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Film Studies: “Toni Takitani” Essay


Besides his name, Toni was a guy with a curly hair and well-sculptured body and thus, was considered to be a half-bred. During his time of birth, many children born at that time were half American. However, Toni’s parents were pure Japanese. His father, Shozaburo Takitani, was a successful jazz trombonist, but a few years before the war he was forced to flee Tokyo because of a trouble involving a woman. He went to China where he performed his trombone in Shanghai night clubs as he struggled to make the ends meet (Rubin 1).

Toni’s father was a man with simple life and with no ambition at all. All he cared about was a three course meal and a few women around. He was at the same time reserved and arrogant. Though he was extremely egotistical, he treated people around him with a lot of kindness and good feeling, which is the reason why many people liked him. While in China, Shozaburo Takitani slept with many women than he could count ranging from people’s wives, prostitutes, beautiful young girls among others. His musical talent plus his sexual life made him a celebrity in Shanghai (Dargis 1).

As a result of his celebrity life, Shozaburo made friends with the high a mighty. He was on good terms with top Army officers, Millionaires, and many influential persons. These people helped him a lot whenever he had a problem. However, his celebrity life came to haunt him after the war ended. His connection with Chinese Army won him a lot of attention and this led to his incarceration. The penalty for such kind of an offence was death (Rubin 2).

During his time in the Chinese prison, Shozaburo began to reminisce about his life; about the tons of women he had slept with, a lot of good food had eaten and the good times he had had. He didn’t feel sorry for his life and did not have right to complain of the fact that he might be killed. In the end, Shozaburo was lucky to be one of the only two Japanese prisoners who left the prison alive and was allowed to go back to Japan (Dargis 2).

Shozaburo came back to Japan nine moths after the war in order to find out that his parents had been killed during the Tokyo air raid and his only brother had disappeared without a trace. Shozaburo was left alone without any family member but this did not bother him. He never felt lonely or emotional. He hooked up with some of his old buddies, formed a jazz band and started performing in the American military bases. He made friends with the American Armies who were Jazz fans (Voynar 1).

Later on, Shozaburo got married to a distant cousin from his mother’s side and had a child with her-Toni Takitani. Toni’s mother was a pretty, but not healthy girl. She died just three days after giving birth to her son. The novel never underscored any part where she had serious complications or suffered any ailments. Even with death of his wife Shozaburo was still a stranger to emotions and had no idea of how he was supposed to feel about it. After his wife’s death, he never thought of anything for a whole week, and even forgot the baby that he had left in the hospital (Dargis 3).

Shozaburo named his son Toni Takitani after American Army friend. Children at school referred Toni as half breed and, in his childhood, Toni never made any close friend, but this did not cause him any anguish. He was naturally on his own since his father travelled a lot with his band. Toni’s father never married again. He had numerous girlfriends, but he did not bring them to the house (Rubin 3).

Toni started developing passion for arts in his childhood and spent many hours indoors drawing. His drawings were clear, precise and highly detailed. He particularly loved drawing pictures of machines such as engines, radios, cars among others. If it was a plant, he would capture all the finer details including the veins. His grades in art, contrary to other subjects, were excellent, and he won several art contests. Later on after high school, he joined art school.

While many young people were still confused over their dreams, Toni went straight for mechanical drawings without hesitation. His classmates criticized his works for lack of ideological content but could not see what was special about their work too. He regarded their artistic work as immature, horrible, and imprecise, on the other hand, his professor viewed his work with a twisted smile (Voynar 2).

After the graduation Toni never struggled to get a job. Thanks to his extreme accuracy in drawing complex machines and architecture, his admirers, with a lot of praise, claimed that his sketches were more detailed than photographs. He had a pretty successful career and amassed a small fortune. He bought a mansion and several rental apartments. By this time, Toni had been involved with a number of women but had not considered marriage. He felt he could survive on his own and had no desire of having children. Toni did not inherit his fathers charm and had no real friend. Nevertheless, he had a perfect normal relationship with people he interacted with (Dargis 3).

