A Story of Yonosuke

2012 [JAPANESE]

Drama

IMDb Rating 7.5/10 10 2259 2.3K

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Plot summary

The year is 1987 and Japan is just reaching the peak of its economic success. Eighteen-year old Yonosuke Yokomichi arrives in Tokyo from Nagasaki. Ordinary in every way possible, he lives in a suburb far from the excitement of the big city and commutes to a university in the center of Tokyo.


Uploaded by: FREEMAN
September 15, 2023 at 01:27 PM

Director

Top cast

Kimiko Yo as Yonosuke Yokomichi's mother
Ayumi Itô as Chiharu
720p.BLU 1080p.BLU
1.44 GB
1280*692
Japanese 2.0
NR
23.976 fps
2 hr 40 min
Seeds 2
2.96 GB
1920*1038
Japanese 5.1
NR
23.976 fps
2 hr 40 min
Seeds 7

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by huh_oh_i_c 8 / 10

first half I said Da FUK? 47 times, second I got teary-eyed

"Yokomichi Yonosuke" or "A Story Of Yonosuke" (int. title) is an amazing film. As usual, I knew NOTHING about the film, even, or especially, not its genre. Knowing the genre is spoilerish imho, you can predict from scene one what the movie's gonna be like.

I downloaded this, based on the movie poster (I think ) and the title. Maybe I thought this might be some sci fi manga, I don't really remember.

So, for the first 3 minutes the viewer doesn't know what it's about at all. Then it becomes clear, the plot is to tell you about a young man, first year student at a university/business admin school, and his interactions with the people around him, and what happens to them later in life. The first flash forward kills any idea of an early romance between Yui and Yonosuke, she goes in another direction.

It's not really a slow moving film but some story lines are really drawn out. It's episodic, not every scene follows the previous one chronologically, this even aside from the flash forwards. It reminded me of two other films: thematically "Go-yang-i-leul boo-tak-hae (2001)" or "Take care of my cat" and nostalgically of "F+cking Åmål (1998)" With the first one it shares the theme of what young people do after high school and the nostalgia too, I guess. And with the second one it shares the nostalgia. With "F+cking Åmål (1998)" and this film both, I really got the feeling I was the observer of a world lost or closed to me, the world of young teens. With Yonosuke I got a peek into the life of the ordinary Japanese, which is entirely closed to me, I don't speak Japanese and I won't ever learn it. On the other hand, some things in Yonosuke are recognizable as typical Japanese, like the scene where Kato and Yonosuke exchange a series of "huh?"s. Sometimes when reading manga or seeing anime, it seems this is something anime related, but apparently, it's not. Several things aren't really clear in the film. Is the relationship with Shoko ever 'consumated'? We don't know. How long does it last? What does Chihara really do for a living? Later in life she's gainfully employed but what's up with that BMW guy? Why does Shoko stress that her brother is her half-brother and why is that funny?

Slowly we also learn that the film takes place in a pre-internet pre-smart phone era, and almost at the end we learn the year of the main story line is 1987-1988, because of the baby's birthyear and the final year should be 2004-2005 since (Baby) Tomoyo is 16 and Yonosuke is 35. This explains the somewhat dated clothes of the nurses etc. but, as a Westerner, this is unclear because we don't know how close or not close Japan is or was to Western clothing styles of nurses.

The flash forwards serve as means to get us nostalgic about the characters: we know at the midpoint what happens to most of them, which makes the main storyline a flashback, which is now watched with hindsight.

All in all, this is a great movie, I advise you to watch it when you're able to pause and rewind, since it can be confusing and sometimes it goes too fast.

It's a great example of how not only big block busters are entertaining for 2.5 hours ....

The Melancholic Alcoholic.

