a synopsis and review written by Yanie
I don't really watch oldie movies, except for the real classic ones like Sound of The Music or... the 1980's Superman Movies...! xD Then, I've once watched Kurosawa Akira's The Hidden Fortress(1950s), which is said as the movie that inspired George Lucas to make the Star Wars saga. But, OMG, I can't stand watching it. My 68 year-old father dig it so much, but me...I just can't stand watching and listening to the very old-fashioned way of reciting the dialogues >_<
So, when I got Karei-naru Ichizoku (without subtitles either), which was produced in 1974, I thought I'll skip alot of scenes watching it. But to my surprise, I only skip, probably, just 5-6 scenes of the draggy bank executive managers meeting to merge their banks, etc.
But in overall, Karei-naru Ichizoku is a VERY WELL-WRITTEN story and I'm impressed.
Karei-naru Ichizoku [The Grand Tribe] novel book was written by Yamazaki Toyoko in 1973, the same author of the famous Shiroi Kyoto [The White Tower] and Nyokei Kazoku [Matriarchal Family]. In 1974, Yamamoto Satsuo, one of Japan's popular director, made Yamazaki's work into a movie. He also directed Shiroi Kyoto the movie in 1963.
As you all might know, Shiroi Kyoto once again adapted to a TV drama in 2003-2004 starring Karasawa Toshiaki and Eguchi Yousuke. And there's even the Taiwanese version too, in 2006, and the title is The Hospital, starring Leon Dai and Jerry Yan(F4). While, Nyokei Kazoku was adapted to a TV drama in 2005, starring Yonekura Ryoko, Takashima Reiko and Seto Asaka.
I don't think I need to mention the casts of Karei the 1974 movie here, since most probably you wouldn't recognize them anyway x) The movie's duration is 211 minutes, that is 3.5 hours, for your information. The book itself consists of 3 books, a total of 1800+ pages. I'm quite sure that a 3.5 hours-movie wouldn't have cover the whole 3 books. So, it's just like watching a recap of the whole story. The movie seem fast-paced and has many missing gaps.
Karei-naru Ichizoku tells the conflicts within the Manpyo family, which is well-known in the Kansai financial circles, in the midst of the 70s' financial industry turmoil. The Manpyo Firm dominates most banks, companies and factories in the Kansai area.
The Manpyo family, live in a huge mansion, an unusual place for Japan, with flowered wallpaper, brocade sofas, abundant Greek statuary, stained-glass Moorish windows, plenty of crystal chandeliers(there are several in the living room alone) and three brass beds in the master bedroom.
The main conflict and the main rivalry depicts in the story is between Manpyo Daisuke, the 60 year-old head of the family, a powerful banker, and his eldest son, Manpyo Teppei, who's in charge as the executive managing director in the firm. For some reasons, Daisuke seem to dislike his own son.
Daisuke has a scheming, willful mistress, Takasu Aiko, as well as a meek old-fashioned wife, Yasuko. The wife, Yasuko, always wears kimonos. While, the mistress looks dressed for a disco. Yasuko likes to stay in her own quarters, in the house's only traditionally Japanese section.
Aiko, the mistress, live in the Manpyo household for 19 years already. She came to the house as a private teacher for the kids, at first. But one thing lent to another...she end up as Daisuke's unofficial 2nd wife and become the head of the Manpyo household affairs. She knows everything about Daisuke's banking business affairs. She's the one who organized all the arrange marriages of the Manpyo children. And she often brag about this to Yasuko, the official wife, who can only sits and seclude herself in her quarter and didn't do much for the household matters.
Yasuko and Aiko have their night-turns to sleep together with Daisuke. Tonight Yasuko's turn, tomorrow is Aiko's turn, and so on. The wife and the mistress are actually in good terms, in the outside. While Manpyo children tend to express their dislike feelings to Aiko openly, it's always Yasuko, their mother who try to tone them down, saying that Aiko is not that kind of person, that they should be grateful to her and so on.
