25 user 17 critic

The Sea Is Watching (2002)

Umi wa miteita (original title)
1:37 | Trailer

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19th century. Oshin is a prostitute in a brothel of a red-light district. A disgraced samurai, Fusanosuke, rushes in the brothel seeking for a refuge, because he had wounded a powerful ... See full summary »



(screenplay), (original screenplay) | 1 more credit »
1 nomination. See more awards »


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Cast overview, first billed only:
Nagiko Tôno ...
Hidetaka Yoshioka ...
Miho Tsumiki ...
Michiko Kawai ...
Yumiko Nogawa ...
Tenshi Kamogawa ...
Yukiya Kitamura ...
Takayuki Katô
Kumiko Tsuchiya ...
Rikiya Ôtaka ...
Renji Ishibashi ...
Eiji Okuda ...
Teru Satô


19th century. Oshin is a prostitute in a brothel of a red-light district. A disgraced samurai, Fusanosuke, rushes in the brothel seeking for a refuge, because he had wounded a powerful samurai. Oshin hides him from the authorities and falls in love with him, against an older prostitute's, Kikuno's, misgiving. Fusanosuke advises Oshin to cleanse herself by giving up her line of work. Believing falsely that this is a promise for marriage, she turns her customers over to the other prostitutes, who are happy to help her. Funasukoke leaves to be reconciled to his family, but, when he returns, he reveals that he is engaged and is going to marry his fiancé. Some time later a desperate itinerant, Ryosuke, appears and Oshin falls in love again. Meanwhile, an older man asks Kikuno to buy her contract and marry her, but she is entangled with an old abusive customer of hers. One night, while the madam of the brothel is away to thermal baths, a storm hits the area and everybody tries to flee. ... Written by Alkistis Zografou

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Romance | Drama

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for some sexuality | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

27 July 2002 (Japan)  »

Also Known As:

The Sea Is Watching  »


Box Office

Opening Weekend:

$161,588 (Japan), 9 August 2002, Limited Release
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

, ,  »
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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?


The literal translation of the title is "The Sea Was Watching". See more »

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User Reviews

A sweet and authentic film
9 November 2004 | by See all my reviews

Contrary to some people's summaries, the women depicted in the film are not geisha. They are oiran (prostitutes) living outside the most famous pleasure districts, and their lives and experiences represent the lives of a great number of Tokugawa era women. I can't say the stories were particularly enlightening, but their charm lies in just how typical they are. The themes are universal and everyday: love, friendship, and sacrifice.

I did greatly enjoy the art direction and the acting. I felt like I was getting a glimpse of a time and place I can never otherwise glimpse. The actors, especially the 4 women who played the main oiran, were a thrill to watch. I'd only recommend this movie to people who want a taste of Japanese culture, or to those who enjoy quiet and emotional stories. It's a great example of both.

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