Reviewed by starman_vagabond 7 / 10

Reminiscence of the good old days

Based on the novel "Yokomichi Yonosuke" by Shuichi Yoshida, this is a coming out of age story, as much as a story for reminiscing of the past. In this case, it was the 80's Japan, where economy was still booming, and more importantly, the hope of "anything is possible" was still happening. The film starts with a static long take shot near the exit of a Tokyo metro station. We saw our protagonist Yonosuke (played very lively by Kengo Kora), a colleague freshman from the port city of Nagasaki arriving to start his new life at a rather unfashionable university. With a slightly awkward physical look but an even more awkward/laughable name (Yonosuke was the name of a main character in a Japanese classic erotic novel, "The Life of an Amorous Man"), Yonosuke had become fascinated by the surroundings of the city and began his encounter to different people. This include Ippei Kuramochi (Sosuke Ikematsu), a classmate who was kind but with a self centered personality, a cute looking Yui Akutsu (Aki Asakura) who was first slightly attracted by Yonosuke's charm before developing a long term relationship with Kuramochi. This is also the point where the narrative of the film becomes more interesting. We realize that we are no longer watching Yonosuke's encounters as they unfolded. Rather, they were actually the memories of people that he met. Yonosuke went on to have further encounter with Yusuke Kato (Gou Ayano) who was a cool looking guy but turned out to be homosexual; Chiharu Katase (Ayumi Ito), who had worked as a high class prostitute but later becoming a popular DJ. And finally, Yonosuke met his love in Tokyo, a very pretty but timid Shoko Yosano (Yuriko Yoshitaka) coming from a very rich but strict family.

The joyfulness and the cheerfulness in which Yonosuke brought to different characters had become the backbone of the story and the reasons for the reminiscing of their past. In each of the flashback (in the style that can be compared with the narrative form from "Citizen Kane"), the audience began to see both young and more mature version of each of the characters. It adds depth in understanding how their lives are being subtly affected, if not transformed by the presence of Yonosuke. We see how Kuramochi and Yui had the courage to take on the challenge of being teenage parents (after encouragement from Yonosuke, who had a brief encounter with a child of illegal immigrants). How Kato learned to accept his own sexually and was able to open up about it while, the romantic encounter between Yonosuke and Yosano had transformed her into a much more independent person. The flashback was being arranged in such a way that it followed Yonsuke's first and second year of colleague in a chronicle manner. It then serves very well as a study of what exactly Yonosuke was as a person. Indeed, it was his ordinariness yet charming character, which reminded us quite often; this is all it takes to bring out one's smile and happiness from within.

At 160 minutes, the film at times could feel loose with the stories on some of the characters, esp. with Shoko, being dragged over for a tag too long. There were also too many more minor characters which could divert the audiences' attention, such as Yonsouke's neighbors at his Tokyo apartment, as well as his family and friends back in Nagasaki. On the other hand, the relentless effort of recreating the feeling of 80's can be seen throughout the film. From the fashions the characters wore, to the big poster on the street (most notably was the large Canon EOS camera poster behind Yonosuke during his first encounter with Shoko, which could later serve as reminder that it was photography which brought them back at the end, long after Yonosuke was gone). The Samba dance club, which at first seems very laughable but actually it was a clear reminder that once Japan has a close (economic) relationship with Brazil.

Directed by Shuichi Okita, whose previous works include "Nankyoku Ryorinin" (The Chef of South Polar), and "Kitsutsuki to Ame" (The Woodsman and the Rain), he usually focuses on socially awkward/marginal person and their way of living in the contemporary society. "The Story of Yonosuke" is no exception and certainly with a more serious subtext. Despite numerous comical sub-plots, the film is far from a sugar-coated story. While Yonosuke's cheerful and innocent personality has brought back each of the characters' memories with their past, but it also helps to bring the memories of the audiences who lived in the 80's era. It was a time where there were still rooms for youth, purity, innocence and hope for better thing to come. Sadly, just as what happened in the following decade in Japan, the film also reminds us the harsh reality. As an off-scene flash forward scene which happened toward the two third of the film, we realized that the departure of Yonosuke serves a somber reminder of how an era has truly been gone for good.

Reviewed by nmegahey 9 / 10

The elusive nature of youthful innocence

With its 1987 setting significantly during Japan's economic boom years, THE STORY OF YONOSUKE would appear to use its 'student days' setting as a way to reflect on the past and indulge in a nostalgic outlook for more innocent and simpler times. Surprisingly however, while there would appear to be an exaggerated naivety to the characters here and a loving if subtly understated re-creation of the period, there is at the same time no indulgent attempt to recapture a lost idyll of youth in Shuichi Okita's gentle film, rather an attempt to capture its significance.

