The Presentation

Clare and I decided on a back and forward approach to discussing the schematic and artefact in the presentation. We had stayed late in uni the day before, and together had planned out roughly what we would say. That night Clare split the information up between us and wrote it up  more coherently (we had been VERY tired when we wrote it), while I constructed the artefact. So THANKYOU so much Clare 🙂

Below is a rough version of what we said, although as we knew it all so well after working so hard on it, I’m sure we actually said more than what is here! Neither of us bothered with  a true script, and only had paper to prompt each other when to talk, which I was really proud of.


D- When we laid out the initial draft of our schematic we could immediately see how well structured the film is. We wanted to mirror the films simplicity, as well as its depth of implicit meaning. We did this by creating a simple diagram, which is easy to read, simple and linear (like the plot), with a highly symbolic background and graphic quality.

D- Visually it was clear to see how isolated the parents are from their children, as you can see in most the scenes; the parents are alone.

D- Talk through the schematic

–     How the schematic works…how the chart plays out.

Go deeper into how this reflects on characters’ personality

(Parents-team/ Noriko not a relative and other siblings—absent)

The death (only time families together)

C-  This film is about a journey, both physical and mental; the mountains represent their journey.

C- Train tracks –talk about the significance of the film.

– How the train both separates and connects the characters.

– The train acts as a book mark- start of film compared to end.

D – We all were drawn to inky/watery marks as we feel it’s appropriate in representing the slow pace of film, and references popular Asian art. As well as this we felt it referenced the cinematography of the film. Often the camera is still, and people move in and out of the frame. We felt that visible water drops referenced that as it’s a form of captured motion.

C – The design of the schematic was also constructed to nod to the film; The typography was designed to replicate a train ticket, as well as train tracks. Our marks here represent the hessian texture at the intro to the film and to show woven family links, it also doubles as train tracks. The houses here symbolise domestic life, which is a key theme in the film and something Ozu tries to portray.


C- For the artefact we wanted to create something simple that would be able to show the complexity of the implicit meanings in the film. We wanted to mirror the film, for at first glance it may seem simple or even mundane, but if you look closing it’s rich with symbols, motif and culture.

C- So after discussion we choose a fan. It is a constant in the film, that connects nearly every character in nearly every scene. It’s constant repetitive motion acts as a metronome slowing down and maintaining the pace of the story. To us the paper fan is a icon of Japan, and is also a product of it’s time.

D- A key theme in Tokyo Story is generation, family and how they interact with each other. Our fan is split into segments, each representing the members of the family. At the head we have the parents- the children fold behind them to represent generation. To take inspiration for the film and Japanese art we wanted to use symbols and imagery to represent the children from the perspective of the parents.

C- As the schematic shows the mother and father are a team and are rarely separated, so we felt they should share a segment. We have a chrythancium flower in the background, as this is a funeral flower that we think you can see them in the funeral scene! we wanted to represent her death and the importance of it in the fan.

D- Kyoko is the youngest daughter, she lives at home most connected to the parents. This is why her segment lies so close to them on the fan. She is represented by their family home.  Green- inexperience/naïve. Different interpretations- how the audience views her/ compared to sister Shige.

C- Shige is the eldest daughter, and is seen as a selfish character. Her segment of the fan shows a telephone that turns to a snake. She is a sneaky character who is very distant from her parents both physically and emotionally-so we often see her communicate with people via phone. The design of her segments contrast from the parents, it is taken from a pattern on a dress she wears. It is bold and dynamic, and also very harsh.

D- Kiezo is an aloof character, that we only meet just before the mum dies… he is represented with a clock on train tracks leading to the family home. He is the only child that arrives too late to say goodbye to his mother. We feel he is associated with time for not only is he too late home, but he is quick to rush of again after the funeral… to see a baseball game!

C- Kiochi is the eldest living son; he is symbolled with a tie. He is a professional and the audience only sees him in this role-even on his mother’s death bed he quickly switches into professional mode. In a way, this ties him down- refencing another theme where the expectations of children are so high—something discussed in the bar scene where the fathers cry over their disappointment in their sons.

D- On the flip side we have Norkio- Automatically you’ll see how much brighter and cheery this is. This represents her youth and optimism despite her troubles. Windowed daughter-in-law. fan is fragmented and broken like she was but with the help of the family she is represented as whole.

C-She touches the lives of everyone with her father-in-law saying “we have children of our own, yet you’ve done the most for us” and is given a gift of her mother-in-law’s watch. She is placed on the back of the fan because she isn’t a direction relation or part of the family tree anymore, but she still impacts each of the characters positively.

D- Noriko is bright and humble- despite the dark patches in her past. She doesn’t have much, but she gives a lot. Also, we would like the note that on the other side of the fan you see empty train tracks leading nowhere, but on her side; her train is directed to the future with the help of the support of her parents-in-law. The ending of this film is sad in many ways, but for Noriko it’s a new beginning as symbolised by the cherry blossom petals.

