Tag Archives: Jun Fujimaki

Takashi Tsuboshima – Oniwaban AKA Demon Spies (1974)

In this period action-drama set in 15th century Japan, a band of youngsters have been taken from their families and brought to a secret village, where on the orders of the shogunate they are trained to become elite warriors sworn to protect their masters. As they learn the difficult and demanding ways of battle and espionage, they become the oniwaban, or “demon spies,” whose skills are almost supernatural in strength and power. When it is learned that one of the emperor’s vassals has broken his vows by establishing a private armory on his fiefdom, four of the young “demon spies” are sent in to destroy the weapons and bring the challenger to justice. Demon Spies marked a change of pace for director Tsuboshima Takashi, who was best known for his comedies. (Mark Deming on All Movie Guide) Read More »

Yûzô Kawashima – Onna wa nido umareru AKA Women Are Born Twice (1961) (HD)

The first of Kawashima’s Daiei Studio collaborations with Wakao centers on the life of a Tokyo geisha named Koen and her relationships with various men. Starting out with no singing or dancing talents, the young, free-spirited Koen is initially eager to please and happy to do what she is told. With time and experience, however, she gradually begins to notice a change in herself and questions what she wants out of life. Played with subtle shifts in emotion, Wakao’s delicate performance earned her the Kinema Junpo Award and Blue Ribbon Award for Best Actress. Read More »

Yuzo Kawashima – Onna wa nido umareru AKA Women Are Born Twice (1961)

Set in Tokyo in the 1960s, this film shows the gradual transformation of Koen, a young geisha who is not good at music and dance, from carefree creature to a self-aware, mature woman through meeting and parting with a variety of men. Kawashima Yuzo, who excels at directing comedies, shows his strengths here by exposing his heroin’s delicate feelings with pathos. Wakao Ayako is radiant in her coquettish role. The director and the actress later went on to make such films as Wild Geese Temple (62) and Elegant Beast (62) together. Read More »