My Life as a Filmmaker

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My Life as a Filmmaker

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Translator’s Preface My first encounters with Yamamoto Satsuo came much later in my life than with most other prominent Japanese film directors whose careers spanned both the early ShЕЌwa and postwar eras. The first Yamamoto film I saw was Annular Eclipse (Kinkanshoku, 1975), a somber study of festering corruption and ethical meltdown at the highest level of government within a thinly veiled Ikeda Hayato administration over the KuzuryЕ«gawa Dam Scandal in 1964–65.1 Partially masquerading as an absurdist burlesque, Yamamoto’s resurrection of historical memory was accomplished with the critical capriciousness of a bemused satirist and a witty flair characteristic of a creative portrait artist. Among my immediate thoughts at the time was that any filmmaker with the kind of mellow savvy, out-of-the-box imagination and inspired waywardness to craft the stage actor Uno JЕ«kichi into an outlandish underworld loan shark and lusciously bizarre political eccentric must surely be an artist worthy of attention. As the drama unfolded, my initial inklings were confirmed by the seamless fluidity with which Yamamoto staged, among other episodes, the riveting showdown scene over nervous cups of sake between Uno’s Ishihara Sankichi and his nemesis, Hoshino Yasuo, the equally slippery chief cabinet secretary brilliantly played by Nakadai Tatsuya. My curiosity about Yamamoto, already aroused, was further stirred by The Great White Tower (Shiroi kyotЕЌ, 1966) with its memorable portraits of starkly contrasting personalities locked in a chilling game of Japanese academic politics. Surely, the contributions of the original authors, Ishikawa TatsuzЕЌ and Yamasaki Toyoko, respectively, deserve much credit, but the sophisticated skills and profound sense of engagement Yamamoto brought to his enterprise were nothing short of extraordinary. His other critically acclaimed works, notably Streets without the Sun (TaiyЕЌ no nai machi, 1954), Song of the Cart-Pullers (Niguruma no uta, 1959), and the epic trilogy Men Page x →and War (SensЕЌ to ningen, 1970–73), further revealed the range of his creative imagination and his films’ deeply embedded humanist tendencies. The rest of my engagement with Yamamoto, as is often the case with such encounters, seemed to unfold with a will of its own. I have consulted and benefited from various sources for the information contained in my annotations, including online sources; encyclopedias; reference works on Japanese film, literature, and history; research bibliographies; monographs; and other specialized works. AbГ© Mark Nornes and Aaron Gerow’s Research Guide to Japanese Film Studies (Ann Arbor: Center for Japanese Studies, University of Michigan, 2009) is a good reference. Beyond the titles cited in my introduction and annotations, my references include Nihon bunka sЕЌgЕЌ nenpyЕЌ, ed. Ichiko Teiji, Kubota Jun, Asai Kiyoshi et al. (Tokyo: Iwanami Shoten, 1990); “Sakuhinbetsu: Kindai bungaku kenkyЕ« jiten,” Kokubungaku: Kaishaku to kyЕЌzai no kenkyЕ« 32, no. 9 (July 1987); Nihon kindai bungaku daijiten, ed. Nihon Kindai Bungakukan (Tokyo: KЕЌdansha, 1984); ShinchЕЌ Nihon bungaku shЕЌjiten, ed. ItЕЌ Sei, Senuma Shigeki, Nakamura Mitsuo et al. (Tokyo: ShinchЕЌsha, 1968); Nihonshi jiten (Tokyo: Heibonsha, 1986); Meiji TaishЕЌ ShЕЌwa no meicho sЕЌkaisetsu (Tokyo: JiyЕ« Kokuminsha, 1978); Nihonshi jiten, ed. Takayanagi KЕЌju and Takeuchi RizЕЌ (Tokyo: Kadokawa Shoten, 1976); Kindai sakka kenkyЕ« jiten, ed. Kindai Sakka KenkyЕ« Jiten KankЕЌkai (Tokyo: ЕЊfЕ«sha, 1983); Gendai sakka jiten, ed. ЕЊkubo Tsuneo and Yoshida Hiroo (Tokyo: TЕЌkyЕЌdЕЌ Shuppan, 1975); Nihon eiga besuto 150 (Tokyo: Bungei ShunjЕ«, 1989). I have also consulted and benefited from the information contained on the websites of Kinema JunpЕЌsha, the Internet Movie Database (IMDb), Allcinemas: Movie and DVD Database, Weblio jisho, the websites of major Japanese newspapers (including the Asahi, Mainichi, Shimbun Akahata, and others), Wikipedia (English and Japanese sites), and the website devoted to the subject of my study “Yamamoto Satsuo no sekai: Shakai-ha eiga no kyoshЕЌ Yamamoto Satsuo kantoku no subete” at While preparing the introductory essay and securing access to some of the films and other critical materials I had not seen, I received much kindness and assistance from Yamamoto Satsuo’s two sons, Shun and YЕЌ, as well as Shun’s wife YЕЌko, all of whom were involved in the filmmaking enterprise themselves. I wish to thank them for their encouragement of my project over the years and for kindly providing many valuable photographs from their family’s collection for this book. Takagi Sadashige, head of the Kuma Museum of Art in Kuma KЕЌgenchЕЌ, outside the city of Matsuyama, and Dr. Jinnai Yuri, the chief resident scholar there, were

extraordinarily kind to engage me in conversation and let me look at some of the paintings of Page xi →Shigematsu Tsurunosuke, an ill-fated Ehime artist whose influence on the young Yamamoto Satsuo was significant. I also wish to express my appreciation to Poshek Fu at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign AbГ© Mark Nornes at the University of Michigan, and ЕЅeljko CipriЕЎ at the University of the Pacific, for their kind expression of interest at a time when working on Yamamoto was, perhaps more than most of my other projects, a singularly solitary experience. Shanghai, 2015

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Chronology The information in this chronology is largely based on “Yamamoto Satsuo ryakunenpu,” in the original autobiography, Yamamoto Satsuo, Watakushi no eiga jinsei (Tokyo: Shin Nihon Shuppansha, 1984), 302–3; and “Eiga kantoku: Yamamoto Satsuo seitan hyakunen,” ed., Eiga Kantoku Yamamoto Satsuo Seitan Hyakunen No Tsudoi JikkЕЌ I’inkai (Tokyo: 2010), 16–19. 1910Born in Kagoshima on July 15, the third son of Gennosuke and Nobu. 1917Entered First Matsuyama Elementary School. 1923Entered Matsuyama Middle School, famous as the setting for Natsume SЕЌseki’s novel Botchan. Among his upperclassmen were future film directors Itami Mansaku and ItЕЌ Daisuke. 1929Entered First Waseda Higher School and developed a growing interest in theater. Participated in a play performed in German. 1932Entered the Faculty of Literature at Waseda University specializing in German literature. 1933Arrested for his role in the Art Olympiad Incident and expelled from Waseda. Took a test to become an assistant director at the ShЕЌchiku Kamata Studio and joined ShЕЌchiku in August as an assistant to Naruse Mikio. 1934Joined PCL along with Naruse and worked as the latter’s chief assistant director. 1935Married Kobayashi Yoshie on April 8. 1937Promoted to director and made his first film, OjЕЌsan. 1938Birth of first son, Shun. 1940Birth of first daughter, Izumi. 1941Birth of second son, YЕЌ. 1942A second-round medical examination for army conscription identified Yamamoto’s physical condition as level C, first class. Page xiv →1943Conscripted into the Japanese army and joined the Sakura Regiment in Chiba Prefecture as a private second class. Uno JЕ«kichi, an old friend from his student days in theater, was classified as a private first class. The barracks of the Sakura Regiment was to become the setting for Yamamoto’s film The Vacuum Zone (ShinkЕ« chitai, 1952). 1943–45Participated in the Second Sino-Japanese War in China. Detained by the Chinese Nationalist Army as a member of the film crew attached to the Press Corps of the Ji’nan Twelfth Army Command after Japan’s surrender in August 1945. 1946Expatriated to Japan in June. 1947Codirected, with Kamei Fumio, his first postwar film, War and Peace (SensЕЌ to heiwa) after returning to TЕЌhЕЌ. Joined the Japanese Communist Party. 1948Left TЕЌhЕЌ subsequent to the company’s labor upheavals.

1955Founded Yamamoto Productions. 1955–83For films made in this period, see “Filmography.” 1983Hospitalized in May while preparing for two new productions, The Devil’s Gluttony (Akuma no hōshoku) and Labyrinth (Meiro), based on novels by Morimura Seiichi and Nogami Yaeko, respectively. Died of pancreatic cancer in Tokyo on August 11 at the age of seventy-three. His funeral was held at Tokyo’s Aoyama Cemetery on August 29. 1984His autobiography, My Life as a Filmmaker (Watakushi no eiga jinsei), published by Tokyo’s ShinNihon Shuppansha. 1993Katagiri Naoki directed and released the documentary The Film Director Yamamoto Satsuo (Eiga kantoku Yamamoto Satsuo). 2003A gathering was held to commemorate the twentieth anniversary of Yamamoto’s death at the Zero Hall in Tokyo’s Nakano District. 2013–14Tokyo’s Society for the Preservation of Renowned Independent Films (Dokuritsu Puro Meiga Hozonkai) reproduced twenty-six postwar Japan’s independent films in DVD format for commercial distribution through the national book chain Kinokuniya Shoten. The list included Yamamoto’s Town of Violence (Bōryoku no machi), Battle without Arms (Buki-naki tatakai), Floating Weeds Diary (Ukikusa nikki), The Human Wall (Ningen no kabe), Streets without the Sun (Taiyō no nai machi), and The Vacuum Zone (Shinkū chitai), along with works by Kamei Fumio, Imai Tadashi, Sekigawa Hideo, and Ieki Miyoji.

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Filmography, Awards, and Recognitions Sources consulted in preparing this list include “Yamamoto Satsuo no sekai: Shakai-ha eiga no kyoshЕЌ Yamamoto Satsuo kantoku no subete,”; “Yamamoto Satsuo zensakuhin risuto,” in Yamamoto Satsuo, Watakushi no eiga jinsei (Tokyo: Shin Nihon Shuppanssha, 1984), 297–301; “Yamamoto Satsuo zenkantoku sakuhin shЕЌkai,” in Yamagata YЕ«saku, Yamada Nobuo, Maruyama Seiji et al., Yamamoto Satsuo enshutsu no shЕ«hen (Tokyo: Shine Furonto Sha, 1984), 212–319; and the Internet Movie Database (IMDb), 1937 Young Lady (OjЕЌsan, PCL) 1937 Mother’s Song (Haha no kyoku and sequel, TЕЌhЕЌ) 1938 The Pastoral Symphony (Den’en kЕЌkyЕЌgaku, TЕЌhЕЌ) 1938 Family Diary (Katei nikki and sequel, TЕЌhЕЌ) 1939 The New Tange Sazen: The Chapter of the Two-Armed Swordsman (Shinpen Tange Sazen: SЕЌshu-hen, TЕЌhЕЌ) 1939 A Beautiful Start (Uruwashiki shuppatsu, TЕЌhЕЌ) 1939 The Town (Machi, TЕЌhЕЌ) 1939 Madam with a Ribbon (Ribon o musubu fujin, TЕЌhЕЌ) 1940 With Father in the Breeze (Soyo kaze chichi to tomoni, TЕЌhЕЌ) 1940 The Sisters’ Agreement (Shimai no yakusoku, TЕЌhЕЌ) 1941 It’s Paradise When One Sings (Utaeba tengoku, TЕЌhЕЌ; codirected with Oda Tomoyoshi) 1942 The Wings of Triumph (Tsubasa no gaika, TЕЌhЕЌ) 1943 Searing Wind (NeppЕ«, TЕЌhЕЌ) 1947 War and Peace (SensЕЌ to heiwa, TЕЌhЕЌ; codirected with Kamei Fumio) *Kinema JunpЕЌ, Best Ten #2 1949 Utako’s Story (Konna onna ni dare ga shita, TЕЌyoko) Page xvi →1950 The Pen Does Not Lie: Town of Violence (Pen itsuwarazu: BЕЌryoku no machi, Pen Itsuwarazu Seisaku I’inkai/Dai’ei) *Kinema JunpЕЌ, Best Ten #8 1952 Rising Storm over Hakone (Hakone FЕ«unroku, Shinsei Eiga/Zenshin-za) 1952 The Vacuum Zone (ShinkЕ« chitai, Shinsei Eiga) *Kinema JunpЕЌ, Best Ten #6 *Third Blue Ribbon Awards, 2nd Place

*Kinema JunpЕЌ, All-time Best 100 Japanese Films (1999), #13 1954 Edge of the Sun (Hi no hate, Yagi Puro) 1954 Streets without the Sun (TaiyЕЌ no nai machi, Shinsei Eiga) *Special Director’s Prize, Karlovy Vary Film Festival, Prague, Czechoslovakia, 1954 1955 If Indeed One Loves (Ai sureba koso, Dokuritsu Eiga; codirected with Yoshimura KЕЌzaburЕЌ and Imai Tadashi) 1955 The Story of the Ichikawa BagorЕЌ Troupe: Floating Weeds Diary (Ichikawa BagorЕЌ ichiza tenmatsuki: Ukikusa nikki, Yamamoto Puro/HaiyЕ«za) *Kinema JunpЕЌ, Best Ten #9 1956 Avalanche (Nadare, TЕЌei) 1956 Typhoon Furor (TaifЕ« sЕЌdЕЌki, Yamamoto Puro) *Kinema JunpЕЌ, Best Ten #7 1958 Scarlet Battle Coat (Akai jinbaori, Kabukiza Eiga) 1959 Song of the Cart-Pullers (Niguruma no uta, Zenkoku NЕЌson Eiga KyЕЌkai) *Grand Award, Asia-Africa Film Festival *Best Director, Mainichi Film Awards (1960) *Film and Director’s Awards at the Zenkoku Ei’ren Mini OnpДЃru Awards *Film and Director’s Awards, ChihЕЌ Shimbun Eiga Kishakai *Best Musical Score (Hayashi Hikaru), Mainichi Film Awards *Kinema JunpЕЌ, Best Ten #4 1959 The Human Wall (Ningen no kabe, Yamamoto Puro) *Best Director, Mainichi Film Awards (1960) *Kinema JunpЕЌ, Best Ten #6 1960 Battle without Arms (Buki-naki tatakai, DaitЕЌ Eiga) *Kinema JunpЕЌ, Best Ten #8 1961 The Matsukawa Incident (Matsukawa jiken, Matsukawa Jiken Geki-eiga Seisaku I’inkai) 1962 Farm Girls (NyЕ«bЕЌ o idaku musume tachi, Zenkoku NЕЌson Eiga KyЕЌkai) Page xvii →1962 Ninja: A Band of Assassins (Shinobi no mono, Dai’ei) 1963 Red Water (Akai mizu, Dai’ei) 1963 Ninja: A Band of Assassins—A Sequel (Zoku Shinobi no mono, Dai’ei)

