Tag Archives: Michiyo Aratama

Masaki Kobayashi – Nihon no seishun AKA Hymn to a Tired Man (1968)

Kobayashi Masaki’s 1968 Toho film about a man beaten to the point of deafness by his superior officer during WWII. He meets him again through his work as an inventor, and struggles through the challenge of his son’s romantic interest in the Officer’s daughter. Read More »

Kihachi Okamoto – Eburi manshi no yûga-na seikatsu AKA The Elegant Life Of Mr. Everyman (1963)

Eburi is a 36 year-old man. Nothing enthuses him any more. While being drunk, he promises to contribute a story to a magazine. When he sobers down, he decides to write about the life of a salaried employee like himself who is very ordinary, not particularly talented.
The following is his story:
In 1949, Eburi gets married to Natsuko. His monthly salary is 8,000 yen and hers 4,000 yen. Therefore, both have to work to support themselves. Eburi has developed a habituIl tendency to pester around when he gets drunk. One year after their marriage, son Shosuke is born. In 1959, Eburi’s mother dies in despair of her husband who has become listless due to the several ups and downs of gaining big profits and going bankrupt. His father is still alive and Eburi is enable to find a way to pay his father’s debts. Read More »

Mikio Naruse – Iwashigumo AKA Summer Clouds (1958)

This ensemble piece recounts the lives of a family of farmers by interweaving several different storylines. Holding these stories together is the central figure of a young war widow torn between maintaining her independence and the necessity of remarrying. This is a familiar predicament for Naruse’s heroines, but the film represents a change of pace for the director in many other ways. For one thing, it is his first widescreen color film. Also, while the typical Naruse film takes place in the city, even if its characters often journey into the countryside, here the setting is resolutely rural. The result traces change in postwar Japan (another typical Naruse concern) from the point of view of the farming peasantry, as land reform and economic growth exacerbate the generation gap between restless youngsters and their tradition-bound elders. Read More »

Kihachi Okamoto – Samurai aka Samurai Assassin (1965)

February 17 to March 3, 1860, inside Edo castle. A group of assassins wait by Sakurada Gate to kill the lord of the House of Ii, a powerful man in the Tokugawa government, which has ruled Japan for 300 years. They suspect a traitor in their midst, and their suspicions fall on Niiro, an impoverished ronin who dreams of samurai status, and Kurihara, an aristocratic samurai who befriends Niiro. Niiro longs to identify his father, knowing he is a high-ranking official who will disclose himself only if Niiro achieves samurai status. With American ships in Japan’s harbors, cynicism among the assassins, and change in the air, Niiro resolves to reach ends that may prove ephemeral. Read More »

Kihachi Okamoto – Dai-bosatsu tôge AKA The Sword of Doom (1966)

Through his unconscionable actions against others, a sociopath samurai builds a trail of vendettas that follow him closely. Read More »

Mikio Naruse – Onna no naka ni iru tanin AKA The Stranger Within a Woman (1966)

Tashiro (Keiju Kobayashi) coincidentally meets his best friend Sugimoto (Tatsuya Mihashi) in a bar very close to the apartment in which Sugimoto’s wayward wife is found dead. Although Tashiro is not a suspect in the police investigation, he is racked with guilt and confesses to his wife, Masako (Michiyo Aratama). In an effort to further relieve his tortured sense of guilt, he then confesses to Sugimoto. Neither his wife nor his friend can believe that he could have been involved. Read More »

Yôji Yamada – Kiri no hata AKA Flag in the Mist (1965)


When her only relative, her elder brother is accused of robbing and murdering an old woman loan-shark, pretty, young Kiriko (Chieko Baisho) travels from her home in Kyushu to Tokyo to get Japan’s top lawyer to defend her brother. Unfortunately her naive idealism is shattered when the lawyer refuses to take the case based on her insufficient funds. What follows is a long determined revenge plot that sees the heroine become a Tokyo bar hostess and worse to punish the lawyer. The plot thickens with another murder mystery and a sleuthing reporter. Read More »