Kajirô Yamamoto

Kajirô Yamamoto – Enoken no chakkiri kinta AKA Enoken’s Kinta the Pickpocket (1937)

A famous sound film comedy by Kajira Yamamoto, best known for being the mentor of Akira Kurosawa. This is actually considered a major classic of physical comedy in Japan and remains perhaps the most fondly remembered vehicle for the famous comedian Enoken, who was a major star during the pre-war period.

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A comedic tale told in four parts, this film follows the antics of the pickpocket Kinta as he is pursued by a low ranking deputy named Kurakichi. The two get into all manner of peccadilloes and encounter a range of peculiar characters as their game of cat and mouse moves across the countryside in the last days of the Tokugawa Shogunate. The title role is played by Enomoto Kenichi (known by his performance name Enoken), a star of screen and stage. Kinta the Pickpocket showcases his indefatigable energy and talent for physical comedy. Read More »

Kajirô Yamamoto – Wagahai wa neko de aru AKA I am a Cat (1936)

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It’s the first film adaptation of Natsumi Soseki’s novel “I Am a Cat”, but I was a little disappointed when I saw it with high expectations, because it’s less than 90 minutes long and there’s no monologue about the cat, so it’s just me in the middle of the human drama. Before that, there are only a few scenes in which I appear.

The world situation at the time of the Russo-Japanese War has been replaced by that of World War I (the attack on Qingdao is shown in a newspaper article. However, since it was filmed before the war, the scenery has a certain feel to it. This atmosphere is something you can’t get in a postwar film. Read More »