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The Youth of Kamiya Etsuko (DVD) (English Subtitled) (Japan Version) DVD Region 2

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The Youth of Kamiya Etsuko (DVD) (English Subtitled) (Japan Version)
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YesAsia Editorial Description

The late great Kuroki Kazuo's The Youth of Kamiyo Etsuko presents a stirring conclusion to four decades of filmmaking. Director Kuroki passed away in April 2006, months before the release of this critically acclaimed film. Continuing with the themes of Tomorrow, Utsukushii Natsu Kirishima, and Face of Jizo, The Youth of Kamiyo Etsuko delves into the lives of ordinary Japanese people during the closing days of WWII. Based on a play by Matsuda Masataka, the film is strong, simple, and austerely shot, eschewing bells and whistles for a direct, affecting story and realistic, raw emotions. Though wartime worries underlie the story, Kuroki also brings out the humor of banality and futility with an accomplished screenplay that is sentimental, yet surprisingly lighthearted. Stars Nagase Masatoshi (The Hidden Blade), Harada Tomoyo (Until the Lights Come Back), and Matsuoka Shunsuke (Black Kiss) deliver subtle, affecting performances, capturing the lives and perspectives of both ordinary people trying to cope and young soldiers fighting a war they can't win.

Having already lost her parents in an air raid, young Kamiya Etsuko (Harada Tomoyo) lives with her brother and his wife in the rural town of Kagoshima. Air force officers Nagayo (Nagase Masatoshi), whom Etsuko's brother wants to set her up with, and Akashi (Matsuoka Shunsuke), whom she has long admired, come to visit. Unexpectedly, Etsuko's brother is transferred to another town, leaving Etsuko alone to entertain her two visitors and conflicting feelings. Though she is attracted to Nagoya's earnest personality, Etsuko's heart remains with Akashi. But everything changes when Akashi volunteers for a suicide mission.

This edition comes with a Kuroki Kazuo retrospective and trailers.

© 2007-2024 Ltd. All rights reserved. This original content has been created by or licensed to, and cannot be copied or republished in any medium without the express written permission of

Technical Information

Product Title: The Youth of Kamiya Etsuko (DVD) (English Subtitled) (Japan Version) 紙屋悅子的青春 (DVD) (英文字幕) (日本版) 纸屋悦子的青春 (DVD) (英文字幕) (日本版) 紙屋悦子の青春 The Youth of Kamiya Etsuko (DVD) (English Subtitled) (Japan Version)
Artist Name(s): Harada Tomoyo | Nagase Masatoshi | Matsuoka Shunsuke | Honjo Manami | Kobayashi Kaoru 原田知世 | 永瀨正敏 | 松岡俊介 | 本上真奈美 | 小林薰 原田知世 | 永濑正敏 | 松冈俊介 | 本上 真奈美 | 小林薰 原田知世 | 永瀬正敏 | 松岡俊介 | 本上まなみ | 小林薫 Harada Tomoyo | Nagase Masatoshi | Matsuoka Shunsuke | Honjo Manami | Kobayashi Kaoru
Director: Kuroki Kazuo 黑木和雄 黑木和雄 黒木和雄 Kuroki Kazuo
Release Date: 2007-06-22
Publisher Product Code: BCBJ-2692
Language: Japanese
Subtitles: English
Place of Origin: Japan
Picture Format: NTSC What is it?
Disc Format(s): DVD
Region Code: 2 - Japan, Europe, South Africa, Greenland and the Middle East (including Egypt) What is it?
Publisher: Bandai Visual
Other Information: DVD
Shipment Unit: 1 What is it?
YesAsia Catalog No.: 1004640644

Product Information


敗戦の色濃い昭和二十年・春。 両親を失ったばかりの娘・紙屋悦子は、鹿児島の田舎町で優しい兄・安忠、その妻・ふさと肩を寄せ合う慎ましい毎日をおくっていた。そんな彼女が胸に抱く願いは家族の平穏と、密かに想いを寄せる兄の後輩、海軍航空隊に所属する明石少尉の無事だけである。ところがある日、兄は別の男性との見合いを悦子に勧めてきた。それも相手は明石の親友・永与少尉で、明石自身も縁談成立を望んでいるらしい。傷心を押し隠し、永与との見合いに臨む悦子。 当日、明石に連れられて紙屋家を訪れた永与は、緊張のあまり失敗を繰り返しながらも、悦子に真摯な愛情を示した。 「…戦争のどげんなるか…私もどげんなるかわからんですばって…私はもうあなたば…一人にしません」 必死で搾り出す永与の言葉に対し、僅かな沈黙の後、「はい」と答える悦子。 だが、悦子は衝撃的な事実を知らされた。明石が特攻隊に志願し、間も無く出撃すると言うのだ。 出撃前夜、悦子にその言葉を残し、満開の桜の下を去っていく明石。 「その夜、たった一人で泣き尽くした悦子。 数日後、悲痛な面持ちで明石の死を告げに来た永与には、残された者同士の哀しみをがあった。 明石が書き残したという手紙を永与から受け取り、封を開けずに握り締める悦子。 そして、勤務地が変わる事になったという永与が去ろうとした時、彼女は今度こそ胸の中に秘めた想いを口に出した。 「待っちょいますから…日本がどげな事になっても、ここで待っちょいますから…」 「…はい」 「きっと迎えに来て下さい」 見詰め合う二人の頭上、散り始めた桜の花びらが舞う。 これから共に長い人生を生きる二人の、結婚を決意した最初の一歩がはじまるのだった・・・。




