Memories of Matsuko

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Memories of Matsuko
Memories of Matsuko poster.jpg
Japanese film poster
Directed byTetsuya Nakashima
Produced by
  • Yuji Ishida
  • Hidemi Satami[1]
Screenplay byTetsuya Nakashima[1]
Based onA novel
by Muneki Yamada[1]
Music byGabriele Roberto[1]
CinematographyMasakazu Ato[1]
Edited byYoshiyuki Koike[1]
  • Amuse Soft Entertainment
  • Kiraware Matusko no issho
  • Tokyo Broadcasting Committee
Distributed byToho
Release date
  • 27 May 2006 (2006-05-27)
Running time
130 minutes[1]
Box office$9,578,449[2]

Memories of Matsuko (嫌われ松子の一生, Kiraware Matsuko no Isshō, "Life of despised Matsuko") is a 2006 Japanese musical film written and directed by Tetsuya Nakashima. It is based on a Japanese novel by Muneki Yamada.

It has not yet received North American distribution, though in its North American premiere at the 2007 New York Asian Film Festival, the film received the Audience Award with an average rating of 9.2[3]


The story begins with Sho's girlfriend breaking up with him who reasons her decision that he is a bore. Devastated and trying to cope with the situation he is sleeping at home when he is suddenly waken up by his father who is giving him a surprise visit while carrying an urn of ashes of Sho's aunt Matsuko with him. Unbeknownst to Sho his father had another sister, he is being asked to clean up the apartment of her. While cleaning up piles of trash he gradually learns more about the life of his deceased aunt Matsuko.

About Matsuko's earlier life, she had a troubled childhood when she struggled to gain the attention of her father because Matsuko's father's affection was mostly dominated by her chronically ill sister, Kumi, which created an imbalanced rivalry where Matsuko's needs were less likely to be met.

In the 1970 - 1971, Matsuko was a 23 year-old popular junior high school music teacher in Ōkawa, Fukuoka. However, she was sexual harassment by vice-principal when one of her students, Ryu, committed a theft for stealing money from the resthouse that they stay during a school's vacation, Matsuko took the blame for him by stealing another person's money to helping him but then he lied to the vice-principal, this had terrible consequences for her life as she was fired from her job. Furious by the vice-principal's decision, Matsuko return home angrily packing her stuff to leave, despite Kumi try to stop her and was almost got killed by suffocation.

Few months later, Matsuko's brother, Norio, accidentally met her and Matsuko tell him that she in a relationship with Tetsuya, an unknown manga-writer who always abuse her for money, and she can't get her job as a prostitute. Norio later blame her for destroy the family and give her some money while tell her that Matsuko's father haddied 3-months after she left. Return home, Tetsuya began to abuse her when she let Tetsuya's enemy, Okano, see his work and walk away until night, she receive a note write: "Please forgive me for being born". At a heavy-rain, she saw Tetsuya there at the road train, with a sorrow face and die at the train came through. She's devastated.

But in 6-months later, she is in love with Tetsuya's enemy, Okano. Everything went fine until one day, Matsuko show up at his house and his wife respond. After Okano's wife forcing him to confess, he begin to blame Matsuko and break up with her before telling her that she has a beautiful body and give her some money. Because of Okano's word before leaving, Matsuko go audition again for prostitute job and she got hired. A couple month later, Matsuko return home to see her father's diary and cried after she saw every last write of each day said: "No news from Matsuko". Kumi suddenly see her and try to hug her, but Matsuko push her away and ran back into the car.

At 26-year-old, she is in a relationship with Onodera, a fake-rich man who like young girls. When she ask him for her 6-month-paid, he give the money the other girl so she begin to fight him which led to the result of killing him.

Back at the present, Sho find out that his girlfriend will break up with him and she will be going to Uzbekistan to join the Japan Overseas Cooperation Volunteers. He also had a very stranged dream that a porn-star actress come and kidnap him, she later rewiew that her name is Megumi Sawamura, Matsuko's best friend and they know each other at prison.

