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still from Souls on the Road (Minoru Murata, JP 1921)

Souls on the Road

Minoru Murata / JP, 1921 / 112 min.

‘A milestone’, is how film historian Mark Cousins describes this classic of early Japanese cinema. Souls on the Road is the oldest production by the Shochiku film studio still known to exist, and mixes the aesthetics of the western avant-garde with Japanese traditions.

poster Souls on the Road (Minoru Murata, JP 1921)
In the depths of winter, on Christmas Eve, the unsuccessful violinist Koichiro tramps through the snow to his village of birth with his wife and child. There he knocks on his father’s door. His dad opens up, but rejects his son once more.

With live musical accompaniment by Rani Kumar (viola) Annie Tångberg (cello), Erik Winkelmann (contrabass) and Martin de Ruiter (bandoneón).



Minoru Murata

Production year




Original title

Souls on the Road


112 min.





Part of

Shochiku 100

Yasujiro Ozu, Masaki Kobayashi, Takeshi Kitano: the masters of Japanese cinema. But did you know that their work was made possible by Shochiku? In 2022 Eye is marking over one hundred years of one of Japan’s oldest, and largest, film companies.

Learn more
campaign image Shochiku 100 (still from Carmen Comes Home (Keisuke Kinoshita, JP 1951))

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