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The Only Son (1936)

Hitori musuko (original title)
Not Rated | | Drama | 1 April 1987 (USA)
A widow sends her only son away to receive a better education. Years later, she visits him, finding him a poor school teacher with a wife and son.

Director:

Yasujirô Ozu

Writers:

Yasujirô Ozu (short story) (as James Maki), Tadao Ikeda (adaptation) | 1 more credit »
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Cast

Credited cast:
Chôko Iida ... Tsune Nonomiya (O-Tsune)
Shin'ichi Himori ... Ryosuke Nonomiya
Masao Hayama ... Ryosuke Nonomiya, as child
Yoshiko Tsubouchi ... Sugiko
Mitsuko Yoshikawa ... O-Taka
Chishû Ryû ... Professor Ookubo
Tomoko Naniwa Tomoko Naniwa ... Ookubo's wife
Kiyoshi Aono Kiyoshi Aono ... Matsumura, old man
Jun Yokoyama Jun Yokoyama ... Okubo's son (as Bakudan Kozô)
Eiko Takamatsu Eiko Takamatsu ... Jokou
Seiichi Katô Seiichi Katô ... Kinjo no ko (as Seiichi Kato)
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Tomio Aoki Tomio Aoki ... Tomibo (as Tokkan Kozô)
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Storyline

In 1923, in the province of Shinshu, the widow and simple worker of a silk factory Tsune Nonomiya (O-Tsune) decides to send her only son to Tokyo for having a better education. Thirteen years later, she visits her son Ryosuke Nonomiya (Shinichi Himori), and finds that he is a poor and frustrated night-school teacher with a wife, Sugiko (Yoshiko Tsubouchi), and a baby boy. Written by Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Drama

Certificate:

Not Rated
Edit

Details

Country:

Japan

Language:

Japanese

Release Date:

1 April 1987 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Only Son See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Shochiku See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The film is included on Roger Ebert's "Great Movies" list. See more »

Connections

Referenced in I Lived, But... (1983) See more »

Soundtracks

Old Black Joe
Written by Stephen Foster
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User Reviews

Pathos and internal conflict at root of human experience
15 November 2012 | by bobsgrockSee all my reviews

While having the privileged importance of being great director Yasujiro Ozu's first sound film, The Only Son also remains important for its emergence as the first truly "Ozu" work, in the sense that the very particular cinematic and thematic elements which make up what he is best known for coalesce together in a thoroughly emotional experience.

The story is simple enough, as Ozu usually tells. A widow attempts to save enough money for her son to go to college in Tokyo. She visits him years later, only to discover that he is not living the kind of sophisticated, well-off life she believed he would lead as a result of a college degree. What Ozu does with these characters is astonishing; he shows them in the most serene and simple of situations and settings yet uses his unique directing style to elicit subtle feelings and thoughts simmering just below the surface.

What this seems to suggest is Ozu's feelings regarding Japan in the 1930s, a tumultuous period in which the age of modernization seemed to be waning and Japanese society continued to be pressured into a militaristic hegemony. Clearly, Ozu resisted these transitions and his best offense was the films he made. The result is a quiet, gentle yet intense story about simple people wishing their lives, or the lives of their children, were better than they are. Through this, Ozu seems to reflect on the failure of Japanese innovation up to that point and the uncertainty of what the future might bring. Fortunately for the viewer, his specific style and insight remain as coherent and profound as ever.


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