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Kenji Mizoguchi (May 16, 1898 – August 24, 1956) – & His Actresses

May 16th, 2016
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    Kenji Mizoguchi and actresses on the set of his film “Street of Shame (Akasen Chitai)
    Kenji Mizoguchi (溝口 健二 Mizoguchi Kenji, May 16, 1898 – August 24, 1956)

    10 Essential Films- Kenji Mizoguchi

    Some must-see titles from the long career of one of the great masters of Japanese cinema, famed for his exquisite travelling shots and fierce critiques of his country’s patriarchal inequality.

  • Based on an ancient legend, as recounted by celebrated author Mori Ōgai (in his short story of the same name, written in 1915), and adapted by Mizoguchi, Sanshō Dayū [Sanshō the Steward, aka Sanshō the Bailiff] is both distinctively Japanese and as deeply affecting as a Greek tragedy. Described in its opening title as “one of the oldest and most tragic in Japan’s history”, Mizoguchi depicts an unforgettably sad story of social injustice, family love, and personal sacrifice – all conveyed with exquisite tone and purity of emotion. Master of Cinema

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    Tanak Kinuyo as Oharu.. she was his muse.

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    with Michio Kogure..from Sisters of Gion.

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    Yamada Isuzu in Sisters of gion, (Mizoguchi)
    Osaka elegy, (Mizoguchi)

  • Okada as Judge
    from Water Magician/Taki no Shiraito’

    Water magician

    Donald Richie writes that this was the first of Mizoguchi’s “woman’s pictures.” By this, he is referring to the many movies that Mizoguchi made which featured female lead roles and heroines.

    Mori Ogai (previous post)

    Tatsumi Hijikata – Butoh Founder with Mishima, Hosoe, Tomatsu & Donald Richie

    March 9th, 2016
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    Kamaitachi #40 (Hijikata Tatsumi), 1965 by Eikoh Hosoe
    Tatsumi Hijikata His wiki shows a photo of Hijikata and Sada Abe (In the Realm of Senses by Nagisa Oshima was loosely based on Sada Abe)

    Hijikata undertook his first Ankoku Butoh performance, Kinjiki, in 1959, using a novel by Yukio Mishima as the raw input material for an abrupt, sexually-inflected act of choreographic violence which stunned its audience. At around that time, Hijikata met three figures who would be crucial collaborators for his future work: Yukio Mishima, Eikoh Hosoe, and Donald Richie In 1962,

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    Yukio Mishima and Hijikata in Barakei – 1961 photographed by Eiko Hosoe.

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    Title: Shinjuku Turmoil
    Hijikata posed for Shomei Tomatsu 1970 (master photographer)

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    Keiya Ouchida, Hosotan, film de 1972. Chorégraphie de Tatsumi Hijikata.
    Courtesy Cinémathèque de la danse © Collection Cinémathèque de la danse

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    Eiko Hosoe photographed Kauzo Ohno
    Kazuo Ohno – previous post

    Remembering Tsushima Yuko -A Novelist who inherited the talent of her father Dazai Osamu

    March 3rd, 2016
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    Photo by Mario Ambrosius

    Kojin Karatani Love and Empathy for the Oppressed Remembering Tsushima Yuko.

    It is not well known in Japan that Yūko Tsushima was a strong candidate for the Nobel Prize in Literature. She wrote a wide variety of works that were entirely worthy of the award, and she was active internationally. If only she had lived a little longer, she would probably have won. Also, I walked with her a number of times in demonstrations against nuclear power in front of the Diet. It is sad to think that I can’t do that any more.

    Asahi Shimbun, February 23, 2016

    (Translated by Geraldine Harcourt)

  • Kojin Kartani - and Natsume Soseki (previous post)

  • Tsushima Yuko (wiki) (30 March 1947 – 18 February 2016), known by her pen name Yūko Tsushima (津島 佑子 Tsushima Yūko), was a Japanese fiction writer, essayist and critic.[1] She was the daughter of famed novelist Osamu Dazai, who committed suicide when she was one year old

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    Takako Matsui and Tadanobu Asano

    Villon’s wife

    Wiki on Villon’s Wife

    Villon’s Wife is based on the 1947 semi-autographical short work of the same name Villon’s Wife by Dazai Osamu. The title was inspired by 15th century French poet Francois Villon.