1964 The Tycoon (Kizudarake no sanga, Dai’ei) *Kinema Junpō, Best Ten #7 *Actor’s Award (Yamamura Sō), Kinema Junpō 1965 Story of a Japanese Thief (Nippon dorobō monogatari, Tōei) *Director’s Award, Asian Film Festival *Best Director, Blue Ribbon Award (1966) *Kinema Junpō, Best Ten #4 *Actor’s Award (Mikuni Rentarō), Kinema Junpō 1965 The Witness’ Chair (Shōnin no isu, Yamamoto Puro) *Best Director, Sixteenth Blue Ribbon Awards (1966) *Best Actress in a Supporting Role (Naraoka Tomoko), Twentieth Mainichi Film Awards *Kinema Junpō, Best Ten #5 *Screenplay Award (Ide Masato), Screenwriters’ Association 1965 The Spy (Supai, Yamamoto Puro) 1966 Freezing Point (Hyōten, Dai’ei) 1966 The Great White Tower (Shiroi kyotō, Dai’ei) *Kinema Junpō, Best Ten #1 *Japan Film Director’s Award, Kinema Junpō *Nominated for Grand Prix, Moscow International Film Festival (1967) *Silver Prize, Moscow International Film Festival (1967) *Best Film, Blue Ribbon Award (1967) *Best Film, Kinema Junpō (1967) *Best Film (Nihion Eiga Taishō), Mainichi Film Awards (1967) *Best Director, Kinema Junpō (1967) *Best Director, Mainichi Film Awards (1967) *Screenplay Award (Hashimoto Shinobu), Mainichi Film Awards *Screenplay Award (Hashimoto Shinobu), Kinema Junpō 1967 The Fake Detective (Nise keiji, Dai’ei) 1967 Zatoichi the Outlaw (Zatōichi rōyaburi, Dai’ei)

1968 Slave Factory (Dorei kЕЌjЕЌ, supervising director; Dorei KЕЌjЕЌ Seisaku JЕЌei I’inkai) 1968 The Peony Lantern (Botan dЕЌrЕЌ, Dai’ei) 1969 Vietnam (Betonamu, supervising director; ChЕЌhen Kiroku Eiga Betonamu Seisaku JikkЕЌ I’inkai) *Kinema JunpЕЌ, Best Ten #7 Page xviii →1969 The Tengu Gang (TengutЕЌ, Dai’ei) 1970–73 Men and War: [A Trilogy] (SensЕЌ to ningen [sanbusaku], Nikkatsu): 1970 Fate’s Overture (Unmei no jokyoku) *Kinema JunpЕЌ, Best Ten #2 *Best Director, Mainichi Film Awards (1971) 1971 Land of Love and Sorrow (Ai to kanashimi no sanga) *Kinema JunpЕЌ, Best Ten #4 *Peace Prize, Tashkent Film Festival 1973 The Conclusive Chapter (Kanketsu-hen) *Kinema JunpЕЌ, Best Ten #10 1974 One Splendid Family (Karei-naru ichizoku, Gei’ensha) *Film Award, Kyoto Citizen’s Film Festival *Kinema JunpЕЌ, Best Ten #3 1975 Annular Eclipse (Kinkanshoku, Dai’ei) *Kinema JunpЕЌ, Best Ten #3 *Golden Arrow Award 1976 The Barren Zone (FumЕЌ chitai, Gei’ensha) *Best Film (Nihon Eiga TaishЕЌ), Mainichi Film Awards (1977) *Best Director, Mainichi Film Awards (1977) *Screenplay Award (Yamada Nobuo), Mainichi Film Awards *Film Award, Japan Films Pen Club *Kinema JunpЕЌ, Best Ten #4 *Actor’s Award in a Supporting Role (ЕЊtaki Hideji), Kinema JunpЕЌ *Film Award, Kyoto Citizen’s Film Festival 1976 The TempЕЌ Outlaws of the Marsh (TempЕЌ Suikoden ЕЊhara YЕ«gaku, Zenkoku NЕЌson Eiga KyЕЌkai /Dai’ei)

1977 United Vietnam (Thong Nhat Vietnam in Vietnamese, Tonnyatto Betonamu in Japanese, supervising director; Nikkatsu RЕЌdЕЌ Kumiai/Nippon Denpa NyЕ«susha) 1978 The August without the Emperor (KЕЌtei no inai hachigatsu, ShЕЌchiku) 1979 Nomugi Pass (ДЂ Nomugi TЕЌge, Shin Nippon Eiga) *Best film (Nihon Eiga TaishЕЌ), Mainichi Film Awards (1980) *Director’s Award, Japan Academy Awards *Film Award, Japan Academy Awards *Best Musical Score (SatЕЌ Masaru), Japan Academy Awards *Screenplay Award (Hattori Kei), Japan Academy Awards *Actress Award (ЕЊtake Shinobu), Japan Academy Awards Page xix →*Cinematography Award (Kobayashi Setsuo), Mainichi Film Awards *Musical Score Award (SatЕЌ Masaru), Mainichi Film Awards *Best Actor in a Supporting Role (Mikuni RentarЕЌ), HЕЌchi Film Awards *Kinema JunpЕЌ, Best Ten #9 1981 Auto Town (Asshiitachi no machi, Dai’ei) 1982 Nomugi Pass: A New Chapter (ДЂ Nomugi TЕЌge: Shinryoku-hen, TЕЌhЕЌ)

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Introduction Yamamoto Satsuo and Modern Japanese Cinema On August 12, 1983, the “Obituaries” section of the New York Times announced the death from pancreatic cancer in a Tokyo hospital of Yamamoto Satsuo at the age of seventy-three. The article described him as a “noted movie director,” a maker of “antiwar films in Japan,” and an activist “in left-wing movements from his days at Waseda University.”2 Two very brief paragraphs followed, the first describing him as the codirector of War and Peace (SensЕЌ to heiwa, 1947), identified as “the first Japanese antiwar movie after 1945,”3 and the second, one-sentence paragraph highlighting his exposГ© of wartime “Japanese military brutality,”4 as well as “postwar corruption in Japanese corporations and hospitals.”5 There was no mention of Yamamoto’s other well-known activities, such as his role in the tumultuous TЕЌhЕЌ Labor Strikes (TЕЌhЕЌ sЕЌgi) of 1946–48, or his major contributions as an independent filmmaker in the 1950s and early 1960s after his 1948 separation from the mainstream industry. Given the brevity of the piece, it is Page 2 →perhaps only natural that there could be no further assessment of his many other notable achievements over some four decades of filmmaking, with fifty-seven films to his credit, or of the particular position he occupied in the annals of postwar Japanese film history. Those who followed his career more closely would surely remember, beyond his first postwar collaboration with Kamei Fumio, many of his independently financed and distributed films in the trying years of the 1950s. Marked by their diversity of setting, narrative style, and subject matter, and yet bonded by a palpable thematic and social vision, they multifariously chronicle a spirited citizens’ movement against local gang violence in the immediate postwar period;6 reenact Tokunaga Sunao’s classic 1929 novel Streets without the Sun (TaiyЕЌ no nai machi) about the conditions of the late TaishЕЌ underclass;7 and paint portraits of struggling primary school teachers in an impoverished region of Saga Prefecture.8 In Song of the Cart-Pullers (Niguruma no uta, 1959), one of his most visually captivating works, he resurrected through the struggles of a three-generation family in rural Hiroshima Prefecture an intimate history of Japanese peasant life, from the harsh late Meiji years to the TaishЕЌ Rice Riots and the tragedies of the Pacific War. Beginning in the 1960s, he again juxtaposed resurrections of microcosmic personal journeys against the panoramic backdrop of Japanese social and political history, often crafting engrossing dramas based on the vicissitudes of real as well as fictional characters. One notable example was Yamamoto’s study of the struggles of the biologist Yamamoto Senji (1889–1929) against diminishing intellectual freedom and police abuse during the interwar years and later escalating political tyranny as a member of the Japan Labor-Farmer Party (Nihon-rЕЌnЕЌtЕЌ).9 After returning to the mainstream industry in 1962, Yamamoto proceeded Page 3 →to interrogate the treacherous waters of Japanese academic politics at one of the nation’s top medical schools,10 before he scrutinized pervasive corruption and ethical meltdown among the country’s prominent businessmen and top politicians.11 He went on to enact an action-packed coup d’état by members of Japan’s Self-Defense Forces on a hijacked train, an incident that easily revived fading memories of the political fanaticism and bloody horrors surrounding the February 26 Incident of 1936.12 No less notable are other films that explore the political consequences and human miseries emanating from Japan’s flawed judicial system,13 as well as the relentless exploitation of young laborers in the prewar textile and postwar automobile industries.14 Readers scanning the New York Times obituary would have no idea that the deceased had also made commercially successful films probing the turbulent fate of Warring States ninjas drawn into the ugly game of contemporary power politics and the exploits of ZatЕЌichi the blind swordsman.15 With tightly controlled screenplays characteristically fusing serious social commentary, political critique, and trenchant satire, Yamamoto’s productions included such spectacularly popular works as The Great White Tower (Shiroi kyotЕЌ, 1966), One Splendid Family (Karei-naru ichizoku, 1974), and Annular Eclipse (Kinkanshoku, 1975). With his grand trilogy Men and War (SensЕЌ to ningen, 1970–73), he joined the distinguished company of a few contemporary colleagues, most notably Kobayashi Masaki, as a creator of epic historical narratives never before attempted in modern Japanese cinema. On the other hand, Yamamoto was also the maker of The Witness’ Chair (ShЕЌnin no isu, 1965), said to have been the worst box office debacle in Dai’ei’s history and yet also, redemptively, the winner of the award for Best Director at the Sixteenth Blue Ribbon Awards

competition in 1966.16 Page 4 →Outside Japan, Yamamoto’s death aroused little reaction even among film enthusiasts and professional critics. In the early 1980s, he remained essentially unrecognized in many parts of the world as he largely is today.17 Beyond a small handful of film scholars, most non-Japanese moviegoers at the time had hardly heard of him, and surely even fewer were familiar with his life and overall accomplishments. Equally disquieting is the fact that a number of popular and easily accessible English-language sources contain little more than piecemeal and ill-coordinated information on his career without proper contextual or critical perspective. Worse, such material is occasionally imparted with controversial assessments or outright errors. One provocative view is provided by a short online biographical piece characterizing Yamamoto’s independent films since the early 1950s as “almost violently left wing” and identifying, without elaboration, Rising Storm over Hakone (Hakone FЕ«unroku, 1952) as “his most famous.”18 The current English-language Wikipedia article states, “During WWII [Yamamoto] directed several pro-war propaganda films for [TЕЌhЕЌ] despite being a fervent member of the Japanese Communist Party (JCP),” even though Yamamoto did not join the JCP until 1947, well after the war had ended.19 Another popular source attributes his “strongly anti-authoritarian films” to his “wartime experiences Page 5 →while fighting in Manchuria,”20 even though by his own account he was sent during the waning years of the war as a private second class to Beijing and other locations in Shandong and Henan provinces, but not Manchuria.21 Blemishes of this kind, taken as a whole, reveal a number of broader issues in our current understanding of this major figure in postwar Japanese cinema even more than three decades after his death. The fact that not a few of the more than fifty feature films made over Yamamoto’s career have rarely been screened outside Japan for any extended period to popular acclaim,22 much less seriously scrutinized by foreign critics and scholars, only exacerbates the limitation of our knowledge. One inescapable result is that some of the more fascinating interrogative perspectives recent cinematic studies have inspired have so far failed to initiate meaningful referential engagements with Yamamoto’s oeuvre, including the rich potential for serious transnational studies and transcultural comparisons. Few could have imagined, for instance, that Yamamoto might be considered to have foreshadowed in certain ways the coming of a younger generation of filmmakers beginning in the late 1980s, including non-Japanese directors such as Oliver Stone. As army veterans of different but equally brutal wars in Asia whose respective experiences significantly conditioned their subsequent visions of the realities of international geopolitics, the two men apparently never met or perhaps never knew of each other before Yamamoto’s death.23 And yet the intimate thematic and emotional resonances between many of their signature works, as between their critical imaginations of recent history, along with the similarities and differences embedded in the timbre of their social and political engagement, would have made comparative studies eminently enlightening. One can reasonably surmise how Yamamoto, the trenchant eyewitness and indefatigable chronicler of the more unflattering underbelly of postwar Japanese politics, corporate culture, and the conditions in Vietnam during its struggle for national unification, would have reacted had he lived long enough to see such Stone films as Wall Street (1987), Platoon (1986), and Born on the Fourth of July (1989).24 Page 6 →Yet it is evident that Yamamoto’s legacy remains very much alive today in his native land and, to a lesser extent, in China, Vietnam, Russia, and increasingly in parts of Europe. By general consensus, he has been described as one of the great masters of the “social school” of Japanese filmmaking (shakai-ha no kyoshЕЌ) from the 1950s through the early 1980s, along with contemporary luminaries such as Imai Tadashi (1912–91), Kamei Fumio (1908–87), and ShindЕЌ Kaneto (1912–2012). Speaking in a television interview in August 2010, Nakadai Tatsuya, a regular performer in some of the most acclaimed Kurosawa Akira and Yamamoto Satsuo films over a number of decades, paid equal tribute to both directors for their centennial celebrations before suggesting, pointedly, that thenceforth greater attention than before be given to Yamamoto.25 A decade after Yamamoto’s death, Katagiri Naoki’s documentary film Yamamoto Satsuo the Film Director (Eiga-kantoku Yamamoto Satsuo) was made in his honor.26 Another significant indication of Yamamoto’s continuing appeal in Japan is the inclusion of many of his major works in an important collection assembled by Tokyo’s Society for the Preservation of Renowned Independent Films (Dokuritsu Puro Meiga Hozonkai). Prominent among the collection’s twenty-six films from the 1950s and 1960s are

