This fascinating Japanese drama takes an objective look at the relationship between American GIs and deserters in Japan during the Vietnam war. Many of the men went on leave to Tokyo. Some did not want to return and ended up sheltered by Japanese “host families” who would conceal them for a night. The story centers on the different experiences of an exhausted deserter, and a gung-ho soldier. Meanwhile, the Japanese “Deserter’s Aid Committee” holds audiences with would-be dodgers.
Tag Archives: japanese
Ukigumo / Floating Clouds (1955) Mikio Naruse, Hideko Takamine, Masayuki Mori, Mariko Okada, Drama, Romance
Naomi Kawase collaborates with Shinya Arimoto, a Taiyo award-winning photographer she knows from university, to create a photo album of Machiko Ono (who Kawase scouted for her previous feature film Moe no Suzaku) and Mika Mifune (daughter of famous actor Toshiro Mifune) with the idea to contrast these two aspiring actresses, Ono coming from the rural Nara and Mifune from Tokyo. Kawase documents the photo shooting and interviews Arimoto, Ono and Mifune as the work progresses, while the tension between her and Arimoto increases over disagreement on the direction of the project.
Mishima: A Life in Four Chapters (1985) Paul Schrader, Ken Ogata, Masayuki Shionoya, Hiroshi Mikami, Biography, Drama
A fictionalized account in four segments of the life of Japan’s celebrated twentieth-century author Yukio Mishima. Three of the segments parallel events in Mishima’s life with his novels (The Temple of the Golden Pavilion (Kinkaku-ji), Kyoko’s House, and Runaway Horses), while the fourth depicts 25 November 1970, “The Last Day”…
A solitary middle-aged station manager is haunted by troubling memories of his past when he learns the line his station is on will be decommissioned for lack of profitability. He is visited by a young woman, who mysteriously appears to cheer him up.
Jushichinin no Ninja / Seventeen Ninja (1963) Yasuto Hasegawa, Kôtarô Satomi, Jûshirô Konoe, Yuriko Mishima, Action
As the Shogun lays dying, seventeen Iga clan ninja are sent to infiltrate the impenetrable fortress where his youngest son is preparing to storm Edo Castle and name himself Shogun by force of arms. They are to either steal the documents that will eventually give him lawful claim to rulership, or they are to assassinate him. But even before they reach the castle walls, they find their every move countered by a ruthless ninja hunter in the employ of the would-be usurper (Konoe), who not only knows their every tactic but knows the exact make-up of their team thanks to his own spies within Edo Castle. As the Iga Ninja fall one by one, the mission’s success or complete failure–where failure will result in a bloody war of succession–comes to hinge on a single young and inexperienced ninja (Kotaro).
Rengô kantai shirei chôkan: Yamamoto Isoroku / Admiral Yamamoto (1968) Seiji Maruyama, Toshirô Mifune, Yûzô Kayama, Yôko Tsukasa, Drama, War
As Japan joins in a political pact with Nazi Germany and fascist Italy, Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto is appointed supreme commander of the Japanese fleet. With Japan headed inexorably toward war, Yamamoto, despite his misgivings, believes the only possible victory lies in destroying the American fleet by surprise at Pearl Harbor. The attack succeeds, but fails to sink the American carrier fleet. Thus Yamamoto must lead the Japanese navy into war with ever-diminishing likelihood of success.
Onna shikeishû no datsugoku / Death Row Woman (1960) Nobuo Nakagawa, Miyuki Takakura, Tatsuo Terashima, Yôichi Numata, Thriller
Noruwei no mori / Norwegian Wood (2010) Tran Anh Hung, Ken’ichi Matsuyama, Rinko Kikuchi, Kiko Mizuhara, Drama, Romance
Set in the 1960’s, high school student Toru Watanabe (Kenichi Matsuyama) loses his only friend Kizuki (Kengo Kora) after he commits suicide. Toru, now looking for a new life, enters a university in Tokyo. By chance, Toru meets Kizuki’s ex-girlfriend Naoko (Rinko Kikuchi) in the university. They grow close because they both share the same loss. As Toru and Naoko grow even closer, Naoko’s sense of loss also grows. After Naoko’s 20th birthday, she leaves for a sanitarium in Kyoto. Watanabe, devastated by the situation, meets pure-hearted Midori (Kiko Mizuhara) during the spring semester. Midori looks like a small animal that just came into the world …
Ginko’s younger brother Tetsuro, a failed comedian, is the oddball of the family. Embarrassing, loud and plain inappropriate at times causes Ginko to disown him. The two reunite when she discovers Tetsuro is terminally ill. Tetsuro’s impending death marks the beginning of love and toleration.