Based on a celebrated book by Kuniko Mukoda, this film directed by Yasuo Furuhata tells of a close friendship undone by love. Read More »
Tag Archives: Yasuo Furuhata
Told from the viewpoint of the father Morio (Yutaka Mizutani), “A Boy Called H” follows a young boy named Hajime Senoh, nicknamed “H”. Read More »
Ken Takakura stars in yet another bad-ass Prison film, in “Prison Boss”. Read More »
Upon the passing of the Sakanishi Clan’s boss, a fierce battle between his wife Hazuki and his disciple Terada breaks out. Read More »
A reformed gangster helps a former yakuza member. Read More »
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. Read More »
Shoguns Shadow (1989) Yasuo Furuhata, Ken Ogata, Norihito Arai, Toshihiro Asari, Action, Adventure, Drama
Iemitsu, Tokugawa Shogun III, hates his eldest son Takechiyo; all his love is given to his younger son Tokumatsu. Read More »
A thug is released after fifteen years in prison for the murder of a yakuza gang boss. Read More »
Nihon no fûikusaîchi / The Fixer (1979) Yasuo Furuhata, Shin Saburi, Masakazu Tamura, Kyôko Enami, Crime
A fixer controls political events from behind the scenes – the portrait of a political fixer and his machinations. Read More »
Nihon jokyo-den: makka na dokyo-bana / Brave Red Flower of the North (1970) Yasuo Furuhata, Sumiko Fuji, Ken Takakura, Shingo Yamashiro, Action, Crime
An exciting tale of action on the distant northern island of Hokkaido around the beginning of the 20th Century starring two of the biggest names in Yakuza film history, Fuji Junko and Takakura Ken. Since the death of death of her father, Yuki who has traveled from her home in the southernmost part of Japan must fight corrupt local officials seeking to fill her late father’s post. As her life is in danger a mysterious rifleman, played by Takakura Ken watches from the shadows. Can she finish the work her dear departed father started in an untamed land?
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Jigoku no okite ni asu wa nai / Glorious Fights (1966) Yasuo Furuhata, Ken Takakura, Rentarô Mikuni, Yukiyo Toake, Action
A young leader of the Yamazaki family of Nagasaki, Takida (Ken Takakura) is an A-bomb survivor. He fiercely battles violent elements in southern Japan without fear of consequences.
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Gorotsuki mushuku / Patience Has an End (1971) Yasuo Furuhata, Ken Takakura, Yoko Hayama, Mayumi Kajiwara, Action, Drama
Young coal miner Takeda leaves Kyushu in search of a better job in Tokyo, only to fall into the lucrative yet dangerous life of a yakuza.
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Retired yakuza gangster Shuji (Ken Takakura) moves back from Osaka to a remote coastal village to start a new life as a fisherman with his family, his arrival from the city coinciding with that of the beautiful bar hostess Keiko (Yuko Tanaka, who provided the voice of Lady Eboshi in Princess Mononoke). Keiko’s new bar, as its name Hotaru (‘firefly’) suggests is soon acting as a magnet for all the local fishermen, much to the chagrin of their wives. Not soon after the arrival of Keiko’s roguish lover Yajima (Kitano), also an ex-mobster, the locals are drawn into a host of collective vices including gambling and all-night drinking sessions. After a truly stand-out scene in which Yajima runs rampage through the village on a heroin-induced spree with a carving knife, he is run out of town by Shuji, but not before slashing Shuji’s shirt open during the fracas to reveal the tattoo of a woman’s face upon his back. With Shuji’s gangster past now revealed he finds himself ostracised by the local community and drawn towards the sympathetic character of the bar hostess with whom he shares a common past. When Yajima rears his ugly head one more time in order to borrow money from Keiko to pay off a debt to the yakuza, it is to Shuji that she turns for help, threatening to upset his domestic apple cart and pitch him back towards his old life.
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A very beautiful film. This is a Ken Takakura vehicle, and as such follows his formula. Takakura plays to type as the laconic brooder who suffers multiple tragedies with manly stoicism. While the variety of his film varied greatly, his films with director Yasuo Furuhata were always of the highest quality, and this is no exception. Takakura is a cop training to be a sharpshooter for the Olympic games, he divorces his wife and abandons his daughter when he discovers she’s had an affair. Later his coach is gunned down by a fleeing criminal. Years later Takakura returns to his snowy hometown and starts an affair with a middle-aged bar owner. The story is a bit thick, with a number of subplots, yet it is extrordinarily melancholic, as Takakura seems to regret everything he’s done in his life and is made over and over again to relive his mistakes. There is very little “action” as such, and no yakuzas of any kind; but beyond that this is one of the most lushly beautiful and emotional films you can see (if you can see it), with an excellent score by Ryudo Uzaki.
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