Yamamoto’s Town of Violence (BЕЌryoku no machi, 1950), The Vacuum Zone (ShinkЕ« chitai, 1952), Streets without the Sun (TaiyЕЌ no nai machi, 1954), Floating Weeds Diary (Ukikusa nikki, 1955), The Human Wall (Ningen no kabe, Page 7 →1959), Song of the Cart-Pullers (Niguruma no uta, 1959), and Battle without Arms (Buki-naki tatakai, 1960).27 Yamamoto’s career was also remembered on an NHK BS Channel 2 program that aired on August 2, 2010, “Turning Adversities into Power: The Passionate Film Director Yamamoto Satsuo on the Centennial of His Birthday” (GyakkyЕЌ o chikara ni kaeta nekketsu kantoku: Yamamoto Satsuo seitan hyakunen).28 Yamamoto retrospectives have been presented with increasing frequency in Japan. In February 2008, for example, the Japan Foundation organized one such event, entitled “Rediscovery of Yamamoto Satsuo,” screening The Tycoon, The Great White Tower, and Annular Eclipse, all with English subtitles.29 This was soon followed by an elaborate screening of twelve Yamamoto films at the Tokyo FilMex in November 2008 in conjunction with the National Film Center.30 On June 19, 2010, on the centennial of his birth, some four hundred people packed Shinjuku Ward’s Yotsuya Hall to listen to talks by actors (Chii Takeo, Yamamoto Sen, and others) and the film director GotЕЌ Toshio on Yamamoto’s works, followed by a screening of Nomugi Pass.31 More recently, the Fukuoka City Public Library Movie Hall devoted almost the entire month of July 2011 to showing films such as Town of Violence and The Great White Tower.32 Men and War was screened in Gifu City in May 2014.33 Outside Japan, the Istituto Giapponese di Cultura in Rome announced the screening of seven of his films in January 2012, including Song of the Cart-Pullers, The Great White Tower, and Annular Eclipse.34 Page 8 →

Yamamoto’s Formative Years: Matsuyama and Tokyo to 1933 Yamamoto Satsuo was born in Kagoshima City on July 15, 1910, the third and youngest son of Gennosuke and Nobu.35 His childhood years were spent mostly in the provincial city of Matsuyama in Ehime Prefecture after his father’s job transfer to the island of Shikoku as a civil servant. Early influences on the young boy came first from a group of young local intellectuals and former Matsuyama Middle School students who had been under the idealistic sway of TaishЕЌ humanism as expounded by many of the young writers of the White Birch School (Shirakaba-ha). Eclectically received to be sure, such influences succeeded in cultivating in Yamamoto a longstanding interest in painting and a burgeoning, if largely vaguely defined, sense of social awareness, 36 a development that might be traced partly to his particular interest in the writings of Arishima Takeo.37 He studied oil painting under Itami Mansaku, later an influential film director who introduced refreshingly innovative angles on the conservative dramaturgy of period films (jidaigeki) in the 1930s.38 Also noteworthy was his close friendshipPage 9 → with the western-style painter Shigematsu Tsurunosuke,39 as well as the renowned haiku poet Nakamura Kusatao.40 Shigematsu’s influence as a social activist in particular was to remain an important part of Yamamoto’s essential makeup as he matured into young adulthood. Yamamoto’s autobiographical reminiscences in Watakushi no eiga jinsei reveal that as a young film enthusiast during his student days in Tokyo, he was impressed by a number of Soviet productions, including Vsevolod Illarianovich Pudovkin’s Storm over Asia (1928) and Nikolai Ekk’s Road to Life (1931). He quickly took an active interest in Soviet montage theory, which was then being introduced into Japan in characteristic synchrony with Marxist theories of historical materialism. Victor Turin’s Turksib (1929) and Sergei Eisenstein’s The Old and the New (1929) must also be remembered as early inspirations that encouraged Yamamoto’s future excursions into dramatic documentaries and semidocumentaries; such works include Town of Violence, Battle without Arms, The Matsukawa Incident (Matsukawa jiken, 1961), Vietnam (Betonamu, 1969), and United Vietnam (Thong Nhat Vietnam, Page 10 →Tonnyatto Betonamu in Japanese, 1977).41 Apparently, Josef von Sternberg’s Salvation Hunters (1925) and Charlie Chaplin’s Gold Rush (1925) were also among his early favorites, along with Ernst Lubitsch’s 1932 The Man I Killed and William A. Wellman’s 1933 Wild Boys of the Road and Heroes for Sale. It is telling that Yamamoto made no particular mention of any contemporary Japanese films or directors that might have left lasting influences during this formative phase. He did reminisce about watching Ushihara Kiyohiko’s films, but apparently those contemporary dramas he saw during his middle school days represented little more than a fleeting diversion for the young man. To be sure, Yamamoto was familiar with the works of Nomura HЕЌtei, Shimazu YasujirЕЌ, and

Ozu YasujirЕЌ, even though none of them seemed to have had much lasting impact. In fact, from his reminiscences, we learn that in due course Ozu’s signature low-angle camera sequences inspired not so much unfettered admiration in his young artistic temperament as a mild, if respectful, resistance.42 Surprisingly, Yamamoto frankly confessed that he had not even heard of Naruse Mikio until 1933, when he was assigned to work under the master after joining ShЕЌchiku. Indeed, it was not until his early twenties that his truly serious engagement with Japanese films began.43 Before then, as a struggling student in the capital, he quickly immersed himself in western-inspired plays (shingeki) as he frequented their main venue, the Tsukiji Little Theatre. Indeed, his growing interest was sufficiently serious to inspire early contemplations about a future career in that direction. In the process, he developed lifelong friendships with Tsukiji’s young stage actors, including Uno JЕ«kichi and Takizawa Osamu, both of whom became distinguished performers who graced many of Yamamoto’s signature postwar works. Along with many young, well-educated men of his generation, the writings of Marx and Kobayashi Takiji opened his eyes and sharpened his sensibilities toward politics and society in the early 1930s.44 On the other hand, unlike other, more radicalized university students in the capital, he displayed no particular ideological radicalism or inclination to join political parties or participate in party-organized activities. Page 11 →

Apprenticeship under Naruse Mikio and Early Works, 1933–43 The harsh realities of earning a living as a struggling stage actor, however, quickly began to hit home with increasing acuity. Meanwhile, the challenges Yamamoto experienced during his brief career as a university student foreshadowed many of the adversities he would face in his later professional life. His opposition to military training while studying German literature at Waseda University led to his participation in a student-led movement and his detention by Tokyo’s Special Police and subsequent expulsion from the university in 1933. In the same year, at the age of twenty-three, he managed to gain acceptance into ShЕЌchiku, where he was assigned a much-coveted assistantship under Naruse Mikio and later a brief period of collaboration with Gosho Heinosuke. These irreplaceable opportunities gave him a chance to learn the fundamentals of his trade and to hone his future acumen as he worked within one of Japan’s most powerful and influential mainstream film studios. Yamamoto continued his apprenticeship after he followed Naruse’s move to Photo Chemical Laboratories (PCL) in 1934, where he also had the unexpected but inspiring opportunity to work with the distinguished dramatist and novelist Murayama Tomoyoshi in the making of the film The Responsibility of Kissing (Seppun no sekinin).45 It was some three years later, in 1937, that Yamamoto was given permission to make a film of his own, one based on the novelist Yoshiya Nobuko’s Young Lady (OjЕЌsan, with Kiritachi Noboru in the leading role) about a young, privileged woman’s journey of social awakening and self-knowledge through working as a teacher of English in rural Kyushu.46 Before long PCL merged with other companies to form TЕЌhЕЌ, a studio with which Yamamoto’s subsequent career was connected through decades of circuitous fate. His first TЕЌhЕЌ production was Mother’s Song (Haha no kyoku, 1937), a loose adaptation of King Vidor’s Stella Dallas, with Hanabusa Yuriko and Oka JЕЌji in the starring roles. An unexpected hit reaching a reported audience of ten million, it is sometimes compared to the two other enduring Japanese melodramas, Nomura Hiromasa’s Aizen-katsura (1938–39) and ЕЊba Hideo’s And What Is Your Name? (Kimi no na wa, 1953–54). Yet, as far as Yamamoto was concerned, Page 12 →Mother’s Song and its sequel represented little more than “just a part of my assigned work as an artisan,” a mere discharge of a given responsibility that retained little trace of his “subjectivity.”47 Yamamoto continued, workmanlike, to produce a series of minor works from 1937 to 1940, ranging widely from an adaptation of AndrГ© Gide’s La Symphonie pastorale and a popular period piece on the adventures of the swordsman Tange Sazen to a family melodrama surrounding three young sisters whose father had gone to war.48 While he worked with popular stars such as Hara Setsuko, Takamine Hideko, Yamada Isuzu, and ЕЊkЕЌchi DenjirЕЌ, none of his prewar works up to that juncture is celebrated or even much remembered today. Their relative paucity of dramaturgic sparkle and stylistic polish, resulting from the inexperience of a young director,

accounts primarily for this general critical apathy, but the essential disconnect between those prewar productions and the substantive thematic and artistic qualities of his more defining post-1945 works offers another compelling explanation. The shocking suicide of Shigematsu Tsurunosuke, Yamamoto’s mentor since childhood, just before the painter and social activist’s release from prison in November 1938 weighed heavily on Yamamoto’s mind, so much so that he confessed to gradually losing interest in filmmaking.49 All the films he made in 1939 after The New Tange Sazen: The Chapter of the Two-Armed Swordsman (Shinpen Tange Sazen: SЕЌshu no maki), namely, A Beautiful Start (Uruwashiki shuppatsu,), The Town (Machi), and Madam with a Ribbon (Ribon o musubu fujin), were self-admitted “failures.”50 Better remembered in Japanese film history are the two more overtly propagandistic “national policy films” (kokusaku eiga) he made for TЕЌhЕЌ in the early 1940s under orders from the army, namely, The Wings of Triumph (Tsubasa no gaika, 1942) and Searing Wind (NeppЕ«, 1943), ironically films that, in all likelihood, Yamamoto would have chosen not to make at all if he had had the luxury to do so. Like all wartime filmmakers, including his close future colleagues Imai Tadashi and Kamei Fumio, Yamamoto was hardly immune from considerable political pressures to promote Japan’s Greater East Asia War or else, as he himself grimly reminisced, face the specter of imprisonment and torture.51 It is true that reported instances of Page 13 →harsh punishment meted out to nonconformist film artists were exceedingly rare; this remained the case even after the government’s promulgation of the Film Law (Eiga-hЕЌ) in October 1939, which exerted even more stringent control over all areas of film production. Yet the proletarian film critic Iwasaki Akira’s arrest and imprisonment in 1940 and Kamei Fumio’s ordeal after making his cautiously subversive war documentary The Fighting Soldiers (Tatakau heitai, 1939) were enough to drive the message home.52 Yamamoto reminds us that freedom of expression for the filmmaker after the outbreak of the Pacific War meant only what little freedom he could exercise in hoodwinking the Japanese military (seizei ika ni sukoshi demo gun no me o gomakasu ka).53 Naturally, such beleaguered sentiments suggest, at best, precarious resistance under a tortured sense of resignation, and as such they could scarcely have prevented him from performing the role of a reluctant accomplice in Japan’s imperialist enterprise.54

War Experience and Its Traumas, 1943–45 Yamamoto’s conscription into the Japanese army in 1943 as a thirty-three-year-old private second class was a precursor to a series of momentous Page 14 →experiences that would profoundly shape his more mature worldview and the subsequent trajectory of some of his major postwar films. Confined within his infantry’s barracks, a “vacuum zone” pitilessly severed from the more orthodox rules of legal accountability, ethical standards, social conventions, and behavioral protocols of civil society, he experienced firsthand the sadistic brutality of Japanese military discipline, where naked savagery, physical violence, and hierarchical oppression reigned.55 This peculiarly confined and artificially manipulated space, surrounded by high fences and military regulations, was to inspire the novelist Noma Hiroshi’s reflection that “a man turns into a soldier as every trace of his humanity has been squeezed out of him.”56 Yamamoto related that he lost two front teeth as the recurrent target of physical abuse by his superior officers, men bemused by his rather unusual profession of film director and affronted by his stubborn refusal to prostrate himself before their authority. In a particularly emotional response, Yamamoto stated in an interview some thirty years later that he had never been so publicly humiliated before emphasizing his long-standing desire to retaliate against the spirit of the Japanese army, organized as it was under the dictates of Japan’s emperor system.57 Once in China, what Yamamoto endured as an accessory to Japan’s imperialist expansionism proved equally devastating, but the experiences derived from a foreign land writhing under the boots of Japanese militarism were no longer confined to mere personal humiliation. For the first time, Yamamoto witnessed what war meant not only for his own suffering family and people but also for its effects on a much larger transnational scale. With considerable poignancy, he reminisced about how, after the fall of the ancient capital of Luoyang in Henan Province, a Japanese soldier cold-bloodedly stoned a fatally injured Chinese soldier to death just to save a single bullet. The sight of another young Chinese officer lying dead in an exquisite peony field, with a young woman’s photograph in his breast pocket, further stirred Yamamoto’s awakening to the horrendous inhumanity of war and, more specifically, the savage reality of his country’s aggressionPage 15 → in Asia.58

The destitute cry of a young Chinese boy, demanding to know if Yamamoto had been among the Japanese soldiers who had violated his mother, was equally traumatizing. The following is how Yamamoto remembered such momentous experiences while making War and Peace shortly after the war with his codirector Kamei Fumio. While making [the film], I reflected on my life up to the point where I was forced to participate in the invasion of China as a soldier. Such reflections inspired my firm resolution that not only would I make antiwar pacifism a theme in my film, but it must be my lifelong preoccupation as well.59 Toward the end of his autobiography, Yamamoto reaffirmed such long-held sentiments; he considered antiwar films one of the “indispensable” weapons for combating the increasingly rightward shift then taking place in Japanese politics in the early 1980s.60 Such convictions run through many of his major films in nearly four decades of postwar filmmaking, from War and Peace and The Vacuum Zone in the late 1940s and early 1950s, respectively, to Men and War and The Barren Zone in the 1970s and thence to unfinished projects just before his death in 1983, namely, Labyrinth (Meiro) and The Devil’s Gluttony (Akuma no hЕЌshoku).61 It is also important to note the fundamental motivation for his decision in 1947 to join the JCP, which in his words was “the only political party to have persistently raised the banner of antiwar pacifism during the war.”62 Years later it was apparent that his motivation to put Gomikawa Junpei’s epic novel Men and War (SensЕЌ to ningen) on the screen could also be attributed to lessons derived from another war experience, this time in Vietnam. Yamamoto wrote: My experiences inspired me to embrace the following thoughts. It was true that the weapon’s capabilities were no longer the same, but wasn’t the action of the United States in Vietnam no different from what Japan had done in China during World War II? Imperialist aggression always manifested itself in the same way. Such reflections convinced me of the need to represent the reality of Japan’s war of aggression onscreen. In order to prevent another tragic war, our people must Page 16 →once again firmly grasp what wars are really like. For this purpose as well, it was necessary to represent the history of Japanese aggression in the ShЕЌwa period through film. Such resolutions became hardened while I was in Vietnam. At that time, the image of Gomikawa Junpei’s novel Men and War was already floating in my head.В .В .В . 63 If I hadn’t gone to Vietnam, I probably wouldn’t have taken up that enterprise.64

