©1977 Shochiku Co., Ltd.



Original Title
Shiawase no Kiiroi Hankachi
Production Year
Release Date
October 1, 1977
Running Time
Ken TAKAKURA (高倉健)
Chieko BAISHO (倍賞千恵子)
Tetsuya TAKEDA (武田鉄矢)
Kaori MOMOI (桃井かおり)

A man released for good behavior from a six-year stretch in prison travels with a young man and woman he meets on his journey home to his wife.

A film adaptation of a popular folk song by Dawn, which in itself was adapted from a short story by Pete Hamill. In this road movie starring Ken Takakura, three strangers come together for a road trip through Hokkaido. A heavy-hearted Kinya comes across Akemi, who also nurses a broken heart. They meet Yusaku, a man who claims to be a coal miner, but little did they know about his secret. This film dominated the Japanese film awards of that year, including the 1st Japan Academy Prize, the 51st Kinema Junpo Prize, the 32nd Mainichi Film Award, the 20th Blue Ribbon Award, and the 2nd Hochi Film Award.
This film follows a man on a road trip with two strangers as he journeys to meet his wife after a six-year prison sentence. Kinya (Tetsuya Takeda) cruises through the lush green plains of Konsen in his red car, bopping along to the radio. He meets Akemi (Kaori Momoi) at Abashiri Station. She was a popular saleswoman on a train dining car, but she became fed up after being misunderstood by her colleagues and embarked on a reckless solo trip. Akemi hitchhikes with Kinya and when they were sightseeing near the beach, Kinya asks Yusaku Shima (Ken Takakura) to take their photo. From this chance encounter, the three of them go on a road trip together. When Kinya asks Yusaku where he is going, he only answers, “Yubari.”
One day, the police were investigating an escaped robber near Karikachi Pass and they stop Kinya’s car. Kinya is let off after showing his driver’s license, but the police interrogate Yusaku, who they find suspicious. It turns out that he was released from Abashiri Prison two days ago.
Yusaku recounts his past to Akemi and Kinya. During the six years that he spent in prison, he could not forget his wife, Mitsue (Chieko Baisho). Just before his sentence ended, he wrote her a letter. “I hope that you are remarried to a good man and living a happy life. By the time this letter reaches you, I will arrive in Yubari. If you are still living alone, please tie a yellow handkerchief on the garden pole. But if there is no handkerchief, I will leave Yubari.” The three of them drive through Akabira, Utashinai, and Sunagawa, heading straight to Yubari.