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Tracing "Tokyo Story" (「東京物語」)

Updated: May 2, 2023

I can't help but wonder if it was a coincidence. In November last year, we visited Ozu Yasujirō (小津 安二郎)'s summer house in Tateshina, where he created art, savored o-sake, and strolled through nature.


Later, we watched "Tokyo Story" (「東京物語」, 1953). Ozu Yasujirō's filmmaking style sets a thoughtful mood, drawing viewers into the story. The film touchingly shows the differences between older parents and their grown-up children, revealing the struggle between old values and modern life. It shows how difficult life is in post-war Tokyo and the different dilemmas everybody feels in coping with the reality. Setsuko Hara is magical. No wonder she is said to be the inspiration for Millennium Actress (千年女優), a 2001 Japanese animated drama film co-written and directed by late Satoshi Kon (今 敏).


Yesterday, with a free Sunday in Hiroshima, I sought a day trip destination and remembered Onomichi (尾道).


The journey from Hiroshima Station to Onomichi was enjoyable, partially aboard the shinkansen. Onomichi offers stunning views of Shikoku and the Seto Inland Sea, along with numerous temples, nostalgic cafes, and restaurants.


To my delight, I discovered metal plates featuring the main characters from the iconic masterpiece. Setsuko Hara and Chishū Ryū must have briefly visited the town for filming.


The experience connected Tateshina and Onomichi. I hope to return to Onomichi and visit the Onomichi Motion Picture Museum to learn more about the making of "Tokyo Story."

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