‘Good Morning’, Generational Conflict Depicted by Yasujiro Ozu

The filmmaker dissects everyday life in a suburban area in a satirical examination of the quirks of the adult world through children's eyes.


WordsSébastien Raineri

© 1959 / 2013 Shochiku Co., Ltd.

Yasujiro Ozu’s second colour film Good Morning further examines reflections the director considered important on social conventions and generational conflicts. With pared-down staging, he deconstructs everyday life in a suburban neighbourhood, following the adventures of two young boys. This is one of the filmmaker’s most joyful films, which again illustrates the breadth of his talent while achieving the perfect balance of minimalism, humour and careful observation of the everyday.

Yasujiro Ozu (1903-1963) is one of the grand masters of Japanese cinema. Having started out as an assistant director, he went on to become one of Japan’s most famous directors in the 1930s. His work, which long remained unknown in the west, is distinguished by a universality that goes beyond cultural particularities and addresses, in masterpieces like Tokyo Story and The Taste of Sake, the relationships between society and the individual, the individual and their family, and intergenerational relationships.


Both funny and touching

Good Morning is a remake of another film made by Yasujiro Ozu in 1932, I Was Born, But… Although certain elements of the storyline have been taken from the latter, the film tells a more modern story in the form of a satire of consumerism in post-war Japan. In a city in the suburbs of Tokyo, a group of young boys spend their time watching television at the home of a neighbour who is considered highly eccentric. Young Minaru and Isamu beg their parents to get their own television set, but their attempts are in vain. Thus, the two young boys decide to go on a silence strike in protest against the hypocrisy of adults. Yasujiro Ozu composes a family portrait that is as rich as those found in his dramas, weaves a multitude of subtle gags and makes fun of the idiosyncrasies of the adult world by adopting the perspective of the children who act as the protagonists. The film is both funny and touching, and emblematic of the filmmaker’s comedic side.

Yasujiro Ozu’s work is unanimously considered crucial by critics and film-lovers alike, such as Iranian director Abbas Kiarostami who describes the filmmaker as follows: ‘Yasujiro Ozu’s cinema is a kindly cinema. He values interactions, natural relationships, the natural human in all his films.’ Good Morning is no exception, and despite being part of this kindly cinema, it is an exquisitely made film that perhaps represents the director’s most accessible work for a western audience.


Good Morning (1959), a film directed by Yasujiro Ozu and distributed by BFI.

© 1959 / 2013 Shochiku Co., Ltd.

© 1959 / 2013 Shochiku Co., Ltd.

© 1959 / 2013 Shochiku Co., Ltd.