Tag Archives: Yasuo Furuhata

Nihon jokyo-den: makka na dokyo-bana / Brave Red Flower of the North (1970) Yasuo Furuhata, Sumiko Fuji, Ken Takakura, Shingo Yamashiro, Action, Crime

nihon-jokyo-den-makka-na-dokyo-bana-aka-brave-red-flower-of-the-north-1970
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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A un / Buddies (1989) Yasuo Furuhata, Ken Takakura, Eiji Bandô, Sumiko Fuji, Yasuko Tomita, Drama, Romance

Buddies (1989)
Based on a celebrated book by Kuniko Mukoda, this film directed by Yasuo Furuhata tells of a close friendship undone by love. The title of the film, A Un, is a Japanese expression meaning an utter understanding between friends and lovers, and old army pals Kadokura (played by Japanese film icon Ken Takakura) and Miyata (Eiji Bando) certainly fit the bill. Kadokura is the owner of a small business where Miyata works. Kadokura is also in love – though quite platonically – with Miyata’s wife Tami (Sumiko Fuji).
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Yasha / Demon (1985) Yasuo Furuhata, Ken Takakura, Ayumi Ishida, Hisamitsu Nakamura, Drama, Crime

Yasha (1985)
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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Station / Eki (1981) Yasuo Furuhata, Ken Takakura, Chieko Baishô, Ayumi Ishida, Drama

Station (1981)
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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