Ballad of a Worker (1962) - full transcript



Thank you.

Come again.

We're out of rice,
but we do have potatoes.

That's very kind of you.
You've helped us out a lot.


00:00:47,780 --> 00:00:51,410


There's Mom.



Dad's come home!

The spring and autumn
in which we walked

That day, that time
drifts about in my memory


Produced by MASAO SHIRAI


Photography by HIROYUKI KUSUDA

Production Design by KISAKU ITO


Tokyo's in ruins.

I looked all over for you.

I'm glad you evacuated early.

I got no letters from you.
Then I started thinking

the worst had happened!

But I made it back alive!
Alive and well!










00:03:31,940 --> 00:03:36,450
I have a home in a village
that's not my own

And have become a road worker

Good afternoon!

I see you're hard at work.

Well, I'm still new at this.

I heard your father was sick.
How's he doing now?

Father's doing better, but mother
has come down with something.

I see. It doesn't help when a cold
goes around a small house like that.

Not at all.

Thanks to that house, they were saved
from the air raids in Tokyo.

Oh, right.

Maybe this isn't the right
time or place for it,

but about the rent -

I get my pay today, so I'll be able to -

Oh, payday. Good timing, then.

Since we switched to the new yen,
costs have been going up.

Now, what should I charge -

- I'm home.
- Oh, good timing.

We just started.

Here. My wages.

Thank you.

I bought shochu.

The rent's gone up.


Aren't you disappointed with that?

Everything goes up.
The rent was pretty cheap.

No sense in being disappointed.

As I repair a road with the chill
of cold rain on my back

I realize how miserable my life can be

Haven't had a good shower like this
in a long time.


Today's my lucky day.

Sorry to bother you.

Can I have another glass?
- Right away.

It's no bother. This is my business.

- I don't have money today.
- Oh, don't be silly.

Sorry to leave you on your own.
I just have some washing to do.

Doing laundry at night?

Can't have diapers piling up.
I've got twins, after all.

I'll just be a minute.

An empty wallet and diapers, huh?

I feel all wet and clammy.
Like I'm leaking.

This liquor is medicine
I say to myself

For a weary road worker
at the end of the day


She's doing laundry.

More diapers?

Your pants.

You shouldn't drink
to the point of passing out.

Shochu's like poison, you know.

I wish you'd keep it to one glass.

We're all so dependent on him.

Shochu, huh?

I sure would like
to have some now and then.

Well, shall I go and get you some?

Don't waste your money.

Maybe at festival time.

I'll just go and get some.

Never mind.

The festival's not until next year.

He should have a little drink
before that.

It's just steps away.

It's good to drink a little
when you're as old as I am.

Or there's no enjoyment in life.

What did she go out to get?

You were listening?
She went out for shochu.

Oh, I can't drink anymore.

Not for you. It's for your father.


Boy, I sure am parched.

I'll work hard. You have your drink.

00:09:59,000 --> 00:10:03,830
On my cart, too,
my constant helper

Are decorations
that proclaim the New Year

Fuji to the east

The great peaks to the west

If you're going to sing a song
Sing it in the middle

All is well with us
All is well with us

If you're going to sing a song
Sing it in the middle

Hey, Takemura.
New Year's is a time to be happy.

Let's not get all weepy.
Cheer up and drink some more.

I can't take it anymore!

I know how you feel, but -

I'm gonna have to leave you guys.

Come on, cheer up.
Huh, Takemura?

Dad's in tears, Mom.

I said Dad's crying.

A New Year's party
with lots of drink, huh?

Go ahead and sing.
Let's have some singing!

Here's some food.

Superintendent -


I'm quitting as of today.


Thank you for these past years.

You'll quit and go where?

Your family's got a free room here.
You got somewhere better to go?

It doesn't matter where I go,
as long as I don't have to see you.

What'd you say?

You've bullied and humiliated me
all this time.

Takemura, Takemura.

Always criticizing what I do.

- Please, don't.
- Stop this.

Moto, we've put up with it for too long.

I can't be a road worker
and a house servant!

- Oh.
- You're home.

I'm home for lunch.

It is cold out, after all.

Must be tough out in the snow.

My feet are freezing.

Get in under the covers, then.

I've got a problem.


It's a good offer, but it's a problem.


What's the problem
with a good offer?

My boss had a word with me.

Get in trouble again?

You fool. How could trouble
mean a good offer?

What is it, then?
Maybe you should just tell us.

Remember when Takemura quit
after he attacked the superintendent?

I was asked if we wanted
to take Takemura's place.

- The housekeeper's room?
- Yeah.

Then you'd get a monthly wage, too.
Around 1,700 yen.

Around 1,700 yen?

How silly of you.
There's no problem there.

If you're making 2,500
and I'm making around 1,700, then -

I know. How silly of him.

Stop calling my son silly.

He may be your son,
but he's 39 already.

