Japan's Shochiku has sold remake rights for The Yellow Handkerchief, a well-remembered 1977 hit by Yoji Yamada, to veteran producer Arthur Cohn (Behind the Sun, Central Station).

Cohn intends to start filming next year, for release in 2005. Cast and crew have yet to be announced.

Based on a story by American writer Pete Hamill, The Yellow Handkerchief stars Ken Takakura as an ex-convict trying to start a new life on Hokkaido, Japan's northernmost main island. Released in 1977 the film was one of the year's biggest domestic hits and reeled in numerous awards.

Shochiku has been in talks with Hollywood about a remake for years, with Kevin Costner once tagged for the Takakura role.

Yojo Yamada, best known in Japan for the 48-installement Tora-san comedy series, also had a critically well-regarded hit last year with The Twilight Samurai.