Haha o kowazu ya

Silent . Black and White . 71 minutes

Shochiku Kamata Studio

Written By

Noda Kogo
Ikeda Tadao
Komiya Syutaro (novel)


Aoki Isamu


Iwata Yukichi (Mr Kajiwara)
Yoshikawa Mitsuko (Chieko)
Ohikata Den (Sadao)
Kato Seiichi (Sadao as a Child)
Mitsui Hodeo (Kosaku)
Normura Shusei (Kosaku as a Child)
Okazaki (Nara Shinyo)
Mitsukawa Kyoko (Kazuko)
Ryu Chishu (Hattori)
Aizome Yumeko (Mitsuko)
Iida Choko (Maid)

The Kajiwara family's carefree life is shattered when the patriarch dies of a heart attack. Eight years later, the elder son Sadao discovers that he is not his mother Chieko's biological son. He rejects her love until he is upbraided by a family friend. They move to a more modest home in the country but when the boys reach college age, Chieko's favoritism to her stepson causes a rift in the household, and Sadao runs away to live with a prostitute. Chieko begs him to come home but his cruel words infuriate even the brothel's maid. Eventually, he repents and returns to her fold.

Thoughts from Ozu
This film, whose leitmotif is the decline of a distinguished family, could do with a more refined script. One might have got away with it today, but back then, such a flimsy plot couldn't have passed for a movie. For this reason, I fleshed out the narrative by introducing a pair of brothers whose relationship becomes strained because they don't share the same birth mother. Such a contrivance actually mars the film, but it still left a deep impression on me, as my father passed away during the filming.


he 31st film, shot from March to May of 1933. In the existing screenplay, the second title Tokyo Twilight (Tokyo boshaku) is indicated. The original story was written by Komiya Syutaro, which is one of Ozu's pen names. The same author's name is given in the screenplay of Tokyo is a Nice Place (Tokyo yoi toko), a film which was started in the following year, but was interrupted. This film consisted of nine reels, but the first and the last have to be considered as lost. The story can be completed by the help of the screenplay. The film starts with a quotation from the poet Yamanouei Okura: gold, silver and jewels are nothing compared to the importance of children. Ozu himself declared the downfall of the family to be the main subject in this film. However, the theme of the two brothers of different mothers made the plot somewhat diffuse. The main subject seems to be the removal from one place to another, the change of the dwelling. The family moves twice. First they live in an elegant quarter (the place is not indicated, but it could be Kojimachi, in Tokyo) and have many servants. Then they rent a house in the suburbs, with no servants. The third place is even more miserable, showing the gradual decline of the family's lifestyle. In Ozu's work, this film shows the meaning of housing conditions in the most explicit way. Ozu's films were not good at the box office. Therefore, it is said that operators in the countryside left out reels to shorten the screening. Maybe due to this, some reviews mention only one removal. Ozu had been on friendly terms with film business people from the Jansai region (Kyoto, Osaka, Kobe) for a couple of years. The names of the protagonists Sadao and Kosaku are taken from the directors Sadao and Aikiyama Kosaku. In these scenes, there are some parodies of Western films. The first is, visable for everybody, the poster of the French film Poil de carotte (1932). Another one is the old cleaning woman, played by actress Iida Choko. This hints at a representative film about motherly love, Over the Hill (1920). This film depicts an old mother who is rejected by her children and ends up working as a cleaning woman in a home for the aged. Ozu used this subject in A Mother Should Be Loved and in The Only Son. Moreover, the overall pattern of The Brothers and Sisters of the Toda Family is modeled after Over the Hill.

Personal Thoughts and Comments
A Mother Should Be Loved is more melodramatic material then Ozu’s best work. The story centers around two brothers that are alienated after the older one secretly discovers their widowed mother is really his stepmother. The film is missing the first and last reels (a lot of which are titles), which detailed the joyful routines of family life with the mother, two sons, and the father, who dies of a heart attack. What survives centers around the central story of the two sons. Made during the death of Ozu’s father, A Mother Should Be Loved takes a look into the separation of the family, a theme he would continue to develop throughout his postwar masterpieces. This film is more plot driven and overall not as powerful as his greatest work, but it is an interesting film to see the early developments of his themes and style.

Film Images

"Pillow Shots"
Opening moments from the surviving print of A Mother Should Be Loved
dvd (R3)