Daisuke and Yasuko has four children. The eldest child is Teppei, 39 years old. He is married to Sanae, and they have 2 kids, a boy and a girl. She was arranged married to Teppei for business reasons. But fortunately, Teppei and Sanae become an ideal husband and wife, they understand each other and support each other. Teppei let Sanae gives her thoughts and suggestions on every problem he faces. Both Teppei and Sanae dislike Takasu Aiko, the mistress.
The second child is Ichiko . She was betrothed to Mima Wataru. Another result of an arranged marriage by Aiko, the mistress. Mima Wataru, the son-in-law, is 'kind of' in Daisuke's side. Daisuke ask many favours to Wataru, and Wataru is willing to help him. Weird enough, Mima Wataru likes to flirt around with Aiko, the mistress. They go to a bar or restaurant together from time to time.
The third child is Ginpei . He is the apathetic type. He works at the Manpyo firm, but he doesn't really care about the family business affairs. In the beginning of the movie, Aiko, the mistress was arranging an omiai (arranged engagement/marriage) for Ginpei, to the daughter of Yasuda, a big company president. With this engagement, it can bring merit to the Manpyo firm. So, later Ginpei gets married to Yasuda Makiko. He doesn't really care to whom he's getting married to, he just follow the arrangement...
The youngest child is Tsugiko. Among the three, Tsugiko is the closest sibling to Teppei. She's a brother-complex, she really love her eldest
brother. Other than being her beloved eldest brother, Teppei is also Tsugiko's cupid, he pick and drop love letters for Tsugiko^^
Besides Teppei, Tsugiko is another likeable character in the story. She knows what she wants, she's a firm and determined girl. She hates Aiko, the mistress and often face her with a challenging and daring attitude.
The opening scene is the Manpyo family having vacation together out of town and they are staying at the same hotel and have dinner together. But Mima Wataru and Ichiko, the second child did not go along with them.
After dinner, Aiko greets good night to Yasuko, the wife. Yasuko goes into her own room, while Aiko knocks on Daisuke's room. Aiko talks about Ginpei's omiai with Yasuda's daughter to Daisuke, and how this arrangement can bring financial merit to the Manpyo firm. Daisuke express his admiration to Aiko, who always cleverly arrange these things for him. "It would've been great if you're born as a man and become an executive like me,". Aiko replied, "But then, we would never met,". They sleep together for the night.
In another room, Sanae express her dislike feelings about Aiko to Teppei. She feels, Aiko's unusual existence in the Manpyo family, can drag their family name to the mud. "And what if the kids started asking about who she is? What should I answer?! Can't we do something about this, can't you try to talk it over with your father?".
Teppei said, there's nothing they can do. Their father like her so much and afterall, she's been in charge of the family household for a long time already.
He also mentioned how their mother, Yasuko, has tried to commit suicide for the second time, recently.
Daisuke is the 14th generation of the Manpyo family leader. Keisuke, his late father, the 13th generation has lead the Manpyo firm in a different way, and people tend to compare them and mentions his father's way of leading the firm is better than he is. Daisuke hates his father.
Meanwhile, as Teppei grow and become an adult, many people and even Daisuke himself thinks he looks alot like his grandfather, Keisuke, his looks, the way he walks, and some subordinates says the way Teppei works and manage stuff also similar to Keisuke. People starts to compare Daisuke with his son, Teppei.
The next scene was Daisuke goes home to the Manpyo Mansion, welcomed by both his wife and mistress. In the huge mansion, the main part of the mansion, Daisuke, Yasuko, Aiko, Ginpei and Tsugiko live together. In a small part of the mansion, right beside the main part, that's where Teppei and Sanae's house located. It's a part of the mansion, but it has a different front door. They have to exit the house first, if they want to go to Daisuke's part of the mansion.
Yasuko and Aiko have their own quarters in the mansion. Yasuko's is the traditional Japanese section, while Aiko's is all in Western-style.
Ichiko and her husband, Mima Wataru live in a different house, and located in a different area too.
When they're having dinner, Ginpei ask his father's permission to go out, coz he has plans with his friends. "You're going out? I was actually going to talk to you about the omiai," Aiko said. "I'll leave it all to you, afterall what the Manpyo family has become now, it's all because of you," Ginpei replied. "Ara....I'm flattered," she said.
