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Tokyo, Osaka, and Onomichi

The locations of TOKYO MONOGATARI (Tokyo Story)

 directed by Ozu Yasjiro, 1953.                                      

                                   an essay on this film (Korean) 

Osaka Castle

It is a poignant story of an elderly Japanese couple, Shyukichi and Tomi, who travel from their small  hometown to Tokyo to visit their grown children, but are greeted with indifference and rudeness by them under the pretense of busy modern urban lives. In contrast, the old couple are treated warmly by their second daughter-in-law, Noriko, who lost her husband during war. The deep emotional connection between the two generations is implied by an article of Tomi which is handed to Noriko by Shyukichi after Tomi's death. The film offers a meditation on solitude, alienation and mortality, especially related to the modernized urban everyday life, from a noted director, Ozu Yasujiro.   

Ozu Yasujiro (1903~1963) is one of the representative Japanese directors and is said to have shown the  technique called Dadami shot, which views scenes from lower eye level sitting on the floor mat of Japanese house; dadami. He had not been known to the world outside Japan before Tokyo Story, one of his representative works, brought him worldwide fame.

Tokyo Story is not a narrative film. The axes of actions, which have been kept in classical films so well, are not fixed there. In this aspect, it is far from being classical. The shots reveal the spaces themselves, rather than narrate the sequential events. Also, the scenes of urban landscapes are adopted as the isolated transitional shots, which are not directly related with following scenes. They only imply the spatial and temporal contexts of the story.

In this film,  Ozu does not follow one of the most important principles of film editing, the continuity editing, which has been considered essential to the narrative story. Tokyo Story's space and time as aesthetic factors basically due to the break from the continuity principle which controls time and space in film. The space and time of Tokyo Story do not simply serve the clear narration any more. They themselves make the core of film.