Following the death of the unmarried and childless Taki, Takeshi, a young relative of hers, discovers several pages of closely written lines in which the old lady has recorded her memories. This is how he learns the truth about her youth working as a housemaid and nanny for the Hirai family in a little house in Tokyo with a red gabled roof. Masaki is both head of the house and head of department at a toy factory. Whilst he has visions of his company expanding in the wake of Japan’s aggressive expansionist policies of the early 1940s, his wife Tokiko falls in love with his young colleague, art school graduate Shoji, whom she visits in secret. Their housemaid remains loyal to Tokiko and devotedly takes care of the family. However, growing increasingly aware of the furtive love affair that is developing, she is eventually forced to make a heartrending decision. Yoji Yamada's tender and psychologically subtle depiction of his characters’ emotional lives also provides a picture of the historical context in which the story takes place. This game of hidden passions unfolds in front of the backdrop of Japanese politics and society before and during the Second World War.
by Yoji Yamada
with Takako Matsu, Haru Kuroki, Hidetaka Yoshioka, Satoshi Tsumabuki, Chieko Baisho, Takataro Kataoka