Yoji Yamada 50th Anniversary Film Cast Named

'Tokyo Kazuko' will pay homage to Yamada's mentor, Yasujiro Ozu.

TOKYO – The cast has been announced for Yoji Yamada’s 50th anniversary film, Tokyo Kazuko (Family), the veteran director’s homage to Yasujiro Ozu’s classic, Tokyo Story

Etsuko Ichihara (Black Rain) and Bunta Sugawara will play the elderly mother and father who visit their children in Tokyo -- played by Chishu Ryu and Chieko Higashiyama in the Ozu original.

Yu Aoi (About Her Brother) will play the girlfriend (played by Setsuko Hara in the original film) of the younger son. The son had been killed during WWII in Ozu’s original, but will be played in this version by Satonshi Tsumabuki, winner of last week’s Japan Academy Prize for Best Actor in Villain.

Other cast members include Yui Natsukawa (Still Walking), Masahiko Nishimura (Welcome Back Mr. McDonald) and Shigeru Muroi (Villon's Wife).

Ozu’s original features on numerous "best film of all-time" rankings and has been remade and imitated before. Ozu was Yamada’s mentor when he first entered Shochiku and Yamada had long talked about paying some kind of homage to Tokyo Story.  

Yamada turns 80 this year, and this will be his 82nd feature since his 1961 debut with Nikai no Tanin (A Stranger Upstairs). He will also direct a stage version of Tokyo Story at a Tokyo theater next year, when Tokyo Kazoku is due for release. 

Filming is scheduled to begin in April.