Then one day, unexpectedly, Toni fell in love. She had a part time job at a publishing company and happened to drop into Toni’s office when she needed to take some illustrations. She was a twenty two year old modest girl with a gentle smile. She had a very nice body and averagely beautiful. There was something about her that struck Toni like a lightning.

The next thing that caught Toni’s eyes was her mode of dressing. Generally, Toni never had any specific interest in people’s mode of dressing, but there was something special about this girls dressing that struck him; he was really moved. There were many women around who were dressed rather gracefully, and plenty of them dressed in a way to make a good impression with their appearance, however, it was not about this girl. She wore her clothes with naturalness and elegance. He had never seen a woman dress in her clothes with such perceptible joy (Rubin 4).

The next day Toni found a pretext and called the publishing company to have her back to office again. After the business discussion, Toni asked her out. After several dates Toni offered her a hand for marriage. Unfortunately, she was still in a relationship with a boyfriend. However, their relationship was less ideal and had turned into endless fighting over stupidest things. She asked for time to think about Toni’s proposition. Each and every day that kept thinking Toni was dying inside. He was once again engulfed in a lonely and agonizing world. This continued for many months until Toni couldn’t take it anymore. One day he went to see her and told her about his feelings. She too liked him a lot, and thus accepted to marry him. This marked the end of Toni’s lonely life (Harkcom 3).

One day, his wife wanted to hear the kind of music his fathers was making. He took her to Ginza where his father was performing. It was the first time he was listening to his father’s music since childhood. His father’s musical style was smooth, sophisticated and sweet. Shozaburo’s music was not art, but was made by a skillful professional and had the ability of pulling a crowd. Toni personally was moved by his father’s songs and felt that they sounded different from his childhood. We are told that he felt like going up to the stage and hold his fathers arms and ask him of what had changed about his music. He was never interested in his father’s music during his childhood because he lacked motivation (Harkcom 2).

Toni’s married life was free of controversy. He never fought with his wife and he spent a lot of happy times with her particularly walking, going to movies and travelling. His career continues on a successful path while his wife ran their home remarkably. However, there was something that used to bother him, and that is his wife’s tendency to buy excessive clothes. His wife was not able to resist the urge of buying a piece of clothe that struck her eyes. The moment she confronted with any piece of clothing her mood and voice would change all over sudden. At first, Toni thought she was sick but it was during their honeymoon when he realized that it was something more serious. She bought a lot of items during their tour around Europe (Rubin 5).

While in Paris and Milan, she visited boutiques like a mad person. They didn’t even have time to tour the cities. She swept everything she could get her hands on. Toni’s part was to follow her and pay the bills. He became worried that her habits might empty his bank account. The same thing continued when they came back to Japan. The number of clothes she owned skyrocketed and her cabinet was jamming with shoes. Nevertheless, they had enough space in the mansion to store them and enough money to spend. In addition, she wore all the clothes she bought and looked very happy in them. Toni decided not to complain in view of the fact that nobody is perfect (Dargis 1).

One day, Toni gathered some courage to confront her wife but in a polite manner. One night after dinner, he took the plunge and told her that the excessive expenditure on clothes was too much and asked whether it was necessary. His wife agreed with him that she did not need many clothes admitting to her obsession and helplessness when it comes to beautiful dress. She decided to lock herself away from the dressing clothing stores. She even decided to return some of them to the boutique where she had bought them. On her way back home the thoughts of her clothes filled her mind, she lost concentration on the wheel, crashed and died (Rubin 8).

Soon after the burial Toni started to wonder on what to do with his wife’s enormous number of clothes. He sold some to dealer and even hired a female employee who had the same body size as his wife to wear her clothes. Her job description was to include wearing her clothes as a kind of uniform when coming to work. This employee sympathized with him and accepted his offer. When she was taken to the store where his wife’s clothes were, she was shocked and even started crying. She had never saw a single person owning a room full of clothes except in the chain stores (Dargis 4).

