Tokyo no eiyu

A Hero of Tokyo | Ein Held aus Tokyo
Kanichi’s father is a widower. So is his stepmother, who brings two children into the new marriage. But Kanichi’s father soon abandons the family as he flees creditors he has cheated. To support the three children, the stepmother works as a bargirl. It is not until years later that it comes out, with dire consequences, that she did this work, which is considered scandalous. The mother’s daughter’s husband, disowns the daughter, named Kayoko, and the girl drifts into prostitution, while the mother’s son, Hideo, becomes a criminal. Kanichi is the only one who sticks by his stepmother. He is a journalist and one day, he finds himself interviewing the person responsible for all the family’s unhappiness – his father … This silent film runs just over an hour. With its neo-realistic exterior photography in glittering natural light and in starkly lit modern apartments, it is an excellent testimonial to visual modernity; hard shadows cast on light surfaces seem inspired by Edward Hopper. Although Tokyo no eiyu draws a dark portrait of Japanese society, it does it with bright tones. As such, the form definitely reflects the plot. At the end, Kanichi exposes his father’s transgressions and his dubious Manchuria-Mongolia Gold Mining Venture to the light of day.
by Hiroshi Shimizu
with Mitsuko Yoshiwaka, Yukichi Iwata, Mitsugu Fujii
Japan 1935 63’