Munzuk, Yuriy Solomin, Mikhail Bychkov
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

An aging, industrialist Japanese man becomes so fearful of nuclear war that it begins to take a toll on his life and family.

Director: Akira Kurosawa
Stars: Toshirô Mifune, Takashi Shimura, Minoru Chiaki
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

A surgeon gets syphilis from a patient when he cuts himself during an operation. The doctor's life is destroyed, but unlike the patient, he doesn't destroy others along with him.

Director: Akira Kurosawa
Stars: Toshirô Mifune, Takashi Shimura, Miki Sanjô
Action | Adventure | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

Sugata, a young man, struggles to learn the nuance and meaning of judo, and in doing so comes to learn something of the meaning of life.

Director: Akira Kurosawa
Stars: Denjirô Ôkôchi, Susumu Fujita, Yukiko Todoroki
High and Low (1963)
Crime | Drama | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.4/10 X  

An executive of a shoe company becomes a victim of extortion when his chauffeur's son is kidnapped and held for ransom.

Director: Akira Kurosawa
Stars: Toshirô Mifune, Yutaka Sada, Tatsuya Nakadai


Cast overview, first billed only:
Tatsuo Matsumura ...
Professor Hyakken Uchida
Kyôko Kagawa ...
Professor's Wife
Hisashi Igawa ...
Jôji Tokoro ...
Masayuki Yui ...
Akira Terao ...
Takeshi Kusaka ...
Dr. Kobayashi
Asei Kobayashi ...
Rev. Kameyama
Hidetaka Yoshioka ...
Takayama's son
Yoshitaka Zushi ...
Mitsuru Hirata ...
Nobuto Okamoto ...
Tetsu Watanabe
Norio Matsui
Murohide Sugizaki


This film tells the story of professor Uehida Hyakken-sama (1889-1971), in Gotemba, around the forties. He was a university professor until an air raid, when he left to become a writer and has to live in a hut. His mood has hardly changed, not by the change nor by time. Every year his students celebrate his birthday, issuing the question "Mahda kai?" (not yet?), just to hear Uehida-san's answer "Madada yo!" (No, not yet!), in a ritual of self affirmation, and desires of lasting forever. It's a very "japanese" film who portrays everyday life and customs in Japan. Written by Jaime Moraga <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


The final film by Japan's master filmmaker.




See all certifications »

Parents Guide:






Release Date:

20 March 1998 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Not Yet  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office


$11,900,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$6,729 (USA) (22 September 2000)


$48,856 (USA) (6 October 2000)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Final film of both Akira Kurosawa and Ishirô Honda. See more »


The story depicts Professor Hyakken's 60th birthday toward the end of World War II (1943-1945). But he was born in 1889; thus, he turned 60 years old in 1949. See more »


Featured in Great Performances: Kurosawa (2000) See more »


L'ESTRO ARMONICO Op. II, Concert No 1 in D Major, RV 230
Music by Antonio Vivaldi
Performed by Solisti Veneti (as I Solisti Veneti)
Conducted by Claudio Scimone
Courtesy of ERARO DISQUES S.A.
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

Kurosawa's final mellow mood
1 May 2006 | by (Berkeley, California) – See all my reviews

Kurosawa's last film was released in the US at his death, five years after it was made. It's the story of a retired schoolteacher and it's unabashedly sentimental and heartwarming, but unlike the lonely old man of the famous English schoolteacher tale Goodbye, Mr. Chips who has to be humanized and refuses to retire, Hyakken Uchida (Tatsuo Matsumura) is different from other men in his oddball attitude and intellectual accomplishments but neither lonely nor sad, and the story begins with his very willing retirement. He's both a mischievous joker and a happily married man who likes to stay up all night drinking and singing with his ex-students in all the years that follow that retirement depicted in the film. Uchida's quirky individuality is celebrated by his admirers, and the film depicts him solely in his relationship with them. They give him lavish presents (including after WWII a nice house with a liquid garden) and an annual birthday party, and they cherish his spirit, his personality, and his funny, thought-provoking remarks.

