Tag Archives: japanese

Tsuki wa noborinu / The Moon Has Risen (1955) Kinuyo Tanaka, Chishû Ryû, Hisako Yamane, Yôko Sugi, Comedy, Drama, Romance

Tsuki wa noborinu (Kinuyo Tanaka, 1955)
Mokichi is the widowed father of three daughters, with whom he lives on the premises of a temple since the war. In the film all three daughters become involved in some sort of complicated relationships. The sisters and their attached Men are deliberately designed as allegorical figures on the changing social conditions. A wonderfully funny, sometimes droll comedy between Nara and Tokyo, Adagio and Allegro, Yesterday and Today – in search of a morning.

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Gokudô sengokushi: Fudô / Fudoh: The New Generation (1996) Takashi Miike, Shôsuke Tanihara, Miho Nomoto, Tamaki Kenmochi, Action, Comedy, Crime

Gokudo sengokushi Fudo (1996)
Set on the island of Kyushu, it tells the story of successful high school student Riki Fudoh, who leads a double life in organized crime. With his gang of underage assassins (forerunners of the kiddie killers in Dead or Alive 2 (2000), including five-year-olds with hand guns and a teenage stripper shooting deadly darts from her vagina) he not only controls the goings-on at his school, but aspires to take over criminal affairs on the entire island. Fudoh’s true motivations are not just a lust for power. An extensive flashback at the film’s opening shows how as a child he witnessed the grisly murder of his older brother at the hands of his yakuza boss father and his subsequent wish for revenge. Buckets of blood flow (literally) when Riki and the kids start an assassination campaign against the top figures of the local yakuza, with his father as the ultimate goal. The underworld goes into a state of panic and calls in mysterious and powerful problem solver Nohma.

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Initiation of the Two-Sword Style / Nitôryû kaigen (1943) Daisuke Itô, Jun Fujikawa, Sannosuke Fujikawa, Kensaku Hara, Action

Initiation of the Two-Sword Style (1943)
From the deepest archives of Japanese film history comes this superbly restored edition of one of the epic adventures of Miyamoto Musashi, the greatest swordsman in all the land. Known primarily as the first to use both of his swords together, we learn here how he came to devise the Niten-ryu or Two Heavens As One style. Not only must he face the powerful martial art priests of Hongo-In Temple, Musashi crosses paths with Old Baiken, the deadly master of Chain & Sickle. For this classic work to have survived the destruction of Japanese samurai films during the occupation is nothing short of a miracle.

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The River with No Bridge / Hashi no nai Kawa (1992) Yôichi Higashi, Naoko Ôtani, Tamao Nakamura, Tetta Sugimoto, Drama

The River with No Bridge (1992)
Though ethnically and culturally identical to the average Japanese, the burakumin have been an underclass in Japanese society since the 17th century when the shogunate government codified social hierarchies. The burakumin were the class on the bottom rung. They were herded into separate villages, and forced to work in such lowly vocations as slaughtering animals and tanning hides. In 1922, Zenkoku Suiheisha (National Levelers Association) organized and started fighting for burakumin civil rights. Though these rigid categories may have blurred since the 1600s, and despite the Zenkoku’s modern successors – the Buraku Liberation League – the stigma of being a burakumin still remains today. In celebration of the 70th anniversary of the struggle, director Yoichi Higashi spins this tale about two boys who endure a daily torrent of prejudice for their lowly lineage, but grow up to fight for their rights.

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