TЕЌhЕЌ Labor Strikes and the Beginnings of Independent Filmmaking, 1946–52 Yamamoto’s immediate postwar association with the TЕЌhЕЌ studio after his repatriation from the China front was short-lived. The only memorable product was War and Peace, created in commemoration of the promulgation of the new postwar Constitution, along with Japan’s commitment to eternal peace as stipulated in Article 9. Beginning with the experiences of the war widow Machiko (played by Kishi Hatae) and her family amid the air raids on Tokyo in the waning months of the war, the film offers a mixed vision of a new Japan after her supposedly deceased husband, Ken’ichi (Izu Hajime), returns home from China alive. By then Machiko and her son have already formed a new family with Ken’ichi’s friend Yasukichi (Ikebe RyЕЌ). Made during the tumultuous period of the TЕЌhЕЌ labor disputes, after prominent stars of the time, including ЕЊkЕЌchi DenjirЕЌ and Yamada Isuzu, chose to join the newly created studio Shin-TЕЌhЕЌ, this KameiYamamoto film still managed to generate considerable interest among moviegoers in the recently defeated nation, winning second place on Kinema Junpō’s list of Ten Best Films of the year.65 Meanwhile, the management’s standoff Page 17 →with TЕЌhō’s unionized labor and the former’s determination to purge the company of political radicals eventually led to the intervention, on August 19, 1948, by heavily armed forces from the joint US military and the Tokyo Metropolitan Police, a day notoriously remembered as one on which “everything showed up except a battleship” (“konakatta no wa gunkan dake”).66 The incident, a defining chapter in Yamamoto’s early career and one detailed in his autobiography, demonstrated not only serious schisms in the creative vision and management strategies within the TЕЌhЕЌ establishment but, even more ominously, the readiness of those in power to relentlessly crush political progressives and organized labor as the Cold War’s shadow continued to loom over the political landscape in East Asia.67

Ironically, Yamamoto’s political purge from a mainstream film studio after 1948 gave him an important chance to pause and reflect on the larger significance and creative mission of his profession. Along with Kamei Fumio, Imai Tadashi, the producer ItЕЌ TakerЕЌ, and others, Yamamoto was abruptly faced with an opportunity to experiment with new creative strategies in a radically shifting social and political landscape. The result was a fascinating but exasperating decade of independent filmmaking in which liberal film artists worked in close alliance with urban grassroots organizations, progressive intellectuals, peasants, agricultural co-ops, independent theatrical troupes, labor groups, and their supporters. It is fair to say that Yamamoto’s contributions, in particular from 1948 to 1962, marked a significant watershed in his postwar career and helped buttress his prominence among film directors of his generation, alongside that of Imai and Ieki Miyoji. While his purge was the immediate cause for this creative reorientation, the harsh circumstances he faced in financing, producing, and distributing his works conversely reaffirmed his convictions about the fundamental goals of filmmaking in the post–Red Purge era. Despite the dire financial challenges he consistently faced, the consequences of the purge provided the necessary impetus and confidence to his growth and maturity as an artist as he began to appreciate more acutely the crucial symbiotic relationship between filmmakers and their audiences, people who wanted to produce, finance, and watch films on their own terms. He clearly recognized this important effect. While it was a difficult fight, labor’s tenacious resistance inspired a greater sense Page 18 →of solidarity among unionists. Directors and actors went their separate ways to all parts of the country, including Mifune ToshirЕЌ, Kishi Hatae, and others. Under the slogan “Protect Japanese Culture and Japanese Films!” appeals were made to intellectuals, writers, political parties, and labor unions throughout Japan. Numerous “societies for the preservation of culture” (bunka o mamoru kai) were formed in different parts of Japan, and our struggle was gaining the support of progressive forces nationwide. It was only natural that our activities bred an awareness that films must belong to the people and be of the people.68 Utako’s Story (Konna onna ni dare ga shita, 1949), Yamamoto’s first film after his expulsion from TЕЌhЕЌ follows the trials and tragedy of a former army hospital nurse Utako (Kishi Hatae), and her tortured relationships with her husband (Izu Hajime) and abuser (Numazaki Isao), experiences that lead her eventually to kill and be arrested by the police.69 An intense personal drama, the TЕЌyoko film neither betrays substantive political foreshadowing on the part of the director’s public sensibilities nor displays the palpable effects of the TЕЌhЕЌ Labor Strikes on his creative vision. A year later, when Yamamoto’s solidarity with progressive intellectuals, local institutions, and rural constituencies became sufficiently compelling, he began to explore public issues with a much bolder sense of engagement in his first truly independent film. Town of Violence (1950), a drama about an alliance of young newspaper reporters and local citizens battling black marketeers, local gangsters, and dishonest politicians, has invited one intriguing reading as “a critique of Japan’s postwar вЂdemocracy.’”70 This first commercially successful independent production gave Yamamoto much needed encouragement to continue his work outside the bureaucratic and conservative confines of the established film industry. Film distribution was channeled through the North Star Trading Company (Hokusei ShЕЌji), an importer and distributor of Soviet films established in 1947. One consequence of the success of Town of Violence was the founding of the New Star Film Company (Shinsei Eigasha) in 1950 by Yamamoto, Imai Tadashi, and ItЕЌ TakerЕЌ; along with ShindЕЌ Kaneto and Yoshimura KЕЌzaburō’s Modern Film Association (Kindai Eiga KyЕЌkai), New Star was instrumental in paving the way for independent filmmaking in postwar Japan.71 Page 19 →The first film produced by New Star was Imai Tadashi’s And Live We Must (Dokkoi ikiteru, 1951). With its focus on the ordeals of a day laborer’s family, Imai’s work has often been compared to Vittorio De Sica’s 1948 neorealist classic The Bicycle Thief, even though the degree of social activism (“sekkyokusei”) it displays in its treatment of the conditions of Japan’s unemployed has been questioned.72 Its immediate artistic significance aside, the story of its production foretold the many fresh possibilities, as well as the difficult challenges, faced by independent Japanese filmmakers into the 1950s. First, the filmmakers collaborated with the drama troupe Zenshin-za in staging public performances throughout the country. Fund-raising on the troupe’s nationwide circuit, as assisted by some fifty thousand individuals, raised as much as five million yen through small individual contributions. Neither the crew nor the cast received

remuneration before the film’s release, while the merger of New Star and North Star created logistical flexibility for the film’s distribution. The political context of the early struggles of Japanese independent filmmakers can best be framed by the conditions precipitated by the Red Purge, as well as the commencement of the “reverse course” in US policy toward Japan in the aftermath of the controversial Shimoyama, Mitaka, and Matsukawa Incidents of July and August 1949. The dramatic upsurge in JCP membership in the Diet from four to thirty-five after the January 1949 general election had generated considerable anxiety among those apprehensive about the growing and seemingly unstoppable spread of communist influence in Asia. Increasingly, popular support for left-wing causes and the intensifying labor movement in the country further perturbed various conservative groups, which were convinced that postwar initiatives in favor of political democratization and economic and social liberalization had gotten out of hand. The founding of the People’s Republic of China in October 1949 spectacularly heightened such fears; the “loss” of China in particularPage 20 → created a deep sense of crisis among framers of the Occupation policy toward Japan, and the outbreak of the Korean War further exacerbated their anxieties over unfolding geopolitical uncertainties. Considering these profound political developments throughout East Asia and the changing social environment in Japan, it was nothing short of remarkable that such films as Town of Violence and And Live We Must could still be financed, produced, and successfully screened. The close collaboration between Yamamoto’s newly created New Star Films and Zenshin-za was also instrumental in the successful completion of the 1952 production Rising Storm over Hakone, a dramatization of the extraordinary engineering feat of the Edo period merchant Tomono Yoemon (Kawarazaki ChЕЌjЕ«rЕЌ) in channeling much needed irrigation water from Hakone’s Lake Ashinoko through hilly terrain to agricultural land in the west. Spiced with action and spectacular mass scenes and refreshingly driven by an innovative thematic twist that helps invigorate traditional jidaigeki leitmotifs, the film celebrates the courage and resolve of the Asakusa chЕЌnin and his peasant collaborators against formidable political odds, not least the interference of the Edo Bakufu itself.73 With the appearance of Town of Violence and Rising Storm over Hakone, the years 1950–52 marked a promising, if also volatile, beginning for Japanese independent filmmaking, a time of self-doubt mixed with fresh expectations and new bursts of creative energy. Yamamoto himself described those early years as follows. The year 1952 when I finished Rising Storm over Hakone also witnessed one of the peaks in the development of postwar Japan’s independent film movement. For instance, the North Star Trading Company had been steadily consolidating its position, distributing in 1952 films that included Imai Tadashi’s The Yamabiko School (Yamabiko gakkЕЌ) from Yagi Productions, as well as ShindЕЌ Kaneto’s Children of Hiroshima (Genbaku no ko) from the Modern Film Association.74 Page 21 →December of the same year saw the release of The Vacuum Zone (ShinkЕ« chitai), New Star’s third production with North Star again as its distributor.75

A Defining Decade of Independent Filmmaking, 1952–62 The making of The Vacuum Zone in 1952 marked an important development in Yamamoto’s postwar career. Shot inside the former army barracks of the Sakura Regiment in Chiba Prefecture, the very location where Yamamoto himself had received military training as a private second class, the film was coproduced by the film critic Iwasaki Akira, with musical score by Dan Ikuma and impressive performances by Kimura Isao and Shimomoto Tsutomu as first privates Kitani and Soda, respectively.76 The producer Gotō Toshio has pointedly characterized the film as “the crystallization of [Yamamoto’s] sense of conviction,” while the film critic Satō Tadao has remarked that it was “the first [film] that thoroughly depicts, from beginning to end, the reality of Japanese army life.” 77 Placing sixth in Kinema Junpō’s Ten Best Films of 1952,78 it was a most stunning work, particularly with respect to Japan’s postwar moviegoers, many of whom had themselves been victimized, as Satō suggested, by similar and yet still unutterable experiences of institutionalized abuse within the army. Yamamoto himself recalled in his autobiography his keen sense of resolve while reading Noma’s classic work.

Reading Noma Hiroshi’s novel convinced me with compelling certitude that I must turn The Vacuum Zone into a film. In it I found overlapping layers of experience between my own and what emerged from Noma’s narrative. In exasperation, I was reminded of what had happened to me as a freshman recruit in my small army unit as I was taught military discipline. My wretched experiences returned to haunt me like raging waves of revulsion emanating from my inner recesses. I can still remember to this day, after finalizing plans to adapt Noma’s Page 22 →novel onscreen, how my determination to redress the humiliation I had experienced manifested itself within me like blazing passion before a fight.79 During the making of The Vacuum Zone, Noma Hiroshi’s abstruse literary style was greeted nervously and prompted some to question whether the novel would in fact lend itself easily to adaptation onscreen. The idea of focusing the human drama around life within an army barracks, on the other hand, convinced Yamamoto and his crew that, as long as the essential skeleton of Noma’s novel could be preserved, there was no particular need to follow the original narrative at every turn. The screenwriter, Yamagata YЕ«saku, ultimately attributed the film’s success to Yamamoto’s considerable directorial skills and described the work as “a masterpiece infused with the most fervent expression of his spirit” (mottomo eiki no minagitta meisaku).80 That The Vacuum Zone occupies a special position in Yamamoto’s oeuvre is indicated also by the extraordinary demands he made on his actors, who were largely chosen from the shingeki theater. One manifestation of Yamamoto’s sense of engagement was his insistence that the physically violent scenes—and there is an alarmingly disturbing profusion of such in the film—be real and not simulated. Clearly, his goal was not simply to infuse his reenactment of wartime Japanese military brutality with dramatic intensity and physical immediacy, but also to resurrect authentically his own tormented wartime experiences. He wrote: I also made it hard on the actors by insisting that they not fake violent actions. Ordinarily, in scenes in which someone is slapped, the victim will slyly deflect his face sideways before we put in the sound, thereby simulating a blow across the face. But that wouldn’t produce the real feel. When we shot slapping scenes this way, the trickery was immediately apparent. I therefore asked the actors to bear the pain and actually get whacked. Since this was the army, violence of this sort was common. This arrangement did not apply only to the shot before the camera. The action was real in rehearsals and repeated in the same way when it got an NG. I think both the perpetrators and the victims of the violence gritted Page 23 →their teeth and got through it. I was so deeply engaged in what I was doing that I felt I was filming my own autobiography.81 While The Vacuum Zone’s success in Japan and abroad did provide a considerable morale boost to independent filmmakers in the early 1950s, its effects turned out to be a double-edged sword.82 Reflecting on the major causes of the failure of independent filmmaking at this historic juncture, Yamamoto concluded that after The Vacuum Zone an inflated self-confidence began to develop among independent filmmakers about their future endeavors, unduly emboldening them to think in terms of big-budget productions with a mind-set not dissimilar from that of the established film industry.83 Meanwhile, the established studios quickly responded by launching a series of highly effective, and ultimately lethal, counteroffensives. Perhaps one of the most damaging to Yamamoto and his colleagues was the continuing success with which the established industry continued to tighten its powerful chokehold around its close network of subsidiary establishments, including cinemas contracted to screen exclusively films produced by the mainstream studios. Unless those powerful studios were willing to buy and distribute independent films, screening could take place only after arduous and convoluted negotiations Page 24 →with nonaffiliated cinemas one at a time.84 Meanwhile, an arrangement spearheaded by ShЕЌchiku, TЕЌhЕЌ, Dai’ei, Shin-TЕЌhЕЌ, and TЕЌei, called the “five-studio agreement” (“gosha kyЕЌtei”) went into effect in September 1953.85 Effectively prohibiting actors, film directors, and other members of the film crew under contract with any one studio to work for another, including, naturally, independent filmmakers, the agreement was another nail in the coffin of unorthodox or self-financed enterprises.86 The result, not surprisingly, was box office setbacks for many independently produced works by directors, including Sekigawa Hideo, Ieki Miyoji, Yoshimura KЕЌzaburЕЌ, and, perhaps most notably, Yamamoto himself. The following is his assessment of the situation.

