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Kiku to Isamu (1959)

Immediately after the Second World War, sister Kiku and brother Isamu, whose mother was a prostitute and the father was a GI, live with their grandmother in the country. Because their ... See full summary »


Tadashi Imai


Yôko Mizuki
9 wins. See more awards »


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Credited cast:
Emiko Takahashi Emiko Takahashi ... Kiku, the sister
Tanie Kitabayashi Tanie Kitabayashi ... Shigeko Kawada - their grandmother
George Okunoyama George Okunoyama ... Isamu Kawada - the younger brother
Aiko Asahina Aiko Asahina ... Kimie
Kôji Kiyomura Kôji Kiyomura ... Seijiro
Teruko Kishi Teruko Kishi ... Katsu
Michiko Araki ... Teacher
Masao Oda ... Teacher
Seiji Miyaguchi ... Doctor
Osamu Takizawa Osamu Takizawa ... Photographer
Eijirô Tôno ... Policeman
Rentarô Mikuni ... Pressman
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Natsuko Kahara
Kappei Matsumoto Kappei Matsumoto
Masao Mishima
Learn more

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Immediately after the Second World War, sister Kiku and brother Isamu, whose mother was a prostitute and the father was a GI, live with their grandmother in the country. Because their colour, hair is different from Japanese, they'd have a hard time, being bullied or treated like unusual creatures. Unfortunately, racism and some other issues such as being different still exist in Japan but the way Kiku portrayed was quite refreshing as she's so strong and fighting against all those stupidity and cliché. Written by Naoshi Yasuda

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User Reviews

Humanist Drama
4 February 2018 | by manfromplanetxSee all my reviews

Tadashi Imai known for his left-wing social realist filmmaking boldly portrays the first film in Japan to show mixed-race children and the concept of interracial relationships. In recent history & directly linked to the American occupation of Japan following the end of World War II, African-Japanese children were born from unions between American GIs and Japanese women, many were conceived through prostitution. As they aged the biracial children born from these liaisons faced public discrimination and suffered marginalization. Due in part to the re-emergence of nationalism in Japan, but universally, the base human traits of bigotry and ignorance, racism come into play. The exceptional film explores the lives of two such children, sister & brother Kiku and Isamu, orphaned they live with their grandmother, each has a different black GI father. The multi layered tale touches on race, culture and identity. Outstanding performances, the characterisations portray a tremendous humanistic dimension. Wise grandmother Tanie Kitabayashi is worldly wise, pragmatic, and in her only ever film appearance? Emiko Takahashi as Kiku gives a sincere, moving and spirited account. The touching drama has a positive tone and is forward thinking. Each scene builds upon the last, deeply engaging , the progressive story is not impeded by dwelling on the negatives or self pity. The future now holds confronting social challenges for coming of age Kiku and her brother. Under pressure from outsiders and community, difficult decisions must be faced...

At the heart of this brilliant film is Kiku, an inspired and bold casting choice from Imai, it would spoil to say anymore, purely innocent KiKu asks her grandmother a simple but most profound question " why are some people black and some people white ? " ... Winner of the 10th Blue Ribbon Awards 1959 Won: Best Film Won: Best Actress - Tanie Kitabayashi Won: Best Screenplay - Youko Mizuk Highly Recommended !!

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Release Date:

29 March 1959 (Japan) See more »

Also Known As:

Kiku e Isamu See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Daitô Kôgyô Co. See more »
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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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