Mother is a story of contemporary Japan. The film is predicated on an annual nationwide contest at Tokyo schools, wherein the students are invited to write about their mothers. One of the students is Kyoto Kagawa, whose relationship with her mother Kinuyo Tanaka is strained at best. Through Kyoto's eyes, the viewer is privy to the growing pains of young Japanese womanhood, including "first romance". Avoiding the pomp and circumstance of many Japanese films of the period, Mother is an intensely realistic (and occasionally pessimistic) look at all-too-human characters. Completed in 1952, the film was the only one of director Mikio Naruse's efforts to receive an American release in the 1950s.