Tokyo March

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Tokyo March
Tokyo koshin-kyoku poster.jpg
Cover of sheet music for the theme song
Directed by Kenji Mizoguchi
Written by
CinematographyTatsuyuki Yokota
Release date
  • 31 May 1929 (1929-05-31)(Japan)
[1] [2]
Running time
2,777 meters [2]

Tokyo March (東京行進曲, Tōkyō kōshinkyoku) is a 1929 Japanese silent drama film directed by Kenji Mizoguchi. [1] [2] It is one of the left-leaning "tendency films" Mizoguchi made in the late 1920s. [3] [4] Only a fragment of the film exists today. [3]



Michiyo, an orphan and factory working girl, lives with her labourer uncle and his wife in Tokyo. When he loses his job, they decide to sell her as a geisha. In a dream, Michiyo remembers her deceased mother, a geisha who was in love with a customer who left her after Michiyo's birth. Yoshiki and Sakuma, sons of upper-class families, spot Michiyo in the backyard of her uncle's house and both fall in love with her. Some time later, Michiyo has become a geisha and is now working under the name of Orie. Yoshiki's father, businessman Fujimoto, has developed a crush on Orie, but seeing the ring on her finger which she received from her mother, he realises that she is his daughter whom he once left behind. Yoshiki, who competed with Sakuma for Orie's love, is devastated to learn that she is his sister. Sakuma and Orie marry, while Yoshiki sets forth on a journey to forget.



The success of the 1929 song "Tōkyō kōshinkyoku", sung by Chiyako Satō, led to the composure of a serialised novel by Hiroshi Kikuchi, the production of Mizoguchi's film by the Nikkatsu studio (while the novel was still unfinished), and even a stage play. [5] [6] Originally planned as a part-talkie with sound interludes containing music, the film was eventually released as a complete silent film. [7] Similar to Mizoguchi's Metropolitan Symphony (Tokai kokyōkyoku), Tokyo March presented love as the link between members of the proletariat and the upper class. [4]

Home media

A 24-minute-long fragment of the film has been published on DVD as complement to Mizoguchi's The Water Magician by Digital MEME in 2007. [8]

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  1. 1 2 "東京行進曲". Kinenote (in Japanese). Retrieved 9 October 2022.
  2. 1 2 3 "東京行進曲". Japanese Movie Database (in Japanese). Retrieved 9 October 2022.
  3. 1 2 Le Fanu, Mark (2005). Mizoguchi and Japan. London: BFI Publishing. ISBN   978-1-84457-057-7.
  4. 1 2 Anderson, Joseph L.; Richie, Donald (1959). The Japanese Film – Art & Industry. Rutland, Vermont and Tokyo: Charles E. Tuttle Company.
  5. Nishii, Yaeko (2013). "菊池寛 交錯する「東京行進曲」 : 映画小唄の牽引力". 日本近代文学 (in Japanese). 89. Retrieved 10 October 2022.
  6. Bourdaghs, Michael K. (2012). "The Music Will Set You Free". Sayonara Amerika, Sayonara Nippon: A Geopolitical Prehistory of J-pop. Columbia University Press. p. 36. ISBN   9780231158749.
  7. Domenig, Roland, ed. (2007). Wien und Tokyo, 1930-1945: Alltag, Kultur, Konsum. Abteilung für Japanologie des Instituts für Ostasienwissenschaften der Universität Wien. p. 109. ISBN   9783900362225.
  8. "Water Magician (The) AKA Taki no shiraito". Rewind DVDCompare. Retrieved 10 October 2022.