In International Gangs of Kobe the opposite occurs; it’s Sugawara’s presence that brings out Takakura’s ruthless side. Although the two start off as allied gang members, Kobe proves too small a town for the giants of yakuza cinema. The gang splits into rival factions and Takakura and Sugawara settle their differences with violence. Tons of action and a notable cast make the unexceptional International Gangs of Kobe a load of silly yakuza fun.
Tag Archives: japanese
Yuki Yukite shingun / The Emperor’s Naked Army Marches On (1987) Kazuo Hara, Kenzo Okuzaki, Riichi Aikawa, Masaichi Hamaguchi, Documentary, War
The Emperor’s Naked Army Marches On is a brilliant exploration of memory and war guilt, a subject often ignored in modern Japan. In this controversial documentary, Kazuo Hara follows Kenzo Okuzaki in his real-life struggle against Emperor Hirohito. He proudly declares that he shot BBs at the Royal Palace, distributed pornographic images of the Emperor, and once killed a man for the sake of his strange crusade. As the film progresses, Okuzaki reveals a gruesome mystery: why were some Japanese officers killing their own soldiers during WWII? What happened to their bodies? Okuzaki begs, cajoles, and occasionally beats the story out of elderly veterans. When these old men do break down and talk, their testimonies are some of the most chilling, riveting descriptions of wartime desperation ever committed to film. In his desire to unearth these horrors, Okuzaki’s behavior grows increasingly extreme and bizarre. By the film’s end, Hara seems to ask whether the terrible nature of this buried incident is worth the violence of Okuzaki’s methods.
The story takes place during the end of the Pacific War and the aftermath period and it focuses on Mizoguchi, who is the son of a Buddhist Priest. When his father dies, he’s sent to the Temple of the Golden Pavilion in Kyoto. Mizoguchi is physically unattractive and becomes, in some way, jealous of the beautiful Temple that he loves so much.
Onna shinnyû-shain: 5-ji kara 9-ji made / Horny Working Girl: From 5 to 9 (1982) Katsuhiko Fujii, Junko Asahina, Nami Misaki, Yuki Yoshizawa, Comedy, Erotic
Beautiful young Chieko is hired as assistant manager at the office of a large corporation. Her boss is an oversexed married man whose advances and behavior make her uncomfortable. When she finds out from the other girls in the office that they have had the same problem with him, they get together and come up with a special plan to get their revenge.
Kairyu daikessen / Battle Of The Dragons (1966) Tetsuya Yamanouchi, Hiroki Matsukata, Tomoko Ogawa, Ryûtarô Ôtomo, Fantasy
In ancient Japan, a good lord is killed and his throne is taken by the trecherous Yuki Daijo and his wizard friend Oroki-maru. The young prince Ikazuki-maru is rescued from the jaws of death by a magic bird sent by a wizard. Ten years later, Ikazuki-maru embarks on an adventure to avenge his parents and the wizard’s death with his magic powers he learned from the wizard. He kills Yuki Daijo but then must battle Oroki-maru in a battle to the death.
A Cheerful Gang Turns the Earth / Yôki na gyangu ga chikyû o mawasu (2006) Tetsu Maeda, Takao Ohsawa, Kyôka Suzuki, Shôta Matsuda, Comedy, Crime
Four strangers (a verbose romantic, a human lie detector, an expert pickpocket, and a woman with a preternaturally precise sense of time) are brought together by chance when they inadvertently team up to thwart a bank robbery. Recognizing the potential of their combined talents, they decide to form a bank-robbing gang themselves, just for the fun and romance of it. Their heists are played out swiftly and coolly, less like robberies than performance art. Eventually, the foursome’s good-natured crime streak is interrupted when a man from one of their pasts creates a whirlwind of extortion and double crossing.
Nishijin Shinju / Double Suicide at Nishijin (1977) Yoichi Takabayashi, Yoshie Shimamura, Yoshio Tsuchiya, Goichi Yamada, Drama
Yumi, an exceptionally beautiful call girl, has a close call with death when a client forces her to die with him. An old cop pities her and agrees to be her guarantor so that she could join a Nishijin weaver workshop. Yumi wishes to put her dark past behind her, but she’s exposed by an ex-client. Despite the unwavered support of the old cop, she sees no way out and uses her seductive body again to get what she wants. Hiroyuki, her co-worker at the weaver workshop, is a pure-hearted young man who may redeem Yumi from her deadly path as a femme fatale.
Akibiyori / Late Autumn (1960) Yasujirô Ozu, Setsuko Hara, Yôko Tsukasa, Mariko Okada, Comedy, Drama
Family and friends of the late Shuzo Miwa have gathered for his annual memorial service, this one marking the seventh anniversary of his passing. Three of his long time friends – married Shuzo Taguchi, married Soichi Mamiya, and widowed Seiichiro Hirayama – have long known and admitted to each other that they have always been attracted to his widow, Akiko Miwa, who they believe has gotten even more beautiful as she has matured. The three friends take it upon themselves to find a husband for the Miwa’s now twenty-four year old daughter, Ayako Miwa, who they believe as beautiful as her mother, and who, as a pure innocent, deserves a good husband. Their self-appointed task is despite them knowing that Ayako does not want them to do so. She doesn’t want to get married, at least not yet, as she struggles with her traditional sensibilities in post-war modern Japan. Her first priority as she sees it is to take care of her widowed mother, who would be alone if she were to get married.
Kamome-yo, kirameku umi o mitaka/meguri ai / Oh Seagull, Have You Seen the Sparkling Ocean? : An Encounter (1975) Kenji Yoshida, Ken Tanaka, Yôko Takahashi, Akemi Negishi, Drama
Fujishita Kumi is an ordinary office lady. Longing to escape her poor fishing village for a life in the city, she came to Tokyo. One day while alone in the office, she’s spotted rolling up her pantyhose by the window cleaner Kurata Katsuo. This was to be their first encounter. Completely enchanted by Kumi, Katsuo does everything he can to get close to her. He’s is a man with a terrible past. With the death of his coal miner father, his family was broken up and he was forced to follow in his father’s footsteps laboring away in the mud. In spite of this, Katsuo still has dreams. He dreams of living in Resiporuko, a utopian fantasyland that exists only in his imagination.
Yatsuhaka-mura / Village of the Eight Tombs (1996) Kon Ichikawa, Etsushi Toyokawa, Yûko Asano, Yu Ji Chin Ye, Mystery
400 hundred years ago the inhabitants of the village of Yatsuhaka murdered 8 samurai rebels, whom they were actually helping to hide away, afraid of what the Shogunate would do to them. Before dying one the samurai puts a curse on the village. Strange things start to happen so the villagers decided to erect 8 graves for the murdered samurai to appease their anger. Then four hundred years later the head of Tajimi family and head of the village goes mad and starts killing almost everyone in the village. 25 years later his eldest son is poisoned. Kindaichi Yousuke detective is hired by the family’s lawyer as everyone in the village believes is the curse of the samurai again.