Sandakan No. 8 (1975): Japan’s Nominee for the Best Foreign Language Film Oscar (Journalism, Child Prostitution)

Directed by Kei Kumai, Sandakan No. 8, set in mid-20th-century Japan, was nominated for the 1975 Best Foreign Language Oscar, after winning a major prize at the Berlin Film Festival.

The title of the film (which is aka Room No. 8.) refers to a brothel in Borneo.

The film tells the story of a crusading female journalist, who meets an elderly woman who years earlier had been shipped to Borneo.

We find out that as a young girl, she had been sold into prostitution by her poor family.

The movie tries to make a strong statement about the position of women in Japan—past and [present.

Originally released in the U.S. without a rating, the film has since been classified R.

Oscar Nominations: 1

Best Foreign Language Film

Oscar Awards: None

Oscar Context:

The winner of the Best Foreign Language Film was Kurosawa’s Dersu Uzala.

The other nominees were: Land of Promise from Poland; Letters from Marusia from Mexico; and Scent of a Woman from Italy.


Running time: 121 Minutes

Directed by Kei Kumai.

Released on November 2, 1974.



Kinuyo Tanaka as Osaki Yamakawa as an older woman

Komaki Kurihara as Keiko Mitani

Eitarô Ozawa as Tarozo

Yoko Takahashi as Osaki as a young woman