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Published on November 28th, 2014 | by Totoro

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My Neighbors The Yamadas

The film is a series of vignettes following the daily lives of the Yamada family: Takashi and Matsuko (the father and mother), Shige (Matsuko’s mother), Noboru (aged approximately 13, the son), Nonoko (aged approximately 5, the daughter), and Pochi (the family dog).

Each of the vignettes is preceded by a title such as “Father as Role Model”, “A Family Torn Apart” or “Patriarchal Supremacy Restored”. These vignettes cover such issues as losing a child in a department store, the relationships between father and son, or husband and wife, the wisdom of age, getting one’s first girlfriend and many more. Each is presented with humour, presenting a very believable picture of family life which crosses cultural boundaries. The relationships between Matsuko, Takashi and Shige are particularly well observed, with Shige giving advice and proverbs to all the family members, and having a great strength of character which far outweighs Matsuko’s. Takashi and Matsuko’s relationship is often the focus of the episodes, their rivalries, such as arguing about who has control of the television, their frustrations and their difficulties, but the overriding theme is their love for one another despite their flaws, and their desire to be the best parents possible for their children.

Info & Credits

Title My Neighbors The Yamadas
Japanese Title ホーホケキョとなりの山田くん
Japanese Title (Romanized) Tonari no Yamada-kun
Release Date 1999
Rated PG
Duration 1 hr 43 min

The characters

image001 Takashi Yamada
The father and head of the Yamada family. Takashi is authoritative and commanding. He is easily irritated and does not like to be disturbed while relaxing. He likes baseball games, smoking, snow, and eating. He likes to impress his superiors at work. He sometimes daydreams about how he would be if he were someone else.
image002 Matsuko Yamada
The mother of the Yamada family. She takes care of the house, but has next to no cooking ability, leading her to make the same meal several days in a row. She is constantly forgetting things. Her relationship with her husband is sometimes warm, sometimes strained.
image003 Shige Yamada
Matsuko’s mother and grandmother to the Yamada children. Shige lives with the family. She is sometimes blunt in her words. She has a strong sense of personal duty, and volunteers for the city, doing things such as cleaning up the park and clearing leaves.
image004 Noboru Yamada
The son of the Yamada family. He attends high school, and is not a particularly good student. He argues with his parents frequently. He is sneaky and seems to like getting his family irritated at him.
image005 Nonoko Yamada
The daughter of the Yamada family. She is mostly naïve of the world around her. She is unusually smart for a 4-year-old. She has a good memory, but not too much logic.
image006 Yamada’s dog
The Yamada family dog, Poochi, is indifferent to the world around him. He sleeps through most of the film.
image007 Aunt Yamada
The Yamada children’s aunt. Nonoko adores her.
image008 Noboru’s classmate
A girl in Noboru’s class. She’s somewhat dense.
image009 Toshio Kimura
A young boy, even younger than Nonoko. He gets lost in a shopping center. Nonoko helps him find his mother.
image010 Motorcycle Gangleader
The leader of a dangerous motorcycle gang. He is loud, demanding, and especially intimidating. He likes talking about his bike, but dislikes talking to anyone who thinks he has any problems.
image011 Saburo
A volunteer who knew Shige when she was a little girl. Apparently their former relationship was unfriendly, as Shige still dislikes him after 40 years.
image012 florist
A florist in the Yamada’s neighborhood. He likes it when people comment on his flowers.
image013 Yamashita
One of Noboru’s friends. He enjoys magazines (in the film, the “swimsuit issue”).
image014 Tanaka
A boy who attends Noboru’s school. One of the girls has a crush on him, but he doesn’t even acknowledge her.
image015 Noboru’s teacher
Noboru’s teacher is a typical schoolteacher. She does not bend to Noboru’s arguments about unfairness and test-taking.
image016 Nonoko’s teacher
Nonoko’s teacher is quiet. Her motto is “Keep it simple”.

Production Credits

Director Isao Takahata
Original Work Hisaichi Ishii
Screenplay Isao Takahata
English Adaptation Leo Chu, Eric Garcia
Producer Toshio Suzuki, Takashi Shoji, Seiichiro Ujiie
Executive Producer Yasuyoshi Tokuma
Producer (US) Ned Lott, Michael Johnson
Executive Producer (US) Rick Dempsey
Original Music Akiko Yano
Art Direction Kanako Moriya, Michiyo Yasuda
Production Manager Yoshiyuki Momose, Osamu Tanabe

Voice Casting

Character English Japanese
Takashi Yamada James Belushi Toru Masuoka
Matsuko Yamada Molly Shannon Yuk
Shige Yamada Tress MacNeille Masako Araki
Noboru Yamada Daryl Sabara Hayato Isobata
Nonoko Yamada Liliana Mumy Naomi Uno
Fujiwara-sensei ??? Akiko Yano
Kikuchibaba ??? Chocho Miyako
Toshio Kimura Trenton Rogers ???
Haiku reader ??? Kosanji Yanagiya
mall clerk ??? Yasuko Tomita
narrator David Ogden Stiers ???

My Neighbors The Yamadas Trailer

Screenshots from the movie
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