Hijōsen no onna

Silent . Black and White . 100 minutes

Shochiku Kamata Studio

Written By

Yasujiro Ozu ('James Maki')
Ikeda Tadao


Atsuta Yuharu


Tanaka Kinuyo (Tokiko)
Oka Joji (Jyoji)
Mizukubo Sumiko (Kazuko)
Mitsui Hideo (Hiroshi)
Oushi Yumeko (Misako)
Takayama Yoshio (Senko)
Kaga Koji (Misawa)
Nanjo Yasuo (Okazaki, the President's Son)
Ryu Chishu (Policeman)


Tokiko leads a double-life as an office typist and the mistress of a retired champion boxer and small-time ringleader named Jyoji. Hiroshi, a new recruit to the gang, hero worships Jyoji and neglects his studies. Hiroshi's sister Kazuko begs Jyoji to spare her brother from their shady dealings, but inadvertently casts a spell on Jyoji. After several reversals, Jyoji returns to Tokiko's arms. They decide to come clean, but not before pulling one last job to help Hiroshi and Kazuko.

Thoughts from Ozu
Another work with a yakuza theme since Walk Cheerfully. It's a melodrama.

he 29th film, shot from February to the beginning of April 1933. This is a typical apartment film. The Japanese Film Library has started its activity in the 1960s. Almost all of Ozu's film up to 1933 had never been shown again after their original release and were buried until their re-discovery in the 1970s. Therefore, they were not the object of the studies on Ozu for a long time, and the controversies about the influence of American films on his work started only after this discovery. Along with Woman of Tokyo, Dragnet Girl represents the height of Ozu's silent film technique. However some of the difficulties can be felt concerning the casting. The role of the small tart is not in the line of Kinuyo Tanaka, whose Dancing Girl From Izu (Izu no odoriko, directed by Gosho Heinosuke, 1933) was released less than three months before. The young idol Mizukubo Sumiko, who appeared in A Maiden in the Wind (Kaze no naka no shojo, directed by Shimazu Yasujiro, 1932) looks many years younger than Mitsui Hideo, although she is supposed to be elder and responsible. Probably, their star value counted for their appearance in this film. The established opinion, that his films do not attract the public, could not be ignored by Ozu. Of course, the scenes are full of Western or better still, American taste. Everything was imported, even the cans. However, the dominating modernism element in this film is certainly the boxing. At first sight, Ozu and boxing seems to be strange combination, but this is not the case. Ozu did his military service (one year as volunteer, from December 1924 to November 1926) at the same time as Ogino Sadayuki, Japan's first recognized champion. Afterwards, Ogno entered Kamata studio as an actor and starred in some boxing films. In his middle-school days, Ozu belonged to the judo club; he was of large build and strong constitution, and was interested in fighting ports. Unlike the traditional Japanese sports sumo and judo, boxing was considered an international and fashionable sport. The special support of the Imperial Boxing Society (Teikou Kento Kai) appeared in the credit titles of Dragnet Girl. This society was founded by Ogina. At the time of its release, Dragnet Girl was not so much appraised as Woman of Tokyo, probably because the latter unintentionally reflected the tendency of the time. The difficulty of judging a film rooted in his time becomes clear here.

Articles / Essays
Dragnet Girl
by Freda Freidberg (Senses of Cinema)


Personal Thoughts and Comments
Dragnet Girl is a rare look at a more stylistic filmmaker at least in terms of the flashy methods he went about his techniques. Ozu has said he barely remembers ever making the film, but you get the sense that the entire cast and crew had a blast making it. This is Ozu's third and last film in the gangster genre (Walk Cheerfully and That Night's Wife being the others), and the influence of his love for old Hollywood films are very evident in style and substance. While Dragnet Girl may not be the most complex or definitive work of Ozu's remarkable career, it does mark a rare glimpse at his early Hollywood influences as well as his own roots that would develop into a master (certainly his use of visual objects as a form of emotional expression is evident here). As a genre film, Dragnet Girl is incredibly thrilling. It is unfortunate the musical score of the film has been lost as a jazzy score could certainly flow within the cool tone and atmosphere of the films nightclub/pool room/boxing gym. Cool is really a great word to describe this film and most specifically the lead performance by the great Kinuyo Tanaka. She is terrific here as the tough moll with a strong heart and moral character. Tanaka starred in several of Ozu's early silent films, but she became most remembered for her many collaborations with Kenji Mizoguchi, before she became the first woman director in Japanese cinema. Dragnet Girl is stylish and pulp filmmaking at it's best. While Ozu would go on to make more significant work in both the sound and silent eras, Dragnet Girl remains irresistibly inviting. Loaded with sweeping style (tracking shots, expressionistic lighting) Dragnet Girl is an effective mix of suspense, comedy, and melodrama within the conventions of a genre film. It is fun because this is a rare look at Ozu in an uncharacteristically "busy" mode of filmmaking, yet the perfect rhythm, master control of visual storytelling, and trademark visual motifs still make Dragnet Girl notably Ozu. Not his greatest silent work, but this is definitely a great one.

Film Images

"Pillow Shots"
Opening shots from Dragnet Girl