D- We could talk about this for hours… every mark on this fan has a purpose and intention behind it- just like how every camera angle and interaction in Tokyo Story is constructed with purpose.










Schematic Design


Above is the first stage of the schematic diagram. I thought adding the lines in the background added a nice depth to the piece, as well as serving their purpose. The top of each line will be filled with a character icon and begins where the character enters the story, creating an interesting pattern. Beata had shown me the image below from a Japanese patterns book ‘……’ , which I then used to create the look. I wanted add the ‘droplet’ effect, however it kind of took away from the ‘train track’ look that we were going for.



Above is the finished schematic (to be updated). The character icons were supplied by Beata and I think they work really well! I chose to add a little pop of colour around each character for some added texture. On each line, the dashes represent when each character is present in a scene, and it is so clear to see the state of the family relationships, and how the family comes together around the death of their Mother, only to separate once more. We also thought the dashes made the design look like stitches, showing how the family is woven together (and also a nod to the hessian background at the beginning of the film).

Character Icons

Next up, I decided to have a crack at some character icons for the schematic. I wanted to keep them simple and readable, and also easily identifiable  (as many characters in the film look rather similar). I thought that creating our own icons would be a nice addition to the final piece instead of using photographs like Phil Campbell-especially because we were going for such a minimalist style.

Below are my first experiments with the character of Noriko. I liked the idea of using the Japanese flag as influence-using the red dot as the background. The black symbol is called ‘Enso‘ and is a Japanese (or Zen Buddhist) mark made of one or two uninhibited brush strokes to represent  enlightenment, strength and elegance. It symbolises the moment that the body is free to create and move on-something that is extremely important in Noriko’s story.

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In the end, this design wasn’t used, but I was really happy with the thought and time put into it. I feel like I am getting much better at digital work! I just wish I had enough time to do one for each of the characters, but with limited time, I had to hand the job to Beata, who created some lovely inky representations of the characters for the schematic.

Schematic Process

This week I have been putting together some backdrops for our digital schematic. As a team, we thought that the simplistic way we had originally designed our schematic really worked well to portray the film, and was very effective in showing the family relationships. Therefore we are focusing more on an artistic and interesting backdrop than an overly dramatic diagram.

We really loved the idea of creating a very soft and natural backdrop…something that represented the steady pace of the film, and possibly symbolising the travel between the two homes on the train. We also liked the idea of working with traditional Japanese style, using ink and paper heavily. Eventually, we liked the idea of hanging the schematic from a piece of bamboo and turning it into a wall hanging. Ideally, I would love to print the schematic onto fabric and embroidering over it, however given the time restraints, it could be tricky.

Clare McKinney and myself got together and did lots of mark making, using mainly watercolour and ink. I then transferred these into photoshop and began making scenes from the work; creating mountains, trees and valleys.

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Adding little details-The most finalised piece.

Above is the most up to date piece of work. I really like how all the small details work together, but are quite subtle. Each piece of watercolour texture has a story behind it, just as each character in the film does. Below are the implicit meanings I decided to weave into the background:

  • The Typography is designed to look like train tracks-something that both connects and separates the characters in the film.
  • Eventually, a train ticket style will be added to the typography
  • The inky movement within the restricted frame represents the use of camera angle in Oz’s work. He sets the camera at a low angle with a fixed frame, allowing character to fluidly move in and out of the scene.
  • The houses represent daily domestic life-In much of Ozu’s work, he used the image of clothes on a washing line to represent daily life, and I decided that smoke coming from chimneys would be my take on that.
  • The train tracks start at the top of the mountain, disappear in the middle, and exit at the end-just as they do in the film. At the beginning of the film, we see train tracks with the train running, when Tomi dies, the tracks are empty(a moment of silence or respect) however the train runs once more at the end, showing that life goes on. I plan for her death to intersect the point where we see no tracks on the schematic.



The Initial Schematic


Yesterday Clare McKinney, Beata and myself put together our first version of the Schematic. I have to say I was worried about how long it might take, but with great teamwork it was done in no time!

Although it may change for our final version, our Schematic is laid out with the events in chronological order down the side of the board and the characters noted along the top. The solid lines show that the character was present in the next scene, whereas the dashed one represents their absence from the next scene.

We all found making the schematic to be really interesting, as it perfectly shows the parents ostracisation from the rest of the family. Throughout the story, it is their widowed daughter-in-law, Noriko, who looks out for and supports the couple; while the area dedicated to their most closely related family is empty. It all feels very isolated. This all changes upon the death of Tomi, and it has a sobering effect. At this time, the family appears as a tightly knit unit, exactly what the parents wanted on their visit to Tokyo. Nevertheless, the family leave straight after the funeral for ‘a baseball game’, once again leaving the father alone with his youngest daughter and Noriko.

A family tree is how we intend our schematic, representing the importance of family and generations in Japanese culture, however this could change as our ideas progress. I’m really excited to see how it turns out!