Tokyo Sonata (2008)
Directed by Kiyoshi Kurosawa
Writer: Max Mannix
Created on January 6, 2008
Updated on May 13, 2010
January 6, 2008
I have learned that in his New Year cards to fans, Koji Yakusho has written that he will appear in Kiyoshi Kurosawa's
new film, entitled, "Tokyo Sonata".  Through various Japanese media, I was aware that K.Kurosawa had started
shooting "Tokyo Sonata" with Teruyuki Kagawa and Kyoko Koizumi last December, but there was no mention of Koji's
participation in this film.
Below is some earlier info on "Tokyo Sonata" received through
December 6, 2007
Teruyuki Kagawa and Kyoko Koizumi are co-starring in "Tokyo Sonata," a new film by Kiyoshi Kurosawa.
Scripted by Australian director/writer Max Mannix, the movie tells the story of a family's collapse and revival. Kagawa plays the
father of two, who is hiding the fact that he has been laid off by his company, while Koizumi plays his lethargic wife.
Filming wraps up at the end of this month, and the picture will see release sometime next year. Kurosawa is hoping to take the
movie to Cannes.
May 13, 2010
In an interview with Kiyoshi Kurosawa by Mr. Michael Guillen ( December 15, 2008) he explained how
Koji Yakusho came to participate in "Tokyo Sonata":

Guillen: That's lovely. I would be remiss not to mention Kテエji Yakusho's hilarious performance as the
manic-depressive burglar Dorobテエ. He struck me as a narrative agent of change. How do you perceive
his role in changing the Sasaki family?

Kurosawa: When I was first redrafting the screenplay, I dreamed up that character as someone who
would willy-nilly drag the mother out of the house so that she would realize or recognize that she is a
human being before she is a mother or a wife; but, I never dreamed it would be played by Yakusho. I
knew from the beginning that Yakusho's schedule was full for the duration of the filmmaking, so I
didn't even consider him. By the time I had cast almost all the parts he suddenly emailed me out of the
blue and said, "I have three days to spare. Do you have a part for me?" At that point the burglar was
the only role left. Once he was cast, I sent him the screenplay for his approval. As I was revising it for
him, I realized that it was gradually turning into a kind of pathetic extension of all the other roles he's
ever played for me.

December 17, 2008
The trailer for "Tokyo Sonata' on the US official site is now ready.

December 16
The American official site of "Tokyo Sonata" is now available. I am so happy to find a lot of photos
of Koji Yakusho on the photo gallery page here.

It is noteworthy that in an interview with Kiyoshi Kurosawa on this site, he replied clearly to the
question why he needed Koji Yakusho for such a role as a thief.

Your longtime collaborator Koji Yakusho takes an unusual role this time as a manic-depressive
burglar. How did this role evolve, especially in regard to Yakusho't involvement?

Koji Yakusho always plays a variation of the outlaw in my films. In this film, there are no characters
displaying any outlaw qualities among the four members of the family.

But because I felt it necessary for this family to experience a complete destruction in the latter half of
the story, I needed an outlaw that bursts in from the outside world all of a sudden. And that character
had naturally fit the image of Yakusho. I couldn't think of anybody else for this part. I feel so blessed
that he agreed to take on this small role with such enthusiasm. Moreover, this time what I had him
play was the weakest outlaw ever to appear in any of my films. I think this thief is more timid than
Ryuhei Sasaki or even his son, Kenji.

November 30
The Tokyo Sonata official site blog has put on the English announcement regarding the release of the
English sub-titled edition of this movie in Roppongi, Tokyo. The English sub-titled version will be
shown from December 13 to 19 at 16:40 and 19:15 at Cinemart Roppongi.

November 3
Tokyo Sonata" will be released in America on March 13, 2009. The official site has just started.
(Kaiju Shakedown)

October 27
Tokyo Sonata" was awarded the silver Hugo Award (Grand Jury Prize) at the 2008 Chicago
International Film Festival.

September 24
Tokyo Sonata will be shown at the 46th New York Film Festival (Sept.26 - Oct.12,2008)

Sept. 30
Kiyoshi Kurosawa is due to attend the Festival and will see  the showing of "Tokyo Sonata."
Teruyuki Kagawa mentioned it at the time of the stage greeting session after the first showing of
"Tokyo Sonata" on September 27.

September 5
a review of  "Tokyo Sonata" at the 2008 Toronto International Film Festival.

September 4
Tokyo Sonata will be shown during the 2008 Toronto Intetnational Film Festival (Sep.4- 13)

On August 28 Kiyoshi Kurosawa attended
the press conference at the Foreign Correspondents' Club of
Japan to discuss "Tokyo Sonata".