Get it together.
Don't pass this up.

The superintendent was nice enough
to make us the offer.

So, when can we move in?

Anytime. The sooner the better.

Oh, I'm so happy!

All five of us won't have to live
cramped in this house anymore.

- Do we have any shochu?
- I'll go get some.

Hey, hang on. I'm still on duty.

Just sit down.

Quit your job. Let's get moving.

There can be a problem
with a good offer, too.

What problem?

Being a housekeeper
is a tough job.

I can do the work.

When Takemura attacked
the superintendent -

he accused him of bullying
his housekeeper wife.

That's just the way
the superintendent is.

00:15:00,710 --> 00:15:05,050
Even to contempt
am I accustomed now

I pull the cart around
even on the festival day

Can we use your room, ma'am?

Is it for mahjong again?

- Never mind the cleaning.
- Sure, sure.

And can you get us some ice?


Oh, and three bottles of beer.
It's so hot out.

Sure, sure.

Split it even, all right?

The loser pays.

Then you're paying.

You think you're funny?

I'm sure you'll win today.

Here's my good luck.

- Hear that?
- Give me some good luck, too.

No way. Go and get the stuff.

I've got no money today.

I'm going to win today.

I can't even clean up.

Why can't they stay home
on festival days?

It's so hot out.

Mom -

Let's go buy eyeglasses.

I'll go get them.
Just go to your grandpa's now.

Tell him not to worry about dinner
since I'll bring some over later.

- I'll tell him that!
- All right.

Glasses aren't cheap either.


What's with this road?
I wish he'd fix it!



Oh, well.

Take it.

Don't they ever tire of playing?

Always asking for water and tea.

Thanks to them
I messed up the dinner.

The road worker and the housekeeper.
We can't complain. We live here for free.

Toshiyuki will be going
to high school soon.

We need the money.


Lively fireworks this year.

What do you think?
I've run out of shochu.

That's enough.

The festival's on.
And there's fireworks.

The finale is coming up.

Just watch those lively fireworks
and be satisfied with it.

They won't quench my thirst.

That's pretty.

Look. There's another one.

Ma'am! Ma'am!

My luck's fading. Give me a touch.


And get me some noodles.
Wish me luck.

I'll get some while I'm out.

Thanks, dear. That's my luck.

Hello? Hello?


What? Where?

I understand.
We'll head out right away.

Who was that?

A landslide at Omagari.

That's my area.

Five meters, so not big.

- Go right now.
- Right.

Can you get me tea, Ma'am?


I should drink shochu.
It's so cold out!

You'll get some tonight.

Hey, we're going!

Take it easy!

It's awful when it rains like this.

Well need a good drink tonight.
Make sure we've got enough.

Let's have a good one tonight.

- We're going now!
- Just leave him.

Mom, is Dad going
to get drunk again tonight?

Your dad has it rough.

I can't stand it.
I've got homework to do.

Onward we will go, even in the rain

This road, that road,
the mountain road

The winds blow coldly
at you and me

But we carry on facing all adversity

I'll take care of the rest.
You go to sleep.

I'm glad it stopped raining.

You didn't get drunk tonight.

I don't always get drunk.

When I was young, I wondered
what would ever come of me

Sweeping up the office
with my housekeeper wife

Poor thing. He's fallen asleep.

He studies hard.

The homework just piles up.

He said it was so noisy
he couldn't get it done by tomorrow.

If it hadn't been for the war,
he would've grown up in Tokyo.

It was nice when we lived in Kamata.

The salary wasn't much
with the fire department,

but life in Tokyo sure was fun.

We'd go to Ueno Zoo,
and to Asakusa.

It was fun when we went to Enoshima.

He wouldn't get out of the water.

And he'd cry when we told him
we were going home.

He'll make something of himself
when he grows up.

Unlike me, he likes to study.

Shall I put him to bed?

Hey, you can sleep next to me.

No way. You smell of liquor.

I don't tonight. Come on.

- Ow!
- What happened?

I told you to leave me alone.

Who left a hibachi here?


I need to use the phone!
- What's the matter?

My husband collapsed
after coming home from here.

We'd better call the doctor!

Hello? Hello?

He's not answering.

00:23:07,860 --> 00:23:15,490
The love we swore to each other

The true love of the winter stars

Burning in our hearts,
the love between you and I

Spring will come after we endure

You're back.

What did you get?

Cuttlefish was on special.

Shall I stew it or grill it?

Grilled is better if I'm drinking.

I'm not getting any for you today.

I'd like to drink a bit.

Flowers are blooming
and the cuttlefish was cheap.

You'll end up like Mr. Mochizuki
if you keep drinking shochu.

His wife came by in tears again.

They had a late marriage.
Their eldest son is already 18.

And they have younger ones, too.

The 18-year-old can't earn much.

She said it would've been better
if her husband had just died.