After Ginpei exited the dining room, Teppei comes in. He wants to talk about the new contract he got from America with Daisuke. But Daisuke doesn't look interested, and said that he doesn't have to report about that to him, he can just directly contact the bank, concerned.
"Really? Then, I will do that immediately. I'm sorry to bother you during dinner, father. I'm going now,".
Yasuko ask Teppei to stay and have dinner together with them, but Teppei said his children is waiting for him to have dinner together with him at home. Then he said to Tsugiko, his sister, "Tsugiko, I have that stuff already, come and pick it up, okay?". Tsugiko thank him.
A moment after Teppei exits the dining room, Tsugiko hurriedly apologize and leave the dining room, too. And she chases Teppei downstairs, who intentionally wait for her to come out.
"Teppei-oniisama!! You're bad! Hurry, give me it!" . Teppei acting innocent, "Huh? What?". But then he laughs and hand over an envelope to her, "That's what you want, isn't it?"
Tsugiko smile widely, thanking him. Then Teppei inform her, that Yoshihiko-kun will be coming back to Japan soon. Apparently it's a letter from Tsugiko's boyfriend, Ichinose Yoshihiko, who works in Teppei's office/factory.
Teppei open the door and is about to exit the mansion, but turn back to Tsugiko, "Oy! Hurry go back up there! The private teacher will scold you!". Tsugiko giggled.
The next scenes are about the banking business that I don't really understand. Daisuke, Teppei and Wataru, the son-in-law, attend an opening celebration party of Migumo Shoichi's new company. Migumo first met Teppei in America, when Teppei was still a college student there. Migumo's daughter was Teppei's college mate. Looks like, Teppei knows the Migumo family very well and they have a good relationship.
Meanwhile, Wataru is looking for his father in law, to talk about the business Daisuke asked his help to. The several next scenes, is about Daisuke and Wataru's hidden/secret plot business.
Then, one day, Aiko take Wataru home with her car, after he talked to Daisuke. In this scene, it's revealed Aiko and Wataru have a relationship, or at least, they like to flirt with each other. And it seems Wataru is the more aggresive one, caressing Aiko's thigh, while she's driving.
Daisuke have some problems with his subordinate, who again, reminds him of the father he hates, Keisuke. Then, a flashback is shown. Apparently, years ago, something happened 2 weeks after Daisuke and Yasuko got married. That day, Daisuke comes home late. Yasuko is having a bath, naked, in the bathroom. Suddenly, Keisuke, her father in law comes in. Yasuko screamed, but she's helpless. And so, Keisuke raped her.
When Daisuke comes home, Yasuko is crying and reluctantly told him what happened. A few weeks later, Yasuko is pregnant....and born, Teppei. Apparently, Teppei is his supposed grandfather's son. No one knows about this, except Daisuke and Yasuko themselves.
One night, Teppei comes to the main mansion, looking upset. He goes to Daisuke's reading room. It looks like Daisuke and Wataru's hidden plot has a result of disadvantage to Teppei's office and his contract with other banks. Teppei asked Daisuke why he did that.
At the same time, Aiko who just got out from the bathroom, knocks on Tsugiko's room. Inside, there are Tsugiko and Yasuko, trying on new kimonos.
"Tsugiko-san, I have something to talk to you. Let's go to my room," Aiko said. "Talk here, so mother can also listen to what you have to say,".
Aiko refused and they have a little argument about what position Aiko have in this house. Aiko try to prove how she has done alot and worth more in this house than the mother, Yasuko, who don't know anything by asking her details about the Manpyo firm. And Yasuko, indeed, cannot answer them.
Tsugiko finally snapped, "Why don't you stop acting innocent and confess that you're nothing than just a burglar! You stole something from my room, didn't you?". Yasuko try to warn Tsugiko to be more polite.
"You mean this?" Aiko showed some envelopes. Tsugiko try to take it back, to no avail. "You should know very well, this relationship won't work! A Manpyo cannot marry the son of the factory's head!!".
"You don't have the rights to say that!" Tsugiko replied. "Really? Then, I wonder what will your father say, if I tell him about this...".
