More on Ozu

Michael McCaskey mccaskem at
Wed Jul 12 11:10:46 EDT 2006

(Apologies if you get two, or even three of these--from a notification from our computer center, it looks as if the sending did not go through the first or even the second time, for some reason--but one or both somehow may have somehow reached you after all.)

Dear Alex,

Thank you very much indeed for the confirmation and the new additional Stella Dallas information.

What I have found so far is as follows:

Yamamoto Satsuo’s 1937 film Haha no Kyoku, with a 149-minute script by Kimura Chiyo’o and Yasumi Toshio, released by Toei in two parts, on Dec. 11 and Dec. 21, 1937, with the actress Hanabusa Yuriko as Stella, and Hara Setsuko as her daughter, was based on a novel with the same name by Yoshiya Nobuko (1896-1973). This novel in turn was a Japanese adaptation of Stella Dallas, by the American popular novelist Olive Higgins Prouty (1882-1974). The American original by Prouty, as well as its Japanese derivative by Yoshiya, was yet another saga of a parent, a mother in this case, sacrificing everything for a child, a daughter. (It seems that many of the Ozu films from the same era also used this "sacrificing, silently suffering" parent image.)

Yamamoto was also influenced by the 1925 American film version of Stella Dallas, directed by Henry King. Another American film version was made in 1937, directed by King Vidor, with Barbara Stanwyck as Stella. Yet another American remake, Stella, appeared in 1990, with many changes to the original storyline, written by Robert Getchell (Mommie Dearest) and directed by John Erman, with Bette Midler as Stella. Stella Dallas was also used as the basis of a soap opera of the same name, a perennial standby which was on the radio in America for 18 years, broadcast on NBC every weekday, from June 6, 1938 through Jan. 6, 1956 (, accessed July 8, 2006.

Yoshiya Nobuko was a prolific and highly popular fiction writer, and from 1922 to 1968 a total of 58 films were made based on her stories and novels, albeit that a number of two-part and remake films are included in the total (, accessed July 8, 2006). Haha no Kyoku was remade in 1955 by Shin Toei, with a new 99-minute script by Sasahara Ryozo, directed by Koishi Ei’ichi. It starred Mimasu Aiko (1910-82), an actress who played the role of the matriarch in many of the 50 movies she subsequently appeared in through 1981. Hanabusa Yuriko (1900-1970), the mother in the 1937 version, also played a maternal role in many of the 117 subsequent films she was in, through 1970.

Minaguchi-san also has a very good new book out on Mimasu Aiko, her mother-roles in films, and comparisons with US film material, which I've ordered from Amazon Japan:
映画の母性―三益愛子を巡る母親像の日米比較 (単行本) 
水口 紀勢子
単行本: 268ページ 
出版社: 彩流社 (2005/04) 
ASIN: 4882029804
Minaguchi-san was too modest to mention it, I think, so I thought it would be good for me to mention it here. I hope you and she will correct any errors or omissions there may be in what I wrote above.

Thanks Once Again for Your Very Helpful Information,

With Best Wishes,


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