Movie Data

Title: Tanpopo
Original title: タンポポ Tanpopo
Published: 1985
Length: 114 minutes

Director: Jūzō Itami
Script: Jūzō Itami
Music: Kunihiko Murai

Tsutomu Yamazaki: Goro
Nobuko Miyamoto: Tampopo
Ken Watanabe: Gun
Kōji Yakusho: Yakuza in white
Rikiya Yasuoka: Pisuken
Hisashi Igawa: Man who runs to see dying wife


A young and an older trucker visit a ramen stall on the roadside. Business is not going too well. After a brawl in which they get involved, the store is demolished. The two decide to help the owner, Tampopo. The store should become a top location. The genre of the samurai film is satirized. In the further course of the film, other genres are satirized, such as the Mafia film, love films and westerns. E.g. the older truck driver always wears a cowboy hat, just like Clint Eastwood does, even when bathing. This mix of pastiche and film quotes is characteristic of the film.
There are many subplots. Their main theme is always the food. In one scene, for example, a yakuza and his lover use food while making love. Other scenes revolve around a young businessman who exposes his older colleagues while ordering in a French restaurant. A housewife gets up from her deathbed to prepare one last meal for her family. A group of women is shown how to eat spaghetti the western way. They are dissuaded from it again by an European who sips the noodles the Japanese way.
The film won two Japanese Academy Awards in 1986 for Best Sound and Best Editing, as well as two prizes at the Mainichi Eiga Concours for sound and best supporting actor (Hisashi Igawa).
The director died of "suicide" in 1997, and it is likely that the Japanese underworld helped.