Down 174 this week

Japanese Story (2003)

R  |   |  Drama, Romance  |  25 September 2003 (Australia)
Your rating:
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 -/10 X  
Ratings: 6.7/10 from 5,484 users   Metascore: 73/100
Reviews: 125 user | 66 critic | 32 from

Against the background of an Australian desert, Sandy, a geologist, and Hiromitsu, a Japanese businessman, play out a story of human inconsequence in the face of the blistering universe. ... See full summary »



0Check in

Fall TV: 15 Returning TV Shows Worth Binge Watching

Which returning shows do we recommend binging on? We've picked out 15 great options for you. Read this and more lists in our Fall TV section.

Read our list

User Lists

Related lists from IMDb users

a list of 43 titles
created 18 Mar 2012
a list of 28 titles
created 26 Jun 2012
a list of 25 titles
created 28 Dec 2012
a list of 43 titles
created 18 Jan 2013
a list of 44 titles
created 14 Aug 2013

Related Items

Search for "Japanese Story" on

Connect with IMDb

Share this Rating

Title: Japanese Story (2003)

Japanese Story (2003) on IMDb 6.7/10

Want to share IMDb's rating on your own site? Use the HTML below.

Take The Quiz!

Test your knowledge of Japanese Story.

User Polls

20 wins & 12 nominations. See more awards »
Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Road to Nhill (1997)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

One of three cars carrying lady bowls players is overdue. Unsure about which car, who the occupants might have been, or what might have happened to them, the locals embark on a chaotic ... See full summary »

Director: Sue Brooks
Stars: Tony Barry, Vikki Blanche, Paul Chubb
Comedy | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

Muriel finds life in Porpoise Spit, Australia dull and spends her days alone in her room listening to Abba music and dreaming of her wedding day. Slight problem, Muriel has never had a date... See full summary »

Director: P.J. Hogan
Stars: Toni Collette, Rachel Griffiths, Bill Hunter
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

All Thomas wants is a normal adolescence but his autistic brother, Charlie, thwarts his every opportunity. Will Thomas, with the help of his girlfriend, Jackie, accept his brother?

Director: Elissa Down
Stars: Rhys Wakefield, Luke Ford, Toni Collette
Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  

A coming-of-age story about a 13-year-old girl trying to fit into both a posh private school and an ordinary public school.

Director: Cathy Randall
Stars: Danielle Catanzariti, Cassandra Jinman, Talia Monaghan
Mental (2012)
Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.1/10 X  

A charismatic, crazy hothead transforms a family's life when she becomes the nanny of five girls whose mother has cracked from her husband's political ambitions and his infidelity.

Director: P.J. Hogan
Stars: Toni Collette, Anthony LaPaglia, Liev Schreiber
The Boys (1998)
Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

Brett Sprague is a violent and psychopathic man, who is released on parole after serving a sentence for assault. As he returns to his family house and we watch him and his brothers, Stevie ... See full summary »

Director: Rowan Woods
Stars: David Wenham, Toni Collette, Lynette Curran
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

For forty years Lilian Singer has been locked up in a 'loony bin' by her father. Her release is eventually secured by her eccentric Aunt Kitty and her brother, John. Lilian starts to carve ... See full summary »

Director: Jerzy Domaradzki
Stars: Ruth Cracknell, Barry Otto, Toni Collette
Kenny (2006)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

From the biggest festival to the smallest church social, Kenny Smyth delivers porta-loos to them all. Ignored and unappreciated, he is one of the cogs in society's machinery; a knight in ... See full summary »

Director: Clayton Jacobson
Stars: Shane Jacobson, Travis Golland, Chris Davis
Adventure | Biography | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

In 1931, three aboriginal girls escape after being plucked from their homes to be trained as domestic staff and set off on a trek across the Outback.

Director: Phillip Noyce
Stars: Everlyn Sampi, Tianna Sansbury, Kenneth Branagh
Subdivision (2009)
Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.6/10 X  

Based on the change a rapidly growing town faces when southern developers take over.

Director: Sue Brooks
Stars: Gary Sweet, Steve Bisley, Bruce Spence
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.2/10 X  
Director: Sue Brooks
Stars: Jennieka Chattelle, Rhett Clarke, Korum Ellis
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 -/10 X  
Director: Sue Brooks


Cast overview, first billed only:
Gotaro Tsunashima ...
Matthew Dyktynski ...
Lynette Curran ...
Yumiko Tanaka ...
Reg Evans ...
George Shevtsov ...
Igor Sas ...
Phil Bennett ...
Heath Bergersen ...