With Ieki Miyoji’s At the Edge of the Clouds (Kumo nagaruru hate ni, May 1953) representing the apex of its success, North Star’s fortunes plunged into a dramatic downward spiral. Thereafter, the independent films it distributed were either commercial failures or disappointments, irrespective of their quality. In 1953, those films included If Only I Could Offer My Life (Kimi ni sasageshi inochi nariseba, directed by Wakasugi Mitsuo), Kani-kЕЌsen (The Cannery Boat, directed by Yamamura SЕЌ), Red Bicycle (Akai jitensha, directed by Fujiwara Sugio), and Hiroshima (directed by Sekigawa Hideo). In 1954 they included Edge of the Sun (Hi no hate, directed by Yamamoto Satsuo), Wild Feast (KyЕЌen, directed Page 25 →by Sekigawa Hideo), Cape Ashizuri (Ashizuri-misaki, directed by Yoshimura KЕЌzaburЕЌ), and Lights (Tomoshibi, directed by Ieki Miyoji). The bankruptcy of North Star occurred in July 1954.87 Despite being commercial flops, many of the independent films on Yamamoto’s list were notable accomplishments of early postwar Japanese cinema. For instance, offering riveting spectacles inspired by Kobayashi Takiji’s classic narrative of relentlessly exploited labor on a factory ship off the waters of Kamchatka, Cannery Boat (1953) displays Yamamura Sō’s impressive handling of characters and narrative control hardly to be expected from a directorial debut.88 With engaging performances by Okada Eiji and Tsuruta KЕЌji, Yamamoto’s own 1954 Edge of the Sun, based on Umezaki Haruo’s 1947 story, offers highly impressive scenes depicting the Japanese army’s final beastly days in the Philippines in 1945. Unfolding with considerable dramatic impact and gripping narrative turns, this little-noticed film in fact predated Ichikawa Kon’s much better known treatment of the cannibalistic barbarity of the Japanese army in the Philippines in his Fires on the Plain (Nobi, 1959) by half a decade. The difficult year 1954 also witnessed the production of Streets without the Sun, the first Yamamoto film to achieve international recognition, in this instance at the Karlovy Vary International Film Festival in Prague, winning the Director’s Award and “special honors” (“eiyЕЌshō”). The film resurrects Tokunaga Sunao’s 1929 eponymous novel, a study of the underbelly of Japanese urban existence and the struggles of a community of former printshop laborers on a long, drawn-out strike amid formidable personal hardships and tight police surveillance.89 The artistic director Kubo Kazuo meticulously re-created the late TaishЕЌ milieu around Tokyo’s Koishikawa slums from Setagaya Ward’s Komazawa Park, complete with period tenement houses, a large open ditch area, and tall soot-spouting chimneys. Page 26 →Covering an area totaling seven thousand tsubo, it was reputed to be the largest open set ever designed for Japan’s independent films.90 Yamamoto’s work is distinguished by its outstanding cast, including superb performances by Katsura Michiko in her debut appearance as Kayo, a destitute girl in love who later dies in childbirth, and Hidaka Sumiko as Takae, Kayo’s strong-willed sister and a supporter of her striking neighbors. Nihonyanagi Hiroshi and Hara Yasumi as the union leader Hagimura and Kayo’s ill-fated lover Miyaji, respectively, imbue their portraits of labor activists with steadfast and persuasive conviction. Other notable performers include the accomplished veteran actor Susukida Kenji as the sisters’ bedridden father whose only path to redemption for his profound sense of loss and despair is suicide. Despite only a brief appearance, Miyaguchi Seiji, of Seven Samurai fame, is impressive as a drunkard who sells his daughter (Kishi Hatae) into prostitution in a desperate attempt to keep the rest of his family alive. Successfully resurrecting a dismal urban slum of the 1920s with extraordinary attention to detail, the film also gave further proof of Yamamoto’s skill in handling volatile mass scenes and his considerable dexterity in structuring a dense social narrative punctuated with profound human tragedies. Meticulously crafted images of the disfranchised neighborhood struggling against police suppression, gang violence, internal dissent, and economic despair infused Yamamoto’s work with emotional intensity without overdoses of jarring sentimentality. Understandably, Yamamoto expressed the hope that his audience would watch his ambitious production “crying and laughing and simmering with the characters with sweaty hands.”91 Yet artistic success and even significant international recognition offered little insulation from dire financial challenges and the institutionalized hurdles erected by the independent filmmakers’ powerful competitors. Streets without the Sun essentially bankrupted the New Star Film Company in 1955 with its excessive production

costs and disappointing box office receipts. The company that absorbed New Star, the Independent Film Studio /Central Film Studio (Dokuritsu Eiga-sha/ChЕ«ЕЌ Eiga-sha) was at first no more successful,Page 27 → and its continued existence was made possible only through the efforts and goodwill of those who wanted to keep independent films alive. Yamamoto recalled: In order to give an impetus to such an independent studio, three film directors—Yoshimura KЕЌzaburЕЌ, Imai Tadashi, and myself, worked together to make an omnibus film called If Indeed One Loves (Ai sureba koso).92 I think all of us, including the crew and cast, were concerned about the crisis facing independent films and wanted to keep the spirit of independent production alive. We worked with the understanding that the film had to be made inexpensively and finished within a short time frame. All the crew and the cast members worked voluntarily without pay, and the project was completed in ten days.93 The struggles facing independent filmmakers in the early 1950s found interesting allegorical parallels in the plots of several films Yamamoto himself made during that period. The financial plight of the itinerant kabuki troupe Ichikawa MagorЕЌ in The Floating Weeds Diary, for instance, could well be seen as a reflection of the real-life ordeals facing the director and his crew at the time. It was under such extraordinarily adverse circumstances that Yamamoto made two important midcareer films, The Human Wall and Song of the Cart-Pullers, the latter a production financed, for the first time in Japanese film history, through ten-yen contributions from farm women and other grassroots supporters nationwide. To recoup other production costs, Shin-TЕЌhЕЌ was given the film’s distribution rights for one month. Remarkably, the number of village-level spectators who saw the film through nothing more technically advanced than ninety-nine sets of portable movie projectors was estimated to be ten million.94 Yamamoto gave the following assessment of the significance of this pioneering act. With the assistance of us specialists, it was a product that the farmers themselves made, screened, and watched, a film created on their own terms, funded with their own money, and realized as a weapon in their own struggles. In that sense, it was a major success story as an independent production released through independent channels.95 Page 28 →Without overt nostalgia or undue sentimentality, Song of the Cart-Pullers attempts to capture a panorama of Japanese rural existence by interweaving images of toiling village cart-pullers with episodes of fleeting youthful romance, bitter familial discord between wife and mother-in-law, childbirth, conflict between grandmother and daughter, and later the family’s difficult cohabitation with the male head’s newly acquired concubine, an arrangement in rural villages known as saishЕЌ dЕЌkin.96 Such images are reinforced by the bittersweet experiences of children growing up, their own romances and marriages, their departures, and the inevitable passing of family members. A sweeping historical narrative told at an intimate microcosmic level, it frames the lives of an extended peasant family in the mountains of Hiroshima Prefecture by chronicling its journey from the harsh prewar past through tenant farming to wartime tragedy and death subsequent to the 1945 atomic explosion.97 The film is distinguished by the exceptional performance of Mochizuki YЕ«ko as the peasant woman Seki, an achievement complemented by Hayashi Hikaru’s stirring score and Maeda Minoru’s empathetic cinematography.98 Even the apparently unforgiving mother-in-law (played by the veteran actress Kishi Teruko), herself the pitiable product of a long life of seemingly unredeemable suffering, is treated with gentle, understanding compassion, as her illness and old age prevent her from recognizing her own estranged granddaughter (Hidari Sachiko), who returns to see her with hopes for a reconciliation. Arguably, this is the film that most compellingly captures Yamamoto’s humanist tendencies as a film artist since his prewar directorial debut in 1937. Some of the most poignant scenes, such as Seki’s exchanges with her husband Mokichi (Mikuni RentarЕЌ) and her children after learning about the former’s wayward affair, unfold with such studied understatement that the skills displayed profoundly testify to Yamamoto’s maturity as an acute observer of the human condition. As the critic Iwasaki Akira has pointed out, among the precious few feature films on Japanese rural life, Yamamoto’s work can be compared to Uchida Tomu’s prewar The Page 29 →Earth (Tsuchi, 1939), adapted from Nagatsuka Takashi’s classic novel about rural life in Ibaraki

Prefecture.99 With the complete print of Uchida’s film missing today, Yamamoto’s work perhaps stands alone in terms of comparable historical scope, thematic range, and dramatic verisimilitude.100 The other major film Yamamoto made in the same year was also noteworthy, even though its overall artistic accomplishments paled before Song of the Cart-Pullers. Based on Ishikawa Tatsuzō’s novel and with Kagawa KyЕЌko and Uno JЕ«kichi in the starring roles, The Human Wall portrays elementary school teachers as they fight personal and professional battles amid a treacherous confrontation between NikkyЕЌso, Japan’s largest teachers’ union, and the ruling Liberal Democratic Party. NikkyЕЌso financed the production even though that did not prevent the film’s inclusion of the opposing point of view and the depiction of a political turncoat from within the ranks of the local teachers’ union. A year later the making of Battle without Arms (Buki-naki tatakai, 1960), based on the career of the renowned prewar social activist Yamamoto Senji (1889–1929), faced much harsher financial challenges. Again various independent theatrical troupes provided indispensable personnel, with Gekidan Bungei and HaiyЕ«za prominently among them. According to the film’s producer, ItЕЌ TakerЕЌ, the money ran out just as filming began, and the crew members had no choice but to lodge at a local temple, where they had to prepare their own meals. Meanwhile, funds were raised on a daily basis with the help of various trade unions. It finally reached the point where there were no longer enough funds left to purchase the film negative itself. It was at this critical juncture that an auspicious contribution of three million yen arrived from a Chinese confederation of trade unions, a gesture ItЕЌ compared to “[receiving the graces] of the Buddha while in hell” (jigoku ni hotoke).101 By the early 1960s, it had become painfully clear even to the most sanguine of independent filmmakers that their hard-fought battles, begun a Page 30 →decade earlier but stripped of stable sources of funding, reliable screening venues, and surrounded on all sides by the hostile alliance of the established studios, was hardly viable. Many chose, with varying degrees of predisposition, to continue their careers within the main industry, a list that included Imai Tadashi, Ieki Miyoji, and Sekigawa Hideo. Even Yamamoto himself admitted his readiness to do so under the circumstances,102 although his well-known political proclivities would have precluded a smooth transition back to the big studios. At that time, some of my friends who had previously worked in independent productions were beginning to relocate themselves within the film industry. We had no special desire to continue making exclusively independent films, nor did we hold any particular contempt toward the established industry. On my part, I was prepared at all times to work within the industry as long as my services were needed. But I was the very last person to get offers anywhere. Perhaps I was regarded as “the reddest” of them all. As my friends were beginning to become more financially secure, I suppose I was the one who had the most trying experience making a livelihood. Economically speaking, I was a complete catastrophe. When Nagata Masaichi proposed that I work within Dai’ei,103 certain high-ranking officials apparently opposed the idea on the grounds that I was a communist. I learned that Nagata overturned the opposition, saying that as long as I could perform, being a communist shouldn’t be a deterrent.104 As far as this matter was concerned, I suppose I should feel indebted to Nagata, but still I was utterly astounded that, of all people, it was Nagata, the rightest among the right, who made the move to recruit me.105 Page 31 →

Filmmaking within the Mainstream Industry, 1962–82 Returning to work in the established film industry in 1962 was by and large an awkward experience for Yamamoto, accustomed as he had been for more than a decade to making independent films. The fact that Yamamoto’s hiring was initiated, despite purported resistance from within, by none other than Dai’ei’s arch-conservative president—a remarkable irony in postwar Japanese film history—also illustrated the pragmatism of an established studio impressed with Yamamoto’s record of successful filmmaking. Ultimately, it was clear that the bottom line would carry the day. At first, however, the atmosphere Yamamoto encountered at Dai’ei was not exactly welcoming.

