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It's a Beautiful Life: Irodori (2012)

Jinsei, irodori (original title)
Based on a true story of elderly women - three childhood friends - who at their old age put up a food garnish business at Tokushima Prefecture.


Osamu Minorikawa


Noriko Nishiguchi (screenplay)


Credited cast:
Kazuko Yoshiyuki Kazuko Yoshiyuki ... Kaoru tokumoto
Sumiko Fuji Sumiko Fuji ... Hanae ishimoto
Mie Nakao Mie Nakao ... Michiko ozeki
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Tatsuya Fuji ... Teruo tokumoto
Yûta Hiraoka ... Haruhiko eda
Yukijirô Hotaru Yukijirô Hotaru ... Shigeru sugaya
Midoriko Kimura ... Bar master
Eri Murakawa Eri Murakawa ... Yuka ishidate
Ren Osugi ... Hariki (as Ren Ôsugi)
Shigeyuki Totsugi ... Teruyuki tokumoto
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Based on a true story of elderly women - three childhood friends - who at their old age put up a food garnish business at Tokushima Prefecture.

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User Reviews

Formulaic? You bet--from beginning to end. ...but, it actually happened.
4 October 2017 | by KFLSee all my reviews

Well, I expect it more or less happened as in this movie. I'm sure there was some embellishment here and there.

Three elderly ladies in the remote Japanese prefecture of Tokushima decide to start a business harvesting and selling...leaves. Leaves from various trees, arranged decoratively to accent and enhance traditional Japanese cuisine. Anyone who has had even the simplest traditional sushi lunch will be familiar with the basic idea.

Tokushima is one of the most remote and resolutely rural of Japan's 47 prefectures. Snuggled into a corner of Shikoku, the smallest of the four main islands, Tokushima prefecture is a little larger than Rhode Island in size, but home to fewer than 750,000, according to the latest census. And here as elsewhere in Japan, the rural population continues to fall, as residents pull up stakes and head for the cities, unable to find a way to make ends meet in what would otherwise be a wonderful place to live--the natural scenery is stunning. This is emphasized in the very first scene of the movie, as neighbors with all their belongings crammed into a truck stop to say a brief goodbye on their way, we presume, to a nearby city and something more nearly like a livable wage.

But these three old friends--one home temporarily to visit her mother--hit upon one possible business plan, mentioned above.

A shrewd viewer could guess much of the arc of the story, with some leeway for the particular nature of the obstacles the women will have to overcome. But this is based on an actual success story, and as the credits roll we are shown photos of what appear to be the actual principals. We are told that their business now has an annual turnover of some 260 million yen (US $2.3 million, at the current exchange rate). Not too shabby for an outfit run by septuagenarians in the boondocks.

The spoken Japanese is all in Tokushima dialect; I had a hard time following it. An extra on the DVD shows a dialect specialist teaching the actors how to pronounce their lines properly.

Despite its predictability, this film may be worth your time for the uplifting story, for the moral about finding new ways to live and work in a place you love, for the truly spectacular scenery, and for occasional humorous or moving interludes. However, I am unaware of the availability of an English subbed or dubbed version.

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Release Date:

15 September 2012 (Japan) See more »

Also Known As:

It's a Beautiful Life: Irodori See more »

Filming Locations:

Shikoku, Japan See more »

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