Film is due out in January

Vet helmer and fest fave Yoji Yamada will begin his 81st film, “Younger Brother” (Otouto), in January.

After four period pics, including “The Twilight Samurai,” which nabbed a 2003 foreign language Oscar nomination, “Otouto” will be Yamada’s first contemporary drama in 10 years. It was co-scripted with Emiko Hiramatsu.

The pic is produced by Hiroshi Fukasawa and Kenichi Tamura for Japanese major Shochiku, which also will handle its local release and international sales.

“Younger Brother” stars comic Tsurube Shofukutei as the ne’er-do well younger brother of a more conventional woman, played by Japanese screen icon Sayuri Yoshinaga. Both appeared in Yamada’s most recent pic, the WWII home front drama “Kabei — Our Mother,” which like Yamada’s “Hidden Blade” and “Twilight Samurai” screened in competition in Berlin.

Pic also stars younger thesps Yu Aoi (“Hula Girls”) and Ryo Kase (“Letters From Iwo-Jima”).

Yamada is best known in Japan for his 48 pics — a Guinness Book record — about Tora-san, a wandering peddler who is forever falling in love but never gets the girl.

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