Tree Without Leaves (1986) - full transcript

Haru, an aging scriptwriter, has isolated himself somewhere in the woods of Nagano to work on his first novel. As the last surviving member of his kin, he intends to chronicle the family he grew up in.

Produced by Marui Kobun Co., Ltd.

A Kindai Eiga Kyokai Production


Executive Producer: Shosaku Imai

Nobuko Otowa

Ichiro Zaitsu

Kazuki Yamanaka

Midori Sono

Keiju Kobayashi

Written and Directed by Kaneto Shindo

Tateshina in Shinshu,
Nagano Prefecture

Haru! Supper! Come home!

Come on, bats!

The sandals went up,
and the bats came down.

Haru! Supper! Come home!

Haru! Supper's ready! Come now!

Haru! Supper! Come home!


Suburbs of Hiroshima

We made rice cake on December 30.

You do it.

Happy New Year!

Mom's favorite hanger-on!

You still drink her milk!

Shut up!

Mom's favorite hanger-on ?

I followed her wherever she went.

I'd suck her wrinkled breasts.


In the middle of a vast prairie,

a tiny light was seen.

The wandering priest
felt greatly relieved.

He started walking toward the light.

The priest said,

" Excuse me," and entered the hut.

He saw an old woman there.

He said, " I'm lost."

" Will you put me up for the night?"

The old woman said,
"That's too bad."

" Come in. Come closer to the fire."

Her hair was pure white,
face wrinkled.

Her eyes shone like a wildcat.

After a while she said,

" I'm out of wood. I'll go get some."

She left, but soon came back.

She said,
"Don't look into the inner room,"

and left again.

The priest was all alone.

He felt curious about the room.

Feeling sorry for her,
he peeked into the room.

It shocked the priest.

The room was full
of bones and skeletons.

Let's save the rest for tomorrow.

No. Tell me now!

You'll have a nightmare.

I don't care.

You'll cry again.

I won't .

The old woman gathered wood
and came home.

The priest was gone.

" Why, he ran away!"

My mother had me
when she was forty-one.

My famlly raised thelr own food.

Thanks for helping.

Please eat. There's plenty.

Me too.

Tired, aren't you?

I'll go see him tomorrow.

I'll go, too.

Mom's hanger-on!

So what?

My brother joined
the 11th Regiment in Hiroshlma.

Mom went to vlslt him every Sunday.

Her hanger-on,
I followed wherever she went.

Mother took a shortcut over a hill.

Nice day, isn't it?

Hiroshima is over there.

A passage through
the blg parade ground.

It led to

the 11th Infantr y Reglment barracks.

Eat it all. Don't leave any.

We made it for you.

Vlsiting time was brief.

But we met him.

Now we had to leave.

Along the way

there was an eatery.

We always stopped there
to eat noodles.

It got dark on the way home.

Mother dldn't hurry.

Blue fires burning!

No, fox fires.

I'm scared.

No need to be.

A fox mother is burning
them for her cubs.

Mother used a sickle well.

Young men vlsited

other famllies at night
after harvesting.

Good evening.

For famllies who had

young daughters,
it was a shame lf young men

didn't vlsit them.

Please come in.

The festival's coming, right?

Please help us.

Nice persimmons.

We got many this year.

You bought a phonograph?

May we listen?

Of course.

What a beautiful one!

Expensive, I bet.

So many people!

A god'll come soon.

How pretty!

Look! Isn't it beautiful?

Even while cooking,

Mom sometimes worked on paddies.

It's flying!


Is Mom still taking a bath?

The melon will be gone!

The watermelon.

Watch your step.

Look! Three!

We caught eels to go sea bathing.

Good morning.

The sea!

I'll go to the eatery.

I'm glad it's a nice day.

At the eatery, eels became money.

Excuse me.

Got a good price.


Hurry and change.

You too.

Mom too.

Let's warm up!



You all right?

Eat a lot.

Haru! Supper! Come home!

How is it in Tokyo?

A cat on a hot tin roof!

Thanks for coming.


What's this?

A pinball game prize.

You finished your first novel?

No more scenarios?

I can't write them anymore.

Scenarios are long.

They need youthful energy.


My brother and sisters all died.

Only I remember my mother.

I'll die before long, too.

Then no one will be left

to remember my mother.

But she really did exist.

So, I wanted to write about her.

This coat used to be a kimono

my mother made for me.

I was only ten.

As I grew,
the sleeves got too short.

My mother had some extra cloth.

So, my sister-in-law fixed it for me.

Mom died when I was eleven.

She didn't mention the sleeves.

She meant to fix them herself.

Mom died after our
family went bankrupt.

We lost everything, except for

the kimono and a coat.

It was made of the same material.

In my youth, I couldn't afford
a new kimono.

I kept wearing this.

In my thirties,
the thing was practically rags.

So I had the kimono and coat combined

into a kimono.

In my forties, I got a steady job.

I bought new kimonos.

But I couldn't throw this one away.

I reversed it.

In another ten years,
it was totally worn out.

But I couldn't for get
that my mother made it for me.

I couldn't throw it away.

So I had it remade into a short coat.

This is it.

It has a kind of softness.

It has a deep flavor.

Maybe it looks

like a rag to you.

