Hōshi: A Short Film on the 1300-Year-Old Hotel Run by the Same Japanese Family for 46 Generations

Hōshi is a ryokan (a Japan­ese tra­di­tion­al inn) locat­ed in Komat­su, Japan, and it holds the dis­tinc­tion of being the 2nd old­est hotel in the world, and “the old­est still run­ning fam­i­ly busi­ness in the world” (per Wikipedia). Built in 718 AD, the ryokan has been oper­at­ed by the same fam­i­ly for 46 con­sec­u­tive gen­er­a­tions. Count them. 46 gen­er­a­tions.

Japan is a coun­try with deep tra­di­tions. And when you’re born into a fam­i­ly that’s the care­tak­er of a 1300-year-old insti­tu­tion, you find your­self strug­gling with issues most of us can’t imag­ine. That’s par­tic­u­lar­ly true when you’re the daugh­ter of the Hōshi fam­i­ly, a mod­ern woman who wants to break free from tra­di­tion. And yet his­to­ry and strong fam­i­ly expec­ta­tions keep call­ing her back.

The sto­ry of Hōshi ryokan is poignant­ly told in a short doc­u­men­tary above. It was shot in 2014 by the Ger­man film­mak­er Fritz Schu­mann.

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Relat­ed Con­tent:

285 Free Doc­u­men­taries Online

Ear­ly Japan­ese Ani­ma­tions: The Ori­gins of Ani­me (1917–1931)

Hand-Col­ored Pho­tographs of 19th Cen­tu­ry Japan

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Comments (7)
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  • celina says:

    as a Japan­ese descen­dant in Brazil (3rd gen­er­a­tion), I would like to thank the pro­duc­tion team of this for mak­ing this poignant movie and for you guys from Open Cul­ture, so many thanks for shar­ing — the only way I would have access to it.

    Celi­na Ishikawa

  • Chris says:

    This short-doc­u­men­tary remind­ed me of “Jiro Dreams of Sushi,” as it tells about the human val­ues of sac­ri­fice and her­itage that I still strug­gle to under­stand. These val­ues seem to be strong and thick in Japan; I don’t know if I feel admi­ra­tion or a sense of alien­ation towards their val­ues. Maybe it is a bit of both.

    Thank you Dan, after years of lurk­ing Open Cul­ture, you real­ly brought me out with this one.

    Chris N

  • Mary E. Townsend says:

    I’ve always want­ed to come to Japan and spend some nights in these beau­ti­ful inns but just a dream I guess

  • Gediminas Rutkauskas says:

    Great respect the coun­try, its peo­ple able to sus­tain such per­cep­tions and tra­di­tions. Hope to spend few inspir­ing nights there or elswhere in Japan­ese Ryokan One Day.

  • Virginia Laffitte says:

    Sim­ply, very beau­ti­ful. A real­i­ty of what we rarely see in our world today.

  • Virginia Laffitte says:

    Sim­ply, very beau­ti­ful.

  • Asaf says:

    Open Cul­ture is my choice of enter­tain­ment and knowl­edge, you nev­er ceas­es to sur­prise me.

    Thank you Dan for all your hard work.

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