Yasuko beg Aiko to just let her daughter go and not to tell the father about the letters. But Aiko doesn't listen, and she go straight ahead to Daisuke's reading room. Yasuko and Tsugiko follow her. They enter the room, to find Daisuke and Teppei are in the middle of a fight.
Daisuke looks really angry and throw down his cigar to the carpeted-floor. Yasuko immediately pick up the cigar and cleans the carpet.
"Father! This 39 years, ever since I was born...have you ever loved me at all?? Why do you hate me so much?" Teppei asked. Then, Teppei say something more that upsets Daisuke.
Aiko warned him, "Is that how you suppose to talk to your father? Apologize!!".
"Shut up!!! When father and son involved in an argument like this, the one who has the right to open up her mouth, is only the mother!!" Teppei snapped.
"What do you mean with that?? Who do you think has done so much to this family as it has become what it is now?!" Aiko try to defend herself.
Daisuke back her up, "That's right. Aiko has done so much for this family,".
"That might be true... But she is still just a lover and have no position in this family..." Teppei added.
At one point, Daisuke got very angry, and about to hit Teppei...while Teppei is ready to fight back. So Yasuko had to hold Daisuke down, and Tsugiko hold Teppei. Finally, Teppei exit the room in anger, with Tsugiko following him.
The next scene, Tsugiko is welcoming her boyfriend, Yoshihiko, back in the airport. They ride the car together. Yoshihiko thanked Tsugiko for the letters she sent to him while he's in America. It really helped him to go on and fight all problems.
Few weeks later, the Manpyo men, Daisuke, Teppei, Ginpei and the son-in-law, Wataru are going out to hunt the birds. They're carrying their own rifles. Accidentally, Teppei shoot to Daisuke's direction, and it gotten to Daisuke's forehead, his head bleed, and before he collapse, he gaze at Teppei in resentment. Teppei is shocked. While Ginpei and Wataru got panicked, they try to call the ambulance immediately.
In the next scene, it is shown Teppei just got back home to Japan, after working on a business in America. He hurry back home, because he got the news that his father in law's condition, Ohkawa Ichiro, Sanae's father, has worsened.
When he reached the hospital, it's too late already, his father in law has died. Sanae said, before he died, he kept calling Teppei's name, saying he wants to meet him. Actually, rather than his own father, Teppei has a better relationship with Ohkawa Ichiro, the father in law. They're a good business partner. And Ohkawa helps Teppei alot in business matters.
Daisuke attend the funeral and tell Sanae to stay strong. On his forehead, there's a stitched wound.
After married to Ginpei, Makiko live in the Manpyo mansion, too. She feels bored in the mansion. So, she looks around and sneak into the main bedroom belong to Daisuke. Aiko enter the room and find her there, looking suspicious.
Aiko and Makiko got into an argument, as Makiko express her dislike feeling to Aiko. Then, Yasuko enter the room bringing pots of plants. Seeing the scene, she try to calm Makiko.
"Okaasama! How can you live together with her? She is nothing but a prostitute!". Aiko widened her eyes, "What did you just say?".
Daringly Makiko say it once again, "You live here without any blood relations with the other members of the family. And you're not more than just otousama's lover. What makes you different than a prostitute?!?".
Aiko slap her face hard, at once. Makiko is shocked and immediately run away from the room, as she feels humiliated.
Later, Aiko starts arranging an omiai for Tsugiko, so she can hurry break up with Yoshihiko. Aiko asked Daisuke to talk to Tsugiko about this. Daisuke knows about her daughter's relationship with the son of the Ichinose factory's head, but then he persuave her to forget the man, and consider the future of the Manpyo firm.
"Don't easily confused marriage with the exciting, fun young times. Marriage is different than when you were just having fun and still young," he said.
"Father, I'm not confusing marriage with the exciting, fun young times. I know exactly what marriage is about. And I do not want the lives, that mother and Ichiko-neesan, had. I want to decide whom I'm going to marry to, myself." Tsugiko clearly said to her father.
However, after discussing it with Yoshihiko, Tsugiko finally decided to follow the arranged omiai. Although, it doesn't mean that he will marry the omiai man.
One day, there's an explosion in Teppei's factory. Hundreds of people injured and some are dead. Yoshihiko is also inside the factory when the explosion happened and got injured pretty badly. Tsugiko accompany him in the hospital.
