The Teahouse of the August Moon

Synopsis: This comedy-drama is partially a gentle satire on America's drive to change the world in the post-war years. One year after World War II, Captain Fisby is sent to the village of Tobiki in Okinawa to teach the people democracy. The first step is to build a school -- but the wily Okinawans know what they really want. They tell him about their culture and traditions -- and persuade him to build something they really want instead: a teahouse. Fisby has a hard time breaking this news to his superiors.
Genre: Comedy
Director(s): Daniel Mann
Production: MGM
  Nominated for 6 Golden Globes. Another 3 nominations.
Rotten Tomatoes:
123 min


Most generous gift

from American sergeant.

Lovely ladies, kind gentlemen,

pleased to introduce myself.

Sakini by name,

interpreter by profession.

Education by the ancient dictionary.

Okinawan by whim of gods.

History of Okinawa reveal

distinguished record of conquerors.

We have honor to be subjugated

in 14th century by Chinese pirates.

In 16th century, by English missionary.

In 18th century, by Japanese warlords.

And in 20th century,

by American Marine.

Okinawa very fortunate.

Culture brought to us.

Not have to leave home for it.

And we learn many thing.

Most important, that rest of world

not like Okinawa.

World filled with delightful variation.


In Okinawa, no locks on doors.

Bad manners not to trust neighbors.

In America, lock and key big industry.

Bad manners, good business.

Another example:

In Okinawa, wash self in public bath

with nude lady quite proper...

...but a picture of nude lady

in private home quite improper.

In America, statue of nude lady in park

win prize...

...but nude lady in flesh in park

win a penalty.


Pornography, question of geography.

But Okinawa most eager

to be educated by conquerors.

Not easy to learn.

Sometimes very painful.

But pain make man think.

Thought make man wise.

And wisdom make life endurable.

So now...

Now we going to tell you little story

to demonstrate splendid example...

...of benevolent assimilation of democracy

by Okinawa.

Boss by name of Colonel Purdy III.

Number three after name indicate

he is son of a son of a son.

Colonel Purdy put up many sign.

This exceedingly civilized.

Make it very easy for uncivilized

to know what not to do.

Here laundry of officer...

...not to fraternize with laundry

of enlisted man.

This gentleman,

honorable Sergeant Gregovich...

...assistant to Colonel Purdy,

but not a son of a son of son.

You know what he's doing? Explanation:

Colonel Purdy great student of history.

So every month, wife of Colonel Purdy...

...send him magazine

called Adventure Magazine.

Cover have picture of pirate

with a black patch over eye.

Everyone try to steal magazine.

So colonel hide under desk

so he can read first...

...but the sergeant always find.

He's a smart mouse.

This gentleman,

exalted boss Colonel Purdy III.

Colonel very wise man.

Every morning look up at the sky

and make a prophecy.

It's not gonna rain today.

And you know what? Not... Not rain.

Of course it not rain this time of year

in whole history of Okinawa...

...but the colonel not make mistake.

Army teach colonel French

for invasion of Europe...

...then send to Okinawa instead.

One, two, three, four, five, six, seven.

Where's my 8th pair of shorts?

Now colonel gonna yell loud for Sakini.

So I hide. I pretend

to be asleep here. So...


Sakini? Sakini?



- Sakini.

- Oh, good morning, boss.

You sure surprised me, boss.

I want you to tell me why my laundry comes

back every week with one piece missing.

- Gets lost, boss.

- I know it gets lost.

What I wanna find out

is how it gets lost.

Oh, very simple, boss.

Family take laundry

to wash in the stream...

...and while friends exchange greetings,

laundry exchange places.

We run down hill fast as dickens

to catch laundry, boss.

- Well?

- Not run fast enough.

No wonder you people were subjugated

by the Japanese.

If you're not sleeping,

you're running away from work.

Where's your get-up-and-go?

Guess get-up-and-go went, boss.

Well, get up and go down to the officers'

quarters and see if Captain Fisby's arrived.

If he has, tell him to report to me

at once. Hurry.

- Sakini.

- Yes, boss?

You are a civilian employee in the pay

of the United States Army...

...and should dress accordingly.

- Yeah.

Pull your socks up.

Very sorry, boss. Very sorry.

- Socks up. Anything more, boss?

- That'll be all.

Is that as fast as you can walk?

No, no, boss, but to walk any faster,

socks fall down.

- Good morning, sir.

- At ease.

I'm gonna get rid of that interpreter.

He doesn't set a good example.

Colonel, sir, we gotta have someone around

who speaks the language.

You're quite right, sergeant, quite right.

It isn't often I make a mistake.

When I do...

- It's a beaut?

- I wasn't going to say that.

- I was gonna say, "By George, I admit it."

- I'm sorry, sir.

Now, we've got a new officer

reporting this morning.

He's been transferred to us

from Psychological Warfare.

I don't suppose you happen to know

who they are.

Aren't they something at the rear

of the rear echelon?

They're just the cream

of the Army's geniuses.

They're just the brains

behind the fighting heart.

Every man Jack of them has a mind

like a steel trap.

We're lucky to be getting

one of their officers.

- I'll watch my step, sir.

- While we're waiting for Captain Fisby...

...I'd like you to make a note

of new signs I want.

The painter hasn't finished the ones

you ordered yesterday, sir.

There's only one answer to that:

Put on another sign painter.

Yes, sir.

Now, I noticed the men were dancing with

each other in the canteen the other night.

Yes, sir. "No dancing allowed."

I didn't say that, Gregovich.

I don't object to the men dancing.

I want them to enjoy themselves. It doesn't

set a good example for the natives... see noncoms

dancing with enlisted men.

Rate this script:4.0 / 1 vote

John Patrick

John Patrick was an American playwright and screenwriter. more…

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Submitted on August 05, 2018

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