special-event-good-morning-ohayo-feb-9thThe Japan of the 1950s became influenced by American modernity and consumerism. Ozu’s subtle comedy, Ohayô, explores this time of great change through a suburban Japanese family. The parents, still holding on to traditional values, are dismayed by their son’s refusal to speak until they buy a TV for the home. In a community where jobs and money are short, the proximity of neighbours and their gossip fuel misunderstanding when some money goes missing. (Cert U)
Dir: Yasujirô Ozu 90 mins Japan 1959
We welcome back Japanese cinema specialist Alex Jacoby to introduce this film.

Programme Notes

Special Event: Good Morning (Ohayô)
Japan 1959 90 minutes Cert. U

“Disillusioned with the seemingly meaningless talk of the adults around them, two brothers, living in a Tokyo suburb take a vow of silence when their parents refuse them a television. With a dexterously woven plot, built on mishaps and misunderstandings, Good Morning pokes fun at the silliness of everyday chatter whilst gently acknowledging its fundamental necessity.” BFI press release

Good Morning is said to be a loose remake of his monumental 1932 silent film I Was Born, But…, though the similarities between the two films are rather minor as they are clearly unique in both tone and narrative. As with any Ozu film its simplistic techniques do not discourage the complex depths and themes which result. Ultimately, Good Morning is a delightful film of contemporary Japanese society and consumerism within a suburban household, as well as an examination into communication and community. It’s a comedy which is presented with satire, but it never becomes political and the calm and intelligent filmmaking from Ozu results in an equally profound and funny film (even if there are many “bodily function” jokes throughout). Ozu is one of the very greatest directors of children and the children here are outstanding (notably in their expressive vow of silence). Ozu presents the film in glorious Agfacolor and its beauty wonderfully captures the atmosphere and energy of the film, the suburbs of Japan, and the characters of the film.” Matthew Dessem, (

Heiichirô Fukui (Teacher) – Keiji Sada
Setsuko Arita (Tamiko’s sister) – Yoshiko Kuga
Keitarô Hayashi – Chishû Ryû
Tamiko Hayashi – Kuniko Miyake
Kikue Haraguchi – Haruko Sugimura
Minoru Hayashi (Older Son) – Kôji Shitara
Isamu Hayashi (Younger Son) – Masahiko Shimazu
Shige Ôkubo – Toyo Takahashi

Director – Yasujirô Ozu
Screenplay – Kôgo Noda, Yasujirô Ozu
Cinematography – Yûharu Atsuta
Original Music – Toshirô Mayuzumi
Production Design – Tatsuo Hamada
Producer – Shizuo Yamanouchi

with introduction and discussion by Alexander Jacoby, lecturer in Japanese language and cinema, Oxford Brookes University


“A nice evening, don’t you think? Thank you so much, most enjoyable, though the weather was a little chilly. The younger boy was a brilliant actor, I wonder if he is now a famous star?”

“Lovely in a very gentle way – very involving personalities. I really felt I was there. BUT can’t approve of the TV acquisition …”

“Ohayô is the kind of film that feels, whilst with its Japanese culture qualities, but has universally qualities about the culture clash between parents and neighbours. Definitely worth Jacoby’s stellar talk about the legacy of Yasujiro Ozu.”

“Visually fascinating – wonderful colours and compositions.”

“Beautiful performances”

“Western style music, gossiping women with husbands trying to opt out – could be any setting – typically 1950s/1960s setting”

“Sweet, if slight!”

“Very good introduction”

“Very like The Archers: everyone dropping in on neighbours and a kettle always on the boil.”

“Whimsical, charming, but oh so dreadfully slow. The Japanese are so polite and correct, it’s a pity western schoolchildren weren’t more like that. (The old guy was right, TV was at times mind-numbingly dull).”

“Interesting insight into Japan”

“Enjoyable but seemed much longer than 90 minutes, not sure if that is a good thing or not. Don’t think I picked up the thriving middle class theme, seemed more like a struggle to me.”

“Very interesting, is this Japanese Coronation Street but with formality?”

“Gently entertaining, but for me it stayed rather ‘sat on the floor’.”

“Interesting and enjoyable.”

“Weirdly reminiscent of an Ealing comedy”

“Glimpse of Japanese life and times”

“A certain charm. Good interiors and nice wishy-washy colour. Nice furniture – Habitat 1967. Would have been improved by a screenplay, however. Jokes were rather flat(ulent).”

“It was good to see the décors, and the small child was charming, but it seemed desperately inconsequential.”


A:12, B:11, C:8, D:1, E:0 to give 77%