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Film / Here's to the Young Lady

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Here's to the Young Lady is a 1949 film from Japan directed by Keisuke Kinoshita.

Keizo Ishizu, a man in his mid-thirties, is the owner of a garage that specializes in fixing up and repairing American cars. He's working-class enough to don a mechanic's overalls, but his business is doing well and he has dreams of building his own factory and making cards.

His good friend Sato surprises him by approaching him with a marriage proposal. The Ikedas, the family of Sato's former employer is looking to marry off their elders daughter Yasuko (Setsuko Hara) and Sato has identified Keizo as a likely match. Keizo is highly reluctant as the Ikedas are highborn aristocrats while he is a common mechanic, if an ambitious one.

Keizo goes unwillingly to meet Yazuko, and his reluctance evaporates when he sees how good-looking she is. He speaks of love at first sight and is very enthusiastic about the marriage. However, there is a complication. While the Ikedas used to be wealthy aristocrats, they are now dead broke, so broke that they are selling off possessions. Even worse, their patriarch is in prison after getting mixed up in financial fraud, and even worse than that, they have a million-yen note on their house due soon that they can't pay. In fact, they need Keizo's money, which is why Sato proposed the match in the first place. Can Keizo and Yasuko bridge the differences between them and find true love?

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Tropes:

  • "Dear John" Letter: When Keizo finally becomes convinced that the difficulties between he and Yasuko can't be bridged, he sends her a break-up letter. The letter says that he enjoyed his short time with her, and he's paying off her family's loan.
  • Drowning My Sorrows: Keizo finds Goto drinking heavily at their Local Hangout. Goto's girlfriend, concerned about the social distance between them, has decided to break up with him and go to Osaka to look for work.
  • Gold Digger: Yasuko is more or less this, as she's getting matched up with Keizo by Sato and her own family so Keizo can bail them out. It isn't her idea and she's intensely embarrassed by this.
  • Impoverished Patrician: When Keizo visits the Ikeda house for the first time, Yasuko shamefacedly confesses: the family is broke and deep in debt and about to lose their house. He takes a look around and notices what he didn't notice before, that the furniture is ratty and threadbare and some of the fixtures are broken.
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  • Local Hangout: There's a local bar where Keizo and Goto like to hang out. They're good friends with the lady bartender and the suspiciously well-dressed young women who also hang out there and may or may not be hookers. Keizo meets Yasuko there and both he and Goto go there to drown their sorrows when frustrated by relationships.
  • Love at First Sight: Keizo's hesitation immediately evaporates when he meets lovely Yasuko. He speaks of getting hit by lightning and wants to get married right away.
  • The Matchmaker: Sato puts on the hard sell when matching up Keizo and Yasuko. Keizo is startled when he finds out the reason why.
  • Off-into-the-Distance Ending: Ends with Yasuko in Goto's car, being driven to the train station so she can catch Keizo and tell her that she loves him.
  • Race for Your Love: The film ends with this, although, unlike most examples of this trope, it doesn't show how the race ends. Instead it's an Off-into-the-Distance Ending where Yasuko is still in the process of racing to the train station, so she can catch Keizo and tell him that she loves him before he can take the train to his home town.
  • Self-Made Man: Keizo's background is not explained in detail but he is plainly a commoner who has risen from mechanic to owner of his own auto garage and secondhand dealership. His business is prosperous and he has ambitions to make cars instead of just fixing and re-selling them.
  • Title Drop: The title is the English rendering of "Ojôsan kanpai" (お嬢さん乾杯), a Japanese toast. Keizo says this when excitedly toasting to his marriage with his friends at the bar.
  • Uptown Girl:
    • The reason why Keizo initially resists Sato's suggestion; even though he's upwardly mobile he is still working class and the Ikeda family is aristocratic Old Money.
    • Ironically Keizo finds his own family on the opposite side of this trope at the same time, as his brother Goto has fallen for someone of even lower status than the Ishizus: a dancer. Keizo strongly opposes the match.
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