Kiyoshi Kurosawa´s Tokyo Sonata: Family Values in an Increasingly Modern Japan

Decent Essays

In Kiyoshi Kurosawa’s Tokyo Sonata, the four members of the Sasaki family are intimately followed after a tragic event affects the father early in the film. Due to the catastrophic nature of the event, the audience is quickly exposed to the individual secrets of the Sasaki family and how a family’s values could be perceived as decomposing in modern Japan. As the story progresses, each family member encounters or exposes their own obstacles in life, leading to a conclusion which, is ultimately left open to the viewer’s perception. Within minutes of opening, the father, Ryuhei, walks away from his job rather than be laid off in the immediate future (due to the growing practice of outsourcing). In order to avoid the dishonor of this event, …show more content…

Megumi is seen frequently trying to keep Ryuhei level headed during his confrontations with his sons. She also appears weary of her relationship with Ryuhei when asked if she has considered divorce by her older son Taka. It soon becomes very obvious that her boredom and the new marital tension are taking a toll on her when she ends up a victim of a home invasion and kidnapping. Megumi has the opportunity to escape at one point during a bathroom break at the mall, yet when she discovers Ryuhei working there, she actually returns to the kidnapper. The two spend the night together and at daybreak, Megumi appears to realize she should return home. It is here where a number of obstacles are quietly cleared: Ryuhei’s new life as a janitor and Megumi as a born-again wife.
In Taka and Kenji’s lives, we see two sons affected by both their father and their immediate environment. Taka, the oldest son, cannot find decent employment and resorts to an initially secret plan of joining the military, while Kenji dreams of one day playing the piano. Both sons appear to be set in their decisions, regardless of what their family, or more specifically, their father believes. Taka, after spending time performing menial work, comes to the conclusion that the military is in his best interests. During a conversation with his father, Taka reveals his plan and is rejected by Ryuhei, yet Megumi defies his choice, ultimately allowing Taka to pursue his goal. As for Kenji, his path to

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