Madadayo is based on a series of books in turn drawn from the life of an actual military school teacher. Teacher -- sensei -- of course has a special sense in Japanese. It's a role one takes on for life, and one's "sensei" is a permanent attachment based on admiration and respect. Corny and sentimentalized as this "sensei" is, he's a richly charming character and the way his former students carouse with him and cherish him before, during, and after the War is expressive of some of the best aspects of Japanese culture.

At the annual parties, the ritual is that the sensei's students chant, Mahda kai?" (are ready?) and he sings out, "ma-da-da-yo!" (not yet!). But though he may not go gentle into that good night, he does accept old age with good humor. Madadayo is about growing old, about growing old frankly, growing old gracefully, about being useful as one grows old through dignity and humor, about the mutual benefits that accrue when the old receive the respect of younger generations. It's about old-fashioned loyalty to one's school, and about respecting and honoring eccentricity and respecting and honoring the intellectual type. The former students, who are doctors, lawyers, business men, and so on, recognize that in his oddball impracticality, his "absent-minded professor" style, their sensei possesses wisdom and creative individuality they lack and they always say he's "pure gold." One might imagine them proposing him for designation as a "national treasure." Sensei is absurdly weak and vulnerable at times, witness his emotional collapse when his wife's male cat Nora disappears and he goes to pieces with grief. But importantly he articulates this grief eloquently and with a certain detachment for his ex-students. And they respect his peculiarities so much that they send out an all points bulletin for Nora and are gravely concerned for his return. (It never comes, but the sensei's wife finds another cat and eventually both are memorialized by handsome gravestones in the garden.) However silly he is, his behavior is simply more enthusiastic and emotional than others', and finally this sensei simply represents what is wisest and most human.

And sensei's wife represents a perfect, idealized traditional Japanese woman (without the function in her case of mother, however), always deferential, formal, polite, sweet, but elegant and noble, the repository of hospitality, the hearth, loyalty, goodness, patience, steadfastness: you can't help being impressed by the actress Kyôko Kagawa's supple, unflaggingly consistent, energetic but restrained performance, comparable to Tatsuo Matsumura's. As the sensei, Matsumura is an initially off-putting but ultimately irresistible and splendidly rich character -- pitiful, cute, wise, silly, tough, stridently singing his old songs and making his imperishable jokes which his many admirers never fail to laugh at loudly and delightedly. They need him tremendously -- this is the film's chief message, to value special people as they age -- and so they take wonderful care of him. When the film begins, his book sales have enabled him to retire and focus on writing in a small house. When the War comes it's completely destroyed by Allied bombs and he and his wife live in a tiny hut. At the end of the war the students build a lovely spacious house with a garden made up entirely of a "donut" shaped pool in which carp the sensei fancifully describes as "giant" can swim around endlessly.

Many of the scenes are Ozu-like in their quietude and use of a stationary camera as the sensei sits with his chief admirers and drinks and talks, usually with his wife sitting by to supply food and drink. But there is a large cast of characters and in the final annual birthday dinner women and children and grandchildren are now present. The drinking of a large stein of beer by the sensei before he performs the "Mahda kai?""Ma-da-da-yo!" ritual and gives his amusing speech is probably based on Germanic practices: Uchida taught German and must have studied in Germany.

The sensei's unflagging spirit and humor and his former students' equally unflagging devotion make for an inspiring and beautiful fantasy. It is a wise and pleasant dream, and Kurosawa's charming evocation of it speaks well of his final years.

The film was made in 1993, released in the US in 1998 when Kurosawa died, re-released in 2000. It is timeless, and any year is a good year to get to know it and chew over its many, many endearing passages.

24 of 27 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
This is one of the best movies I have ever seen. barrylyndon114
Is it a true story? mtkane209
Why do they all love him so much? cherold
Bergman Influence? buy_to_own
Swan Song ColeBot
Any connection with Ai no korîda (1976)? ciprianl
Discuss Madadayo (1993) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for: