Otoko wa tsurai yo ("It's tough being a man") is a Japanese film series starring Kiyoshi Atsumi as "Tora-san", a kind-hearted vagabond who is always unlucky in love. Spanning 48 installments (1969–95), it was considered by the Guinness Book of World Records to be the longest movie series in the world, although it was recently replaced by the Huang Fei-Hong series. All of the films (except episodes 3 and 4) were directed by Yoji Yamada, who also wrote all the screenplays.
Each film featured a different leading lady, called a Madonna, and a different region of Japan. (There were also episodes that featured scenes in Arizona and Vienna.) Two films were usually made each year, one for summer and one for New Year release.
All of the Tora-san movies had the same basic plot. Tora-san, a traveling salesman whose sole possessions include only the contents of a small suitcase, the clothes on his back and some pocket money, wanders from town to town peddling his wares. He yearns to return to his home in Shibamata, Katsushika, Tokyo. His sole surviving family members include Sakura (his kind-hearted half-sister), Hiroshi (Sakura's husband), Mitsuo (his nephew), Tatsuzou (his uncle) and Tsune (his aunt). Tatsuzo and Tsune run a traditonal sweet "Dango" shop in Shimabata.
Tora-san unexpectedly drops in on his family. While the family is glad to see him, Tora-san's stay eventually causes some kind of ruckus and usually a violent family argument ensues. He then storms off with his belongings just as suddenly as he arrived.
He arrives in some remote town planning to peddle his wares to the locals. There, he meets the "Madonna" - a local "damsel in distress". He tells her that if she is ever in Tokyo and needs help, she can look him up at his family's dango shop. The Madonna takes Tora up on his offer, visiting Tokyo. Tora usually ends up arriving back home to Shimabata soon after. Tora's family are usually weary at this because they can foresee the same outcome from past visits...
Sure enough, Tora falls "head over heels" in love with her. However, in his shy efforts to win the Madonna's heart, he usually ends up inadvertently helping bring her together with an old flame or another man. Tora-san invariably ends up heartbroken by the end of the movie. Tora-san puts on a brave face and he wanders off again on his journey to heal his lonely, broken heart.