Japanese studio Shochiku has announced details of veteran director Yoji Yamada's 81st film, Otouto.

The family drama will begin shooting in January 2009 at Kinuta Studios in Tokyo.

Otouto (Younger Brother) will star Sayuri Yoshinaga and Tsurube Shofukutei. Shofukutei will play the wayward younger brother of Yoshinaga, who cares for him despite his foolish behaviour.

When they reunite after a serious falling out, she finds out her brother is fighting a terminal disease.

Otouto will also star Hula Girls actress Yu Aoi as Yoshinaga's only daughter and Letters From Iwo Jima star Ryo Kase as her love interest.

'Family ties are inseparable. The unreasonable, yet loving, and sometimes sad relationship of a family and siblings will be depicted through heartfelt laughter in this film,' commented Yamada.

The original screenplay for Otouto was written by Yoji Yamada and regular collaborator Emiko Hiramitsu, who also penned Yamada's two most recent releases Love And Honor and Kabei - Our Mother.

It pays homage to Kon Ichikawa's 1960 film of the same name but is not a remake. Hiroshi Fukasawa and Kenichi Tamura will produce.

Famed actress Yoshinaga and Shofukutei also starred in Yamada's Kabei - Our Mother. Released in January of this year, the film became a hit for Shochiku, grossing $21.56m (Y1.95b). It also screened in competition at the Berlin film festival.

Yamada is considered one of Japan's most respected directors and is best known for the Tora-san series and his recent samurai trilogy, which includes the Oscar-nominated The Twilight Samurai and Love And Honour.

The latter grossed $45.43m (Y4.11b) band swept the Japan Academy Awards.

The American remake of Yamada's The Yellow Handkerchief, starring William Hurt, screened at festivals this year including Sundance and Deauville.

Shochiku plans to release Otouto in early 2010.