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YumCha! Asian Entertainment Reviews and Features

Professional Review of "The Youth of Kamiya Etsuko (DVD) (English Subtitled) (Japan Version) "

July 24, 2007

On the April 12, 2006 veteran film director Kazuo Kuroki slipped away at the grand old age of 75. He left behind a filmography that spanned 50 years, starting with documentary features in the 50s before switching to dramas in the 60s. He is perhaps best known to western audiences by his 1990 samurai classic Ronin-gai and the war movies Ashita and The Face of Jizo. Kuroki's final film returns back to the subject of World War Two as the late director examines the lives of a young couple-to-be who are faced with some life altering decisions near the end of the war.

After losing both her parents in the final year of World War Two, young Etsuko Kamiya is living with her brother Yasutada and her childhood friend Fusa, when she finds herself the romantic target of shy army officer Nagamasa Nagayo. The problem is that Etsuko is already in love with Nagamasa's best friend Akashi, who is a long time friend of her older brother Yasutada. The feeling is mutual, but Akashi is an airforce pilot and facing a certain kamikaze assignment in the near future, so he has resigned himself to getting Nagamasa and Etsuko together to make sure she is taken care of. With these sentiments in mind Akashi arranges a formal meeting between Nagamasa and Etsuko, but can Nagamasa's gentleness and sincerity make up for the fact her heart belongs to someone else?

If that synopsis sounds vague it's because The Youth of Kamiya Etsuko is an extremely basic film. In adapting Masataka Matsuda's stage play for film, Kuroki has opted for strict adherence to the theatrical structure and built the screenplay around sequences of extremely long scenes where the viewer essentially becomes a fly on the wall peeking in on everyday life in wartime Japan. It's a style that demands a lot of patience from the audience, but if you stick with it and invest in the protraction and dialogue you will be rewarded with a very endearing drama full of wonderfully nuanced comedic touches.

Most of the drama is hung on the wartime setting and the hesitant love triangle that is formed between Etsuko, Nagamasa, and Akashi. It's a very clichéd set up; she loves the outgoing handsome pilot but he's unavailable, and the guy who is available is the thoroughly dependable type. Yet, with the war raging on outside the confines of Etsuko's hillside residence, the entire affair is steeped in tragedy, and the fact we assess Akashi from not only Etsuko's viewpoint but also from Nagamasa - who clearly has high affection for his best friend - evokes a lot more feeling for the young pilot's plight than you'd get from a more elaborate wartime drama. But ultimately it is little comedic touches that elevate The Youth of Kamiya Etsuko above the norm. Kuroki's screenplay is full of playful little moments, mostly coming from Nagamasa's complete naivete and awkwardness at wooing the woman of his dreams. His gentle banter with best-friend Akashi is also amusing to sit in on.

The performances from the handful of actors that appear in the film are all excellent. The Youth of Kamiya Etsuko's story is framed by a modern-day conversation between the now married couple of Etsuko and Nagamasa, so both Tomoyo Harada and Masatoshi Nagase find themselves in the unenviable position of playing characters that are not only 20 years younger than their actual age, but also 40 years older! They're both well up to the task though, effectively recreating a geriatric feel in the modern day scenes even though they have very little make up to help them. When the timeline jumps back to World War Two they just about get away with portraying characters in their early 20s with very natural and subtle performances. Masatoshi Nagase in particular excels as the socially awkward Nagamasa, injecting a great deal of warmth and humour into the part. The supporting cast of Kaoru Kobayashi, Manami Honjou, and, Shunsuke Matsuoka also bring a lot of warmth to their roles.

It's impossible to avoid comparing The Youth of Kamiya Etsuko to the work of the great Yasujiro Ozu; the influences are extremely obvious to anyone familiar with the old master's work. In particular Kazuo has drawn influence from Ozu's Season films and his most beloved opus, Tokyo Story. The Youth of Kamiya Etsuko isn't quite in the same league as these classics, but it certainly does a good job of recreating the spirit and tone of Ozu's work. That in itself elevates the film above most dramas coming out today.

The slightly windowboxed anamorphic 1.80:1 transfer from Emotion is very pleasing. The print used is pristine, and colour reproduction is strong, with natural skin tones and almost no chroma noise and bleeding. Contrast and brightness levels are also very strong. The transfer is reasonably detailed although I wouldn't exactly describe the image as pin sharp. There's a slight layer of film grain throughout, which may have been reduced a little by some DNR (which would explain why the image isn't quite so sharp), but aside from the occasional appearance of Edge Enhancements and even fewer appearance of Mosquito Noise, there's barely any video artefacts to mention at all.