Back at Matsuko's memory, after killing Onodera then she went to the train station to go to Tokyo. She want suicide at Tamagawa Aqueduct to reunited with Tetsuya, but she later met Keji Shimazu, a barber, and he later gave Matsuko a new haircut at his salon. They go make out that night and from that day, she became his assistant at the salon and Keji had swear with her that he will always love her despite her past. But in one day, the police came and capture her for Onodera's murder, she got 8-years in prison. When she was release, she find out that Keji has now married and had a son.

Back at the present, Megumi take Sho to dinner and tell him that she met Matsuko at a salon in Ginza where Matsuko worked, and they begin a friendship and alway hang out together. But at one night, they went drunking to Megumi's house and hearing Megumi's husband voice speak, Matsuko want to back to her home and lonely again at her birthday. Megumi also remind Sho about the time that Matsuko want to remove the friendship after she quit her job at the salon and have another relationship a with a violent people. And also the time that she saw Matsuko before her dead, she tried to talk to her but the only thing she could do is give her business card to Matsuko. Megumi told Sho that he must alway remember that Matsuko is still with him whenever he think about her. After taking Sho back to Matsuko's house, she gave him 3 of her lastest movie and a kiss in the limo. Back at home, a stranged man come in and try to ask Sho in attack. He want to know where is Matsuko and after knowing that Matsuko is dead, he blame himself and review his name is Ryu, Matsuko ex-student.

Back at Matsuko's memory, Ryu is now a yazuka and have see her at the salon. Matsuko later want him to take her home and she begin tell him everything has happened to her. Ryu was regret about his action has cause her life miserable because he is the one who stealing money and was because he is crazy in love with her. Matsuko forgive him about everything and they are now madly in love with each other. But in one day, Matsuko told Ryu that she has quit her job at the salon and she also tried stop him going back to be yazuka. After Megumi has try to stop her, she confess with Ryu that no matter what Ryu become, she will always love him. From that day on, she live for Ryu and got some several job to make money from Ryu's offer. But then one day, while Matsuko dreaming about having a family then Ryu call her told her to pack everything and go to the Wakaba hotel to meet him. he was covered in blood because he was gambling and losing money from the yazuka so they beat him. When Matsuko mention about starting a family, Ryu push her out and begin to call the police to save her while lied that he has kill her. At Ryu's time in prison, Matsuko still love him and always waiting for him while Ryu keep regretting about ruining her life again and want to leave her alone. As Matsuko is 40-year-old, Ryu was release from prison and Matsuko welcomed him but he punched her and ran away, leaving Matsuko lonely again. Ryu went to the church and begin to ask for forgiving.

Back at the present, Ryu was so regretting that he want to kill himself but the police arrive and Ryu say loud that he killed Matsuko and began the fight with the police. While one officer told Sho that they have capture the real Matsuko's murder and they just try to ask him some question. Sho began to call his dad, Norio, tell him everything and wish that he could see her one day. But Norio replied that he has met her before and he tell that when Sho was little, he met a woman who is sitting at the riverbank and didn't know that was Matsuko. Norio was there and begin to take her to the train station, while telling her that Kumi has passed away at last year's fall and her final word is: "Welcomed back, sister". After arriving, Norio told her that never come back. Sho then tell Norio that she rent a house near the river and always come to bank and cry. Which make Norio also cried too.

Back at Matsuko's memory, she is now rent a house near the river at Kita-Senju Station and live there for the rest of her life. She is now never believe in anyone and just eating and drinking day to day. Until one day, she saw on TV and begin to crush the Hikaru Genji leader, Kohji Uchiumi. She began to buy everything that has his face on, watching the live performance and writing fan-letter to him. But then one day, she was furious when Kohji didn't respond her.

