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Women in Japanese Melodrama

Tokyo Twilight

Tokyo boshoku

Yasujiro Ozu’s melodrama deals with the tragic events facing two abandoned sisters.

Image from Tokyo Twilight

Japan 1957
Dir Yasujiro Ozu
With Setsuko Hara, Ineko Arima, Isuzu Yamada, Chishu Ryu, Haruko Sugimura, So Yamamura
English subtitles
Certificate PG

Long immortalised as Japan’s ‘eternal virgin,’ Setsuko Hara shows another side to her acting in Ozu’s unusually downcast and melodramatic masterwork, which spans teenage pregnancy, abortion and maternal abandonment. Hara plays Takako, the elder of two sisters abandoned by their mother (Yamada) as children. As she deals with her faltering marriage, her younger sister Akiko (Arima) falls into serious trouble.

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