The filming was primarily done at Dai’ei’s Kyoto studio. At the time within the film industry, those who had earlier been targeted in the Red Purge were looked upon with apparent trepidation. As someone who until then had been working exclusively as an independent filmmaker, I was regarded within the studio as something of a heretic. I could sense it in the air, as if everyone was just opening a little crack in the window to take a curious peek at the coming of a red devil.106 Yet Yamamoto’s Ninja: A Band of Assassins (Shinobi no mono, 1962) and its sequel (1963), based on Murayama Tomoyoshi’s serialized novel and featuring the stylish jidaigeki star Ichikawa RaizЕЌ, were such spectacular commercial successes that with time his position within Dai’ei came to rest on much firmer footing. However, Nagata’s subsequent desire to make a third sequel alienated Yamamoto, whose continuing interest in the story stemmed rather more from his wish to trace the historical fate of ninjas than from any desire to score at the box office with unsustainable fantasy tales. Far from wishing to glamorize the exploits of ninjutsu or the acts of Ishikawa Goemon, the legendary Azuchi-Momoyama period outlaw played by Ichikawa RaizЕЌ, Yamamoto was much more concerned about the vicissitudes of ninja fighters from their medieval origins to what he believed was their modern reincarnation as intelligence operatives in the Army Nakano School. When Nagata showed no interest in Yamamoto’s ideas, the latter refused to continue filming the moneymaking series for Dai’ei. The Tycoon (Kizudarake no sanga, 1964), Yamamoto’s next big hit, was based on a popular Ishikawa TatsuzЕЌ story with a briskly paced screenplay by ShindЕЌ Kaneto and cinematography by Kobayashi Setsuo. The entertaining film depicts the flamboyant life of the railroad magnate Arima Katsuhei Page 32 →(Yamamura SЕЌ), with a strong supporting cast, including a notable appearance by TЕЌno EijirЕЌ as his business rival. As the aggressive head of a business conglomerate overseeing not only railroad interests but also department stores and land development projects, Katsuhei openly keeps several mistresses outside his bland marriage, including his former employee Mitsuko (Wakao Ayako). His son Akihiko (Takahashi KЕЌji) complicates the already intricate relationship by developing a love interest in Mitsuko before becoming a suicidal arsonist. While the narrative focuses on Katsuhei’s megalomaniacal personality as father, husband, and businessman, the film’s success might partly be attributed to Yamamura’s compelling interpretation of this business tycoon, who comes across as quite an intriguing figure. The film project was motivated by Yamamoto’s desire to paint a portrait of a postwar Japanese entrepreneur during a period of ascending Japanese capitalism in the early 1960s. The two-and-a-half-hour film earned considerable critical acclaim after the leading actor was changed from the internationally acclaimed tenor Fujiwara Yoshie, who had no acting experience, to the veteran Yamamura. On the film’s reception, Yamamoto wrote: After the film was finished, I recall that much was said in the press to the effect that for the first time a capitalist had made his appearance in a Japanese film; the critics went on to say that the film depicted what amounted to a vivacious emblem of the newly risen bourgeoisie.107 The Witness’ Chair (ShЕЌnin no isu, 1965), made a year later, was based on KaikЕЌ Ken’s 1962 novel about a woman from Tokushima City, Fuji Shigeko, who had been falsely accused of killing her husband before serving most of her fourteen-year sentence without redress in a Wakayama penitentiary. Admittedly a huge commercial failure—according to Yamamoto, Dai’ei was reluctant to promote the film—it was at least partly responsible for bringing about Fuji’s retrial , even though the innocent woman did not live long enough to see justice finally prevail. In the late 1960s, Yamamoto made a series of films of uneven quality for Dai’ei, including such memorable signature works as The Great White Tower but also a largely unremarkable episode in the ZatЕЌichi series, until he became exasperated with the heavy bureaucratic constraints he had to deal with inside an established studio. When Dai’ei went bankrupt in 1971, Yamamoto’s thoughts turned again to independent filmmaking. He was first encouraged by the activities of the Japan Art Theatre Guild, a group that was Page 33 →beginning to gain popularity with young urban audiences in Tokyo in the early 1960s and would continue to do so for the next two decades. Young, ambitious, and experimentally minded directors such as ЕЊshima Nagisa and Hani Susumu produced some of their early and critically acclaimed works, including Diary of a Shinjuku Thief (Shinjuku dorobЕЌ nikki, 1969) and First Love: A Chapter from Hell (Hatsukoi-jigoku-hen, 1968), respectively. To be sure,

Yamamoto warmly supported the group, but he felt at the same time that their films were not the kind he wished to make. To be sure, he shared with the younger directors a sense of aesthetic and political rebelliousness against more archaic styles of representation or thematic engagement, but neither the works of ЕЊshima and Hani nor Teshigahara Hiroshi’s avant-garde experimentalism provided Yamamoto with quite the necessary impetus or intellectual inspiration for his next significant projects. Bold experimentation with abstruse surrealism or abstract representations of everyday life was hardly congruous with Yamamoto’s artistic temperament or his selfprofessed sense of mission as a filmmaker.108 In return, directors such as ЕЊshima thought that the realism of the Left, as manifested in their independent productions, were “not able to generate a fundamentally new form” due to the fact that “they were always conscious of the audience’s receptiveness to the traditional forms.”109 Yamamoto’s next significant venture, as it turned out, was directly linked to his personal experiences in the Vietnam War. It is difficult to tell what lasting influence the North Vietnamese film Kim Dong had on Yamamoto. Suffice it to say that it was the first he saw from that country, in a film festival he attended in Indonesia in 1964, and it certainly aroused his interest in that part of the world given his staunch antiwar sentiments. When the rare opportunity arose to make a war documentary from the North Vietnamese perspective, it snowballed into the film Vietnam (Betonamu, 1969), even though he didn’t actually direct the film—that responsibility was given to Page 34 →Masuda KentarЕЌ. Yamamoto summarized his reflections and experiences while working in Vietnam by drawing, as we have seen, parallels between the action of the United States there with Japan’s imperialist aggression in China during the Second Sino-Japanese War more than twenty years before. Working as the editor and managing supervisor of the film and equipped with North Vietnamese footage, Yamamoto’s 135-minute documentary portrays the conflict in Southeast Asia through private letters by a group of young people from a North Vietnamese anti-aircraft military squad, a film described by Thomas R. H. Havens as the “blockbuster production of the midwar period” along with other contemporary films by directors such as Horikawa Hiromichi and Higashi YЕЌichi.110 Yamamoto’s ruminations and endeavors on Vietnam would eventually lead to the production of his most unforgettable work. Yamamoto’s trilogy Men and War (1970–73) has sometimes been compared to Kobayashi Masaki’s earlier classic The Human Condition (Ningen no jЕЌken, 1959–61), which was based on another epic novel by Gomikawa Junpei.111 As postwar Japan’s most ambitiously structured and celebrated antiwar films, both were known for their extraordinary length; the screening time for Yamamoto’s work is nine hours and twenty-three minutes, just slightly less than Kobayashi’s.112 By any measure, it is Yamamoto’s most important work in his entire filmmaking career and an outstanding monument in the history of Japanese film. Men and War’s narrative meanders along divergent but densely intertwined transnational terrain. Unraveling through the emaki-like narrative and interlaced with riveting human dramas are events marking tumultuous moments in modern Japanese and East Asian history: the March 15 Incident of 1928,113 the Kwantung Army’s 1928 assassination of Page 35 →Zhang Zuolin, the 1931 Manchurian Incident, the February 26 Incident of 1936, and the 1936 Xi’an Incident. The film reenacts such pivotal events against the background of rising Japanese adventurism in northeastern China until it culminates in a full-scale war with China after the 1937 Lugouqiao Incident and later in the 1939 Soviet-Japanese conflict in Nomonhan on the ManchurianMongolian border. The film’s cast includes Takizawa Osamu, Ashida Shinsuke, Asaoka Ruriko, Kishida KyЕЌko, Mikuni RentarЕЌ, Ishihara YЕ«jirЕЌ, Takahashi Hideki, KitaЕЌji Kinya, Sakuma Yoshiko, Nitani Hideaki, Yoshinaga Sayuri, Tamura Takahiro, Kurihara Komaki and many others, a truly extraordinary assembly of major performers in the film industry of the time.114 SatЕЌ Masaru and Himeda Masahisa served splendidly as, respectively, music director and cinematographer throughout the entire project. Also worthy of particular mention are the contributions of art directors Yokoo YoshirЕЌ, Fukatami Hiroshi, and ЕЊmura Takeshi. Densely intertwining real and fictional figures and events, Men and War surveys East Asia’s sociopolitical milieu during the first half of the Fifteen Years’ War on a dynamic scale never before attempted in modern Japanese film. The narrative is richly populated with an array of intriguing characters: Japanese military conspirators, Kwantung Army staff officers, Manchurian warlords, high-ranking government ministers, and Japanese proletarian writers and critics. Ishihara Kanji, Itagaki SeishirЕЌ, KЕЌmoto Daisaku, Tanaka RyЕ«kichi,

TЕЌjЕЌ Hideki, and Zhang Xueliang share this tempestuous stage with Zhang Zuolin, Nagata Tetsuzan, and Takahashi Korekiyo and their Japanese army assassins. Well-placed references are made to prominent early ShЕЌwa intellectuals such as Minobe Tatsukichi, Kurahara Korehito, Nagata Hiroshi, and Tosaka Jun, as well as to the brutal death of Kobayashi Takiji in 1933, the last item a most effective tactic used by a Japanese police torturer to intimidate a still wavering writer into final capitulation. The colorful family members of the ascending Godai zaibatsu, its political adversaries including the young dissident solider Shimegi KЕЌhei (Yamamoto Kei), along with other major characters, on the other hand, are entirely fictitious. Yamamoto made sure that a few members of the Chinese Page 36 →and Korean resistance, albeit all played by Japanese actors, were given their respective voices—at least in the early part of the trilogy—as their lands continued to grieve under the humiliating ordeal of Japanese imperialism.115 A rich array of still other characters, including Manchurian “horse bandits” and guerrilla forces, Japanese continental adventurers, hired killers, opium smugglers, Russian prostitutes, predatory businessmen, and murderous henchmen are juxtaposed against the struggling Chinese masses, while Japan’s vulnerable liberal publishers, artists, students, and workers struggle amidst dire apprehension and helplessness in the face of their country’s ravaging exploits. One particularly engrossing if succinct character study is that of Tajima (compellingly played by the stage actor Suzuki Mizuho), a thoroughly demoralized casualty of police torture before becoming a publisher of an economics journal in Manchuria. Reduced to nothing more than a skeleton of his former rebellious self, he precariously fortified himself from continuing political pressure by resorting to a mixture of bitter resignation and weathered cynicism. Finally, with empathetic company and sake in his belly, he manages to summon whatever is left of his sense of self-respect and moral courage to confess to young Godai Shunsuke (KitaЕЌji Kinya) that he never should have capitulated under government pressure. By crafting such a figure besieged by profound despair and drowning in seemingly unredeemable self-blame, Yamamoto gives us perhaps the first persuasive portrait of a tormented early ShЕЌwa “ideological apostate” (tenkЕЌ-sha) in Japanese film, figures that writers who had undergone similar experiences themselves—Takami Jun, Kamei KatsuichirЕЌ, Shimaki Kensaku and others—have so memorably described. There are other, equally unforgettable images and human dramas. Political intrigues and power struggles within the Japanese military, acts of barbarism against Chinese villagers, Japanese biological experiments on human subjects, other atrocities, pillage, arson, rapes, and assassinations interweave with shattered dreams, unfulfilled nationalist aspirations, and aborted romances. This dramatic extravaganza was played out by an extraordinary assembly of characters, men and women profoundly divided by nationality, class, and ideology and yet fatefully bonded by love, camaraderie,Page 37 → shared hatred, common convictions, and self-interest. The historical canvas on which this dense narrative unfolds was perhaps unprecedented in the history of Japanese film. To be sure, Yamamoto’s work has its share of inadequacies, even though it must be noted that some were unavoidable due to circumstantial limitations. The inability to shoot on location in China, including pivotal historical sites in the country’s northeastern provinces where so much of the crucial action in East Asian history in the early 1930s unfolded, was particularly unfortunate.116 It necessarily compromised the film’s visual texture, its cultural authenticity, and consequently its critical sense of physical and historical immediacy. Nikkatsu, to its credit, diligently created extraordinarily elaborate sets in its studio, including an authentic-looking opium den in the Jinan segment in part 1 of the series, even though many of the other Chinese street scenes seem unduly ostentatious, jammed with quasi-Chinese motifs and embellishments. Meanwhile, formidable language hurdles facing the Japanese actors, who had to deliver sometimes rather convoluted lines in Mandarin, often resulted in noticeably awkward exchanges, leading to episodes of virtually incomprehensible dialogue to native ears.117 The same was apparently true, according to Yamamoto’s own account, when the actors spoke “Russian.”118 Still, serious attempts were made to ensure historical verisimilitude through careful research by the nonfiction writer Sawachi Hisae, while personal experiences, including Gomikawa Junpei’s encounter with Japan’s Special Police, undoubtedly reinforced the film’s narrative persuasiveness.119 The army’s repeated acts of sadistic savagery against private Page 38 →first class Shimegi KЕЌhei, hauntingly reminiscent of episodes presented earlier in The Vacuum Zone, once more drew from the director’s own indelible wartime experiences.

Had Yamamoto been allowed to follow through with his original plans, he would in all likelihood have created an even more momentous epic, concluding, as he himself indicated, with the adjudication of what he called Japan’s “merchants of death” at the Tokyo Trials.120 The fact that the film in its current form is an abruptly concluded trilogy, a decision Nikkatsu made just after the second installment, made it imperative that the film crew make radical revisions to the original plot, ultimately resulting in a complete overhaul of Yamamoto’s creative vision. Even though Gomikawa himself attempted to downplay the consequences of Nikkatsu’s unfortunate decision,121 it is undeniable that the cost was a significant artistic concession to the studio’s economic bottom line. The ultimate fate of the Godai zaibatsu, along with many of its important family members, remains an unsettling mystery. They include Yukiko (Asaoka Ruriko) and Eisuke (Takahashi Etsushi), to say nothing of the YЕ«suke (Takizawa Osamu) and KyЕЌsuke (Ashida Shinsuke) brothers. AntiJapanese resistance fighters and the ill-fated Chinese maiden, played by Chii Takeo, Yamamoto Gaku, and Kurihara Komaki, respectively, were likewise left largely in narrative limbo. Another piece of the political drama that begs for further illumination is Shimegi’s experience with the Chinese Communist Eighth Route Army, which, as the audience learns, saves him from atrocious violence at the hands of his Japanese army superiors.122 For all its extraordinarily impressive achievements, the film ends on a surprisingly incongruous melodramatic note. Neither Shunsuke’s surprising encounter with his childhood Page 39 →mentor Haiyama on Nomonhan’s blood-choked battlefield nor his after-battle reunion with his onetime lover Toma offers a memorable image to bring a fitting sense of closure to such a grand historical epic. Yamamoto’s next major work after Men and War was One Splendid Family (1974), for all practical purposes an elaborate sequel to The Tycoon, made exactly one decade earlier. The film paints through multiple personal perspectives a riveting drama unfolding within the ManpyЕЌ family, headed by the all-powerful patriarch ManpyЕЌ Daisuke, the ruthless authoritarian and shrewd president of the Hanshin Bank.123 Based on a popular Yamasaki Toyoko novel, the sardonically titled film again had an ambitious plot and an all-star cast, culminating in yet another memorable performance by the fine character actor Saburi Shin in his well-cast role as the epitome of postwar Japanese capitalist aggrandizement. The rest of the cast included Nakadai Tatsuya, Tsukioka Yumeji, KyЕЌ Machiko, Yamamoto YЕЌko, Tamiya JirЕЌ, Nitani Hideaki, Nishimura KЕЌ, KitaЕЌji Kinya, Meguro YЕ«ki, and Kagawa KyЕЌko—another remarkable assembly of Japan’s top performers. The tightly knit and entertaining 211-minute film dramatically depicts the stormy history of a struggling steel company headed by ManpyЕЌ Teppei (Nakadai Tatsuya), the ill-fated son of Daisuke long suspected to be the illegitimate child of his father and Daisuke’s own wife, and the behind-the-scenes intrigues leading to the company’s bankruptcy. This is followed by Teppei’s suicide, the revelation of his true blood lineage, and the resultant amalgamation of two city banks to serve the ultimate interests of the ManpyЕЌ empire and the ambitions of powerful behind-the-scenes politicians. Laced with political and factional maneuverings and relentless competition among large and influential banks, the narrative is also peppered with intimate scenes between Daisuke and his old-fashioned and impeccably mannered wife (Tsukioka Yumeji), as well as with the family tutor turned de facto mistress (devilishly played by KyЕЌ Machiko). With only minor blemishes at the film’s beginning,124 Yamada Nobuo’s fine screenplay again demonstrates his considerable skills as an effective storyteller, while SatЕЌ Masaru’s elegant, if Page 40 →also subtly irreverent, score again reveals his wideranging versatility as an extraordinarily talented composer for postwar Japanese films. One Splendid Family was followed by a succession of highly engrossing works in the late 1970s, including Annular Eclipse (1975), The Barren Zone (1976), and Nomugi Pass (1979). Based on Ishikawa Tatsuzō’s novel about systemic corruption in the early 1960s within a thinly veiled Ikeda Hayato administration, Annular Eclipse at the outset presents the audience with a riveting picture of the sun, its dazzling fringes ominously enclosing a large, pitch-dark, and rotten core. The allusion associated with that image, reinforced by textual elaboration on screen, becomes all but unmistakable; the trenchant sting is directed at the sorry state of Japanese politics at the time, the frailty of the country’s news media, and the chilling ethical degeneracy of its leading corporations. The notorious bribery scandal surrounding a massive public infrastructure project allowed Yamamoto to paint scathing, if also darkly comical, portraits of top Japanese politicians, crooked business executives, and an uncanny underworld financier, all masterful practitioners of the art of influence peddling, intelligence gathering, and political blackmail.125 The rich array of supporting characters includes the unscrupulous wife of the prime minister (KyЕЌ Machiko), with her behind-the-scenes maneuverings; scheming

