In suburban Tokyo, Yumi waits with the same strangers for the same train every day, until she decides to find out more about her fellow commuters.

Film Signature Image
Independent Lens
Premiere Date
December 21, 2004
30 minutes

Chris Eska

Chris Eska was raised in Ottine, Texas. He studied sociology and art at Rice University before attending UCLA’s MFA film directing program. His short films have screened on PBS, at the Coca-Cola Refreshing Filmmakers’ Competition, the DGA Theater in Los Angeles, the Texas Filmmaker’s Showcase, and at numerous film festivals. After taking a one-year Show more leave of absence from UCLA to backpack across India and Asia, Eska returned to Japan to produce Doki-Doki, his master’s thesis film. Doki-Doki won the UCLA Spotlight Award, Honorable Mention at the Palm Springs International Film Festival, the Audience Award at the Toronto Reel Asian Film Festival, Finalist at the Ozu Film Festival of Japan, and has screened at film festivals around the world. Show less

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The Film

Set in suburban Tokyo, Doki-Doki offers a peek into the lives of intimate strangers. Imagine sitting next to the same people on a commuter train every day for years without even knowing their names. Who are they? Where do they live? What are their dreams, fears, and passions?

For Yumi, (Yumi Endo), the inquisitive young heroine of Doki-Doki, a film shot entirely on the streets and trains of Tokyo and Yokohama, these questions about her fellow train passengers create far too much mystery.

Considering herself somewhat of a detective, Yumi decides to discover who these people are and why fate brought them together. Of particular interest is Yosuke (Hayuto Sugano), a serious young man who attended the same preschool as Yumi, but apparently no longer recognizes her. After a chain of events disrupts the normal commute, Yumi takes the opportunity to secretly follow Yosuke through the streets of Tokyo. But before she leaves the train, Yumi shares a moment of connection with the shy and awkward schoolgirl, Makiko (Sae Takenaka). While Yumi discovers more about Yosuke, Makiko struggles to relate to her classmates and family. As evening comes, the three characters’ lives intersect in a swirling climax of emotion.