Much of the charm of THE STORY OF YONOSUKE inevitably rests on the character at the centre of the film. Although it may not be evident to outsiders, the very name Yonosuke Yokomichi has a particular, or peculiar, resonance in Japanese that amuses everyone who meets him. It's a joke name, the name a comedian would have, a name that could only come from rural Japan and sound ridiculous to the more sophisticated young people of Tokyo. Arriving in Tokyo to attend university, eighteen year-old Yonosuke (Kengo Kora) does indeed come from the sticks, from a little fishing village in Nagasaki, but he also has a certain naive charm and self-confidence and his open and engaging manner means that he makes friends easily. In essence, as we find out, it's the people he befriends who are just as important to THE STORY OF YONOSUKE as the nominal main character. Perhaps even more so.

Two of Yonosuke's fellow students on his Business Administration course, Ippei Kuramochi and Yui Akutsu, join him in the university's Samba club, but they both drop out of university altogether shortly afterwards. Yonosuke also becomes friends in a case of mistaken identity with Kato, the two of them going on a double date with two girls from their year. For Kato, looking back several decades later as an entirely different person, it was an unlikely situation for him, but even more so for the poor country-boy who is paired up with Shoko, the giggling, enthusiastic but shy girl from a very wealthy and prestigious family. Yonosuke however only has eyes for Chiharu, a sophisticated, glamorous older woman who preys on wealthy men. She's also clearly well out of his league, the young boy from Nagasaki having nothing to offer a good-time party girl, but Yonosuke remains undeterred.

Each of these interweaving stories is a relatively simple and heart-warming tale of youthful friendship. They seem remarkably straightforward, linear and perhaps even over-indulgent in terms of how they are drawn out in a long film that really doesn't seem to merit such elaboration. The story of Shoko and Yonosuke, for example, seems impossibly naive and unrealistic. Shoko is driven everywhere in a big car by her family's private chauffeur and lives under the watchful and suspicious eyes of her parents (and maid), yet she is allowed to spend part of the summer up in Yonosuke's home village in Nagasaki. In other circumstances the behaviour of these two innocent giggling children building up to making their feelings known to each other, drawing cartoons and dancing around in the snow would be close to nauseating and almost impossible to believe. In the context of the film however and in the context of the very specific short little present-day updates on how each of the characters are living now, it actually proves to be warmly beautiful as well as meaningful.

What prevents the film from slipping into nostalgia and a romantic idealisation of youth is the significant fact that we don't revisit Yonosuke Yokomichi at any stage in the future. By the end of the story we find that we are probably able to say and know much more about Yonosuke's friends than we do about him. His personality is barely sketched out, his reactions are mostly passive in deference to the needs of his friends, and his interest and his dedication to the afterschool Samba group - to give just one example - doesn't really tell us anything important about him. As such, the film runs the risk of leaving a vacant emotional space at the very point where it is essential to have one. There's evidently a narrative reason for Yonosuke's absence from the present-day scenes, but the low-key nature of where this revelation is placed and how it is mentioned only in passing would seem to imply that the film has a more important message or sentiment to deliver.

At the risk of reading a little too much into it, it's not so much that Yonosuke's barely defined character leaves an emotional void at the heart of THE STORY OF YONOSUKE as much as the fact that the enigma of Yonosuke in some way represents the elusive nature of youth itself. He's the touchstone to the fun, free and innocent days of the others' youth, something that they were perhaps unable to fully appreciate at the time, something that - as the last scene of the film suggests - is as elusive and impossible to recapture as an amateur photographer's attempt to snap a fleeing puppy, or as faint and unrelatable now as an underexposed portrait taken on a summer's day of a distant self. The people they are now are far removed from the youths they were then, but the memory of Yonosuke remains preserved, untouched and unspoilt in the past. Yonosuke is a memory of youth that holds no false idealism or sentimentality for the people he once knew, but rather he exists as a timeless reminder of how significant those days of youth and friendship were, a time that in some indefinable way gives context and meaning to the lives they lead now in a rather more harsh and unforgiving world.

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