geishas and madams, including one cavalierly traded as a sex toy and political bait (Yasuda Michiyo); and political reporters belabored with varying degrees of cynicism as they gingerly navigate the fringes of that treacherous, and sometimes even murderous, arena. This bizarre assortment of bedfellows invigorates and tantalizes Ishikawa’s powerful political drama, nimbly interpreted through the impressive performances of Nakadai Tatsuya, Mikuni RentarЕЌ, Uno JЕ«kichi, Nishikawa KЕЌ, and Takahashi Etsushi.126 In fact, one might even go so far as to say that Uno and Nakadai each gave one of the most brilliant performances of their long and distinguished careers.127 Propelled by Tasaka Kei’s briskly paced screenplay and enhanced by Kobayashi Setsuo’s cinematography, the film scored Page 41 →considerable artistic and commercial success and has remained one of the staple Yamamoto productions. In his award-winning The Barren Zone (1976), Yamamoto continued his study of systemic collusion between toplevel Japanese politicians and the country’s most powerful economic elites, in this case multinational trading corporations, with lethal internal personnel struggles and ruthless foreign military aircraft makers thrown into the mix. Again an adaptation of one of Yamasaki Toyoko’s best-known novels,128 it is perhaps the only serious Japanese film that attempts to reenact and contextualize a profoundly tormenting internment experience in Siberia—the eleven-year ordeal of a former member of the General Staff at the Imperial Headquarters—within a larger postwar social and political landscape. With Yamada Nobuo’s deftly crafted screenplay, The Barren Zone delves into clandestine negotiations, covert political maneuverings, and high-level under-the-table deals in connection with Japan’s procurement of its next-generation fighter jets from the United States. Nakadai Tatsuya gives a nuanced performance as Iki Tadashi, an old-time warrior turned Machiavellian political strategist for a multinational Kansai trading corporation deeply involved in the cutthroat game of political influence peddling and underhanded competition. Tamba Tetsurō’s portrayal of a high-ranking Defense Agency official and a victim of the merciless maneuverings of his superior (strikingly played by Ozawa EitarЕЌ), along with Yachigusa Kaoru’s and Akiyoshi Kumiko’s roles as Iki’s devoted wife and defiant daughter, adds moving human touches to the deeply unsettling political drama. Yamamoto capped a prolific decade with Nomugi Pass (1979), one of his best-known films outside Japan.129 Turning Yamamoto Shigemi’s original 1968 bestseller into a stunning visual spectacle set against unforgiving winter scenes in the Hida and Shi’nano mountains, Yamamoto’s work is a moving celebration of the lives of young Meiji female workers even as they were mercilessly exploited for their labor in silk-spinning factories. With ЕЊtake Shinobu in the leading role, the film won the Grand Prize at the Thirty-Fourth Page 42 →Mainichi Film Competition along with accolades for its music director SatЕЌ Masaru, cinematographer Kobayashi Setsuo, and art director Mano Shigeo. The sequel, Nomugi Pass: A New Chapter (ДЂ Nomugi TЕЌge: Shinryoku-hen, 1982) followed, with Mihara Junko as the young worker Take in an Okaya factory. The story’s dramatic tension is heightened by episodes of sexual victimization, heartbreaking romance, the effects of the post–World War I economic depression on Japan’s textile industry, and Take’s subsequent transformation into a cafГ© waitress. The film’s depiction of a workers’ strike, despite its ultimate failure, was clearly an attempt to suggest the burgeoning social awareness of Japan’s female labor force in the 1920s.130 After 1982, even though Yamamoto’s quickly deteriorating health prevented him from successfully undertaking other deeply cherished projects,131 Nomugi Pass and its sequel serve as a fitting finale to his extraordinary career, infused as they are with many of the essential elements that define his filmmaking vision, his sense of social engagement, his deep humanist tendencies, and, above all, his refusal to give up on his compassion for and hopes about the human condition.

Political Dogmatism and Artistic Creativity: A Dialectic Consideration The extent to which the political dogmatism and ideological specificities of the postwar radical Left—or, more precisely, the official position of the JCP—might have shaped the thematic trajectory and dramaturgic structure of Yamamoto’s creative vision is an important key to understanding his art. Yamamoto’s JCP membership since 1947, his role as union organizer in the Tōhō strikes, his subsequent purge as a communist from the studio in 1948, and his well-known sympathies with progressive social and political causes in general have understandably motivated some to interrogate the relationship between art and politics as it impinged on his originality and aesthetic vision as an independent filmmaker.

The not infrequently encountered insinuation that Yamamoto’s works were singularly mobilized, politically framed, and artistically performed in doctrinaire allegiance to the political orthodoxy of the JCP could benefit much from considerations of other complex factors associated with his creative processes. To be sure, the core ideas cherished by Japan’s liberal intelligentsiaPage 43 → at large from the late 1940s to the early 1960s were a defining part of Yamamoto’s intellectual makeup. Those ideas included strict endorsement of the principles of demilitarized pacifism as defined under the new postwar Constitution, moral repugnance at wartime totalitarianism and expansionism, denunciation of prewar and wartime militarism and its supporting feudalistic and political culture, political and economic democratization, the proliferation of social justice, and protection and guarantees of legitimate labor and citizens’ rights. In Matsuyama and later in Tokyo as a young man, Yamamoto’s early influences, derived principally from Shigematsu Tsurunosuke, Kobayashi Takiji, Marxism, and the prewar Little Tsukiji Theatre, all provided guiding sociopolitical perspectives that channeled his youthful thinking about conditions in Japan and the world.132 Subsequent experiences acquired within the wartime Japanese military establishment and then as a combatant during the Second Sino-Japanese War, as a committed labor organizer within TЕЌhЕЌ in the late 1940s, and later as an observer in Vietnam during its war of liberation all contributed to the formation of the essential core of his social awareness. These were the factors and experiences that helped mold the substance of his political sensibilities. The results of the Red Purge and the challenges and hardships he faced as an independent filmmaker after 1948 consolidated his understanding of the meaning of his lifelong career as a filmmaker; it reaffirmed his conviction that filmmaking at its most fundamental core was nothing but a profoundly humanist enterprise. It is impossible to understand Yamamoto’s art without recognizing his central commitment to the idea that “a film must serve as a revelation to truth, an instrument to critique social and political injustice, and a vehicle that aspires to true happiness for the people.”133 That said, there is little convincing evidence to demonstrate Yamamoto’s overt doctrinaire adherence to any particular brand of social or political radicalism, nor as a film artist did he exhibit the kind of ideological intransigence that might have swayed him robotically in categorical support of an exclusive political position. The essential core of his creative vision was Page 44 →often more pliably structured than unyieldingly dogmatic. For example, neither Moichi the village cart-puller and his suffering wife Seki in Song of the Cart-Pullers nor the destitute peasants in Rising Storm over Hakone are artificially put on an ideological pedestal by virtue of their humble class origins or uncritically celebrated for their progressiveness of character for the same reason. On the contrary, Moichi turns out to be a heartless womanizer, an apathetic father, and later an unfeeling and even abusive husband, while the struggling Hakone farmers are not immune to undue suspiciousness of character over their benefactor Tomono’s motivations, leading the Edo merchant to lament that he has “placed too much trust in these peasants.” At the opposite end of the socioeconomic spectrum, Men and War’s Godai YЕ«suke, head of the Godai conglomerate and an active advocate of capitalist penetration into colonized Manchuria, represents a studiously crafted character study, a man driven by his political prudence and managerial conservatism on the one hand, and his deep misgivings over Japan’s unfettered continental fanaticism on the other. Being the head of a newly rising zaibatsu does not prevent the seasoned businessman from being critical of the zealous adventurism of the Japanese military, a fact underscored by the marked contrast Yamamoto draws between this figure and the crude recklessness and boorish aggressiveness of his elder son Eisuke (Takahashi Etsushi).134 The same nuanced characterization can also be seen in Yamamoto’s portrait of the late TaishЕЌ and early ShЕЌwa liberal Left in Battle without Arms. Instead of cavalierly painting them with a broad ideological stroke, he perceptively draws contrasting profiles between Yamamoto Senji, the urbane and newly elected Labor-Farmer Party Dietman (Shimomoto Tsutomu), and the more politically uncompromising university student Honda (Nakatani IchirЕЌ). When Senji offers an old ring to Honda and his new wife in the hope that the struggling couple will turn the goodwill gift into money if needed, Honda sternly rejects the gift before pointing out the “bourgeois” mentality behind Senji’s act. When Senji indicates that he will recuperate in a hot springs resort to restore his health in preparation for future political fights, Honda, in complete disbelief that Senji could allow himself to indulge in such luxury during a time of emergency, practically ends his friendship with his former mentor.135 Page 45 →In scrutinizing Yamamoto’s postwar films, it is not difficult to discover that it was the dormant or

raging passions, entangled complexities, and profound contradictions inherent in human nature that Yamamoto most keenly engaged in fashioning the personalities and behavior of his major characters. Seki and Moichi in Song of the Cart-Pullers, Kayo and her sick father in Streets without the Sun, Private First Class Kitani in The Vacuum Zone, and Iki Tadashi in The Barren Zone are all creatures governed by their deep emotions, passions, and vulnerabilities rather than by any stereotypical manifestations of preprogrammed mind-sets. In Annular Eclipse, it is not any hardened ideology or cherished moral imperatives that mechanically prompt the stealthy influence peddler Ishihara Sankichi to bold political action. Instead, operating from his office in a nondescript Tokyo hideout, the loan shark, at once impulsive and calculating, is motivated by what might be described as a volatile mixture of romantic idealism, vulgar political opportunism, resentful passions, and bitter jealousies. The licentious Dietman Kamiya Naokichi (Mikuni RentarЕЌ) in the same film gleefully convinces himself that he is a principled warrior gloriously defying a thoroughly corrupt system, whereas in fact he functions as little more than a pitiful political clown consumed by crude self-interest and an inflated sense of self-importance. Even Furugaki JЕЌtarЕЌ, the ill-fated publisher of a small political newspaper, and Takarabe KenzЕЌ, a politically beleaguered electric company executive, are driven less by any tenacious adherence to ideological priorities than by personal greed and the shifting winds of prevailing circumstances. This description of Yamamoto’s creative vision is corroborated by the testimony of Yamada Nobuo, the scriptwriter for such major works as the Men and War trilogy, One Splendid Family, The Barren Zone, and The August without the Emperor. Interestingly, Yamada described himself as “apolitical” (nonpori) and possessed of sentiments contrary to Yamamoto’s political views. Unruffled, Yamamoto made it clear to his colleague that he had no wish to “turn his films into an instrument of ideology” and revealed instead that he was, above all, interested in creating “films as creative works” (eiga sakuhin). After working closely with Yamamoto, Yamada concluded that, rather than “a party man,” Yamamoto must more properly be described as a true “filmmaker.” Yamada went on to say that a sort of “gentlemen’s agreement” was reached among him, the producer, and Yamamoto to bring out their own independent perspectives through open discussion.136 Takeda Page 46 →Atsushi, his longtime assistant director and later a Dai’ei executive director, who knew Yamamoto for thirty years, makes an important distinction between Yamamoto’s “principles” (riron) and his “thinking process” (hassЕЌ) before attributing his “malleability” (rikutsuppoku wa naranai) to the fact that Yamamoto had internalized “ideas, perspectives, and thinking into his flesh.” Takeda continues: I suppose the nurturing and incubation [of Yamamoto’s] worldview were achieved through [the experiences of] actual living. I think this matched well with his tenet that films must be created for easy comprehension. I don’t think he has ever thought of making a picture according to what he might have read in a book and decided then that it had to be strictly crafted in a specific way. I suppose one can say that [his films] are sensory manifestations of experiences accumulated within him after a long time.137 Corroborating Takeda’s assessment, the film director Tachibana YЕ«ten, a former assistant director to Yamamoto, also indicates that Yamamoto assiduously sought to convey his important messages not by framing them as sermonlike dogma but by resorting to persuasion; the inclusion of songs in many of his films, Tachibana suggests, was one such endeavor.138 One particularly compelling example of Yamamoto’s technique of accentuating dramatic effect without resorting to political sloganeering can be found in a scene in Streets without the Sun in which the former printshop worker Okimi (Kishi Hatae) is forced into prostitution during a grueling labor strike in her community. While entertaining her patron, the softly flowing melody of the popular period song “Bird in a Cage” (“Kago no tori”), the title itself a metaphor for a chained woman, can be heard in the background.139 In a NHK television interview aired in August 2010, Yamasaki Toyoko pointedly recalled that, for Yamamoto it was meaningless to make a film if it turned out to be boring (omoshiroku nakattara imi ga nai). It is suggestive that Yamamoto himself rejected his common but imprecise characterization as a Page 47 →“social-school filmmaker” (shakai-ha kantoku) and insisted instead that he belonged to nothing less than the “human school” (ningen-ha).140 It is worth remembering that, even when working under less than hospitable conditions in conservative studios

