Family Affair: The End of Summer (1961)

Kohayagawa Family

“The Kohayagawa family is complicated indeed,” remarks Yamaguchi (Kyû Sazanka), a longtime employee of the sake brewery run by the Kohayagawas, around whom Yasujirô Ozu’s 1961 film The End of Summer revolves. Facing falling profits and heavy competition from larger rivals, their small company seems destined for a merger if it wishes to stay in business at all, but Manbei (Ganjirô Nakamura), the family’s patriarch, is opposed to the idea. He wants the company to remain independent — and it’s clear that he desires similar freedom in his personal life. Of late, he’s been disappearing frequently with little or no explanation. Curiosity eventually gets the better of his employees, so one of them, Roku (Yû Fujiki), follows him and — despite Manbei’s best efforts to deter him — discovers his secret: He’s been visiting Tsune Sasaki (Chieko Naniwa), a woman who used to be his mistress.

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Blind Spot Series: A Story from Chikamatsu (1954)

Chikamatsu Title Card

While most of Japan’s citizens are suffering the effects of a recession, Grand Scroll Master Ishun (Eitarô Shindô) is thriving. Not only does he have a monopoly on the calendars that every family needs, but he’s also the emperor’s exclusive printer. Less fortunate — and more irresponsible — is his merchant brother-in-law, Dôki (Haruo Tanaka), who’s going to be sent to prison if he can’t pay off a debt within the next three days. As he’s apparently done many times before, Dôki turns to Osan (Kyôko Kagawa), his sister and Ishun’s wife, for help; their mother, Okô (Chieko Naniwa), also stops by and pressures her daughter to get the money from Ishun. “I’ll ask him,” Osan says at last. “But it’s been like this from the day we got married. I’m always asking him for money. It pains me.”

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