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    Dazai Osamu

    Dazai Osamu (1909-1948) was born about halfway between Kawabata Yasunari (1899-1972) and Mishima Yukio (1925-1970) and Abe Kobo (1924-1993), and, in that generation following the Pacific War, when Japan was occupied by Americans, his celebrity came in between, too. Kawabata was an established writer while Mishima and Abe were building their early reputations (Mishima to establish his much younger), and Dazai was, for a time, the most distinguished writer in town–so an important 20th century Japanese novelist–making him Mishima’s early competition. And Mishima saw him as representing all that he most despised in post-war Japanese fiction, hated to be compared to him.

    Dazai Osamu(wiki)

    A number of his most popular works, such as Shayō and No longer human (Ningen Shikkaku), are considered modern-day classics in Japan. With a semi-autobiographical style and transparency into his personal life, Dazai’s stories have intrigued the minds of many readers. His books also bring about awareness to a number of important topics such as human nature, mental illness, social relationships, and postwar Japan.

    Yasujiro Ozu and Setsuko Hara

    December 12th, 2015
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    The End of Summer

    “It’s very easy to show emotions in drama: the actors cry or laugh and this conveys sad or happy feelings to the audience. But this is mere explanation. Can we really portray a man’s personality and dignity by appealing to emotions? I want to make people feel what life is like without delineating dramatic ups and downs.” –Yasujirō Ozu

  • See teapots from his films

    See Ozu paraphenelia from Brutus.. (his gourmet notebook is charming.. with maps to the restaurants)

  • Both Aki Kaurismaki and Hou Hsiao-Hsien called Ozu the mathematician.
    Aki on Ozu (youtube)

    Hou on Ozu (youtube)

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    Setsuko Hara – wiki (June 17, 1920 – September 5, 2015)

    Ozu was born on Dec 12, 1903.. he passed away on his birthday Dec 12 1963.

  • Donald Richie on Hara Setsuko

    We were deeply saddened to learn today of the passing of the great Setsuko Hara, star and soul of so many of the masterpiece creations of Yasujiro Ozu—among her many other memorable roles during the golden age of Japanese cinema. To pay tribute, we present again a beautiful piece on the legendary Ozu-Hara collaboration, by another great—Donald Richie

    In retrospect, the reason for her decision seems evident. Our Noriko, for so many years troubled by the demands of society on one hand and the needs of the self on the other, finally decided. She would do what she wanted. And she did. All attempts to lure her out over the years have been rebuffed. When a documentary was made on Ozu, she refused to appear, just as, when he died, she did not attend his funeral. Setsuko Hara was her own person at last.

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    New York times.

    “Like Garbo, Hara came to represent an ideal of womanliness, nobility and generosity,” David Thomson wrote in The New Biographical Dictionary of Film. And like Garbo, she held her public at a distance.

    “Every Japanese actor can play the role of a soldier, and every Japanese actress can play the role of a prostitute to some extent,” Ozu said of her. “However, it is rare to find an actress who can play the role of a daughter from a good family.”

    Ms. Hara, who never married and leaves no immediate family members, made more than 100 films. She worked with the director Mikio Naruse on several movies and with Ozu on “Early Summer” (1951), “Tokyo Twilight” (1957) and “Late Autumn” (1960).

    She teamed up with Mr. Kurosawa for a second time in 1951 in “The Idiot,” based on the Dostoyevsky novel. She was cast as the love interest of the title character and of a roguish aristocrat played by Toshiro Mifune. The film was not well received. Her last film before her retirement was Hiroshi Inagaki’s “Chushingura,” a retelling of the classic tale of the 47 ronin, a band of 18th-century samurai bent on avenging their slain leader. When she went into seclusion, Japanese filmgoers mourned. To them, Ms. Hara was more than an actress; she was, in some way, the soul of Japan itself. The novelist Shusaku Endo once wrote, of seeing a Hara film, “We would sigh or let out a great breath from the depths of our hearts, for what we felt was precisely this: Can it be possible that there is such a woman in this world?”