Must be tough on her
if he's bedridden.

If you want to drink,
drink sake instead of shochu.

Then I'll have sake tonight!

Oh, come now!

Chapped hands have left with winter

Cherry petals on my cart

Is that Chiyo?

It's been a long time.

Yes. It's been a long time.

I'm pleased to see you're well.

Well, I'm grateful.

Is that your father?

No, a friend from work.
This is Mr. Mochizuki.

- Is he ill?
- Yes.

He's been bedridden since last fall.
I thought I'd show him the blossoms.

They're at their most beautiful
right now in this area.

Are you living in the area?

No, I just arrived a few days ago.
Thought I'd visit the graves.

- Then you'll be here for a while?
- Yes, for a while.

Then I'll see you again.

Yes, I'd like to visit longer.

Take care of yourself.

Oh, how is your wife?

She's doing well.

Give her my regards.

We're almost there.

Well, that's all ancient history.

When I went to war she was 16,
four years younger than me.

She went to a girls' school in Kofu.

In the evening, I'd hang out
around the train station,

hoping to get a glimpse of her.

I wanted to talk to her,
but couldn't muster up the courage.

When the moment came
I couldn't do it.

I was too shy and tongue-tied.

But when I left for the army,
it was now or never,

and so I handed her a letter.

What did you write?

Well, I don't remember.

So that's as far as it went.

That was it.

When I came back after two years,
she was already spoken for.

A wealthy orange grower in Yui.

But I heard that they're not as rich
as they used to be.

Unfortunately for her,
her husband died in battle.

Killed in battle, huh?

Two of my brothers died in battle, too.

Will you wipe my fingers?


If she had wed a poor fellow like me,
she would've had a strong man.

But her parents seem well off.

They've often given me tea.

Fireworks merchants do well
because it's a risky business.

Fireworks are popular since the war.
Ichikawa's are pretty spectacular.

Your first love was fireworks.

It's fine if it blooms and wilts quickly
like these cherry blossoms.

But a one-sided love
doesn't get you anywhere.

I shared this story with my wife once
but she just started laughing.

Then she'd say that's why
I've got a great wife.

I wonder how many more times
I'll see these flowers?

Well, see them as many times
as you want.

Have some tea.

Let's do this again next year.



There's a fight!

Nothing unusual about a fight.

It's Mr. Mochizuki's son!

- Ichiro?
- Yeah.

Ichikawa's fireworks are spectacular.

A whole year has passed already.

Old people don't appreciate the fireworks
reminding us of the time passing by.

You sure like watermelon.

You eat a lot
considering that you're old.

I feel so hungry nowadays.

Tell me if you're short of rice.

I don't eat all that much.

You're always drinking too much.
You should stop it.

It's all right. Here -


Mochizuki got in a fight
and got taken away!

A fight?

He went wild at the shrine.
It was incredible.

- Where was he taken?
- To the police station.

Mom asked if you could go and see.

That kid's a problem.

Excuse me?


Oh, hello.

Please come in.

I'm on my own.
They've all gone to handle the fireworks.

No. I'm just here to apologize.

Oh? What for?

I was just at the police station.

I understand your boy was injured.

Oh, is this about the fight?

I wouldn't call that an injury.

A little ointment
and he's off doing the fireworks.

I'm relieved to hear that.

But why would you come?

The boy who started that fight -

It's the son of that man
I was pulling around in the cart.

Oh, so you came on his behalf.

I'm really sorry about all that.

Not at all.

Please come in. You can see
the fireworks from the other side.

Our fireworks are about to start.

Please. Come around to the back.

Please have a seat.


I was watching them on my own.

I don't like going out much.

I'm sure people are saying
things about me in town.

You haven't gone back yet.

No, I haven't.

I haven't felt like going back.

Here you go.

Do you have any children?

Just one child. A girl.

She married in March.
I'm not needed any longer.

I heard your husband died in the war.


I remember getting a letter from you
a long time ago.

Well, that's very embarrassing!

It's not fair to bring that up
at this late age.

But I remember it well.

Don't say any more!
I've got to go now!

Mr. Nonaka -

Good night.

Why did she have to bring that up?


You're back.

Who brought those?

You'd better treat us.

What are you so happy about?

Who do you think
brought those sweets?

Whoever it was,
sweets don't appeal to me much.

I'm just wet and thirsty.

Then next time
I should ask for liquor instead?

So who came?

- Your girlfriend.
- Girlfriend?

Your first love.

First -

What? What did she come for?

My, my. That perked you up.

You'll start slobbering soon.

Come on. What did she come for?

Don't leave me hanging.

Now, have some tea.

Come on. What did she come for?

And some sweets with your tea.

She came all this way?

She felt sorry for you.

She was on her way back from Kofu.

Didn't a bus splash mud
all over you?

She was on that bus.


She felt bad that you had
such a tough job.

She dropped off the sweets
because she felt sorry for you.