Toni allowed his employee to take some clothes with her that could serve her for a week. After she had gone, Toni realized that his wife would never come back, and loneliness had started to dawn on him again. He called his employee to tell her that he had changed his mind, she was very angry at first but she understood later. He burnt some of the clothes and sold the rest of them to a second hand dealer for a price equivalent to one eighth of what he had paid for them. Toni’s employees describe the clothing room as bigger than his apartment (Rubin 11).

Analysis of the Toni Takitani Movie

Toni Takitani is a high quality movie which has a true adaptation. The film arrests the mood of the short story excellently, which is very difficult when dealing with two separate mediums. The movie successfully and honestly creates the sense of loneliness originally from the written words through a combination of visual and audio factors. The colors used in the movie are drawn from jaded pastel pellets. This assists in projecting the sterile nature of the existence of Toni Takitani, representing his extended melancholy (Gilder 1).

The film uses repetitive short phrases, with dialogue chosen prudently and executed brilliantly, again underpinning the social non-entity that Toni Takitani had developed into. Some scene play out for great length with minimal action, as the life of Toni is of intense emptiness. The scenes are also beautifully decorated by constant narration lending a feel of short story, and the intimacy of the story being told in reality (Voynar 2).

The soundtrack of the film is magnificently used, with a simple repeated piano sound in its background. Perhaps more significant, is the sporadic lack of support track. These breaks in the music are used to enormously, leaving some parts of the scene stripped and desolate in accordance with the theme of the movie. The film is touched with an artistic soft tinge, suggesting and trusting the audience to make his/her own interpretation rather than to present them with direct conclusions. The film is very refreshing given the fact that the ending is not the crashing upsurge since life has to go on despite of the serious challenges (Gilder 1).


Both the film and the story depict Toni Takitani as a very lonely person. This started in his childhood when his father named him after an American soldier. The name Toni was not only unpopular in Japan during that era, but also disgusting given the diplomatic relationship between Japan and the U. S. He was shunned by children and spent most of his time alone. His childhood loneliness was compounded by the loss of his mother and his father’s musical tours.

He discovered his passion for arts during his childhood and spent most of his lonely time drawing machines. His drawings were very detailed and accurate. Even after joining college, he found himself isolated with his classmates criticizing his work for lack of ideological content. After the graduation, Toni never struggled to get a job; thanks to his extreme accuracy in drawing complex machines and architecture, he had a pretty successful career and managed to invest in the real estate. His lonely life ended the moment he got married. This did not last long after his wife died. From the story it is like he was meant to live a lonely life. Loneliness was his greatest fear.

Works Cited

Dargis, Manohla. “He is an Isolated Fellow; She is Addicted to Shopping”. Movies. 2005. Web.

Harkcom, Larry. “Movie Analysis: Toni Takitani”. 2007. Web.

Rubin, Jay. “Toni Takitani: A Short Story by Haruki Murakami”. New Yorker Magazine Issue. 2002. Web.

Voynar, Kim. “Review: Tony Takitani”. Cinematical. 2011. Web.

Gilder, Adam. Toni Takitani: Film Review”.2009. Web.

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"Film Studies: "Toni Takitani"." IvyPanda, 12 July 2020, ivypanda.com/essays/film-studies-toni-takitani/.

1. IvyPanda. "Film Studies: "Toni Takitani"." July 12, 2020. https://ivypanda.com/essays/film-studies-toni-takitani/.


IvyPanda. "Film Studies: "Toni Takitani"." July 12, 2020. https://ivypanda.com/essays/film-studies-toni-takitani/.


IvyPanda. 2020. "Film Studies: "Toni Takitani"." July 12, 2020. https://ivypanda.com/essays/film-studies-toni-takitani/.


IvyPanda. (2020) 'Film Studies: "Toni Takitani"'. 12 July.

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