Against the background of an Australian desert, Sandy, a geologist, and Hiromitsu, a Japanese businessman, play out a story of human inconsequence in the face of the blistering universe. The end of the journey leaves no one capable of going back to where they started from. Written by Anonymous

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Drama | Romance

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for some sexuality and language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:






Release Date:

25 September 2003 (Australia)  »

Also Known As:

Uma História Japonesa de Amor  »

Box Office


$5,740,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$94,642 (Australia) (19 September 2003)


$5,860 (Hong Kong) (8 October 2004)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


| (TV)

Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?

Crazy Credits

Our thanks to the people of Nyamal, Ngarluma, Yinjibarndi, Bunjima and Nyiparli Nations. See more »


Chinsagu No Hana
Traditional song
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

It's true, it is Toni Collette's best role - a convincing lead performance. Director Brooks and writer Tilson delivered a perceptive Australian-Japanese story.
1 February 2004 | by (sf, usa) – See all my reviews

I don't know what to expect when I went to see "Japanese Story" - I didn't read any review other than hearing Toni Collette did a terrific job and the trailer is interesting. I sensed that the element of 'death' could be part of the theme/plot as I noted at a beginning scene where Sandy (Collette's character) was sitting down reading papers in her Mum's kitchen and her Mum casually remarked that death is part of life. A brief notion and director Sue Brooks continues on letting us follow Sandy around: at her office, we see her modern geological double-monitor workstation; we hear her frustrated exchange with male business partner on 'dumping' her the task of handling business client arriving from Japan. We follow her home still vexed at the agonizing thought of accompanying a Japanese client - meanwhile we're shown how matter of fact she goes about getting her chow down, with new age gadgets like a self-rotating can opener. The screen cuts to a small airfield. We see an Oriental man (Gotaro Tsunashima) in suits steps off a plane. The air about him is detached. The contrast is felt when Collette arrives in a hurry, disheveled appearance and in casual slacks. So the journey of this odd pair begins. A fascinating one at that.

It may not be apparent immediately that you'd be experiencing an emotional ride. But I found the pace just right - right there in the outback environment with the two of them, day, night, very hot, shivering cold, sweating, digging. There's a certain atmosphere to the film - can't quite label it but definitely Australian geographical-oriented - land, nature and people. Thrown into the mix is the Japanese culture for added spice, thoughtfully put together. Hence the joy, jumping for joy, laughter, joking, gentleness, intimacy, we'd understand. The turn of events edifies how unexpected life can be - the yin and yang, the ecstasy and sadness, just at the change of a moment, a motion…stunned, numb. The mystery of life and death is utterly incomprehensible by man. The focus is not on grief or state of shock, nor simply on cultural differences, the aim seems further: it almost culminates in the words about the joy given to him, the chance to appreciate the vastness of the space (desert), and being able to open his heart.

The two Japanese roles were well cast: Gotaro Tsunashima as Hiro performed pitch perfect. The role of the wife by Yumiko Tanaka, though brief, is important to complement Collette's role. Both gave just the right dose and tempo to the characters.

The Australian landscape is simple yet breathtaking. Cinematographer Ian Baker and film editor Jill Bicock are both from Australia and had worked together on "IQ" 1994 and "A Cry in the Dark" 1988. Music by Elizabeth Drake and casting by Dina Mann both are former collaborators with the team of Brooks, Tilson and producer Sue Maslin in 1997 ("Road to Nhill").

The film reminds me of w-d Friðriksson's "Cold Fever" (1995) and w-d Clara Law's "The Goddess of 1967" (2000). The former is a road movie of a young Japanese businessman traveling to Iceland to observe tradition and honor his dead parents; the latter is an Australian made film with outback landscapes and an intriguing non-conforming story.

Kudos to Alison Tilson who has written an insightful script, and Sue Brooks who has confidently directed this film made in "forty days and forty nights in the desert." Production by Gecko Films, Australia, and distribution by Samuel Goldwyn Films, U.S., "Japanese Story" is a thought-provoking film to experience.

18 of 23 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
What was the deal with the pants? imdb-5073
Bad movie vbagusau-1
Misrepresentation of Japanese culture trobb
What the...? lunarcrystal07
Death hlieboff59
how did hero die?????? vansgurrl
Discuss Japanese Story (2003) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page