    Flamboyant & Wild – Akiyuki Nosaka, an Award Winning Novelist Dies

    December 11th, 2015
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    Akiyuki Nosaka dies at 85.

    After surviving the U.S. air raids on Kobe toward the end of World War II, Nosaka dealt with the war in many of his works.

    (He was against war.)

  • Punching Nagisa Oshima at the award ceremony..
    Nagisa Oshima (previous post)

  • The Pornographers – Akiyuki Nosaka

    There is a peculiar balancing act at work in any book where the main characters are essentially criminals. Nosaka gets away with it all by making Subuyan a figure of comedy who never completely twigs to how pathetic he really is.
    Nosaka is another example of a criminally undertranslated Japanese author. His best-known work in the West is not even his, per se, but the Studio Ghibli animated adaptation of his story Grave of the Fireflies.

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    Grave of the Fireflies

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    Shohei Imamura (previous post)

  • Shusaku Endo, The Author of “Silence” also wrote “Wonderful Fool”

    September 22nd, 2015
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    Shusaku Endo

    Photo by Mario A

    Shusaku Endo

    His books reflect many of his childhood experiences, including the stigma of being an outsider, the experience of being a foreigner, the life of a hospital patient, and the struggle with TB. However, his books mainly deal with the moral fabric of life. His Catholic faith can be seen at some level in all of his books and it is often a central feature. Most of his characters struggle with complex moral dilemmas, and their choices often produce mixed or tragic results. His work may often be compared to that of Graham Greene.

  • Silence 1endosilence Martin Scorsese and Shusaku Endo’s ‘Silence’

    Shusaku Endo – born on 27 March 1923 in Tokyo – moved with his family to Dailan in Manchuria while still very young. He stayed there until the age of 10 when his mother took him back to Japan after divorcing his father. After returning to Japan to live in Kobe with his mother and an aunt, those early years in Manchuria may have created in Endo a sense of alienation from mainstream Japanese culture that profoundly affected him. The defining moment of his life, however, was his baptism as a Catholic in 1934. His struggles to reconcile himself with a faith that was and still is very much a minority in Japan, his experiences as an outsider and with hospitalization for pleurisy and tuberculosis – all of these deeply impacted his sensibilities and thematic preoccupations as a novelist.

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    Tadanobu Asano replaced Ken Watanabe. He played the interpreter for the priests in “Silence”.

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    Sea and Poison
    Kei Kumai
    Wonderful Fool

    Shusaku Endo was an extremely funny man, a satirist who made a fortune presenting long-running humorous Japanese TV shows and was something of a household name.

    Japanese Photographer Kenro Izu – Echoes of Prayer & People

    April 2nd, 2015
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    Egypt 107, 1983
    Gelatin Silver print

    Echoes of Prayer and People

    More photos at Kenro Izu (homepage)

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    ETERNAL LIGHT

    EL 1#4, 2013
    Gelatin Silver Print

    Varanasi, India 2013. At the “House of Liberation” a free housing where people come to die near the holy river Ganges

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    WHERE PRAYER ECHOES
    India 8, 2008
    Platinum-Palladium printan

  • Kenro Izu wiki1akenro-izu-with-his-camera

    Kenro Izu (井津 建郎 Izu Kenrō?, born 1949) is a Japanese-born photographer based in the United States.[1]

    Izu attended Nihon University College of Art in Tokyo from 1969-1972. After moving to the United States in 1972, he spent two years working as a photo assistant in New York City and subsequently established his own studio, specializing in still life photography. Since 1979, in addition to his well established commercial work, Kenro began his serious professional commitment to his fine art photography, traveling the world to capture the sacred ancient stone monuments in their natural settings. He traveled and documented Egypt, Syria, Jordan, England, Scotland, Mexico, France and Easter Island (Chile).

    He has also focused on Buddhism and Hindu monuments in South East Asia: Cambodia, Burma, Indonesia, Vietnam and India. Through them, he captures profound beauty with natural states of decay. Izu founded Friends Without a Border, an organization devoted to raising funds for children’s hospitals in Cambodia. Profits from select prints sales and his book, Light Over Ancient Angkor, are donated to this cause. Izu is the recipient of the 2007 Lucie Awards’ Visionary Photographer award, and was published by En Foco’s photographic journal Nueva Luz.

