Directed by Yoji Yamada
Starring Kiyoshi Atsumi, Chieko Baisho and Junko Ikeuchi
Japan, 1971, 113 min, 35mm, color
Following the clumsy yet lovable character of Tora-san as he stumbles across fun and mischief throughout Japan, Best of Tora-san celebrates the 40th anniversary of the first Tora-san film and the 80th anniversary of star Kiyoshi Atsumi’s birth.
The next film in the Best of Tora-san series will be Tora-san's Love Call on Friday, January 23, 7:30 pm at Japan Society, 333 East 47th Street (between 1st and 2nd Avenues, New York NY. Order tickets here.
Synopsis: After Tora-san attends the funeral of his sister’s mother-in-law in Okayama, he overstays his welcome and becomes inspired by the stories and wise words of the widower. Returning to Shimabata with dreams of starting a family, Tora-san falls in love with a lovely coffee shop owner Takako and befriends her young son.
Series Overview: The Tora-san series chronicles the life of an unruly vagabond traveling through Japan with mostly the same characters and actors, following his gangly adventures and budding new love interests ("The Madonna") in each film. In an age when cool yakuza superstars such as Ken Takakura and Yujiro Ishihara dominated the screen, actor Kiyoshi Atsumi as Tora-san emerged in 1969 as Japan's comic anti-hero, and remained the country's beloved icon for over 25 years.
Over the years, Tora-san came to embody an old, distant world, humorously winning over vast audiences nostalgic for simpler times. To date, over 80 million people have seen Tora-san in theaters in Japan. Yoji Yamada wrote and directed all but two of the 48 films.
The remaining episodes after Tora-san's Love Call will be:
Tora-san's Dear Old Home (Episode 9 - Otoko wa tsuraiyo: Shibamata bojo, 1972), February 13
Tora-san's Dream Come True (Episode 10 - Otoko wa tsuraiyo: Torajiro Yumemakura, 1972), March 13
Hearts and Flowers for Tora-san (Episode 29 - Otoko wa tsuraiyo: Torajiro Ajisai no koi, 1982), April 17
Tora-san, My Uncle (Episode 42 - Otoko wa tsuraiyo: Boku no ojisan, 1989), May 22.
All films are in Japanese with English subtitles.
Prints are courtesy of Shochiku Co., Ltd.