At 51-year-old, she began to lose control of herself and begin to write "Please forgive me for being born" at the wall. In July 9 2001, at 53-year-old, she went to the hospital to get the medicine, Megumi saw her try to talk to her but she refused. Soon Megumi told her that her is looking for someone to do hairstylish and give her the business card. Matsuko is sitting at the riverbank, refuse Megumi's offer. But when she had a dream that she is cutting Kumi's hair to make it tidy, she woke up and went back to the riverbank to find Megumi's business card. A gang of junior high school students who is playing outside suddenly one of them accidentally hit a can on her, Matsuko told them to go back home but when she turn a round, one of the kid hit her in the head and the rest of them beating her to dead.

Later on, a light appear in front of Matsuko and her soul is travelling back in time to her house. Matsuko soul is standing in front of the heaven's staircase, where Kumi is waiting for her. She began to climb up the stair and at the top, Kumi welcomed her back.


Matsuko's family

  • Miki Nakatani – Matsuko Kawajiri (川尻 松子 Kawajiri Matsuko)
  • Kana Okunoya – younger Matsuko Kawajiri
  • Eita – Sho Kawajiri (川尻 笙 Kawajiri Shō): Matsuko's nephew. He moved to Tokyo to become a musician.
  • Akira Emoto – Kozo Kawajiri (川尻 恒造 Kawajiri Kōzō): Matsuko's father. He has a sad and distant demeanour to Matsuko due to Kumi's illness.
  • Teruyuki Kagawa – Norio Kawajiri (川尻 紀夫 Kawajiri Norio): Matsuko's brother. He is resentful of Matsuko because she destroyed the family.
  • Mikako Ichikawa – Kumi Kawajiri (川尻 久美 Kawajiri Kumi): Matsuko's ill sister.

Matsuko's men

  • Yusuke Iseya – Youichi Ryu (龍 洋一 Ryū Yōichi): A former student of Matsuko. He was one of the reasons Matsuko's life changed for the worse. He becomes a yakuza when he grow up.
  • Shosuke Tanihara – Shunji Saeki (佐伯 俊二 Saeki Shunji): A colleague teacher whom Matsuko thinks fondly of when she still works in school.
  • Kankuro Kudo – Tetsuya Yamekawa: An aspiring writer who believes he is Osamu Dazai's rebirth.
  • Gekidan Hitori – Takeo Okano (岡野 健夫 Okano Takeo): Tetsuya's rival, also an aspiring writer.
  • Ryo Arakawa - Kenji Shimazu: A barber who stops Matsuko from committing suicide.
  • Shinji Takeda - Yasushi Onodera: An aspiring pimp who was killed by Matsuko.


  • Asuka Kurosawa – Megumi Sawamura (沢村 めぐみ Sawamura Megumi): Matsuko's best friend. Former stripper and now porn-star actress as "Aoi Mizusawa". She owns an adult film company.
  • Bonnie Pink – Ayano (綾乃)
  • Nagisa Katahira – herself
  • Sora Aoi


Initial Release[edit]

Memories of Matsuko was distributed theatrically in Japan on May 26, 2006 by Toho.[1] The film won Miki Nakatani the award for Best Actress (along with her work in Lof and Christmas on July 24) and Best Actress at the Mainichi Film Concours and Japanese Academy Awards.[1] The film also won Best Editing and Best Music Score at the Japanese Academy Awards.[1]

Home media[edit]

The film has been released in the UK on DVD and Blu-ray by Third Window Films.[4]


2007 The Asian Film Awards - Best Actress Miki Nakatani, Best visual effect, Masahide Yanagawase, Best arts direct, Towako Kuwashima

2007 Japanese Academy Award Winner - Best Actress, Best Music, Best Editing

2006 Japanese Professional Award Winner - Best Actress [1]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k Galbraith IV 2008, p. 442.
  2. ^ "Memories of Matsuko". Boxofficemojo. Retrieved March 04, 2012.
  3. ^ Asian Cinema – While on the Road (2007). "NYAFF Audience Award and Final Comments". Asian Cinema – While on the Road. Retrieved January 8, 2008.
  4. ^


External links[edit]