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"Watakushi, umare mo sodachi mo Katsushika, Shibamata desu..." (I was born and raised in Shibamata, Katsushika Ward) If this opening line sounds familiar, you must be one of the many ardent fans of Tora-san movies.
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The Tora-san "Otoko wa Tsurai Yo" (It's Tough Being a Man) movie series was played by the late Atsumi Kiyoshi. Tora-san is Japan's most lovable drifter and lovelorn on the silver screen. Forty-eight movies in this series were produced from 1969 to 1995. Katsushika-ku is where the Tora-san Museum is.
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Statue of Tora-san in front of Shibamata Station. Posed like he's going to the station for another faraway trip...
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This is a pose when Tora-san goes to the Shibamata Station and he looks back to his sister Sakura who calls him.
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The first Tora-san movie came out in 1969 and over 40 more installments have been produced since then. It is entered in the Guiness Book of World Records as being the movie series with the most sequels.
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He will soon be accompanied by a statue of his sister Sakura.
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Shibamata Station is on Keisei Kanamachi Line which runs between Kanamachi Station on the Japan Railways Joban Line (originating at Ueno Station) and Keisei Takasago Station on the Keisei Main Line coming from Keisei Ueno Station.
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Shibamata Station platform
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Shibamata Station platform
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Shibamata Station
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There are plans to build a statue of Sakura, Tora-san's sister, near this statue at Shibamata Station
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The plot is basically the same for each installment: middle-aged Kuruma Torajiro^ (Tora-san) meets pretty woman (the movie's leading lady whom the Japanese call the "madonna"), has a good time with her and falls in love. Photo: Tora-san Mus
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He somehow always loses her much to the dismay of his married sister Sakura (played by Baisho Chieko) and adoptive uncle and aunt who run a small kusa dango (mugwort dumpling) shop in Shibamata.Photo: Tora-san Museum 寅さん記念館
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He is a drifter who travels extensively all over Japan and works as street vendor/hawker selling little trinkets and what not. Photo: The stripe pattern of the walls is the same as Tora-san's coat.
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He returns home to Shibamata every once in a while, usually at a most inopportune time for the family, and eventually leaves in disgrace after a family argument or lost love. Photo: Map of Japan marking all the prefectures where Tora-san was filmed.
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It is difficult to pinpoint exactly why the series is so popular and enduring. It's probably a combination of several elements. Photo: Summary of all movie installments
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The hilarious humor of the characters, the heartwarming scenes, the shitamachi charm of Shibamata, the beautiful scenery and quaintness of the places Tora-san visits, the guest stars. Map of Japan marking all the prefectures where Tora-san was filmed.
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Atsumi Kiyoshi who seems to have been born to play Tora-san. (Atsumi never seemed to age even after over 20 years in the role. Tora-san's carefree, happy-go-lucky lifestyle also appeals to many. Photo: Sculpture of Tora-san's famous hat and bag.
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Sculpture of Tora-san's famous hat and bag
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Notice the figure on the upper right...
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Entrance to Tora-san Museum where Tora-san is helping to install the museum sign.
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Tora-san is helping to install the museum sign.
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Tora-san is helping to install the museum sign. What a great gag. Get you laughing even before you enter.
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Facade of Taishakuten temple. Also see my video at YouTube.
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Actual film studio mockup of Kuruma-ya dumpling shop
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葛飾 柴又 くるまや
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Inside the studio set of Tora-san. Reconstructed with the original studio set materials used at the Ofuna movie studio.
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Kuruma-ya dumpling shop
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Family living room
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Family living room
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Inside the shop
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Also see my video at YouTube.
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Kitchen where they made the dumplings.
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Miniature shop arcade
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Tora-san's documents
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Tora-san's passport
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Tora-san's personal effects
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Contents of his famous travel bag
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Tora-san haniwa
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More exhibits
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Movie posters
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Movie posters
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Leading ladies or the "madonna." It's quite an honor for an actress to be chosen as a madonna in a Tora-san movie
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Tora-san souvenir shop
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After visiting the temple, most of the tourists walk to the nearby Edogawa riverbank which you often see in the Tora-san series. Road to Yagiri no Watashi (boat crossing)
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Edogawa River. Visiting Shibamata will enable you to appreciate and understand the local settings used to film the Tora-san series.
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Many movie scenes were filmed along this riverbank.
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To Yagiri no Watashi
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The boats operate on weekends. Fare is 100 yen one way.
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Yagiri no Watashi boat dock
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This form of public transportation dates back to the Edo Period when there were 14 locations in Tokyo where such boats operated. Only this one now remains. Boarding the Yagiri Watashi boat. 矢切の渡し
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Yagiri no Watashi boat crossing. After the two-minute river crossing, you will be in Matsudo, Chiba Prefecture. You can then tour various temples and parks in Matsudo and neighboring Ichikawa on foot. There are signs along the way to guide you.
   
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