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A Girl Named Tamiko (1962)

Not Rated | | Drama | 25 January 1963 (West Germany)
A Eurasian photographer uses his women in an attempt to get American nationality.


John Sturges


Edward Anhalt, Ronald Kirkbride (novel)


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Credited cast:
Laurence Harvey ... Ivan Kalin
France Nuyen ... Tamiko
Martha Hyer ... Fay Wilson
Gary Merrill ... Max Wilson
Michael Wilding ... Nigel Costairs
Miyoshi Umeki ... Eiko
Steve Brodie ... James Hatten
Lee Patrick ... Mary Hatten
David Lewis ... Minor Role
John Fujioka ... Minya (as John Mamo)
Ray Teal ... Kyle Munce
Richard Loo ... Otani
Philip Ahn ... Akiba
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Theona Bryant Theona Bryant


Laurence Harvey plays a Eurasian photographer who is trapped in Japan, but who wants to emigrate to the United States. His visa is continually delayed, which causes him to use his charm with women to pull some strings and apply some pressure on the embassy. His romantic magnetism works on a thrill-seeking American and an aristocratic Japanese woman. Written by Anonymous

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


He was half Oriental...but he used the women of two continents WITHOUT SHAME OR GUILT! See more »




Not Rated | See all certifications »






Release Date:

25 January 1963 (West Germany) See more »

Also Known As:

Das Mädchen Tamiko See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Wallis-Hazen See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Mono (Westrex Recording System)


Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


John Sturges intended to show in this movie women playing some kind of male characters. See more »


Nigel Costairs: Well, you've got to start somewhere.
Ivan Kalin: At the top! I'm not a kid anymore. And America's the place to do it in. There's only one thing I need.
Nigel Costairs: I can let you have a little money.
Ivan Kalin: Thanks. But I can get money if I can get a reputation. And that's what I have to leave with, if I expect to be anything in America.
Nigel Costairs: There's a desperation about all this. It isn't like you.
Ivan Kalin: You're an Englishman. Sapporo's Japanese. I have no country. I've nothing.
Nigel Costairs: Those are just words, Ivan.
Ivan Kalin: Feelings. And very few people ...
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User Reviews

Nuyen and Harvey Romantically Break Cultural Barriers
15 July 2015 | by DarylKMiddlebrookSee all my reviews

Adapted from the best-selling novel by Ronald Kirkbride of the same name, 1962's A Girl Named Tamiko touches on the then taboo subject of interracial romance. In this situation, it happens to be between a Japanese woman and a mixed-race white man. While taking into account the sensibilities and cautiousness of sixties movie studios, A Girl Named Tamiko was very ahead of it's time in dealing with racial intolerance in both Western and Japanese culture. Whereas I found the more heralded film Sayonara slightly condescending in its handling of the subject of race, A Girl Named Tamiko, in my opinion comes across more honestly. Another interesting note, this film sets the Japanese girl on the higher social level of than her white lover. In other films from this era dealing with interracial romance, it's usually the ethnic girl (Asian, Latina, Black) who is "moving up the ladder" by winning her white lover. It was a pleasant surprise to see that role reversed in this film.

Set in 1960s Japan, Eurasian photographer Ivan Kalin (the underrated British actor Laurence Harvey) lives life with a chip on his shoulder concerning his Japanese hosts. His disdain stems from the fact that both his mother and father were killed due to Japanese military aggression. Ivan sees their culture as cold, structured and racist and is convinced there is no room for success there for a foreigner, despite his talents. Seeing the United States as a better opportunity for him to become successful, Ivan becomes a "user" and there seems to be no end to the people he will use to get what he wants including those closest to him.

While at a nightclub, Ivan's life is changes forever when he meets a beautiful, intelligent Japanese girl named Tamiko (played by the enchantingly beautiful and unsung France Nuyen). Simultaneously, he rekindles an affair with vivacious, and influential Fay Wilson (all-time favorite bad girl beauty Martha Hyer). While obviously attracted to Tamiko, Ivan nevertheless sees Fay and her connections as his "free ticket" to the United States. With fame and fortune within his grasp, Ivan abandons the matters of the heart and pursues Fay until he has her in the palm of his hand. However, Ivan can't stop thinking about Tamiko, who in herself is the epitome of Japanese culture, everything which he despises. However, in Tamiko, Ivan sees the purity, and spiritual essence of Japanese culture stripped of its rigid structure and caste system. Tamiko, herself having lost her parents during the war, understands Ivan's hurt and anger against her people. Of course their path to romance is blocked not only by Ivan's selfish affair with Fay but also by Tamiko's brother Minya (played by great character actor John Fujioka). With his sister contracted into an arranged marriage with a Japanese of nobility, Minya forbids Tamiko to even be seen in public with Ivan. Nevertheless, the attraction is too strong and not even the rigidness of racism and social barriers can keep them apart.

While made in the melodramatic style of early 1960s Hollywood films such as The Best of Everything and Peyton Place, A Girl Named Tamiko manages to be a touching, honest and romantic journey into cultural differences, prejudices and intolerance. The performances by the two leads Nuyen and Harvey are both engaging and believable. Neither attempts to force an emotional response, rather they allow their budding romance to blossom into a simmer leaving only the censors to keep it from boiling over into something more "steamier."

The film was directed by John Sturges whose string of action-Western hits (The Magnificent Seven, Bad Day at Black Rock and Gunfight at the O.K. Corral), kind of made him the James Cameron of his time. Unfortunately, A Girl Named Tamiko was not a box office success when it was released. However, in watching this film, this doesn't appear to be the result of Sturges inability to handle softer material. In fact I feel it's just the opposite. Sturges effectively balances the sensitivities and delicacies of this "controversial" material without wimping out when it came to showcasing the prejudices of both Asian and Western cultures towards one another. His actors seem relaxed and at ease with the material, which is reflected in the steady, yet understated performances.

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