"I follow the general fashion in ordinary manners and moral laws in serious matters, but in art I follow myself. Therefore I won’t do anything I don’t want to do. Even if something is unnatural and I like it, I’ll do it. I don’t particularly approve of myself for this, and I know it isn’t reasonable; nonetheless, there it is. From this comes my individuality—and this is most important to me… Although I may seem the same to other people, to me each thing I produce is a new expression, and I always make each work from a new interest. It’s like a painter who always paints the same rose… Rather than tell a superficial story, I wanted to go deeper, to show the hidden undercurrents, the ever-changing uncertainties of life. So instead of constantly pushing dramatic action to the fore, I left empty spaces, so viewers could have a pleasant aftertaste to savor."

Yasujiro Ozu
December 12, 1903 — December 12, 1963

Tokyo Story — dir. Yasujiro Ozu

Bar hopping with Ozu.

Filmmakers as children: Luis Buñuel, Ingmar Bergman, Yasujiro Ozu, Satyajit Ray, Akira Kurosawa, Rainer Werner Fassbinder, Jacques Tati, Andrei Tarkovsky, and Stanley Kubrick.

That 1963 disappearance was a scandal. She had been the most beloved of film stars, her handsome face, accepting smile, known to all. And then, suddenly, rudely, without a word of apology, she was going to disappear—to retire.

Here, where the stars hang on, voluntary retirement is unknown, particularly for one the caliber of Setsuko Hara. She had become an ideal: men wanted to marry someone like her; women wanted to be someone like her.

This was because on the screen she reconciled her life as real people cannot. Whatever her role in films—daughter, wife, or mother—she played a woman who at the same time, somehow, was herself. Her social roles did not eclipse that individual self, our Setsuko.

— Donald Richie, Japanese Portraits

Setsuko Hara
Born June 17, 1920

Five Portraits by Yasujiro Ozu
1941 — The Brothers and Sisters of the Toda Family
1942 — There Was a Father
1947 — Record of a Tenement Gentleman
1951 — Early Summer
1960 — Late Autumn

Setsuko Hara and Yasujiro Ozu on the set of The End of Summer.

FilmYasujiro Ozu
"I portray what should not be possible as if it should be possible, but Ozu portrays what should be possible as if it were possible, and that is much more difficult.” — Kenji Mizoguchi





"Rather than tell a superficial story, I wanted to go deeper, to show the hidden undercurrents, the ever-changing uncertainties of life. So instead of constantly pushing dramatic action to the fore, I left empty spaces, so viewers could have a pleasant aftertaste to savor."
Yasujiro OzuDecember 12, 1903 – December 12, 1963

"Rather than tell a superficial story, I wanted to go deeper, to show the hidden undercurrents, the ever-changing uncertainties of life. So instead of constantly pushing dramatic action to the fore, I left empty spaces, so viewers could have a pleasant aftertaste to savor."

Yasujiro Ozu
December 12, 1903 – December 12, 1963

FilmIconsYasujiro Ozu