In 1969, Yamada Yōji released the first film featuring his irascible anti-hero Kuruma Torajirō, or Tora-san for short: a salt-of-the-earth type from Shibamata in Tōkyō's Katsushika ward, which through the series became the epitome of lower-middle-class Japan – a reliable old world of decency and straightforwardness where the liberal and the conservative found an almost impossible balance. Until the death of comedian Atsumi Kiyoshi in 1996, 47 more films were made, all but two under the direction of Yamada. However, as Atsumi was Tora-san, the series had to end, with a beautiful meta-coda called The Rainbow Seekers (1996), which considers all the Tora-sans of the world as cinema's true soul.
Tora-san, Wish You Were Here is another coda: a meditation on time's grace and horror, as well as an elegy for a lost world. But maybe through remembering it, we can keep some of its values alive? Let's find our Tora-san!