Postcard (film)

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Film poster
Directed by Kaneto Shindo
Produced by Jirō Shindō
Written by Kaneto Shindo
Starring Etsushi Toyokawa
Music by Hikaru Hayashi
Cinematography Masahiko Hayashi
Edited by Yukio Watanabe
Release date
  • August 27, 2010 (2010-08-27) (Tokyo IFF)
Running time
114 minutes
Country Japan
Language Japanese

Postcard (一枚のハガキ?, Ichimai no hagaki) is a 2010 Japanese drama film written and directed by Kaneto Shindo.[1][2] It was Shindo's last film. The film is set during and after the Second World War, and it deals with the effect on families of the death of soldiers. It is loosely based on director Shindo's wartime experiences.


Near the end of the Second World War, Sadazo Morikawa (Naomasa Musaka) is one of a group of 100 overaged conscripts for the Japanese navy assigned to cleaning duty. Once the cleaning duty has finished, the members are chosen by lottery for various duties. Sadazo is assigned to serve in the Philippines. He thinks he will not survive, and asks a comrade, Matsuyama (Etsushi Toyokawa) to return a postcard to his wife, Tomoko (Shinobu Otake), and tell her that he received it before he died.

Earlier, Sadazo is conscripted, and he says goodbye to his parents Yukichi (Akira Emoto) and Chiyo (Mitsuko Baisho) and wife Tomoko. Later, a military official reports Sadazo's death. Sadazo's parents plead with Tomoko not to leave, and to marry their younger son Sanpei (Yasuhito Ochi). Tomoko agrees to marry Sanpei. Sanpei is conscripted. He considers running away but his parents tell him it is useless. Sanpei dies in the war. Later, during farm work, Yukichi dies from a heart condition. Chiyo gives Tomoko some money and then hangs herself.

The war ends and Matsuyama returns to Japan. His wife has run away after an affair with his father, and is now working as a bar hostess in Osaka. They meet and argue, and she tells him she wishes he had died in the war. Matsuyama makes his way to Tomoko's house to deliver the postcard. He talks about Sadazo and tells her he plans to go to Brazil. He has 200,000 yen from the sale of his fishing boat, and he tries to give her half. She refuses. He has a fight with Kichigoro (Ren Osugi), another suitor of Tomoko. After Tomoko and Matsuyama quarrel, they agree to go to Brazil together. They burn Sadazo and Sanpei's ashes. Tomoko gets drunk and sets fire to the house. Matsuyama pulls her out of the burning house. They decide to stay in Japan and grow barley on the site of the old house. The film ends with them in the field of barley.



The film is loosely based on Shindo's experiences during the Second World War,[3] when, despite being considered poorly fit for military service, he was one of a unit of 100 men conscripted into the Japanese navy, of whom only six survived, solely because of a lottery. Shindo was 98 years old at the time of filming.

The musical score is by Shindo's long term collaborator, Hikaru Hayashi.


The film was selected as the Japanese entry for the Best Foreign Language Film at the 84th Academy Awards,[4][5] but it did not make the final shortlist.[6]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Smith, Ian Hayden (2012). International Film Guide 2012. p. 156. ISBN 978-1908215017. 
  2. ^ "Japanese Director Kaneto Shindo Sends Personal 'Postcard' to Oscar Voters". 2012-03-06. Retrieved 2012-03-06. 
  3. ^ "Kaneto Shindo tells a personal story in 'Postcard'". LA Times. 2012-02-05. Retrieved 2012-09-12. 
  4. ^ Blair, Gavin J. (2011-09-08). "Japanese Entry for Foreign Language Oscar to Be 'Postcard'". Retrieved 2011-09-08. 
  5. ^ "63 Countries Vie for 2011 Foreign Language Film Oscar". Retrieved 2011-10-14. 
  6. ^ "9 Foreign Language Films Vie for Oscar". Retrieved 2012-01-19. 

External links[edit]