Monthly Classics

Best of Tora-san

October 2008–May 2009

Tora-san (Kiyoshi Atsumi) emerged as Japan’s comic anti-hero in 1969 when yakuza superstars such as Ken Takakura and Yujiro Ishihara dominated the screen, and remained Japan's beloved icon for over 25 years. The 48-part Tora-san series chronicles the life of an unruly yet endearing salesman traveling through a rapidly-modernizing Japan.

Over the years, Tora-san has become an icon of a simpler world, winning over audiences hungry for nostalgia. Over 80 million people have seen Tora-san in theaters, and it is the world's longest running series in film history.  Celebrating the 40th anniversary of the first Tora-san film, and the 80th anniversary of Atsumi’s birth, director Yoji Yamada (Twilight Samurai) handselects the top eight films for this Monthly Classics series (he wrote and directed all but two of the 48 films).

Tora-san arrived on the screen when anything was possible if you worked hard enough, and people were forward-thinking and full of energy… A penniless, comic anti-hero, Tora-san lacked good looks and smarts and remained oblivious to the country’s modernization, living solely to bring happiness to those he loved.

- Yoji Yamada, Director

    • Tora-san, Our Lovable Tramp

      Tora-san, Our Lovable Tramp

      Friday, October 17, 2008
      The first in a series of Monthly Classics, the Best of Tora-san .  The first film in the beloved Tora-san...
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    • Tora-san Meets the Songstress Again

      Tora-san Meets the Songstress Again

      Friday, November 21, 2008
      Tora-san runs into the beautiful singer, Lily, who has divorced her husband since she last saw Tora-san. Can Tora-san...
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    • Tora-san Goes Religious?

      Tora-san Goes Religious?

      Friday, December 5, 2008
      Tora-san falls in love with a priest's charming daughter, so he dons a robe and begins chanting sutras to win over...
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    • Tora-san's Love Call

      Tora-san's Love Call

      Friday, January 23, 2009
      After Tora-san attends the funeral of his sister’s mother-in-law in Okayama, he overstays his welcome and becomes...
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    • Tora-san's Dear Old Home

      Tora-san's Dear Old Home

      Friday, February 13, 2009
      In the historic, charming city of Kanazawa, Tora-san befriends a group of 3 young women who all adore Tora-san’s...
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    • Tora-san's Dream-Come-True

      Tora-san's Dream-Come-True

      Friday, March 13, 2009
      Tora-san is furious when he finds that his family has rented out his room to Mr. Okakura, a local university pr...
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    • Hearts and Flowers for Tora-san

      Hearts and Flowers for Tora-san

      Friday, April 17, 2009
      After a debaucherous evening in Kyoto with Kano, an elegant older man, Tora-san wakes up in his home oblivious...
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    • Tora-san, My Uncle

      Tora-san, My Uncle

      Friday, May 22, 2009
      Secretly in love with Izumi, Mitsuo, Tora-san’s restless nephew, embarks on a motorcycle journey to find...
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Japan Society 2007-2008 Film Programs are generously supported by The Lila Wallace-Reader’s Digest Endowment Fund.

Additional support is provided by the New York State Council on the Arts, a State agency.

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