You can share them!

You already ate that many?

Toshiyuki took some to his grandpa.

You can enjoy your shochu
with sweets tonight.

You're going to get some?

I have some.

I'm competing
with your girlfriend, after all.

Well, I've got lots to do.

Out on the roadwork
a happy day it has been

As I watch a bride
making her way to her wedding

- You head to the station before me.
- Sure.

Thank you for the sweets the other day.

Oh, you're welcome.

- Are you leaving?
- Yes.

I've stayed too long.
I must've kept the gossips busy.

No, not at all.

I don't feel like going back,
but my mother-in-law is ill.

Yes, that's right.

I'll never forget you.

I wish you good health
and happiness.

"I'm excited about joining the army.
Good-bye, Yoshio Nonaka."

That's what you wrote.


And I went off to be wed.
It was good-bye for me, too.

Anyway, good-bye.
Take care.

When I remember the days
I dreamt of distant mountains

I feel a sense of melancholy
come over me

Even migrating birds
sing for you and I

In prayers for our happiness

A bottle of sake to me from my wife

We've been married 18 years now

Hey, Toshiyuki.

- Let's go home.
- I'm sticking around a bit.

Don't you have to study?

It's Saturday. Leave me alone.


Drop in for a drink, Mr. Nonaka.

I think I'll pass today.

But you were about to come in.

I was going to have a drink
to warm up.

Of course.

Maybe it's better if I take medicine.

But sake is medicine.

- Next time. I think I'm catching a cold.
- I see.

Mr. Nonaka!

Toshiyuki's badly injured!

- How?
- A javelin struck him!

The school called and
your wife ran out. You'd better go!

Mr. Nonaka!

Excuse me?

How is he?

Thank you for your concern.

It wasn't too bad,
but my husband's now taken ill.

What a shock. I just heard.
My husband was beside himself.

How was he struck by a javelin?

He was going after a ball
when a badly aimed javelin landed.

Oh, my -

It struck him in the foot here.

There wasn't enough force
for it to penetrate to the bone.

Thank goodness.

- Hey -
- Yes?

I'm relieved.
Now I must get going.

- I haven't even offered tea.
- Oh, don't worry.

These oranges are a bit battered,
but you can make juice from them.

- That's very kind of you.
- Take care, now.

- Hey -
- Yes?

Keep changing the towels.

Seems like your fever's down.

Who just came?

Mrs. Mochizuki.

What a shock that was.

They put you in that cart,

and you kept saying -
"It's all over. It's all over."

I really thought that was it.
He was hit by a javelin.

I went running to the hospital,
but you just went down.

Get a grip on yourself.

It was hard to take.

He's all we have to live for.

I was shedding tears as I ran.

And isn't it strange?

I left my sandals
and ran barefoot all the way.

The fishmonger's wife
brought them to me later.

Parents can get desperate
when it comes to their kids.

I'm amazed we've been able
to raise him in this poverty.

As the kid of a road worker,

he'll likely grow up
with some resentments.

When I'm doing some roadwork,

he'll -

he'll walk by without saying a word to me
on his way home from school.

Even you -

Hey, can I have some tea?


Few compliments has my wife heard

In five years as a housekeeper

00:43:26,350 --> 00:43:30,550
1954 School Year
Commencement Ceremony

The school in Kofu is indeed nice.


I'm amazed he got admitted here
considering he didn't study much.

He's a smart boy.

Where does he get that from?

- That's obvious.
- From me?

From me.

Well, it's thanks to you then.

You, too. You work so hard.

Well, it's thanks to our child

that we can feel so good right now.

You should go to the ceremony.

A lot of fathers will be there.

You're kidding.

I'd be embarrassed
to take my coat off.

You ought to have one proper jacket.

Even for the sake of Toshiyuki.

What about a dress for you?
Go to the department store?

Oh, not a chance.
Not with hands and hair like this.

It's about to start.

I wonder how he looks.

He's got new clothes
and he's got new shoes.

It makes you not want anything
for yourself.


Let's head back into town
and wait at the train station.


I wonder what's happened.

Maybe he forgot something?

What's the matter?

I looked all over for you.
I knew you were around.

It's already started.

Come in, Mom and Dad.
Never mind appearances.

There are lots of people.
No one cares.

- What do you think?
- Come on. Let's just go!

- Shall we go?
- Yes!

Hey, just climb over here.


- Oh, dear.
- Let's go!

Opening remarks!

Listen carefully.

We now begin the commencement
ceremony for the 1954 school year.

Can I buy these?

Sure, whatever you need.

- I'd like these, please.
- Oh, certainly.

Pick what you want.
We don't have much time.

This would be handy.

Let's buy it, then.
We'll take this.

- How much is it?
- That'll be 420 yen.

- Here.
- That's one thousand yen.

- Do you want this?
- It's all right.

- Get it, then.
- It's okay.