This is the only
thing my mother left...

for me.

I'm glad she left it for me.

I brought rice cake.

Chicken too.

I'll take it.

What grade?


My father guaranteed
someone else's debt.

It led to financial woe.

My elder slster found out flrst.

The debts could have cost us only

a few of our rice paddies.

But he hated to sell
his ancestral land.

While remainlng determined,

his debts swelled.

Give me your seal!

I'll settle the debt.

Are you destroying this house?

Don't fight with Father!

Don't do that!


We'll all die!

That morning, Mom told us to take

somethlng we treasured the most.

I put ln a harmonica.

My sister put in
a wool muffler and gloves.

" When spring breezes blow,"

" plums, peaches and cherries..."

" They bloom majestically."

" People admire them, birds chirp."

" A stream in front of my house..."

I wasn't listening to her.

" I could fish and swim."

" So I enjoyed my summers."

Let's go home.

Mom told us not
to come home too soon.

Shall we go?

Don't go in.

Don't say that.

Please have some.

Have some.

There isn't much, but...

Please have some.

I hope you like it.

Please have some.

Please eat and drink.

It isn't much, though.

Please drink.

Please drink.
I prepared it for you.

We aren't here to drink.
We came for seizure.

Please have some. For our sake.

It's so hot today.

Will you please leave for today?


I beg you!

My father was strange.

Was he a good man, or stupld?

He always kept calm.

But it was a burden

for him to maintain the house.

Do something
by the time we come again.

Thank you.

The bailiffs left. Come inside.

We sold our mountaln.

But it was only a stopgap.
Nothing improved.

June 17 of the lunar calendar

fell on the annual festival
of the Miyajima Shrine.

Mom freed herself
of debts for a short whlle.

She looked happy.

Buy these!

On our way home.

Buy them now!

I'll buy them later. Let's go.

I want them now!

Why be so difficult?

Let's go.

Buy them!

I'll buy them on the way home.

Let's make it later.

Buy them now!

Later. Let's go.

Why be so defiant?

I'll buy them later. Let's go.

Buy them now!

She'd buy anything, anytlme.

But not that day.

She didn't have money wlth her.

Buy them, or I won't go!

Let's go, Haru.

Not today.

Let's go.

Buy them!

Buy them for me!

I wonder why I klcked her.

Why must you go that far?

He said he'll give me 2,000 yen.

Enough to pay your debts.

Don't go to America.

Marry a man here.

Not an emigrant to America.

I'll go to America and marry him.

Let me go.

We'll get 2,000 yen.

You like Yoshio, don't you?

I always wished you'd marry him.

America's immigration laws

were making it harder to

bring wives into the country, so...

he paid money
so she would hurry and marry him.

Then, I'll go.

Take care.

My brother had

left home and become a pollceman.


Where's your groom?

In Yokohama preparing for the trip.

A ricksha's waiting at the temple.

Take care.

Mother, goodbye.

Haru, goodbye.

After that,
my sister never returned to Japan.

I wonder if she already
boarded the ship.

Ships rock, don't they?

You've improved.

Sing for me.

I'm a poor singer.

My sister who moved to America

sent back her kimono.

" Kimonos aren't necessary in America."

" Give it to Akiko."

" Look at the collar."

Hisayo sewed a 100 yen
note into the collar.

Is that so?

No sense trying to show off.

I'm not trying to show off.

This house will be gone.

I want you to marry
while it's still here.

Let me do as I wish.

Do you have a persimmon tree?

Yes, at my house.

Does it bear much fruit?

Yes, plenty.

Then, may I pick them and eat them?

Why not? Please do.

This house will be gone.
But do your best.

Endure it.

I will.

She and Masato will move to Onomichi.

Say something to her.

I'm glad you came.

Even my sister's sacrifice

wasn 't enough to save our famlly.

We sold rlce paddies and mountains.

Finally we had to sell our house too.

She says she'll move to Hiroshima
and be a nurse.

I wish she could stay home, but...

She insists on going.

From now on,
you'll have to live with others.

Take care of yourself.

Please go.

Let's go.

We'll put tatami here.

This warehouse is all
we have left now.

It was built by Izaemon,
your great grandfather.

He was a carpenter.

He built that temple.

He built our house too.

He was also a teacher.

Judo. He taught that.

This scroll certifies
he was a master of judo.

Since he knew well
the body's vital points,

he did moxa cautery too.

He made a fortune at it.

When I married him,

he was still active.

He taught judo to his disciples.

Why doesn't Dad do judo?

He even hates to step on an ant.

Shall we lay tatami in the warehouse?

You needn't bother.

Sakuzo came to help. You just watch.

It's been a long time. How are you?

Fine, thanks. And you?

Just fine.



It's bright.

Please stay here.

We sold our house.

Aren't you ashamed to stay here?

People will ridicule me.

Come to my place.

Mom, please do so.

We'll live together.

Father, our house is gone.

This is all right.

I'll stay on my ancestral land.

Haru, go get some water.


You covered it?

To keep out dust.

Don't go outside.

Stay inside.

Haru! Supper! Come home!

Go to Mom.

Haru, you're still only a child...

But be brave, all right?

Haru! Supper's ready! Come home!