32 user 50 critic

The Naked Island (1960)

Hadaka no shima (original title)
Not Rated | | Drama | 10 September 1962 (USA)
A family of four are the sole inhabitants of a small island, where they struggle each day to irrigate their crops.


Kaneto Shindô


Kaneto Shindô
Nominated for 1 BAFTA Film Award. Another 3 wins. See more awards »




Cast overview:
Nobuko Otowa ... Toyo, the mother
Taiji Tonoyama ... Senta, the father
Shinji Tanaka Shinji Tanaka ... Tarô - the elder son
Masanori Horimoto Masanori Horimoto ... Jirô - the younger son


Deals with the intolerably hard life of a family of four, the only inhabitants of a very small Japanese island in the Setonaikai archipelago. Several times a day they row over to the neighboring island to fetch water for their miserable fields. Written by Michael Jurich <jurich@rummelplatz.uni-mannheim.de>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis




Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »

Did You Know?


This film is part of the Criterion Collection, spine #811. See more »


Referenced in Quién te cantará (2018) See more »

User Reviews

Beautiful, moving and brutal
26 September 2011 | by tomgillespie2002See all my reviews

On a tiny island in the Seto Inland Sea, a small family consisting of husband, wife, and two sons, struggle to get by. They are the island's sole inhabitants, and spend their days fetching water from the mainland and carrying up the steep hill in order to water their crops. One day when the mother and father are away from the island, one of the sons falls ill, and the father races to get help. Their lives are all portrayed in painstaking detail, and the film contains no dialogue whatsoever. The film is directed by Kaneto Shindo, who directed the two brilliant Japanese New Wave horror films, Kuraneko and Onibaba, the only two other films of his I've seen.

This is a break in style and subject for Shindo. The two aforementioned horror films were similarly slow and detailed, but The Naked Island contains no action or atmosphere, but certainly shares their beauty. This is a film that shows how far humanity can be pushed in order to merely get by. The climax of the film (and I don't feel I'm ruining anything by revealing it, the story is not important) has their ill son dying, as his father and the doctor arrive too late. After the funeral, they are forced back to work. The mother, needing to grieve, throws down the water and screams into the ground, as the father watches helpless. Afterwards, she gets up, and methodically resumes watering.

Shindo tackles a universal subject with the neglect of the working class. Filmed with no dialogue, it emphasises their facial expressions and body movements in a way the silent era did, and forces the audience to live through the work they do, every step at a time. The director said he wanted to "capture the life of human beings struggling like ants against the forces of nature," and he certainly does that. The film is slow, and focuses a lot of time on the struggle of carrying the water up the hillside. Yet it's filmed with such elegance, it only hammers their struggle home. This is a beautiful and moving film, that is almost brutal in its relentlessness.


10 of 11 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 32 user reviews »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.






Release Date:

10 September 1962 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Naked Island See more »


Box Office

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Kindai Eiga Kyokai See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »

Contribute to This Page

Recently Viewed