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In 1958, with the impending completion of Tokyo's TV broadcasting tower as a symbol of Japan's escalating post-war economic recovery, rural schoolgirl Mutsuko (Maki Horikita) arrives from the provinces to begin her first job with Suzuki Auto. Initially impressed by meeting company "president" Norifumi Suzuki (Shinichi Tsutsumi), Mutsuko is shocked to discover her workplace is actually a shabby auto repair shop in Tokyo's down-at-heel Yuhi district.
Suzuki is a bad-tempered employer but Mutsuko is welcomed by his wife, Tomoe (Hiroko Yakushimaru), and their impish 5-year-old son, Ippei (Kazuki Koshimizu). One of Ippei's favorite haunts is a five-and-dime store managed by struggling serial writer Ryunosuke Chagawa (Hidetaka Yoshioka). Regarding now-successful writers like Nobel-prize winner Kenzaburo Oe, as overrated, Chagawa wants to be more than a hack churning out sci-fi yarns and selling cheap toys on the side.
When alluring newcomer Hiromi (Koyuki) opens a sake bar in the area, she gathers clientele quickly -- in dramatically compressed manga style -- but also finds herself lumbered with Junnosuke (Kenta Suga) the orphaned offspring of the bar's previous tenant. Drunk, and smitten by Hiromi, Chogawa accepts custodianship of the boy.
- "Always: Sunset on Third Street" is based on Ryohei Saigan’s manga, "San-chome no Yuhi" (serially published in Big Comic Original by Shogakukan).
- Movie went on to win 13 of Japan's 14 Academy Awards (including "Best Picture," "Best Director," "Best Screenplay," and "Best Actor").
- Film was shot on Toho's soundstages and it uses digital wizardry to resurrect 1950's Tokyo.
- Related titles:
- Always: Sunset on Third Street | Always san-chome no yuhi (2005)
- Always: Sunset on Third Street 2 | Always zoku san-chome no yuhi (2007)
- Always: Sunset on Third Street 3 | Always San-Chome no Yuhi '64 (2012)
- 2005 (30th) Hochi Film Awards - December, 2005
- 2005 (48th) Blue Ribbon Awards - February 7, 2006
- 2006 (29th) Japan Academy Prize - March 3, 2006
- "Picture of the Year"
- "Director of the Year"
- "Screenplay of the Year"
- "Outstanding Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role" (Hidetaka Yoshioka)
- "Outstanding Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role" (Shinichi Tsutsumi)
- "Outstanding Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role" (Hiroko Yakushimaru)
- "Outstanding Achievement in Music" (Naoki Sato)
- "Outstanding Achievement in Cinematography" (Kozo Shibasak)
- "Outstanding Achievement in Lighting Direction" (Kenichi Mizuno)
- "Outstanding Achievement in Art Direction" (Anri Jojo)
- "Outstanding Achievement in Sound Recording" (Hitoshi Tsurumaki)
- "Outstanding Achievement in Film Editing" (Ryuji Miyajima)
- "Rookie of the Year" (Maki Horikita)
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