In “Tokyo no korasu (1931)”, the little daughter gets sick from eating “Mizumanju”. This is Mizumanju/Kuzumanju.

Mizumanju (via Chunichi Web)

Recipe is here.

Late Autumn (1960)

As you can see, its soothing appearance and chilled preparation are very inviting in a hot summer day. And the girl must have begged for it.

In “Late Autumn (1960)”, Mamiya (Shin Saburi) takes Akiko (Setsuko Hara) and, later Ayako (Yoko Tsukasa), to lunch. They go to the place with the sign “う”.

What are they eating ? This is what they are eating.

Unaju (via Wikipedia)

This is Unagi (Japanese eel). This was one of the Ozu’s favorite Japanese cuisine. Here is the recipe. The sign “う” is the first letter of “うなぎ”, ‘eels’ in Japanese and audience would know it is a restaurant for this particular cuisine. According to Sho Kida, this restaurant in the film has a real life counterpart in Nihonbashi. Eel Cuisine Restaurant ‘Hashimoto’ was listed in the Ozu’s notebook and still caters to connoisseurs in Tokyo. This place has an “う” sign in front of the entrance.

Eels farming has a long history in Japan since late 19th century and by the time of this film, most of the eels available in the market were from the farming. Usually, farmed eels are much cheaper and high-end restaurants distinguish themselves by serving only “natural” eels. I think the place in the film might have been one of them. Recently, eels are farmed in China in large scale and their price tag is unbelievably cheap. At the same time, several occasion of antibiotics contamination brought deep distrust against Chinese eels. Time has changed.Copyrighted materials, if any, on this web page are included as “fair use”. These are used for the purpose of research, review or critical analysis, and will be removed at the request of copyright owner(s).