Strange Tale of Oyuki / Bokuto kitan (1992)

A middle-aged man with an umbrella walks down a crowded alley in the Tamanoi area during the thirties. As rain begins, a young woman asks for shelter under his umbrella. She invites him into her place to dry his clothes and offers him tea and then herself, for she is, like the other women in … Continue reading Strange Tale of Oyuki / Bokuto kitan (1992)

Hope and Pain / Downtown Heroes / Dauntaun hirozu (1988)

Following the maxim “write about what you know,” writers and film-makers tend to produce their most autobiographical work in their twenties and then again around the age of sixty, when their youth begins to be seen with nostalgia rather than immediacy. Thus it should be no surprise that there were a spate of  books and … Continue reading Hope and Pain / Downtown Heroes / Dauntaun hirozu (1988)

MacArthur’s Children / Setouchi shonen yakyu dan (1984)

Most of the movies made about the Occupation after the Occupation officially ended in 1952 have looked back through the eyes of the yakuza. MacArthur’s Children, however, views the early years of the Occupation through the experience of three fifth-graders on a tiny island in the Inland Sea. It is a view in which the … Continue reading MacArthur’s Children / Setouchi shonen yakyu dan (1984)

True Story of the Secret Ginza Police / Jitsuroku: Shisetsu Ginza keisatsu (1973)

Jitsuroku is usually translated as “true story,” which in the yakuza movies of the seventies meant not so much historical accuracy as it did fights and blood of a new kind. The most famous of the jitsuroku yakuza movies are Kinji Fukasaku’s 5-part Battles Without Honor or Humanity, whose title neatly summarizes the change. The … Continue reading True Story of the Secret Ginza Police / Jitsuroku: Shisetsu Ginza keisatsu (1973)