  • Soseki Natsume – Kokoro

    February 9th, 2015
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    Film still from Kokoro.

    Kon Ichikawa directed Kokoro with Masayuki Mori (a prominent actor from Rashomon, Ugetsu Monogatari, Uki-Gumo, A Woman Ascends the Starirs)

    Kokoro means “Heart” in Japanese.

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    Michiyo Aratama from Kokoro

  • Natsume Soseki was born on February 9, 1867

    Politics, Philosophy, and Myth in
    Natsume Soseki’s First Trilogy

    The role of the literary artist in Japan ‘s long history is an honored one in large measure due to the power of language and literature to lift consciousness through imagination. Among Japan ‘s most gifted literary artists is Natsume Soseki (1867-1916), regarded by Nobel laureate Oe Kenzaburo as Japan ‘s “national writer”

    Kojin Karatani and Natsume Soseki Natsume Soseki (previous post)

  • Shuji Terayama – Labyrinth Tale, Tarot & Klaus Kinski

    December 9th, 2014
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    Klaus Kinski in Fruits of Passion directed by Terayama Shuji

  • Pencil Dracula Terayamay Shuji animation gif Shuji Terayama (previous post)

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    Arielle Dombasle – (married to Henri Bernard Levy) and Klaus Kinski in Fruits of Passion.

  • Tarot Deck Dark and Strange - Shuji Terayama <> <> Labyrinth Tale (See an amazing film)

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    Sayonara Takakura Ken – Legendary Japanese Actor Dead at 83

    November 17th, 2014
  • Takakura Ken Legendary Japanese Actor Dead at 83 (South China Morning Post)
    Obits:
    BBC

    Obit from Twitch –

    Huffpo

    Takakura Ken’s favorite film is The Deer Hunter” (youtube – japanese only)

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    Film still from Yakuza (directed by Sydney Pollack)

  • Mainichi shinbun (photo slideshow).

  • Genpei Akasegawa – Death of Neo Dada Artist

    October 26th, 2014
  • R.I.P Genpei Akasegawa – (he was 77 years old.)

    Artnet (obit)

    Genpei Akasegawa is a pseudonymof Japanese artist Katsuhiko Akasegawa (born 1937). During the 1950s and 1960s, he became involved within the Neo-Dada movement, when he formed the Hi-Red Center collective. In 1970s he worked with the idea of Hyper-Art, ordinary street object that happened to look like a conceptual artwork. For what was to become the “Thousand-yen bill incident”, Akasegawa sent out invitations to a solo exhibition in 1963, in a cash envelope mailed through the post. The printed invitation reproduced a 1,000-yen note with the exhibition details at the back, when the local police notice, they arrested him for producing counterfeits.

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    “A Record of the Wind” by Genpei Akasagawa

  • Going Nowhere (see more images here)

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    See Zero yen

    His irreverent humor and cunning observation of everyday life made him popular as a writer, peaking with his 1998 book Rõjinryoku, in which he put forth a hilariously positive take on the declining capabilities of the elderly. Hyperart: Thomasson, marks a crucial turning point in his metamorphosis from a subversive culture to a popular culturatus.

  • Caterpiller – Koji Wakamatsu

    October 17th, 2014
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  • Caterpiller trailer
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  • Caterpiller wiki

    Caterpillar is a 2010 Japanese drama film directed by Kōji Wakamatsu, partially drawn from Edogawa Rampo’s banned short-story “The Caterpillar” (芋虫 Imomushi?)
    The film is a critique of the right-wing militarist nationalism that guided Japan’s conduct in Asia during the Second Sino-Japanese War and World War II. The film deals with various issues, such as war crimes, handicapped veterans, and spousal abuse. The film also deals with themes of sexual perversion and features graphic sex scenes.

    It was nominated for the Golden Bear at the 60th Berlin International Film Festival.[4] Shinobu Terajima received the Silver Bear for Best Actress at the Berlin Film Festival for her portrayal of Kurokawa’s wife.

  • Koji Wakamatsu 1koji-wakamatsu

    (1 April 1936 – 17 October 2012)

    MUBI page

    The Essential Films of Koji Wakamatsu

    .