It seems everything falls apart on Teppei's side. Everything he did, turns to failure. His subordinates demand explanations to him about the failures, and the family members' of the dead ones demand explanations about the explosion and compensation to him. He is hated by many people. And people start to carry out a coup d'etat to the Manpyo firm.
Teppei try to talk to Daisuke, once again. And they end up in a big argument again. Finally Teppei asked him, who is his real father? Is it really his grandfather, as what some rumours he heard, said?? Yasuko comes into the room, and Teppei demand her to tell him the truth. Yasuko cries and keep telling him that he is her child. "What I want to know is, who is my real father?? Mother, tell me!!". Yasuko didn't directly tell him, but from how she respond, Teppei knows that what he has heard is the truth.
Teppei goes to a snowy mountain and stay at a small cabin belong to the Manpyo-s. The cabin's guard is an old man and he knows Teppei, since he was a child. They chat about alot of things.
At night, Teppei exited the cabin, bringing his rifle. He climb up the mountain and start reminiscing his 39 years of life and he sees each of the Manpyo family member in his head.
Then, he point the rifle to his own neck....and shoot himself......
During a meeting, Daisuke received a note informing that his eldest son, Teppei, has been found dead at the mountain. After the meeting, he goes to the mountain area, and find Yasuko, Sanae, Ginpei and Tsugiko has gathered in the room, circling Teppei's dead body on the bed.
Sanae is not crying but her eyes looks empty, she looks real shocked inside. With no expressions, she said to Daisuke, "Otousama, we've checked Teppei-san's blood type and it's B-type...".
"That's impossible, he's suppose to be A-type," he said. Sanae starts to loose control, "No! He's B-type, we had it checked already! He IS your son!!! He's not grandfather's son! Teppei-san is yours and mother's birth son!!!", Sanae is finally burst out crying.
A month later, a scene of Wataru and Aiko dancing in a club, to a ballad song. Suddenly, Aiko said, she wants to go home. Wataru try to hold her, but Aiko said, "Thank you, being with you all this time, makes me realized the one who I really love is Manpyo(Daisuke),"
Aiko goes home in a happy mood, but Daisuke told her he has something to talk about. I'm a bit blur about this, either, actually...but I think, because of a bank which the Manpyo firm try to have a deal with demand something, Daisuke wants to break up with Aiko and she has to leave the house and never contact the Manpyo family ever again. Daisuke give him a check, as a thank you for these 19 years.
Aiko is shocked and she insisted that she doesn't want to leave the house, not to mention breaking up with Daisuke. Yasuko who is also in the room, says coldly, without looking at Aiko at all, and still focusing on her book, "At a time like this, it would've been better if Aiko-san have a child, ne...".
Aiko feels devastated, but then she finally give in and she takes the check. She leave the room, and when she's outside the room already, she cries. The first time and probably the only moment that this character cry in the movie.
Yoshihiko accept a job offer in Pittsburgh. Tsugiko tells him, that she will follow him to Pittsburgh soon, and they will definitely get married.
The last scene is a banquet to celebrate Manpyo firm anniversary. I don't really understand this last scene. The camera focused on Daisuke greeting his guest for awhile with a tensed BGM. Then, while it shoot the guests wandering around in the banquet, the sound and picture suddenly pauses. Then, a sound of gunshot is heard. The End. The ending credits starts rolling. What the---?? I was actually confused with the last scene, but I'm guessing probably Daisuke got shot in the end? Or was it someone else?>_<
At first, I thought it's easy to differ which are the black(bad) characters and the white(good) characters, and none of them are mixed(grey). I hated Takasu Aiko alot in the beginning!! She's just a lover, but she always acted so snob in the house. It's like having a step mother, with Aiko around. I mean, who is she to scold Teppei? What position does she has to forbid Tsugiko having a relationship with Yoshihiko??
But in the end, I realized that her character is much better than Yasuko, the wife...who seem like the good-for-nothing wife and mother. Although she has a bad attitude, but Aiko actually cares about the Manpyo family, because she sincerely love Daisuke(although she herself didn't realize it), she tend to take care the Manpyo family affairs and even manage good potential omiai-s for the children.
