Photo/IllutrationA scene from “Tokkan Kozo” (A Straightforward Boy) by Yasujiro Ozu (Provided by the Toy Film Museum)

KYOTO--A nearly complete short version of a prewar movie shot by acclaimed director Yasujiro Ozu (1903-1963) has been discovered, a rare treasure from the Japanese silent film era.

The film, a comedy titled “Tokkan Kozo” (A Straightforward Boy), is a short version of the 38-minute original that was released in 1929. The whereabouts of the theatrical version remains unknown.

Another 14-minute film of the shorter version was discovered by film critic Sadao Yamane in 1988, but the opening scene and other clips were missing.

The recent find is in good condition, Yamane said.

“Most of the movies shot before World War II have been lost, but one was just rediscovered today,” he said.

The nearly complete version of “Tokkan Kozo” was among a number of films donated to the Toy Film Museum in Kyoto’s Nakagyo Ward by the family of a deceased cinema fan from Kyushu.

Yoneo Ota, representative of the museum and professor of the history of Japanese cinema at the Osaka University of Arts, announced the find at a news conference on Sept. 6.

He said the film is considered almost complete with the title cut, intertitles and a scene in which children play "janken" (rock-paper-scissors).

"Tokkan Kozo" will be screened at the Kyoto International Film and Art Festival, which opens Oct. 13.

“We would like many people to watch the movie after we finish the restoration,” Ota said.

The film revolves around a man who abducts a boy, but abandons him after he proves too mischievous to handle. It is the 12th film that Ozu directed with the Shochiku Co. movie studio.

Ozu is considered one of the world’s top directors, with influential film classics that include “Late Spring” (1949), “Tokyo Story” (1953) and “An Autumn Afternoon” (1962).

“Tokkan Kozo” features Tomio Aoki, a distinguished child actor who went on to star in Ozu’s 1932 silent classic “Umarete wa Mitakeredo” (I Was Born, But ...).