Hiroshi Inagaki

Hiroshi Inagaki – Sengoku burai AKA Sword For Hire (1952)

Set in the civil wars of the 1570s, the film follows three samurai, Hayate, Jurata, and Yakeiji after the fall of their castle. Jurata escapes by pretending to be Hayate and escorting Hayate’s love Kano to safety, while the other two survive the fighting despite their wounds. Yakeiji becomes the leader of a bandit group while Hayate is saved by Oryo, the daughter of the leader of a different set of bandits. Jurata falls in love with Kano, but she leaves him to search for Hayate, just missing him several times, and Oryo also falls in love with Hayate and tries to track him down after she believes he killed her father. Numerous changes of sides, adventures, and confrontations follow for all. Read More »

Hiroshi Inagaki – Muhomatsu no issho AKA The Life of Matsu the Untamed (1943)


This simple human-interest/love story belies the cinematic triumph of its creation. Although shown in 1981 at Japan House in New York, the film dates from 1943 and so was obviously first released in Japan during WWII. Its director, Hiroshi Inagaki remade the same story in 1958 with Toshiro Mifune in the starring role. In both versions of the story, somewhat less sentimental in the first try, the setting is the early 20th c. An unlettered but inwardly noble rickshaw man (Tsumasaburo Bando) has his heart-strings pulled by a little boy whose father, Captain Yoshioka, has been killed in the line of duty. As Muhomatsu (the rickshaw man) gradually assumes the role of surrogate father to the child, he begins to fall in love with the mother (Keiko Sonoi). The mother, however, is far above the illiterate Muhomatsu and their disparate social status offers no encouragement for the realization of his deepest feelings. Read More »