Nightingale / Bush Warbler / Uguishu (1938)

Uguishu, Shiro Toyoda's most highly-regarded pre-war movie, has just appeared on YouTube and despite the occasionally murky print and less-than-idiomatic subtitles, it is a fascinating and humane look at pre-war Japanese society. Like Policeman's Diary, one of the first movies I posted about and based on a novel by the same writer, it is centered … Continue reading Nightingale / Bush Warbler / Uguishu (1938)

Heat Wave / Kagero (1991)

As the modern yakuza were returning to the big screen around 1990, the period yakuza also re-appeared in Kagero. Rin saw her gambler father murdered after he was caught cheating. She is adopted by the Kosugi family, who run a large “restaurant,” as the subtitles have it, and who have just given birth to a … Continue reading Heat Wave / Kagero (1991)

Hiruko the Goblin / Yokai Hunter: Hiruko / Yokai hanta: Hiruko (1991)

As the Japanese title indicates, Hiruko is the story of Hieda, an archeologist trying to hunt yokai in order to prove they are real. His brother-in-law finds the entrance to a sacred tomb of Hiruko and asks Hieda to come help open it. When Hieda arrives he finds the brother-in-law and a young girl missing … Continue reading Hiruko the Goblin / Yokai Hunter: Hiruko / Yokai hanta: Hiruko (1991)

W’s Tragedy / Daburyu no higeki (1984)

Shizuko Natsuki's novel Daburyu no higeki, also known as Murder at Mt. Fuji, had been a best-seller, immediately adapted to TV in 1983. For the Kadokawa-produced movie version in 1984, director Shin'ichiro Sawai and former pinku screenwriter Haruhiko Arai moved the mystery itself into the background to build a vehicle for teen idol Hiroko Yakushimaru … Continue reading W’s Tragedy / Daburyu no higeki (1984)