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Paris film fans embrace 'Tora-san' as appetite for Japan movies grows

25 Comments
By Hiroshi Tanaka

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25 Comments
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Wishful thinking, but whatever gets you through the day. Good luck, nevertheless.

-17 ( +3 / -20 )

Tora-san is the apotheosis of ham acting. Maybe they watch it ironically.

-7 ( +7 / -14 )

@Protestent So what are you saying? Japanese films are crap? How many have you actually watched?

10 ( +13 / -3 )

“Otoko wa tsurai yo” is a brilliant series. I have watched them all, some several times. Each one a gem. I recommend any and all of Itami Juzo's films too.

3 ( +6 / -3 )

I had seen bits and pieces changing channels but it was not until I watched a whole Tora san movie - as a captive audience on a bus tour - that I realized just how good these movies are. The Tora san series is a national treasure and Yoji Yamada is a quiet genius.

10 ( +11 / -1 )

The idea of Japanese people welcoming an itinerant wanderer without reservation is so far fetched.

They’d be more likely to call the police…

-8 ( +5 / -13 )

Tora-san is worthy of UNESCO Heritage Film status. Someone should lobby for its recognition.

0 ( +5 / -5 )

The idea of Japanese people welcoming an itinerant wanderer without reservation is so far fetched.

They’d be more likely to call the police…

Well, they didn't and the Tora-san series is as others have pointed out, not only still popular, but one of the longest running on the planet. There are altogether 50 movies. There would have been more, but the main actor, Atsumi-san sadly passed away a few years ago.

https://www.themoviedb.org/collection/435347-otoko-wa-tsurai-yo-collection

2 ( +5 / -3 )

The idea of Japanese people welcoming an itinerant wanderer without reservation is so far fetched.

They’d be more likely to call the police…

The acting in japanese movies is also a copycat of American movies.

No one here talks like that in real life. No one is that open and spontaneous.

It's actually kind of hard to watch when you've been in the country for a while and you know exactly how the japanese would talk and react in real life, the contrast keeps disturbing you during the movie.

-3 ( +5 / -8 )

I get you, finally rich. Have an upvote.

-7 ( +3 / -10 )

I think the Tora-san movies are worth watching, even though they are all basically the same movie.

7 ( +8 / -1 )

Great Japan movies..

0 ( +4 / -4 )

The acting in japanese movies is also a copycat of American movies.

No one here talks like that in real life. No one is that open and spontaneous.

I agree that most speech in doramas and modern films seems fake and exaggerated, but don't know if it has anything to do with America. I find that it is much worse in modern Japanese productions than in ones from the 50s and 60s.

I find this (limited) foreign appreciation of Tora san a bit bemusing, but whatever floats your boat. The bits I've seen have not encouraged me to watch more. I like Japanese cinema, but the more arty or cinephile end. From the Tora san era, I like Shohei Imamura's films like Vengeance is Mine, almost the polar opposite to Tora san.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Japanese woodblock prints and even designs on Japanese paper wrapping goods {tea etc } coming into France, have interested French artists since the 1860's ....influenced Australian painter Brett Whitely in the 1970's and 1980's.

So I'm not surprised that cinema philes like the French are embracing a Japanese classic.

Japan has a rich culture and it can be humorous and ironical.

I like "Solitary Gourmet "....I even watch it with my Mother in Law.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

The screenings in Paris, which began in November 2021, were initially planned to be more limited in scope, lasting for about a year. But with audiences falling for the affable and free-spirited main character Tora-san, they were extended, becoming the first time the series had ever been shown in its entirety outside Japan.

I am glad to see that some non-Japanese audiences can appreciate the value of Tora-san movies. I have long thought these movies could never be appreciated outside of Japan.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

"French people have gotten into the habit of going to see Japanese films the same way they go to see American films.

I have no statistics but I would be surprised if more than 20 % of French go to see Japanese movies (« Perfect day » was a big hit there) but 100% of French watch American movies.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

I agree that most speech in doramas and modern films seems fake and exaggerated, but don't know if it has anything to do with America. I find that it is much worse in modern Japanese productions than in ones from the 50s and 60s.

I find this (limited) foreign appreciation of Tora san a bit bemusing, but whatever floats your boat. The bits I've seen have not encouraged me to watch more. I like Japanese cinema, but the more arty or cinephile end. From the Tora san era, I like Shohei Imamura's films like Vengeance is Mine, almost the polar opposite to Tora san.

There are quite a few movies that depict the Japanese exactly the way they are.

I got to know 2 of them just recently (for work purposes), MONDAYS and Takano Tofu-ten no Haru (高野豆腐店の春) and they're very realistic to the point you keep saying to yourself I know this guy!

But for many of them, especially when there is some kind of "hero" character, 95% of the dialogs are so fake and confident its cringy!

But I'll take this opportunity and try to watch the 1st episode of Tora-san, I guess its almost 'mandatory' to see and experience these things so ingrained in the society you chose to live in, I doubt there is any japanese above his 30s that doesnt know about Tora-san.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

I've seen the first one, and rather enjoyed it. I think part of the appeal is that it is NOT realism reflecting modern-day Japan, rather it is a bit of escapism. The so-called 'ham acting' is because he and the other characters play caricatures- exaggerations and composites of people that we can all recognize.

There is something very charming about Tora-san, and this kind of movie is similar to certain French movies in that the setting and characters are far from being glamorous. He's a mucky old man but with a pure heart. I can completely see why a French audience in particular can relate to them.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

The so-called 'ham acting' is because he and the other characters play caricatures- exaggerations and composites of people that we can all recognize.

You don't say. Yes, over-acted caricatures. Same thing. Great for ironic viewing. Hilarious with some herbal accompaniment too.

-5 ( +1 / -6 )

"French people perceive Tora-san's value of 'cherishing family' as conservative and not very relatable.

Wow! Sad times French people live in.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

Moonraker

Tora-san is the apotheosis of ham acting. Maybe they watch it ironically.

If that's your take then you've completely missed the entire meaning of the series, the purpose of Torajiro's character, and how it relates to Japanese culture and how it's changed over the decades the films were produced. The irony is that you clearly didn't get how the series is a commentary on Japanese people, their culture, and how they've evolved.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

USNinJapan2,

Quite agree. This series of movies documents a tremendous time of change in Japan. This was a time when, if you asked a class of eikaiwa students what the capital of the U.S.A. was, they would usually answer "Los" (Angeles) or "New York." Bread was "Yamazaki Pan," the only wine was "Akadama Punch," there were two types of “cheese,” one triangular and the other square, both fake and neither would melt with a blowtorch. Ramen was usually ¥100. Nobody had air conditioning and people - even in Tokyo - would openly stare at a gaijin. I remember once asking a class of students in Sendai where they would like to go and the most common answer was not Paris, London or LA, it was, they would answer with a far away, dreamy look in their eyes, "Tokyo!"

Tora-san was from an even earlier time.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Was he ever able to tap it?

-6 ( +1 / -7 )

Japanese dramas usually involve a lot of shouting and crying. Don't see the appeal.

-3 ( +2 / -5 )

The high quality films coming out of Japan and South Korea are amazing. So good in so many ways. For awhile there it looked like China and Iran would be world leaders in film, but dictatorships are not good vehicles for artistic brilliance. On that subject, I wonder if we will ever again see the fruits of Russian artistic brilliance. Even under the Tsars there was artistic freedom. Not likely while the nutcase Putin is in power.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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