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Buddies (1989)

A un (original title)
The film tells story of a close friendship undone by love.


Yasuo Furuhata


Kuniko Mukôda (novel), Tsutomu Nakamura (screenplay)
9 wins & 12 nominations. See more awards »


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Cast overview, first billed only:
Ken Takakura ... Kadokura
Eiji Bandô Eiji Bandô ... Mizuta
Sumiko Fuji Sumiko Fuji ... (as Junko Fuji)
Yasuko Tomita
Nobuko Miyamoto
Mie Yamaguchi Mie Yamaguchi
Claude Maki Claude Maki ... (as Kuroudo Maki)
Kôichi Ueda Kôichi Ueda
Masako Yagi Masako Yagi
Shôzô Inagaki Shôzô Inagaki
Katsuhiko Kobayashi Katsuhiko Kobayashi
Noboru Mitani Noboru Mitani
Takuji Aoki Takuji Aoki ... (as Taku Aoki)
Makoto Kakeda Makoto Kakeda
Yuzuru Nishimura Yuzuru Nishimura


The film tells story of a close friendship undone by love.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Drama | Romance







Release Date:

3 November 1989 (Japan) See more »

Also Known As:

Buddies See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:




Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


Remake of A un (1980) See more »

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User Reviews

Friendship and its limits
17 June 2018 | by KFLSee all my reviews

I was surprised to find that no-one has reviewed this yet. This movie, A-Un (clumsily translated "Buddies" in English), is a rather wonderful tale of a friendship between two men, one (Kadokura) a company president in an unhappy marriage, the other (Mizuta) a mid-level employee of a pharmaceutical company with a lovely wife and beautiful 18-year-old daughter. The setting is Tokyo in the 1930s; fascism is on the rise, and everyone is in thrall to the burgeoning Japanese military machine.

The Japanese phrase "a-un" refers to two entities that are complementary--similar in some ways but not alike; glossed in various Japanese-English references as inhalation and exhalation, or as alpha and omega; each presupposes the other. They are also represented by the "koma-inu" guardian-dog statues that are present at the entrances to Shinto shrines in Japan, and which appear several times in this movie.

The two men are different, strikingly so even, but these differences paradoxically reinforce their friendship--up to a point. Beyond that point, the friendship becomes untenable, at least temporarily. A parallel storyline traces the tentative romance of the daughter with a young student.

There are innumerable films depicting the rise of fascism in Germany and elsewhere in the 1930s, and its consequences for ordinary people. But such tragedies occurred in Japan and other Asian countries as well. This tale similarly recounts the imminent implosion of a family, or family-like group, preceding Pearl Harbor and WWII. And as is generally the case, it serves as a powerful rebuff to fascism, by limning the heartbreaking consequences of such strident nationalism for ordinary folk. Highly recommended.

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