I'll have a cutlet on rice.

Shochu and shumai for me.

Shochu and shumai?

- I want some shumai, too.
- Shumai and cutlet on rice?

How about you?

The chicken and egg is cheaper
than the cutlet.

- Come on. Decide.
- Hang on.

Have the cutlet in rice.

Maybe I'll have the Chinese noodles.

I'll get a table.


Good food can be so expensive.

My wife quibbles about prices
at the restaurant

Let's forget about money today

If only our foolish son hadn't been
arrested by the police,

my husband might've lived longer.

But he was sick and bedridden.

It would've been tough
if he kept on living.

Tough on me and our daughters.

He might've died thinking of that.

There's no point in crying.

But, Nonaka. This was the day!

You were going to bring him here
for the blossoms!

And now he's here, but he's dead!

It'll be our turn soon.

I think I can keep going for a while.

You'll go first.

You will.

Once you're gone,
I'll travel a bit with twice the money.

I had the same idea.

But there's something ominous
about the sake and sweets.


Maybe he thinks time's ticking
because Mochizuki died.

Don't think that way.
Yoshio's just being generous.

You have another one, too.

I suppose. Nice for blossom viewing.

But this could be
a premonition of death.



You have to come!
Please stop Yoshio!

I'm very sorry.

How impudent,
talking to me like that.

And coming in drunk.

Please accept my apology!

Mochizuki dying of a stroke
isn't our responsibility.

How dare you suggest
that we've been heartless.

These offices did what was required.

- It's just that I thought -
- Idiot! You have more to say?

No, not at all. It's just that -

You think we can hire a man
that's been arrested before?

We pay you for all the work you do!

And you get a free room here.
Show some gratitude!

Yes, sir.

Where's the housekeeper?
Get me some tea!

Yes, sir!



I want tea!

Yes, sir!

I'll do that.

Where's Yoshio?


Just let him sleep here at this point.

We'll sleep at the edge of the room.

I'll wake him up early tomorrow.

He's like a child for a man his age.

He's so much a child.

He was thinking of us.

He just didn't want to back down.

Of course.
That's what responsibility is.

Torae -

You heard all that?

I never called you Torae

because I didn't think you liked it.

You can call me Tiger Woman.

At my age, I don't care
if I'm a tiger or a bear.

You think it was wrong for me
to ask the supervisor?

Of course you were wrong.

We all depend on you.
Be careful with what you say.

It was for the sake of the Mochizuki's.
For that lady and her daughters,

I only asked if they could
hire their son.

They can't do that!

You can't ask for something like that.

Why can't I?

I'm a road worker.

A road worker older than I
got sick and bedridden.

A man who worked 35 years
on the roads got sick and bedridden.

What's wrong with asking them
to hire his son to help the family?

It depends on the boy.

You've been -

You've been saying that all along.

How do you think I feel hearing that?

Maybe he's no good.

But helping him is what kindness is.

When I came back from the war
and first became a road worker,

he told me it's a tough job,
and that I mustn't get angry.

I can't forget Mochizuki
for the encouragement he gave me.

This was the first time I got angry!

I'm putting up with a lot, too.

To hell with you!

Excuse me.

I'm going to Yui.
Is there still a connecting train?

Yes, there is. The last train
leaving for Shizuoka at 25 past.

Thank you.

Beyond the pass, you will see Fuji

The clouds that come and go
and the clouds of spring

Yearning in my heart, you and me

Lighted only by the silvery moon



- The sea is right out the back?
- Yes.

- Can I open the rain shutters?
- Oh, I'll open them.

Seated by the window, we converse

Although tears fall,
the heart is happy

So many things left unsaid

You a widow, I, with a wife

00:58:42,990 --> 00:58:46,660
Everything is getting rebuilt, dear.

We have to decide whether
to send Toshiyuki to college.

Everything's being rebuilt,
but my pay isn't going up.

So let's tighten our belts.
You can cut back on your drinking.

You don't have to quit altogether.

Of course not.

If you know, then let's decide.

He really wants to go.

Are you going to cut back on food?

Yeah, I'll cut back.

I can lose weight and wither away.
I'm just a housekeeper.

Having no education
and knowing the misery of poverty

My wife insists that a good education
our son must have

Poor people have an easy time moving.

The only thing we have more of
are the books for Toshiyuki.

I suppose we also have more
white hairs and wrinkles, too.

He's been reading some tough books.

Poor boy.

He hasn't mentioned university lately
so as not to put you in a bind.

Such miserable parents.

The child's the one making sacrifices.

How pathetic.

We're not dependable parents.

I know that much!

This umbrella here -

Toshiyuki bought you this last year
with money he saved from work.

Look, I know.
You don't have to rub it in.

I'll air it out.

Such nice weather.

It would be nice to act
like parents should.