But the mother? She can only seclude herself in her own quarters and just do things she likes, like trying new kimonos, practising taiko, etc. And all she can do is to cry, whenever she felt cornered. What a soapy character!
And what's with that last scene? Daisuke just throw Aiko away from his life, like that?? After so many years and so many things she has done for him? I hate this Daisuke character!!! I can't see anything good from this old man at all!!>_< He really doesn't deserve a woman like Aiko!
And Yasuko suddenly becomes creepy and mean in that last scene. What a change... She must be jumping up and down in joy inside, to see her husband ditching Aiko, like that^^;
I like the actress who acted as Takasu Aiko. She's really good and her performance really stand out^^ Hopefully, Suzuki Kyoka can perform better! And I believe she can^^
Teppei is so, so, definitely The Good Son character. He's so nice and kind to people, and he's an honest person. He's a good son, a good husband, a good father and a good brother to Tsugiko. An easy-to-like character. However, in business and from some other aspects, he's weak. He's not strong enough as a person. He cannot handle it when many problems all comes at once. And his choice to commit suicide in the end, shows what a weak person he is.
I don't think this side of character match Kimura Takuya! x) So, I hope Kimura's Manpyo Teppei would be stronger and DOES NOT commit suicide in the end! Please! xD The reason is just so lame. And OMG, I actually laughed when Sanae revealed that Teppei is really Daisuke's son. What a ridiculous plot this is! xD This point is quite soapy!^^
Another favorite character of mine, is the youngest sister, Tsugiko! The actress has portrayed the character very well. And it seems Tsugiko has a bigger role in the story, than Sanae, Makiko and Ichiko. However, in the TBS drama, its obvious that they will make Sanae's role bigger than the rest of the Manpyo women. HaseKyo, dakara^^
Since I like this version of Tsugiko already, I'm worried of Aibu Saki portraying this role. I haven't seen her acting yet. But she's a relatively new young actress and if she portray the character any less than the 1974 actress, I'd be really disappointed.
Ichinose Yoshihiko's character didn't really stand out in this movie, but hopefully he has bigger role in the TBS drama, as its played by Narimiya Hiroki!^v^
Ginpei is actually an interesting character, to me!^^ I think Yamamoto Koji will definitely pull off this character very well, even better than the 1974 actor, IMO!!! Because his role in Shinsengumi, Hijikata, is also this kind of apathetic guy who only likes to have fun with friends and women. And it was Yamamoto Koji's BEST acting, I've seen so far!^^
Actually, I think Ginpei and Makiko have similarities somehow, they both doesn't care to whom they are married to. With these kind of traits, there are suppose to be more interesting dialogues and plots between them, so I hope they'll elaborate Ginpei and Makiko's relationship more in the TBS drama^^
Ichiko's role is soooo small in the movie! It's like it's almost forgotten, that she's also a Manpyo. Her husband, Mima Wataru has more scenes and plots than she is. Hopefully, there will be a good plot for Mima Ichiko in the TBS drama, coz I like Kazue Fukuishi^^ Oh yeah, noticed that it seems in the original story, Ichiko is the second child, and she is Ginpei's oneesan(older sister). However in the TBS drama, Ichiko is the third child and she is Ginpei's younger sister.
I'm kinda disappointed that Mima Wataru's character is a badass xD Since it's gonna be acted by Nakamura Toru, one of my fave actor, in the TBS drama...I was hoping this character would be a yasashii, kind man, who's on Teppei's side. Oh well, hopefully TBS can show something different for this character, to show that he's not just a plain badass =P
In overall, this is a GOOD and INTERESTING story. I haven't really seen many Jap stories like this. It's not the usual traditional Japanese family kind of story. But then again, I haven't watch another Yamazaki Toyoko's famous work, Nyokei Kazoku...so I wouldn't know if Karei have similarities or not with Nyokei.
What's make it interesting is that the characters are all WELL-built and of strong characteristics. And another plus points of the story are indeed: the relationship between the characters, this what looks so prominent in the story, interesting various unusual kind of relationships between the characters, hence produce a good, well-written story.