Mr. Jason Gray of Screen International reported
the press conference on his blog.
It is noteworthy that Koji Yakusho was mentioned during the press conference, despite his having only
a cameo appearance:

As mentioned in my feature for Screen, he talked about writing the additional role for Yakusho Kテエji.
Originally Yakusho wasn't available but then found three days open in his schedule and emailed
Kurosawa to ask him if there was any character he could play within the short time available. Kurosawa
was happy to accommodate and Yakusho pleased to be able to participate. They've worked together close
to ten times now, but it's clear that they absolutely do not take each other for granted. Kurosawa spoke of
how much he admires Yakusho's ability to portray both the everyman and anti-social outcasts, and his
uncanny ability to switch between them. He laughed when he described Yakusho's character in Tokyo
Sonata as basically his biggest loser yet. He also made special mention of Asano Tadanobu as one of the
only other actors who has the same range."

July 30
The official website for "Tokyo Sonata" has finally announced that this film will be released
on September 27 (Sat).

July 17
The official website for "Tokyo Sonata" has just been updated with lots of pieces of information!  We
can now see the role of Koji Yakusho!

July 2
The trailer for "Tokyo Sonata" is now available on the official website!

May 25
"Tokyo Sonata" has won the Jury Prize in the Un Certain Regard program at Cannes.

May 20
Mr Jason Gray introduced a very interesting review on "Tokyo Sonata" by Screen International. Koji
Yakusho's role for this film was first mentioned here.  Reading this review, I suddenly felt a stronger
impulse to see this film as soon as possible!

May 19
Here is a photo of  Director Kiyoshi Kurosawa and the main cast members (Teruyuki Kagawa, Kyoko
Koizumi, Kai Inowaki and Yu Koyanagi)  after the showing of "Tokyo Sonata" at Cannes. On May
17, Director Kurosawa arrived at Cannes from Japan one hour before the screening.  Reportedly his
wife fell ill on May 10, but she urged him to go to Cannes. Kurosawa left Cannes on May 18.

In his
blog, Mr. Jason Gray translated Director Kurosawa's speech to the audience
from the stage after the showing of "Tokyo Sonata" at Cannes. Variety has already put out
the review
for this film. This site explains something about Koji Yakusho's appearance in this film.

May 18
The official website for "Tokyo Sonata" has just opened. Here is the review by Midnight Eye.

April 23
"TOKYO SONATA" has been selected for Un Certain Regard for the 61st Cannes
International Film Festival.

March 27
Kaiju Shakedown introduced a teaser poster of "Tokyo Sonata" with some comment.
Sounds very interesting!

February 8
Ever since I learned that Koji Yakusho would appear in "Tokyo Sonata", I have wanted to have a
glimpse of Koji in this film.

Now, Mr.Jason Gray, who is the Japan correspondent of Screen International, has kindly set a device
for downloading for those people who wish to read his article about his visit to the Nikkatsu filming
studio in December, 2007, while Kiyoshi Kurosawa was filming "Tokyo Sonata".  On that day
shooting took place with Koji Yakusho and Kyoko Koizumi performing their roles.

Please visit Mr.Jason Gray's
blog site and click  "Bringing Home the Horror" there.
You will be able to read Mr. Gray's article which is accompanying a photo of Kiyoshi Kurosawa and
Koji.  Mr. Gray writes, " With eight films now under their belts and an osmosis-like communication
on set, the pair draw comparisons with Scorsese and DeNiro."

February 7
Twitchfilm. net introduces
the first image from "Tokyo Sonata".
I wonder how Koji Yakusho is involved in this story.

February 5
I have found thi
s info on this film from the Press Releases of Entertainment  Farm website:

"December 25, 2007
Production of 窶弋okyo Sonata窶�Completes 窶弋okyo Sonata," a co-production of EF and
Fortissimo Films, is now completed.
Director: Kiyoshi Kurosawa
Executive Producer: Yasushi Kotani, Michael J. Werner
Producer: Yukie Kito, Wouter Barendrecht
Screenplay: Kiyoshi Kurosawa, Sachiko Miura
Original Screenplay: Max Mannix
Main Cast: Teruyuki Kagawa, Kyoko Koizumi, Haruka Igawa, Koji Yakusho (窶彜ilk窶� 窶廝abel",
窶廴emoirs of a Geisha窶�, Yu Koyanagi, Kai Inowaki "

On January 15
, Koji Yakusho's office confirmed that Koji would appear in a film named, TOKYO SONATA directed
by Kiyoshi Kurosawa. Koji's role name in this film has not been announced yet.

Tokyo Sonata ticket & cell phone
cleaner designed by director Kurosawa!
Release date: September 27, 2008