Tokyo Twilight

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Tokyo boshoku
Tokyo Twilight
Tokyo Twilight 1957 movie poster.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Yasujirō Ozu
Written by Yasujirō Ozu
Kōgo Noda
Starring Ineko Arima
Setsuko Hara
Isuzu Yamada
Chishū Ryū
Kamatari Fujiwara
Nobuo Nakamura
Haruko Sugimura
Music by Kojun Saitō
Cinematography Yuuharu Atsuta
Edited by Yoshiyasu Hamamura
Distributed by Shochiku
Release dates
April 30, 1957
Running time
140 min.
Country Japan
Language Japanese

Tokyo Twilight (東京暮色 Tōkyō boshoku?) is a 1957 Japanese drama film by Yasujirō Ozu. It is the story of two sisters (played by Ineko Arima and Ozu regular Setsuko Hara) who are reunited with a mother who left them as children. The film is considered amongst Ozu's darkest and most melodramatic postwar films.


Akiko Sugiyama (Ineko Arima) is a young college graduate girl learning English shorthand. Her elder sister Takako (Setsuko Hara), running away from an unhappy marriage, has returned home to stay with Akiko and their father Shukichi (Chishū Ryū) in Tokyo, together with her toddler girl. Shukichi works in a bank in Tokyo. Akiko has a relationship with her college boyfriend Kenji (Masami Taura), which results in an unwanted pregnancy. Later, Akiko has an abortion after an encounter in which she realizes that her boyfriend does not love her.

While going to a mahjong parlour to look for Kenji, Akiko comes across its proprietress Kisako (Isuzu Yamada), who seems to know a lot about her family. Back at home, Takako hears about Kisako from Akiko, and pieces together the fact that she is their long-lost mother. Takako visits the parlour to ask Kisako not to reveal to Akiko who she really is – but the plan backfires. Akiko learns of her visit and goes to confront Takako. Takako then discloses to her that Kisako is their mother, who has run away with another man when Akiko was still a toddler. Shaken, Akiko goes to confront Kisako to ask if she is the daughter of her father. She leaves in a huff, angered by Kisako abandoning her as a child, then goes to a Chinese noodle shop for some sake. Her boyfriend Kenji enters, and the two have a tiff. Akiko leaves angrily, but is hit by a train at an intersection just outside the shop.

Akiko is badly injured and she expresses the wish to live and start life over again in the presence of her father and sister. In the next scene however, in one of Ozu's famous ellipses, a bitter Takako goes to visit her mother to tell her the news of Akiko's death. Kisako is distraught, and agrees with her new husband that she will leave Tokyo for his new assignment. She goes to the Sugiyamas to offer her last condolences, and to tell Takako of her decision. Unfortunately, Takako does not go to send her off at the railway station.

In the last scene of the film, Takako reveals to her father that she is going back to her husband to try to make their marriage work again. She does not want her toddler daughter to follow in the path of Akiko, who lacked the love of one parent. Shukichi agrees with her decision.


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