Sadao Yamanaka

Sadao Yamanaka – Ninjô kami fûsen aka Humanity and Paper Balloons (1937)


A poor, masterless Samurai who depends on the paper balloons his wife makes to feed his family becomes tempted by a criminal opportunity.

Widely regarded as Yamanaka’s greatest achievement, Humanity & Paper Balloons was, tragically, his last film and only one of three that survive today. Read More »

Sadao Yamanaka – Tange Sazen yowa: Hyakuman ryo no tsubo AKA Tange Sazen and the Pot Worth a Million Ryo (1935)

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Tange Sazen is the story of a one eyed one armed swordsman his nagging wife and an orpan who upsets their routine while clutching a ceramic pot worth one million ryo. We know the value of that pot, but none of the film’s characters know that which sets into motion some great sight gags and wonderful bits of action. First conceived as a series of films in 1927 this film has not been seen since 1935, and the wait has been certainly worth it. Gorgeous scenery, fabulous costumes, quick comic pacing and enough action to keep you interested this film hopefully is the first of a new series. Clear English subtitles allow the viewer to be caught up in the daily lives of this family, and the constant bickering of the wife who is not sure about the orphan, and that pot. A subtle comic masterpiece! Read More »