Japanese Films

A Filmography and Commentary, 1921–1989

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About the Book

Japanese culture as seen in film is a world of arranged marriages and loyalty beyond death, a world where suicide is an heroic act. Or a world where life’s sadness can be echoed in the falling petals of cherry blossoms. It is a world simultaneously exotic but also universal in appeal.
From Souls on the Road to Tampopo, this book is a film-by-film look at more than 80 of Japan’s best and most important movies. The entries, in chronological order, present the classics in many actors’ and directors’ careers and point out the hallmarks of their style while offering a history of the Japanese film industry. Japan’s unique characteristics and historical background, which may be unfamiliar to Western audiences, are also explained in the entries, thus adding to the reader’s enjoyment and understanding of these films.

About the Author(s)

Freelance writer Beverley Bare Buehrer taught history, philosophy and film classes at Kishwaukee College in Malta, Illinois until her retirement in 2010. A contributor to The Magill Cinema Annual for many years, she is the author of three books and lives in De Kalb, Illinois.

Bibliographic Details

Beverley Bare Buehrer
Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 344
Bibliographic Info: 71 photos, glossary, distributors, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2012 [1990]
pISBN: 978-0-7864-7379-3
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Souls on the Road (Minoru Murata, 1921)      1
A Page of Madness (Teinosuke Kinugasa, 1926)      2
Crossroads (Teinosuke Kinugasa, 1928)      4
I Was Born But… (Yasujiro Ozu, 1932)      5
Wife! Be Like a Rose! (Mikio Naruse, 1935)      6
Osaka Elegy (Kenji Mizoguchi, 1936)      8
Sisters of the Gion (Kenji Mizoguchi, 1936)      11
Humanity and Paper Balloons (Sadao Yamanaka, 1937)      14
Five Scouts (Tomotaka Tasaka, 1938)      16
The Earth (Tomu Uchida, 1939)      18
The Story of Tank Commander Nishizumi (Kimisaburo Yoshimura, 1940)      19
The Loyal 47 Ronin, Parts I and II (Kenji Mizoguchi, 1941-1942)      22
Horse (Kajiro Yarnamoto, 1941)      26
Sanshiro Sugata (Akira Kurosawa, 1943)      29
The Men Who Tread on the Tiger’s Tail (Akira Kurosawa, 1945)      33
Drunken Angel (Akira Kurosawa, 1948)      36
Late Spring (Yasujiro Ozu, 1949)      39
Rashomon (Akira Kurosawa, 1950)      43
EarlySummer(YasujiroOzu,1951)      47
Repast (Mikio Naruse, 1951)      50
Vacuum Zone (Satsuo Yarnarnoto, 1952)      52
Ikiru (Akira Kurosawa, 1952)      55
The Life of Oharu (Kenji Mizoguchi, 1952)      59
Mother (Mikio Naruse, 1952)      62
A Japanese Tragedy (Keisuke Kinoshita, 1953)      65
The Crab-Canning Ship (So Yamamura, 1953)      68
Where Chimneys Are Seen (Heinosuke Gosho, 1953)      69
Ugetsu (Kenji Mizoguchi, 1953)      72
Gate of Hell (Teinosuke Kinugasa, 1953)      76
Tokyo Story (Yasujiro Ozu, 1953)      78
Wild Geese (Shiro Toyoda, 1953)      81
Sansho the Bailiff (Kenji Mizoguchi, 1954)      84
Seven Samurai (Akira Kurosawa, 1954)      88
A Story from Chikamatsu (Kenji Mizoguchi, 1954)      91
Twenty-Four Eyes (Keisuke Kinoshita, 1954)      95
Godzilla: King of the Monsters (Inoshiro Honda, 1954)      98
Samurai (Trilogy) (Hiroshi Inagaki, 1954-1955)      103
Floating Clouds (Mikio Naruse, 1955)      107
The Burmese Harp (Kon Ichikawa, 1956)      110
Street of Shame (Kenji Mizoguchi, 1956)      114
Throne of Blood (Akira Kurosawa, 1957)      118
Snow Country (Shiro Toyoda, 1957)      120
The Ballad of Narayama (Keisuke Kinoshita, 1958)      124
The Hidden Fortress (Akira Kurosawa, 1958)      125
The Rickshaw Man (Hiroshi Inagaki, 1958)      129
Night Drum (Tadashi Imai, 1958)      132
Fires on the Plain (Kon Ichikawa, 1959)      134
Floating Weeds (Yasujiro Ozu, 1959)      138
The Human Condition (Trilogy) (Masaki Kobayashi, 1959-1961)      141
Odd Obsession (Kon Ichikawa, 1959)      147
Cruel Story of Youth (Nagisa Oshima, 1960)      151
When a Woman Ascends the Stairs (Mikio Naruse, 1960)      154
The Island (Kaneto Shindo, 1961)      157
Buddha (Kenji Misumi, 1961)      159
Happiness of Us Alone (Zenzo Matsuyama, 1961)      162
Yojimbo (Akira Kurosawa, 1961)      163
Sanjuro (Akira Kurosawa, 1962)      167
Harakiri (Masaki Kobayashi, 1962)      169
High and Low (Akira Kurosawa, 1963)      173
Kwaidan (Masaki Kobayashi, 1964)      177
Woman in the Dunes (Hiroshi Teshigahara, 1964)      181
Tokyo Olympiad (Kon Ichikawa, 1965)      184
Red Beard (Akira Kurosawa, 1965)      187
Death by Hanging (Nagisa Oshima, 1968)      191
Nanarni-The Inferno of First Love (Susumu Hani, 1968)      195
Goyokin (Hideo Gosha, 1969)      198
Boy (Nagisa Oshirna, 1969)      202
Double Suicide (Masahiro Shinoda, 1969)      206
Eros Plus Massacre (Yoshishige Yoshida, 1969)      210
Zatoichi Meets Yojimbo (Kihachi Okamoto, 1970)      212
Sandakan 8 (Kei Kumai, 1975)      217
In the Realm of the Senses (Nagisa Oshima, 1976)      222
Vengeance Is Mine (Shohei Imamura, 1979)      225
Foster Daddy, Tora! (Yoji Yamada, 1980)      229
Kagemusha (Akira Kurosawa, 1980)      231
Muddy River (Kohei Oguri, 1981)      236
The Ballad of Narayarna (Shohei Imarnura, 1982)      239
Merry Christmas, Mr. Lawrence (Nagisa Oshima, 1983)      243
The Family Game (Yoshimitsu Morita, 1983)      248
MacArthur’s Children (Masahiro Shinoda, 1984)      251
The Crazy Family (Sogo Ishii, 1984)      254
Ran (Akira Kurosawa, 1985)      257
Himatsuri (Mitsuo Yanagimachi, 1985)      263
Comic Magazine (Yojiro Takita, 1986)      267
To Sleep so as to Dream (Kaizo Hayashi, 1986)      270
Tarnpopo Uuzo Itami, 1987)      273

Chronology of Major Japanese Historic Periods      281
Directory of Video and Film Sources      283
Glossary      289
Select Bibliography      293
Index      323

Book Reviews & Awards

“film buffs wishing to expand their knowledge and appreciation of Japanese cinema will welcome this new handbook…Buehrer has made a unique contribution to film reference literature. Her commentaries provide valuable insight into Japanese culture and the celluloid world that reflects it”—Booklist; “written with an enthusiasm for the topic”—Choice; “a helpful reference…accurate, academic study”—Mangajin; “excellent”—ARBA; “enjoyable and full of insights”—Sightlines.