Tora-San: Collector's Set 1
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It is impossible to underestimate the importance of the "Tora san" film series. Released twice a year between 1969-1995, the films were a stable and perennial part of Japanese movie life. One new film in August, and one new film in December, the plots and characters of the films almost never varied, and had the same comfortable familiarity of a seasonal food. Mother's pumpkin pie recipe never changed, but you still looked forward to it every Thanksgiving. That's how it was with "Tora san."
Every book on Japanese film, from Donald Richie's seminal A Hundred Years of Japanese Film to Mark Schilling's Contemporary Japanese Film has something to say about the ragged drifter in his battered hat and suitcase full of mischief. Some see the "Tora san" films as an exercise in harmless sentimental nostalgia, with the unique merit of longevity, while some, like Alex Kerr in his book ...Read more ›
Or not: a couple of years ago, in a small yakitori-ya in Kawasaki, a local workman told me, "If you want to understand Japan, see Tora-san films." So although the physical aspect of the country has been transformed, the psychology--and certain stereotypes--persist. Tora-san himself is like a Japanese everyman--with the added touch of being a yakuza (Japanese mafioso), although this aspect is rarely touched upon. In today's Japan, he still exists, obscured by the image of faceless "salarymen" in suits--but he's the one who runs the day labor hiring pool and acts as enforcer at local festivals. To watch these movies attentively is to see a side of Japan that's rarely commented on.
Especially considering the rate at which these films were cranked out, the Tora-san films are very good. (One could say the same of many of America's early film stars.) In this set, the translations are excellent--smooth and idiomatic. If you're learning Japanese, these could be a good tool.
I gave this set only 4 starts because my personal preference would have been a slightly different selection of films. But the quality is excellent.
second visit to that suburb of Tokyo, where the series was filmed. We will visit the Tora - san Museum again, and, this time we are going to try and find Sakura and Hiroshi's house.
They moved to their new home in film #26. Hiroshi and Sakura are Tora - san's sister and brother-in-law. We will, of course, visit the temple again, and stroll the main street. Just where it was filmed, all 48 films,- it only finished when Tora-san died. Kyoshi Atsumi is Tora- san .. and we love him. Alas he died in 1995. Yoji Yamada, the director of all the films, except two, IS a genius. We have seen 35 of Tora-san's films and loved every one. Only the Japanese can pull this off. We have got 13 films to go. Then we can start again. We bought the all the films out of Hong Kong at a site called YesAsia. These films are everything about Japan that we love. Buy them all! We have.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
One can read Edo period European diaries full of awe and surprise at the Japanese but, of course, the Japanese are disappearing. Read morePublished 6 months ago by Timothy Takemoto
Loved these first four Tora-san films and hope that there will be a volume II, II, IV etc. Recently visited Shibamata so was able to relate immediately to the locale scenes in each... Read morePublished on March 15, 2014 by PeterF
I used to live in Japan and would watch Tora-san occassionally. He was very popular.
The best thing about this set is that it has English sub-titles. Read more
Since I only saw one of the last Tora-san films in the eighties, I enjoyed the first two films extremely. They represent japanese everyday life and all the characters are loveable. Read morePublished on February 20, 2014 by Lala
Disc 1 on the computer works fine. For some reason on dvd player the cometary starts up. Tried to turn it off with no luck. The other disc. was fine, just disc 1.Published on January 10, 2014 by dr.coyne masuda
Gave this set to MIL for Christmas and she has been watching it over and over. I couldn't be happier with this purchase. The packaging, the video quality (digitally enhanced? Read morePublished on December 26, 2013 by Peapod
Tora-San is a wonderful series! I wish all 30 (or how ever many) films were available. Aside from the UFO hat (in a dream), the one where he is going to join the Catholic Church... Read morePublished on December 31, 2012 by C. Hintz
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