The best gift of all to leave our son

Would be to send him to college

01:01:50,300 --> 01:01:52,010
- Hi.
- Hello.

Off somewhere?


Our son got into the university in Kyoto.

University in Kyoto? Is that right?

I'm seeing him off at the station.

He kept going on about college,
and now he's been accepted.

That's quite something.
Imperial University in Kyoto?

Your son's done quite well.

- Well, please excuse me.
- Good-bye.

Can he know how his parents feel?

As he smiles and waves good-bye
from the train window

Rope used to gather our son's things
spread on the floor

From today, this house
is just my wife and I

Is my son in Shizuoka by now?

My wife says he'll pass through
after midnight

I hope he gets some sleep.

But it's hard to sleep on night trains.

I wasn't able to sleep last night.

He looked so happy as he went off.

I'm glad we made the right decision.

It'll be tough from now on.

You cut your drinking by half.

Sending 5,000 yen a month
will be tough.

Let's do our best.

We can do it, dear.

- Hey!
- I'm not doing it to spite you!

You don't consider your husband!

With this rain,
I'd think you'd get me one bottle.

You are Torae, after all.
Tiger Woman!

People outside can hear you.

I always avoided calling you
by your name.

It was always, "Hey."
"Hey, you. Hey, that!"

- You can call me Torae.
- Sure. I'll call you Torae from now on!

I'm going out for a drink, Torae!

It'll calm me down.

Hey, isn't it better with ice?

I'll go buy some.

I should've bought some sake.

But I fell asleep. Sorry.

Look. I don't need any sake.

Toshiyuki's struggling
with the little money we send him.

My fever's gone down.
Didn't need the ice.

I can't have you bedridden.
You'll have to pull through.

There's some pickled cabbage
in the jar next to the sink.

No, let's not waste it.

Thank you.

01:06:30,000 --> 01:06:31,330

It's something awful!

What's going on?

Look at this letter.

Promise not to get angry.

From Toshiyuki?

Don't be angry with him.


I told you not to get upset.

I understand you're disappointed.

But we can't blame him entirely.

He knows how we agonized over
whether to send him to college.

He couldn't tell us he wanted to take
a year off because he failed the exam.

We're not in a position to allow that.

A whole year gone to waste?

I thought he'd been working hard
in his first of four years.

Depending on how you look at it,
he's the clever one.

Pretending to have passed the exam
and going to Kyoto to study.

That's the thing that angers me.
We struggled for him!

Don't get angry.

If we didn't struggle for our child

there would be no meaning
in our lives.

He wrote this letter on the day
of the commencement ceremony.

Let's send him a telegram to congratulate him
for passing this time around.

I'm sure he struggled along as well.

The bus is coming.

All right? I'm sending him a telegram.

It's not a bus. It's a truck.

An old shirt belonging to our son
who is away

My wife washes it
and hands it to me to wear

01:09:22,780 --> 01:09:25,610
These buildings of the Heian Shrine

mirror those built by the Kammu Emperor
under advice from Wake no Kiyomaro

when Kyoto was first
established as the capital.

The dragon and white tiger
on the towers to the left and right

are dedicated to the guardians
of the four cardinal directions.

Come this way.

I've got to go to the station now.
I might have to leave.


Will I see you tomorrow?
What will you do?

I don't know.

I don't know what my mom will say.

I wonder.

She might tell you to study harder.

Why else would she come to Kyoto
only to tell you to come home?

I can study harder, but I won't
get anywhere with my current grades.

I've hardly been able to go to class
since entering third year.

But from your parents' point of view,

you've made it to third year,
and you have another year and a half.

They might think quitting now
would be a true waste.

It's not just a year and a half.

If I can't graduate,
it's another year on top of that.

You can't simply decide
you're not going to graduate.

I have to accept it.

I have to keep working
in order to feed myself.

If I work I won't be able to study,
and I won't be able to earn the credits.

It was impossible to start with,
going to college without the means.

I'm not too smart either.

Hey, can I ask you something?


You've always avoided the subject,

so I haven't really asked, but -

- About my family?
- You don't have to tell me.

When I think about your struggles,
your family must also be -

My dad's a road worker.

And my mom's a housekeeper
at the civic offices.

Disappointing, isn't it?

So disappointing you're speechless.

A year off and I finally get in,
and now I can't graduate in four years.

What a disappointing tale.

I got an encouraging telegram
when I was accepted.

But today's telegram was somber.

"Meet me at the station - Mom."

Together we've walked
through the years

In times of laughter and of tears

Our hands are roughened,
but you and I

We shall walk,
forging ahead with smiles

Kyoto, Kyoto.


- Thank you.
- You exhausted?

No. I had a seat the whole way.

Now, let's go.

I'm relieved to see you're well.

It's been two years, after all.

I'm sorry.

Dad said he wanted to see Kyoto.

It really is pretty.

It's this way.

I'm back.

Watch it! You'll break the door!


