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April Story (1998)

Shigatsu monogatari (original title)
In spring, a girl leaves the island of Hokkaido to attend university in Tokyo. Once there, she's very lonely and finds out people aren't anywhere near as friendly like she'd hoped.



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Nireno, Uzuki
Seiichi Tanabe ...
Kaori Fujii ...
Kitao, Teruko
Rumi ...
Saeko Sono
Kazuhiko Kato ...
Ken Mitsuishi ...
Salaryman Fu no Otoko
Yôsuke Eguchi ...
Tatsuya Ishii ...
Akechi Mitsuhide
Masatô Ibu ...
Saito Toshizo
Yoshiro Matsumoto ...
Noriko Fujima ...
Somegorô Ichikawa ...
Kio Matsumoto ...
Sansei Shiomi ...
Tsunekazu Umeda ...


In spring, a girl leaves the island of Hokkaido to attend university in Tokyo. Once there, she's very lonely and finds out people aren't anywhere near as friendly like she'd hoped. Written by davidrf

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis




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Release Date:

14 March 1998 (Japan)  »

Also Known As:

April Story  »

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Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?


In the opening scene, the family who are seeing off Takako Matsu's character are the actress' real family. They include her father Koshiro Matsumoto, a film and kabuki actor; mother Noriko Matsumoto, a former actress; brother Ichikawa Zengoro VII, a kabuki actor and her elder sister Kiyo Matsumoto. See more »


References A River Runs Through It (1992) See more »


Music by Johannes Brahms
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User Reviews

Filled with the subtle meanings that help us grow.
30 September 2007 | by (Vancouver, B.C.) – See all my reviews

For those who can remember or those who have yet to discover, the first few weeks at college away from home can be the most unsettling, scary, and challenging time of our life, yet few films have chosen to dramatize this commonly shared experience, preferring instead to dwell on outrageous varieties of anti-social behavior. In April Story, a 1998 film, Shunji Iwai continues his sensitive interpretations of the difficulties young people face in stepping gingerly into the adult world. This 68-minute film has little plot and no big events, only the small struggles of daily life that are filled with the subtle meanings that help us grow.

Set amidst the blossoming of the spring flowers in Japan that signal the start of the new Japanese school year, April Story, aided by a solo piano and the beautiful cinematography of Shinoda Noboru, has a calming and meditative effect. For the shy and innocent Uzuki Noreno (Takako Matsu), however, coming to Musashino University in Tokyo from rural Hokkaido may be the psychological equivalent of landing on the moon. In the first week alone, she faces the not too delicate questioning of fellow students about her background and why she came to college, the loneliness of being away from home for the first time, and the confusing time of signing up for classes and studying such strange topics as Investment in the Japanese Economy and Cultural Anthropology.

Although withdrawn, Uzuki is adventurous enough to join a Fly-Fishing Club at the urging of her only friend Saeko Sano (Rumi), but is embarrassed when she confuses one Brad Pitt movie for another in a discussion with the group leader. One of the loveliest scenes takes place when the newly recruited club members stand in an open field and cast their fishing rods rhythmically into the air. Uzuki's exploration of her surroundings brings daily trips to the local bookstore (where she is intrigued by a bushy-haired young clerk), an encounter with a harassing gentleman in a movie theater, and the inviting sounds of a street band. Fearfully, she reaches out to her neighbors but achieves little result. It is only late in the film that the real reason for her attending this particular university emerges and in a heavy spring rain that paints the city with a refreshing glow, the magic of first love begins to unfold.

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