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Tokyo Sonata

4.4 out of 5 stars 25 customer reviews

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$26.98 & FREE Shipping on orders over $49. Details Temporarily out of stock. Order now and we'll deliver when available. We'll e-mail you with an estimated delivery date as soon as we have more information. Your account will only be charged when we ship the item. Ships from and sold by Amazon.com. Gift-wrap available.

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Editorial Reviews

Ashamed after unexpectedly losing his job, Ryuhei decides to keep his news a secret. His lies and personal torment go unnoticed by his family, whose lives are also quickly unraveling. Directed by Kiyoshi Kurosawa.

Special Features

None.

Product Details

  • Actors: Teruyuki Kagawa, Kyôko Koizumi, Yû Koyanagi, Kai Inowaki, Haruka Igawa
  • Directors: Kiyoshi Kurosawa
  • Writers: Kiyoshi Kurosawa, Max Mannix, Sachiko Tanaka
  • Producers: Michael J. Werner, Raymond Phathanavirangoon, Wouter Barendrecht, Yasushi Kotani, Yukie Kito
  • Format: Multiple Formats, AC-3, Color, Dolby, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: Japanese
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated:
    PG-13
    Parents Strongly Cautioned
  • Studio: E1 Entertainment
  • DVD Release Date: May 4, 2010
  • Run Time: 120 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (25 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0037FFBCM
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #76,728 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Tokyo Sonata" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Robert Beveridge HALL OF FAMEVINE VOICE on August 27, 2009
Format: DVD
Tokyo Sonata (Kiyoshi Kurosawa, 2008)

Kiyoshi Kurosawa branded himself one of the great new breed of Japanese filmmakers in the mid-nineties with Cure and Charisma, two of the best Japanese film of the last half of the last century. After spending some time directing horror films, which seems almost obligatory for Japanese directors these days (with a quick break in 2003 for the wonderful Bright Future), he has shown that he's still capable of directing some of modern Japan's best films with Tokyo Sonata.

Ryuhei Sasaki (Hero's Teruyuki Kagawi), unsatisfied with the direction his company is taking, walks out on his position as the head of the administration department. While this is initially a liberating thing, he quickly runs into the big question: how's he going to tell his wife Megumi (Kyoko Koizumi, recently of Adrift in Tokyo)? This is not an uncommon question for salarymen who have quit, or lost, their jobs in Tokyo, it seems; the park where day laborers go to pick up work is chock full of guys in three-piece suits just like Sasaki. In fact, one day he meets an old school chum of his, Kurosu (The Great Yokai War's Kanji Tsuda, who also acts opposite Kagawi in the 20th Century Boys film series), in the food line. The two of them make a pact to help the other hide their unemployment from their families, but Sasaki quickly learns the truth of the matter--everyone knows Kurosu is unemployed except his wife. Sasaki fears the same may be true of his two sons, Takashi (Clearness' Yu Koyanagi) and Kenji (Inowaki Kai in his first screen appearance), but it seems his family is too busy falling apart to notice.
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Format: DVD
Kiyoshi Kurosawa's latest film speaks directly to contemporary issues, that are relevant both in Japan and around the world: the economic crisis and corporate downsizing, a growing identity crisis within the so-called "nuclear family," increasing uncertainty regarding gender roles, and political uncertainties in the wake of terrorist scares and the wars in the Middle East. When a large corporation decides to ship most of its jobs oversees to China with its less expensive labor force, a middle manager is left without a job and without a clue how he can break it to his wife without losing face. So he decides not to tell her. It turns out he's not alone. As he discovers, there are hordes of out-of-work businessmen who also couldn't break it to their wives and pretend to go to work but wind up wandering parks and loitering daily in lounges, until they can safely return home without arousing suspicion. This is an alternately heartbreaking, horrific and funny film about the slow unravelling of a family, that remains together only to maintain appearances, and raises the question whether there is any possibility of starting over, of becoming a new person, of choosing for oneself rather than living by habit and to keep up appearances, and especially if such a thing is possible in an increasingly uncertain political and economic climate.

K. Kurosawa (no relation to Akira) is best known for his horror-themed films, and is responsible for some of the very best of the so-called "J-horror" films (Cure,
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Format: Blu-ray
`Tokyo Sonata' is a very understated, yet strangely moving film.

It is gentle and slightly sad and follows a Japanese family, which includes an undervalued wife, a proud husband who loses his job but goes out each day as if he still has one and hides it from family and a son who is desperate to lean piano despite having to secretly use his lunch money to pay for lessons.

In a very bare and pared back style you experience their dreams and failures and the inner turmoil behind their everyday lives. In the main this film has no obvious musical soundtrack to augment the scenes which makes it feel more stark and sad somehow. This contrasts powerfully with the few scenes with piano playing which make these scenes soar and resonate that much more strongly than they normally would.

Everyone acts extremely well and the direction draws out every detail and nuance in the various scenes. Japanese film are noted for their attention to detail and the small touches that show a deeper meaning and this film is no exception.

I was unsure what to expect from this film and whilst it is slow paced and doesn't spell out every emotion or feeling (like many American films tend to do) this is immensely satisfying and leaves you feeling uplifted and calm at the same time. If you are fond of world cinema or Japanese films in general then you really must check this out at some point.

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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
This movie is an examination of what happens to a family in Japan when the only breadwinner, a salaried man, loses his longstanding job. It could be the story of millions of families finding themselves in similar situations today in any country. It's mainly about how the parents in the family handle the increasing breakdown in the family's relationships after the husband suffers the sudden and unexpected job loss. You can see the husband lose face as he has to stand in long lines at the job search office, suffer through humiliating job interviews from hell, for which he seems totally unprepared, and as he eats his lunch from a free food line. He bonds with an old classmate in the exact same situation but this eventually has a bad outcome too and the husband seems to lose hope even more after this. He is a proud man who cannot bring himself to tell his wife about the job loss although she eventually discovers it on her own but she remains silent too. A total lack of communication and support for one another is obvious and makes you wonder how close the husband and wife's relationship was before the job loss occurred. How the parents and two children eventually reconciles all that they go through is what ultimately shows that there is some strength within this family bond though. I must admit I was somewhat disappointed in the ending as it left too many questions up in the air and seemed unfulfilling but maybe that's how continuing job loss really is just a lot of unanswerable questions with no real final solution in sight. I give it 4 stars for being one of the only movies I have seen that tries to tackle the huge issue of family dynamics after a job loss takes place. The acting was good and the plot, although a bit slow, still held my interest as most of us can relate to job loss or the fear thereof in today's job downsizing world.
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