Hogaraka ni ayume

Silent . Black and White . 96 minutes

Shochiku Kamata Studio

Written By

Shimizu Hiroshi
Ikeda Tadao


Mohara Hideo
Atsuta Yuharu


Takada Minoru (Koyama Kenji)
Kawasaki Hiroki (Sugimoto Yasue)
Matsuzono Nobuko (Sugimoto's Little Sister)
Suzuki Utako (Sugimoto Mother)
Yoshitani Hisao (Senko)
Mori Teruo (Gunpei)
Date Satoko (Chicko)
Sakamoto Takeshi (Ono)


Koyama Kenji, nicknamed the Knife, is a smalltime hood assisted by his cronies Senko, Gunpei and girlfriend Chieko. One day, he spots the demure Yasue coming out of a jewelry shop and courts her. Meanwhile, Chieko tries to deliver Yasue into the clutches of their sleazebag boss Ono. Kenji rescues Yasue and goes straight. Chieko and Gunpei try to drag him back into the criminal world, and when he refuses, they turn him in to the police. When the officers come for Ken and Senko, Yasue promises to wait for them, so they take cheerful strides to go to prison. After serving their sentence, they return to the home to find Yasue, her mother and sisters waiting for them.

Thoughts from Ozu
The story is about a delinquent who goes straight. I credited Shimizu Hiroshi for the original story, as I got the idea from him.

The 14th film shot from November 1929 to February 1930. The production was interrupted in December 1929 to make An Introduction to Marriage (Kekkongaku Nyumon, 1930). The original story idea is credited to Shimizu Hiroshi, a friend of Ozu. Shimizu and Ozu were both born in 1903. Their friendship began in 1924, when Shimizu worked as an assistant director for Ikeda Yoshinobu and Ozu was an assistant cameraman, and lasted until Ozu's death in 1963. The story (a young gangster falls in love with a pure and innocent girl and becomes honest) is extremely ordinary. It might also be a period drama. Ozu treated it in a westernized style. At the time the most modern "western" director in Japan was Abe Yutaka who made films for Nikkatsu, like The Woman Who Touched the Legs (Ashi ni sawatta onna, 1926) and The Five Women Around Him (Kare o meguru go-nin no onna, 1927). Having worked in Hollywood, he was an exception. Ozu was considered to be the representative westerner among the younger directors. The decor of Walk Cheerfully, the automobiles, building, typewriters, golf players, trumpets, hotels, original posters of foreign films and of boxing. guns, phonographs, English scribblings on the wall, the humorous greetings inspired by Harold Lloyd's The Freshman (1925) etc, constituted an "American-like" world, far from the Japanese reality and probably far from any reality. Logically, the protagonist lives in a westernized apartment, somewhere in Tokyo. Behind the door there is no place for Japanese reality. This disorientation is very important. In this context, the various national flags in the last scene symbolize the lack of nationality of Walk Cheerfully. The apartments of the protagonists in Ozu's films have an international flair. The first scene seems to be at Yokohama Bay, the open window faces America, and the reception desk is of strong foreign influence. In this period, Ozu always used posters of American films, a poster of The Seventh Heaven (1927) appears in Days of Youth, one of Speedy (1928) in I Graduated, But... and one of Our Dancing Daughters (1928) in Walk Cheerfully. Probably, he bought them in Yokohama. Ozu himself loved to wear imported westernized clothes and bought many Western artciles. He was the most westernized director in the Kamata studio.

Personal Thoughts and Comments
Walk Cheerfully is uncharacteristically Ozu in it's highly stylized, fast paced, and genre blending approach. Ozu shares the writing credit with Japanese filmmaker Hiroshi Shimizu, whom Ozu greatly admired and admitted gave him the idea for the story. Walk Cheerfully is a mix of genres (crime, drama, comedy, romance) while recalling obvious inspirations and references to Hollywood silent films. Stylistically, much is unique from Ozu's definitive work, yet there are still visual motifs and patterns that are evident. However, here the compositions are far more stylish then most of Ozu's work (even in comparison to his silent films). The film takes on multiple plot layers, but the focus is on Kenji, a petty thief who decides to go straight after he falls for a sweet woman (Yasue). Kenji's girlfriend (in full femme fatale / Louis Brooks mode) tries to lure him back into the life of crime, only to turn on him and hand him over to the police. Kenji "walks cheerfully" knowing that Yasue, her mother, and her sister will be waiting for him to return. Walk Cheerfully is not essential Ozu, but it is an entertaining and kindhearted film. One that is made in unexpected style and pace- including a skillful execution in camera movement and nourish devices that make it unique from almost anything else Ozu made before or after.

Film Images

"Pillow Shots"
A clip from Walk Cheerfully