Todake no kyōdai

Black and White . 105 minutes

Shochiku Ofuna Studio

Written By

Ozu Yasujiro
Ikeda Tadao


Atsuta Yuharu

Music By

Ito Senji


Fujino Hideo (Toda Shintaro)
Katsuragi Ayako (Mrs Toda)
Yoshikawa Mitsuko (Chizuru)
Saito Tatsuo (Shinichiro)
Miyake Kuniko (Kazuko)
Saburi Shin (Shojiro)
Tsubouchi Yoshiko (Ayako)
Takamine Mieko (Setsuko)
Kuwano Kayoko (Tokiko)
Kawamura Sokichi (Suzuki)
Ida Choko (Kiyo)
Hayama Masao (Ryokichi)
Takagi Mayuko (Mitsuko)
Ryu Chishu (Friend)
Sakamoto Takeshi (Antique Dealer)
Tani Reiko (Photographer)


The wealthy Toda family gather in the ancestral home to celebrate the matriarch's birthday. However, their outward harmony is shattered by the sudden death of the patriarch. He has in left a legacy of debts. This leaves Mrs Toda and youngest daughter Setsuko homeless, penniless, and at the mercy of the inhospitable married children. Tired of being shunted around, they move into their dilapidated seaside villa. When youngest son Shojiro returns from Tianjin, he reapproaches his siblings at their fathers memorial service. He offers to take Mrs Toda and Setsuko with him to China, and agrees to Setsuko's advice to marry her humble friend Tokiko.

Thoughts from Ozu
The family atmosphere here is similar to that of The Flavor of Green Tea Over Rice. For this very reason, I paid special attention to making material love the dominating theme. The final scenes were shot hastily. The company said, "if we don't wrap up the film today, we will miss the screening schedule." "Today" actually meant "two hours!". I had to resort to a long shot to finish up. Although this was not the most ideal way to film, one could not tell from the composition. If everyone got on well and had a good time during production, then I would become fond of that film, irrespective of the end result. In that respect, Brothers and Sisters of the Toda Family is a work I'm pleased with. I worked with Saburi Shin and Takamine Mieko for the first time. By the standards of those times, it was a classy production which perhaps explains why it become a box office hit and refuted the theory that my films could never sell. Ever since then, my films had started to perform better at the box office.


he 38th film, shot from October 1940 to February 1941. On July 1937, the clash between the Japanese and the Chinese armies in the Peiping suburb at Lukouchiao (Marco Polo Bridge) enlarged the Sino-Japanese war. Ozu was drafted and from September 1937 to July of 1939 he was on the vast Chinese battle front for almost two years. During this time, the wartime reorganization made steady progress. Film was considered to have a most influential power on the masses and therefore, the intensification of state control was inevitable, carried out by the establishment of the Motion Picture Law in 1939. This notorious law also provided for censorship of the screenplay before shooting. Ozu returned from war in 1939, confronted with the new law. After his return, Ozu wrote a screenplay together with Ikeda Tadao, The Flavor of Green Tea Over Rice (Ochazuke no aji). The story depicts the same world as What Did the Lady Forget?, but achieves as even denser, more beautiful maturity, set in an uptown mansion. Since this rich bourgeois world was too attractive, it was considered a risk. Ozu was ordered to rewrite it completely, and finally withdrew the script. For the following project, he and Ikeda decided to keep the uptown surrounding, and to put an unassailable mother film, hahamono, to the fore. Overcoming various difficulties, the film Brothers and Sisters of the Toda Family arose. For the third time, Oz used Over the Hill (1920), this time adapting the plot of this American hahamono. In the same way as A Mother Should Be Loved, the first scene is set in a mansion in Kojimachi. The change of the living conditions on the occasion of the father's death involves the social decline. Until then, Ozu depicted the core family of three generations, widening his scale. (For Ozu, this is the premise for the breaking up of the family.) The description of the uptown customs is dense and abundant (Ozu borrowed some details of the novel of Ton Satomi, whom he venerated) and makes this film rich in content. Having an all star cast, the film was also a box office hit. The dissolving of the family caused by the father's death also touched Ozu's inner feelings. However, the conclusion of Shojiro taking his mother and sister to China is not an easy, opportunistic means of setting considering the wartime regulations. In Ozu's world, this is an advance towards "outside Tokyo" territories. This is not a passive "leaving Tokyo" and "going to exile" like in Tokyo Chorus, but an intentional, active action, understandable as a reflection of Ozu's two years of war experience.

Articles / Essays
Brothers and Sisters of the Toda Family
by Adam Bingham (Senses of Cinema)


Personal Thoughts and Comments
The Brothers and Sisters of the Toda Family is one of the few upper-class family films Ozu made but it very much captures the essence of what he would later master in his gendai-geki films. This film marks Ozu's earliest transition into his stage of postwar masterpiece. Brothers and Sisters of the Toda Family is the first of two films Ozu made during the war (this film was made after Ozu spent two years fighting China in the Sino-Japanese war). Ozu's personal experience certainly reflect in the film but this also stands as a key transition from his early work and his postwar films, as Brothers and Sisters of the Toda Family captures various elements of each era. Again at the center of the family lies the separation of family which is caused by the untimely death of the father. The film recalls Ozu's postwar films Tokyo Story (in it's tensions between generations) and End of the Summer (in in the deconstruction of the family), but also reveals some of his early work as the family begins to suffer with financial difficulties. This film displays early traces of Ozu's mastery with visual expression and composition, as it marked his first collaboration with cinematographer Atsuta Yuharu (who he worked with on almost every film afterwards). This film also was the first box office success in Japan for Ozu who would soon become known as "The most Japanese of all directors", which at the time made his films nearly inaccessible to those outside of Japan.

Film Images

"Pillow Shots"
A clip from The Brothers and Sisters of the Toda Family
dvd (R3)