The bathhouse is a bit far,
but you want to go now?

I think I'll pass.

- You go on.
- But you want a wash.

So this is where you sleep
every night.

It's a hot, stuffy room.

Well, sit down.

Dad must be angry.

You can't blame him.

You must've been angry, too.

Of course.
After getting a letter like that.

Dad insisted on coming.
But I finally talked him out of it.

He would've just beat me up.

That's why I came.

If it was your dad,
that's what would've happened.

But I can't go on.
Even if you send me money.

Toshiyuki, how about
you come home with me?

Is that all right?

Good or bad,
it's the only home you have.

I didn't plan on taking you
back with me.

I came hoping to convince you
to keep studying.

Now I know how much
you've struggled.

I can't really say anything more.

Even that fuss over a glass door.

You can't even leave your shoes
down there?

And this poorly ventilated room.

Must've been rough.

And we only sent you
a little bit of money.

I'm so sorry.

Mom -

They should fix that door properly.

I brought some gifts.

The little one for the landlady?

Hey, where's the tea?

It's coming right up.

- Good evening.
- Oh, hello.

Can I help with anything?

Oh, thank you. Please sit down.

Sorry I took my time.

- Sorry you have to work so late.
- Not at all

Enjoy the tea.

- He's quite downcast.
- His wife's not around.

Oh, right.

It's nice not to have her around
at times.

I only brought one bottle.

Don't waste it on me.
I've never had beer.

Please have it.
Where are your cups?

Oh, right here.

I'll have some then.

I'll pour it.

Please sit down.

I'm glad to see you're doing better.

Well, thank you.

My daughter Kiyoko in Suwa
has been working hard.

My younger daughter and I
are somehow managing together.

The fireworks plant can be dangerous.
I hope you're careful.

They pay well because it's dangerous.

Which means I can buy beer
from time to time.

- Here. Have some more.
- Oh, thanks.

Is Ichiro still missing?

Who knows what crimes
he's been committing.

I'm thankful that he's disappeared.

Too bad my only son
turned out so badly.

An only son can be a big headache.


I'm glad I was able to catch up with you.

Where's your mom?

She's at the dorm.
She brought a gift.

I don't need a gift -

- It's just a token.
- But l can't take it to the office.

Right. Then I'll leave it at your house?

Thanks. I appreciate it

I'm going back with my mother.

So you're going to quit school?

Mom says it can't be helped.

I'll leave my things here for a while.

You're short of time.
Let's talk on the way.

I'll be back to get my things.

And then it's over.

I've felt that we might have to part.

Of course.

I'll go back home and find work
suitable for the son of a road worker.

I'll stop dreaming impossible dreams.

But I really do like you, Nonaka.

I like you, too.

You always encouraged me
when I was struggling.

I'm grateful to you for that.

You see, I was really shocked

when you told me about your parents.

I don't scorn them.

But it was so unexpected.
You can see how I was surprised.

There was nothing strange about it,
but it was still a surprise.

But is college that important?

It is worth such sacrifices?

I have a lot of friends
who went to college,

but I felt high school was enough.

My family couldn't afford it
and they were happy I was satisfied.

Shouldn't it be the same
for a man like you?

Besides, this obsession
with college

is such a silly thing for people
who are supposed to be so smart.

So if you're heading back home,

I think that's fine, too.

I know we're parting ways,

but after many years,

if I find that I can't live without you,

I'll head to the mountains of Kofu
or wherever you are.

But that's not something
I can promise now.

If some time in the future
after you're gone,

I still felt that I wanted to be with you -

I won't forget you.

Take care of yourself.


I'll take the gift after all.

Take care.

For connections to the Minobu Line
please proceed to Track 4.

For Kofu on the Minobu Line
please proceed to Track 4.


The train for Kofu will be departing
from Track 4 at 15:58.

Passengers headed for Fujinomiya,
Minobu and Kofu, proceed to Track 4.

- Mom, let's sit here.
- All right.

Oh, hello.

- Mrs. Nonaka.
- Going back home?

There was an explosion at the plant.

- The fireworks plant?
- Just now. I got a phone call.

Then, Mrs. Mochizuki -

Yoshio! Not tonight! You're all upset!

- I'm all right.
- But Toshiyuki's very tired.

There isn't much to say.

But you're just going to yell at him.

You'll just get enraged.
You'll start shouting and hitting.

I'll hit him if I have to!

Then I want you at least to hear this.

Don't pull on my waistband!
What do you want?

Why can't you talk it over
calmly tomorrow?

- I want to talk to him tonight!
- Wait, Yoshio!

What is it?

You have to feel sorry for Toshiyuki.

Feel sorry for him?
He wanted to go to college.

But he's just a child.

That's nonsense. He's 21 now.

- But -
- He's fully grown up.

He was 17 when he took
the entrance exams.

He didn't realize
how tough it would be.