There's only a Japanese DD2.0 Surround track on the DVD, and considering the film consist solely of a series of conversations, it's more than adequate to meet any sonic needs. In short, this is a pleasant, clean soundtrack: the audio is nice and clean, dialogue is clear and audible and the bass levels are satisfying. Although the track is encoded for surround sound, the rear speakers are only ever used for the one or two environmental effects and isolated score sequences that are used in the film.

Optional English subtitles are included, with no spelling or grammatical errors that I can recall.

Just two extra features here; the film's Theatrical Trailer and a 28 minute Making Of Featurette, which sounds like it's been narrated by Yoshio Harada. Unfortunately there are no subtitles for this feature.

The Youth of Kamiya Etsuko is a surprisingly moving film with deft comedic dialogue counterpointing the drama perfectly. The extremely long, naturalistic conversations and slow deliberate pacing may infuriate contemporary audiences, but if you're a fan of Yasujiro Ozu you might want to check this title out. The R2j DVD from Emotion provides a very good presentation of the film and a half decent but unsubbed Making Of featurette.

by Matt Shingleton - DVD Times

Editor's Pick of "The Youth of Kamiya Etsuko (DVD) (English Subtitled) (Japan Version) "

Picked By Sanwei
See all this editor's picks

November 23, 2007

The Sound of Silence
Late director Kuroki Kazuo's last film opens on a high-rise rooftop with a distant, static shot of an old married couple on a bench talking. Their conversation is as realistic as it comes for an elderly pair who have spent the majority of their lives together, which is to say they talk continuously about nothing. The dialogue is quiet, banal, comfortable, repetitive, full of long pauses - and absolutely hilarious because of that.

From the rooftop, the story flashes back to The Youth of Kamiya Etsuko, to WWII-era Japan when our titular heroine Kamiya Etsuko (Harada Tomoyo), now young and spritely but equally mild-voiced, first meets her awkward, tongue-tied husband-to-be Nagayo (Nagase Masatoshi). Etsuko is a bit thrown off by the matchmaking, as she is actually interested in dashing longtime acquaintance Akashi (Matsuoka Shunsuke), Nagayo's comrade. But Akashi, in all his dewy-eyed determination, puts her into Nagayo's care before heading off to a suicide mission.

The opening rooftop conversation largely sets the mood of The Youth of Kamiya Etsuko which remains quiet, calm, and genuine throughout, with earnestly trivial dialogue that brings smiles to faces. The film and its characters chug forward with a kind of mundane pluckiness that is almost amazingly charming. Considering the wartime setting, minimal direction, quiet storytelling, and bittersweet tale of abbreviated youth and romance, it seems that The Youth of Kamiya Etsuko should be a serious, melodramatic, and probably mildly boring film. Instead it's lighthearted, humorous, and completely engaging, balancing life and loss with a sublime screenplay.

With the time-jumping set-up, leads Harada Tomoyo and Matsuoka Shunsuke end up gamely playing way older and way younger than their ages, and both fare well enough. Tomoyo is more obviously too old for the job - although she is aging quite well in comparison to fellow 80s Kadokawa idol Yakushimaru Hiroko - but her trademark soft voice helps subtract the years. Forty-year-old Masatoshi Nagase meanwhile stretches admirably to play the young soldier. It is a somewhat odd choice to have older actors taking on what should be youth roles, but the return here is experienced acting which proves essential and effective in this quiet, observant, and accomplished drama.

This original content has been created by or licensed to, and cannot be copied or republished in any medium without the express written permission of

Customer Review of "The Youth of Kamiya Etsuko (DVD) (English Subtitled) (Japan Version) "

Average Customer Rating for this Edition: Customer Review Rated Bad 10 - 10 out of 10 (1)

Kevin Kennedy
See all my reviews

November 16, 2008

Brilliant capstone of a great career Customer Review Rated Bad 10 - 10 out of 10
Director Kuroki Kazuo works a special kind of magic with "The Youth of Kamiya Etsuko" (identified as "The Blossoming of Kamiya Etsuko" on the DVD). The film is shot almost entirely as a series of static scenes of the film's characters sitting and talking. Practically the most action we see in the film is the pouring of a cup of tea or the eating of some pickled spinach. Yet the film's conversations, many of which seem initially to be merely superficial, draw us in and make us care very much about this small group of ordinary people. Etsuko loves Akashi, her childhood friend, and hopes to marry him after the the end of the war. However, Akashi, a pilot in Japan's air force, has other plans. He introduces Etsuko to his good friend Nagayo in hopes that Nagayo will be able to take care of her. Why Akashi is doing this and how the relationship between Etsuko and Nagayo develops are the questions that drive the film's narrative. The film's beautifully written script and the cast's exceptionally skillful performances creates wonderful moments of humor, tenderness, and pathos. While the film starts out seeming astonishingly banal, I promise you that by film's end you will be swept up by the power of this superbly subtle movie. Very, very highly recommended by your humble servant.
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