Tag Archives: japanese

Sanka (1972) Kaneto Shindô, Nobuko Otowa, Tokuko Watanabe, Jiro Kawarazaki, Drama

Sanka (Kaneto Shindo, 1972)
The story tells of the adoration of Sasuke for his mistress, the blind samisen-teacher Shunkin, who treats him imperiously and subjects him to cruel beatings. After an unknown intruder probably one of her pupils, who seeks revenge for her cruel behaviour, pours boiling water on the sleeping Shunkin’s face, Sasuke blinds himself in order not to behold her disfigurement. Sasuke’s sacrifice, made in response to Shunkin’s tacit wish, seals their life-long relationship.

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Daigo Fukuryu-Maru / Lucky Dragon No. 5 (1959) Kaneto Shindô, Jûkichi Uno, Nobuko Otowa, Harold Conway, Drama

Daigo Fukuryu-Maru (Kaneto Shindo, 1959)
An ageing fishing boat, Dai-go Fukuryu Maru (“Lucky Dragon No. 5”) sets out from the port of Yaizu in Shizuoka Prefecture. It travels around the Pacific line fishing. While the ship is near Bikini Atoll, the ship’s navigator sees a flash. All the crew come up to watch. They realize it is an atomic explosion, but take time to clear their fishing gear. A short time later, grey ash starts to fall on the ship. When the ship returns to port the sailors have been burned brown. They unload the fish, which are then transported away. They visit the local doctor and then go to Tokyo for an examination. It turns out they are all highly radioactive. Their symptoms become worse, and the contaminated fish causes a panic.

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Shiawase no kiiroi hankachi / The Yellow Handkerchief (1977) Yôji Yamada, Ken Takakura, Chieko Baishô, Kaori Momoi, Comedy, Drama

Shiawase no kiiroi hankachi (Yoji Yamada, 1977)
The story starts with Kinya, who has recently upgraded his car. He’s a young adult and he’s single so naturally he uses his ride to ahem, look for companions. He offers a ride to a shy girl by the name of Akemi and she reluctantly accepts. From the get go, sexual tension is apparent, but things get a bit easier as the two become acquainted. They pick up Yusaku, a 30-something coal miner with a reserved personality. The story slowly begins to shift from the comedic hijinks of Kinya and Akemi to Yusaku’s mental drama. He’s hiding something about his past, which he either wants to forget or is trying to remember.

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Kujira gami / The Whale God (1962) Tokuzô Tanaka, Kyôko Enami, Shiho Fujimura, Kôji Fujiyama, Drama, Fantasy

Kujira gami AKA The Whale God (1962)
Based on the award-winning story of the same title by Uno Koichiro. A demon whale is killing the fishermen of a small village year after year. The townspeople become obsessed with killing the whale, and the town’s wealthiest man offers his land, position and only daughter to the man who can kill the beast. A stranger, Kishu, steps forward and declares that he will kill the whale. A brute, he frightens the crowd. Another fisherman, Shaki, wants to kill the whale to avenge the deaths of his father and grandfather. Shaki is the popular leader of the local men.

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Robô no ishi / The Wayside Pebble (1964) Miyoji Ieki, Chikage Awashima, Shûichi Ikeda, Katsuo Nakamura, Drama

Robo no Ishi AKA The Wayside Pebble (1964)
The Wayside Pebble is an effective drama about the hardships of a childhood spent with a brusque, cold-hearted father and a submissive mother. The year is 1910 and the place is a small Japanese village. Goichi is suffering because he wants to go to school, but his family is too poor to afford that luxury. Even when a kind friend agrees to help out, Goichi’s father refuses to give in to his son’s request for an education. Instead, he sends Goichi off to work as an indentured servant for a cold-hearted merchant and his family. As tragedy strikes and the suffering of the young boy increases, he begins to look for some way out of his bleak situation.

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Bangiku / Late Chrysanthemums (1954) Mikio Naruse, Haruko Sugimura, Ken Uehara, Sadako Sawamura, Drama

Bangiku (1954)
What is the life of a Geisha like once her beauty has faded and she has retired? Kin has saved her money, and has become a wealthy money-lender, spending her days cold-heartedly collecting debts. Even her best friends, Tomi, Nobu, and Tamae, who were her fellow Geisha, are now indebted to her. For all of them, the glamor of their young lives has passed; Tomi and Tamae have children, but their children have disappointed them. Kin has two former lovers who still pursue her; one she wants to see, and the other she doesn’t. But even the one she remembers fondly, when he shows up, proves to be a disappointment.

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