We're the ones that had it tough!

No. It's wrong to talk like that.

What's wrong about it?

He'd never tell you this,

but 5,000 yen a month
is far from sufficient.

Think about it.

There's 2,000 yen for the room,
then there's the books and food.

Even with the money we sent him,
how do you expect him to make it?

We gave him the money because
he said he could.

That's why I said he's just a child.
Me, too?

And me.

Keep that in mind
when you talk it over.

Who cares if the whole town
laughs at us.

Even a year or two
has been a good experience.

Don't justify it! I'll go talk to him!


You can talk to him,
but don't hit him.

I won't stand for it if you hit him.


Did you get sick of studying?

Don't like the subjects?

That's not it -

If that's not it,
then get back to college!

- I told you it's not possible.
- You stay quiet!

He feels bad for us.

If you feel bad for us, then -

I'm begging you
to go back to college.

Come on.
You're just tormenting him.

I don't know if your grades
are good enough or not,

but I know that
you don't have enough money.

I don't care if four years becomes five,
or five years becomes six.

You have to finish what you started.
Please graduate from college.

Mom and I will send you more money.

Forget having to work.

How much more money do you need?

You can't be making more than
3,000 or 4,000 yen from work.

How about this? Think you can manage
on another 3,000 yen?

But that's -

We can manage that!

We'll cut back on food,
and go into debt if we have to.

Even your grandparents
are retaking in work.

To stave off boredom.

It's not a whole lot.

Oh, but we're grateful for it.

I'm only a road worker.

As long as there are roads,

it's a never-ending job
with picks and shovels.

I'll be a road worker until the day I die.

That's what my life is.

But you can choose
your own path, Toshiyuki.

Toshiyuki, your father is
so intent about it. Let's do it.

Forget about all this
and just go back tomorrow morning.

Go back and continue your studies.

I'll go, but only to bring back my things.



After what you said to me -

I don't care about this ungrateful son!

You fool.
You said to talk it over calmly.

After all you've said, he still -

I learned today what a son can be.

Mochizuki's son has a record.
He'd been arrested a couple of times.

No one knew where he'd gone,
but he came back

when he heard about the explosion
at the fireworks plant.

And, you know -

You know -

He clung to his mother's
charred body,

and called out her name.

I'm so sorry, Mom and Dad.

I'll try again.

Toshiyuki, your glasses!
You'll trip without your glasses!

Do your best, all right?

Remember this:
Your father's decided to quit drinking.

I'll remember that.

The Mochizuki's say
they don't need this money now,

and would like you to take care of it.

I can't do that.

It's not very much money.

It's just some compensation
paid by the plant.

No. It's a big sum to us.

We're paying to send our son
to college,

so it's very tempting.

But we can't very well accept this.

That's right. But it is tempting.

It would be best
if you took care of this.

Well, I suppose I have no choice.

Thank you for your understanding.

I feel so envious when I see a man
and his wife working together like this.

- You think?
- Of course!

I'm just as the town gossips say.

Constantly quarreling
with my mother-in-law.

She won't even talk to me lately.

And my daughter's adopted child
came from the other side.

My daughter prefers
her husband to me.

Even my grandchildren ignore me.
I'm so alone.

You were in the same class
in elementary school, right?

We were even born in the same month.
Just a day's difference.

My -

And we were married the same day.

Of course!

No doubt!

I can be envious even at my age,
so I'd better get going.

Not to worry about that.

Anyway, I wish you the best.
Good night.

- What do you think?
- What?

It's going all right, isn't it?

I've got no complaints.

Let's just get along.

You're so silly, with those rough hands!

My sole accomplishment
with my wife of 25 years

Was to raise one child to manhood

01:36:48,100 --> 01:36:52,560


The glow of the firefly

The snow by the window

The days of reading and writing

Endlessly repeating

Year after year

The door beyond

Will open this morning

As we part ways

Whether to stop or go

Is conditional

Upon mutual consideration

The bountiful

Edge of the spirit

In one word

Brings good fortune

Through song

What's the matter?

Too many tears.
I was feeling overwhelmed.

You're not as strong as you used to be.

Loosen your waist sash a little.

I'm all right now.

It just seems so terrifying.

When I think of all those countless
graduates going out into the world...

Toshiyuki's got a lot of competition
ahead of him.

Tokyo can be tough.

The better the company,
the harder the competition.

I wonder how many of those
graduates will find happiness.

He just has to work diligently,
even if he doesn't become important.

Well, now we'll be able
to visit Tokyo from time to time.

Dear, you should
have a drink tonight.


You've worked so hard.

And you can start drinking tea again.

You sure are a tough one.

You really worked hard.

No, we still have a long way to go.

We have to be there for Toshiyuki
when he needs us.

Dear -

All right?

Dad, Mom, listen to my talk.

These three gates are -


Translation and Subtitles by
Captions, Inc., Burbank