Osaka Elegy

  • PG
  • Kenji Mizoguchi (1936)
  • Jpn
  • 68 min
Osaka Elegy
Film Review
Reviewed By
5 out of 5

Inspired by the sacrifices made by his own geisha sister, Kenji Mizoguchi's masterly drama marked the beginning of his longtime collaboration with screenwriter Yoshikata Yoda. Scrupulously avoiding sensationalism, it charts the descent into prostitution of a young telephonist, who becomes her boss's mistress in a bid to repay her embezzling father's debts and fund her brother's education. Mizoguchi regular Isuzu Yamada contributes a superb display of abused decency, but it's the director's astute visual sense that gives the picture its power, with the stylised realism of his claustrophobic compositions suggesting the exploitative repression of a corrupt patriarchal society.

Plot Summary

Ayako becomes the mistress of her boss, Mr. Asai, so she can pay her father's debt, and prevent him from going to prison for embezzlement. She also sends money to her brother Hiroshi to pay his university tuition, but her father intercepts it. She tricks Mr. Fujino into giving her money so that she can marry her boyfriend Nishimura, but Fujino calls in the police.

Cast and crew


Ayako Murai
Isuzu Yamada
Junzo, Ayako's father
Seiichi Takegawa
Chiyoko Okura
Shinpachiro Asaka
Sonosuke Asai
Benkei Shiganoya
Yoko Umemura
Susumu Nishimura
Kensaku Hara
Apartment maid
Shizuko Takizawa
Eitaro Shindo


Kenji Mizoguchi

Other Information

Black and White
Available on DVD and BluRay
Certificate PG