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Shall We Dance? (1996)
"Shall we dansu?" (original title)

PG  |   |  Comedy, Drama, Music  |  11 July 1997 (USA)
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Ratings: 7.8/10 from 9,029 users   Metascore: 68/100
Reviews: 95 user | 81 critic | 18 from

A successful but unhappy Japanese accountant finds the missing passion in his life when he begins to secretly take ballroom dance lessons.



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Tamiyo Kusakari ...
Mai Kishikawa
Tomio Aoki
Eri Watanabe ...
Toyoko Takahashi (as Eriko Watanabe)
Yu Tokui ...
Tokichi Hattori
Hiromasa Taguchi ...
Masahiro Tanaka
Reiko Kusamura ...
Tamako Tamura
Hideko Hara ...
Masako Sugiyama
Hiroshi Miyasaka ...
Kunihiko Ida ...
Teiji Kaneko
Amie Toujou ...
Hisako Honda
Ayano Nakamura ...
Chikage Sugiyama
Katsunari Mineno ...
Tomiko Ishii ...
Haruko Haraguchi
Maki Kawamura ...
Eiko Miyoshi


Shohei Sugiyama has attained all that he has wanted in life. But he is still depressed and unhappy. One day, he gathers up the courage to sign up for dancing lessons. He hopes they will rid his depression and help him get his life back together. Written by Robert Krzanowski <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


He's an overworked accountant. She's an accomplished dancer. Passion is about to find two unlikely partners.


Comedy | Drama | Music | Romance

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG for mild language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:



Official Sites:



Release Date:

11 July 1997 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Shall We Dance?  »

Box Office

Opening Weekend:

$88,106 (USA) (11 July 1997)


£28,684 (UK) (8 May 1998)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


| (USA) (cut)

Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


In the first scene, a man's shoe in close-up plunges into a black pool in the street. This symbolizes the world renowned Ballroom Dancing Competition in Blackpool, England, referenced later in the film. See more »


Tamako Tamura: Dance is more than the steps. Feel the music and dance for sheer joy.
See more »


Referenced in Be Kind Rewind (2008) See more »


Save the Last Dance for Me
Written by Mort Shuman and Doc Pomus
Performed by The Drifters
See more »

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User Reviews

A pleasing experience
11 October 2004 | by (Hong Kong) – See all my reviews

I was so surprised when I saw this film so much underrated... I understand why some of you dislike this movie. Its pace is slow, a characteristic of Japanese films. Nevertheless, if you are absorbed in the film like me, you will find this not a problem at all.

I must say this is the best comedy I have ever seen. "Shall We Dansu?" is often considered a masterpiece of Japanese comedies. It is very different from Hollywood ones, e.g. Austin Powers or Scary Movies, in which a gag is guaranteed in every couple of minutes. Rather, it is light-hearted, a movie that makes you feel good.

I love the movie because it makes me feel "real". The plot is straightforward yet pleasing. I was so delighted seeing that Sugiyama (the main role) has found the meaning of life in dancing. Before I watched the film I was slightly depressed due to heavy schoolwork. I felt lost. However, this film made me think of the bright side of life. I believed I was in the same boat of Sugiyama; if he could find himself in his hobby, why couldn't I? It reminded me of "exploring my own future" and discovering the happiness in my daily life.

It is important to note that the actors are not professional dancers. While some of you may find the dancing scenes not as perfect as you expect, I kinda like it as it makes me feel that the characters are really "alive", learning to dance as the film goes on.

Over all, this film is encouraging and heart-warming. As a comedy, it does its job perfectly. It definitely deserves 10 stars.

And yes Aoki is funny :-D

40 of 43 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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