The Makioka Sisters (1983) - Plot Summary Poster


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  • The orphaned Makioka sisters look for a husband for their third sister, Yukiko, as the rebellious youngest sister, Taeko, is kept waiting her turn.

  • This sensuously beautiful film chronicles the activities of four sisters who gather in Kyoto every year to view the cherry blossoms. It paints a vivid portrait of the pre-war lifestyle of the wealthy Makioka family from Osaka, and draws a parallel between their activities and the seasonal variations in Japan.

  • 1938 Japan. In descending order of age, Tsuruko, Sachiko, Yukiko and Taeko, whose parents have long since passed, are the adult Makioka sisters, of the well-off merchant class family of Osaka. They largely live off their inheritance, which is dwindling as the generations' old family business was sold several years earlier, a decision made by Tsuruko's husband, Tatsuo. Tsuruko and Tatsuo still live in Osaka, while Sachiko and her husband, Teinosuke, live in nearby Ashiya. Unmarried Yukiko and Taeko used to live with Tsuruko and Tatsuo up until five years ago when a series of related incidents led to a collective decision for them to live with Sachiko and Teinosuke instead. Those series of incidents, which affected the entire family in different ways and their interrelationships, started when then nineteen year old Taeko was hauled off to the police station with her then twenty year old boyfriend, Okuhata, an irresponsible young man from another well known Osaka merchant family, for trying to elope. The newspaper picked up the story, with them using Yukiko's name instead of Taeko's. Tatsuo made the unilateral decision to urge the newspaper to print a retraction, while other family members wished he had just let the story die on its own. Regardless of this series of incidents and they no longer owning the family business, the Makioka name still wields influence, the reason that both Tatsuo and Teinosuke have taken the name as their own. Tsuruko is the de facto head of the family as the oldest, she who allocates Yukiko and Taeko's monthly allowances and controls Yukiko and Taeko's dowries, and thus controls to some extent who they will end up marrying. For appearance sake and maintaining what is considered proper, Yukiko, now thirty, must get married before Taeko. Yukiko is the reserved sister whose only sense of power in her life is having some say in who she will or will not marry. Taeko is the independent minded one, who, although wants to get married, sees her doll-making as a way to earn money and thus keep some sense of that independence, not being defined by the Makioka name, the Makioka money, her husband or what he does. As potential husbands for both Yukiko and Taeko come and go, the latter's suitors who still include Okuhata, who has grown more irresponsible and possessive over time, the process of marrying off Yukiko then Taeko continues to affect the family dynamic, as Japan enters into a new era with intensification of the Sino-Japanese War.

  • About four sisters who have taken on their family's kimono business in the pre-War years. The two oldest have been married for some time, but according to tradition, the rebellious youngest sister cannot wed until the third finds a husband.


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