such as Dai’ei, Yamamoto was quite capable of delivering his deeply held messages with measured judiciousness. Some remarkable examples can be found in part 2 of Men and War (1971). In a particularly stirring scene in a Japanese prison cell, Shimegi KЕЌhei comforts a dissident student and fellow cellmate by cooling the latter’s feverish forehead with his hands after chilling them on the cold prison wall.141 A quick cut to the same wall reveals the scribbled words “Down with Japanese imperialism!” and “Down with the emperor system!”142 Shortly afterward, Shimegi befriends another fellow prisoner, a Korean communist named Park (movingly played by Igawa Hisashi), another helpless victim of horrendous police torture. They can only communicate in secret by scribbling on each other’s palms with their fingers, as open conversation is strictly forbidden. Park tells Shimegi that his last hope is to die in his own country. When asked about his family members in a close-up shot showing his blood-splattered face, Park slowly shakes his head in deep anguish before revealing that all of them were killed by the Japanese military police after the Great KantЕЌ Earthquake. With Himeda Masahisa’s extended camera sequence shot from a slightly elevated angle over Park’s badly brutalized body, Yamamoto takes the time to allow these exchanges and movements to unfold, and SatЕЌ Masaru’s accompanying music, a deep, slow-paced, somber tune on the cello, accentuates the poignancy of a Korean’s tragedy in a Japanese prison. Softly but firmly, Shimegi whispers to his Korean friend that the latter must not die then, not before the Korean nation comes back to his embrace. It is difficult to recall another Japanese film that dramatizes with such stirring pathos on both the individual and collective levels the deeply tormented experiences between the two countries in their modern history. At the same time, Yamamoto was far from shy about making firm, even unrelenting, demands in certain crucial scenes to get his message across. Page 48 →For instance, The August without the Emperor has a tense confrontational sequence on a hijacked train between a journalist (Yamamoto Kei) and a coup leader (Watase Tsunehiko), a former officer of the Self-Defense Forces who has masterminded the hijacking.143 Sometimes, Yamamoto’s more deeply held ideas are delivered with blunt force. One revealing example comes from the unyielding words of Naoko (Akiyoshi Kumiko), the young daughter of the protagonist Iki Tadashi in The Barren Zone, on the notoriously undemocratic manner with which the Japanese government ratified the new US-Japan Security Treaty in 1960. She goes on to reveal her sense of shame over having a father like Iki, whom she now realizes has been squarely involved in stealthy political conspiracies.144 It is also true that some of Yamamoto’s characters were presented as memorable political caricatures or capitalist buffoons. Nishimura Kō’s slippery bank director Watanuki in One Splendid Family and Nakadai Tatsuya’s Chief Cabinet Secretary Hoshino Yasuo in Annular Eclipse certainly qualify as among the more vividly crafted characters in Japanese films of the mid-1970s. Ozawa Eitarō’s unscrupulous Defense Agency official engaged in a brutal and eventually deadly political power game with his subordinate officer (Tamba TetsurЕЌ) in The Barren Zone also stands out as one of Yamamoto’s more noteworthy character studies of the same period. But even such overt caricatures are so skillfully woven into the narrative of haunting human tragedies that they rise above simple hyperbolic stereotypes. To be sure, the typically panoramic scale of Yamamoto’s narrative vision, actualized through the performances of an ambitious ensemble of character actors, made him unique among film directors of his generation. For instance, for all its entertaining action scenes on a runaway train, The August without the Emperor is still carefully framed within a vivid and still very palpable political context involving some of the most tumultuous events of Japan’s postwar history.145 It is understandable that his membership in and certain Page 49 →sympathies with the JCP have often been brought under the spotlight in discussions of his politically engaged films, and for this reason Yamamoto has often been nicknamed, with the unfortunate sensationalism typical of our time, as “the red Cecil B. DeMille” or, alternately, “Japan’s Cecil B. DeMille.” It is worth remembering at the same time that it was a comparison Yamamoto himself apparently reacted to with only bemused displeasure.146 Finally, a word is in order on Yamamoto’s plans to put Morimura Seiichi’s The Devil Gluttony (Akuma no hЕЌshoku) and Nogami Yaeko’s Labyrinth (Meiro) on the screen. His autobiography makes it abundantly clear that he was motivated by a sense of urgency over what he considered a deeply troubling rightward shift in Japanese films beginning in the late 1970s and early 1980s. At the same time, he believed it was imperative to make antiwar films as a counteroffensive. Apparently, one aspiration in filming The Devil Gluttony, an exposГ©

of the exploits of Kwantung Army’s Unit 731 involving notorious biological experiments on human subjects in wartime Manchuria, was to make a sort of “political film that refuses to compromise with commercialism.”147 According to the testimony of his son Shun, the first screenplay draft had already been completed before Yamamoto’s hospitalization in May 1983; he was then in the process of editing it. As for Labyrinth, Shōchiku had already sent word that Matsuzaka Keiko would take the starring role. Having finished reading the original novel, Yamamoto was beginning to work on the screenplay’s first draft, consisting of some five hundred pages. Surely many would agree with the screenwriter Ide Masato that no other film director would be quite as willing to engage so formidable a novel as Nogami Yaeko’s signature work. All came to naught with Yamamoto’s death some three months later.148 His longtime colleague Takeda Atsushi let it be known that both film scripts were placed inside Yamamoto’s coffin.149

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My Life as a Filmmaker Watakushi no eiga jinsei

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Preface I am a film director, not a writer. Through film, I have expressed my views on life and society, as well as on the sorrows, sufferings, and hopes of my fellow human beings. As to how my efforts have been received and what impact they may have, I am not quite sure. Of course my work has generated its share of appraisals, and, from time to time, remarks of this kind did reach my ears. To that extent, I gathered that there were apparently a large number of people who were good enough to support my films. On the other hand, it also appeared that quite a few had made rebuttals against or attacks on my works and my ideas. Speaking of attacks on me, I will give the following example. It happened one day when my wife and I went shopping in Shinjuku after I had finished the shooting of Nomugi Pass (ДЂ Nomugi TЕЌge),150 rare as it was for the two of us to go out together. After we got off the bus at Shinjuku Station’s west entrance, we waited at the crosswalk for the traffic light to change. There was a microbus parked right next to the station’s west end flying a Japanese national flag, and a right winger standing on top of it was making a loud speech. “There it goes again!” As I watched the scene behind me with great distaste, suddenly my ears caught an abrupt mention of my name. It appeared that the man in the middle of his speech was saying something about me. “Good heavens!” I naturally strained my ears to listen to what he had to say. “Ladies and gentlemen! I don’t suppose any one of you has heard about the TЕЌhЕЌ Labor Strikes,” the man shouted.151 “That was a big uproar stirred Page 54 →up by the Communist Party, and one of ringleaders at that time was a man called Yamamoto Satsuo! That man has the audacity to make films today in the midst of our movie industry! If we let loose such a dangerous character, Japan will go down in ruin! A man like that has to be obliterated!”152 As my wife and I had never imagined that my name might spring out so snappishly on such an occasion, both of us were completely taken by surprise. As we walked around to the front of the microbus, we discovered that the speechmaker was just a young man. For a moment he glanced in my direction, but in all likelihood he had no idea whom he was looking at as he showed no particular reaction whatsoever. Not realizing that the man he had just named was close by listening, the right-wing youth was noisily making his case that I be obliterated. Whereas criticism is absolutely indispensable for creative work, it is exasperating to have to deal with defamation of character and simply intolerable when it comes to calls for one’s obliteration. Worse still, a series of such assaults against me had taken place recently in the midst of a dangerous political shift to the right. In response, my view is that our outrage must take the form of a counteroffensive. I had spent the spring of my youth in the gloom of the prewar years, been brought out to fight the war, and had suffered miserable humiliation in an army dedicated to the emperor system. Categorically, we must not allow a resurrection of such ghosts from the past. Recently I began to think about reflecting once again about myself, about how I lived through the prewar and postwar years, as well as the kind of films I had made and the manner in which I had made them. I began to consider that another exercise in self-examination, by giving my old bones a round of good whipping, would be my way of reaffirming my posture Page 55 →of resistance against the dangerous currents we have been facing recently. When New Japan Publishers (Shin-Nihon Shuppansha) was good enough to bring up the subject, it provided the opportunity to realize my thoughts in the form of a book. As I have made clear from the outset, I am not a writer. Even so, as I began to allow my thoughts to run through me, I realized that there were quite a lot of things that I wished to record on paper. I have no idea what kind of a finished product this will turn out to be. In any case, I intend to make this exercise a springboard to further motivate my next project. By writing about the life of someone working in what many would regard as a rather odd profession, I wonder

about the extent to which my readers may ultimately share my sentiments. To be sure, I was concerned about it, but once I picked up my pen I simply wanted to carry on with the job to the very end. I will be gratified if this book should be read as a testimony of an era from the perspective of one filmmaker.

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Chapter One My Boyhood My father was born into the family of a village headman in the district of Imai in the suburbs of Komatsu City in Ishikawa Prefecture. What one might call his love for learning was perhaps what later drove him to leave his hometown with nothing more than a wicker suitcase on his back, as the old saying goes.153 After reaching Kanazawa, he apparently studied in an establishment resembling a terakoya or temple school. On many occasions, he told me that Izumi KyЕЌka was one of his schoolmates.154 His story was that KyЕЌka was always carrying a foreign-language book under his arm as he took his stroll, dressed very properly in Japanese attire. At times this may have struck Father as disagreeable, as I recall him describing KyЕЌka as “what a poseur!” Unlike KyЕЌka, Father did not choose a literary path. He soon made his way to Hokkaido and entered Sapporo Agricultural College, but I never knew why he took that particular course of action.155 There was something of an innocent single-mindedness about him, and I suppose that character Page 58 →trait may have been partly responsible. When a student strike took place at the agricultural college, he was ordered to withdraw before he could finish his studies. Years later I, too, had the misfortune of having to withdraw from Waseda University due to my participation in a student movement. Seen from that angle, father and son perhaps had something in common. After leaving Sapporo Agricultural College, Father entered the Bureau of Forestry in the Ministry of Internal Affairs. Beginning his career at the Aichi Prefectural Office, he drifted from one job to another in different government agencies. Mother, on the other hand, was a farmer’s daughter from the same Komatsu area and never actually received a proper education. She didn’t even finish primary school and apparently had trouble reading Chinese characters; all her letters were written in the hiranaga script. I have no idea how Mother and Father ended up together, but their marriage took place when Father was working at the Aichi Prefectural Office. I was born on July 15, 1910, the youngest among six children, three boys and three girls. As Father’s work often took him to different places, my siblings were all born in different locations. I was born in Kagoshima, as my name, Satsuo, indicates.156 But I stayed in Kagoshima for less than two years, as Father moved from his workplace at the local prefectural office to its counterpart in Ehime. From then on, and until my first year in middle school, I spent almost all my boyhood years in the city of Matsuyama in Ehime Prefecture.157 At the time, I think Father’s economic circumstances were about average; we were neither very rich nor abjectly poor. With a harshness of character typical of a Meiji man, he was a strict disciplinarian with his children. At the same time, he loved sake, consuming close to two liters at a time. When he drank, Mother was the one who suffered. At dinner, once he started drinking, he would start grumbling. I would quickly cut my meal short so I could promptly remove myself from his sight. For this reason, dinnertime for me was not much of a cause for joy. Unlike Father, you may say that Mother was lenient with her children; she was especially fond of me. Apparently, I slept with her until I was ten, the cause of much teasing by my brothers. Father was strict, to be sure, but less so with his youngest son. I think the one he treated with the greatest severity was my second-oldest brother, Katsumi, who later was the father of Yamamoto Gaku, Kei, and Sen, all future actors. Since my oldest brother, Page 59 →Kenkichi, was quite mature, Katsumi’s mischievousness was apparently inflated in Father’s eyes.158 Not only was Kenkichi a well-behaved child, but he was able to accomplish the feat of advancing to middle school when he was only a fifth-year student in primary school. In fact, he was so academically endowed that the local newspaper touted him as “a child prodigy.” That being the case, “Just learn from your oldest brother! ” soon became Father’s favorite saying. In fact, the same phrase would turn into something of our family’s motto with the other kids.

Katsumi was very fond of painting and aspired to become a painter. He was also a great prankster. When he was young, I remember that, as a punishment for his mischief, he was often tied to the persimmon tree in our backyard. When I was a child, I was often the victim of his abusive acts. He never called me “Satsuo”; instead I was “Spud,” supposedly a reference to the “Satsuma potato,” with which my name was associated. He would say something like, “Hey, Spud! Get over here!” I was mad, but there was nothing I could do. Katsumi was quite popular with people outside the family, however, especially when he became a middle school student and an apparent favorite among the girls. I think it was the summer of my fourth year at primary school. One day, after returning from school, he took off his cap, handed it to me, and said, “Hey, Spud, put it on my desk!” before going out somewhere to play. In the summer, middle school students would put shades over their caps. When I touched his for no particular reason, I felt something hidden inside. I took the shade off to find out what it was, only to discover that it was a letter. Not quite knowing what to do with it, I handed it over to Mother. It turned out to be a love letter. Because of that incident, as with others, I got a good beating from my brother. While Father was a haiku enthusiast, he also indulged himself by chanting Noh music in the Kanze style and was in fact very good at it. I had no idea whether it was his side job or not, but quite a few people came to study vocalization with him. My brothers were also made to study the art. In the middle of practice, Katsumi sometimes eased his strained knees, whereas the only acceptable posture during chanting was to maintain a proper sitting position with bent knees. A whip was placed next to Father, and whenever my brother failed to retain his proper form, Father would instantaneously Page 60 →use it to strike at his legs. While watching the spectacle on Mother’s knees, I was thrilled whenever this happened, thinking that it served him right. That was the degree to which I had been physically mistreated by Katsumi. All my sisters were married at a relatively early age. My second-oldest sister went first, marrying a sea captain from Ishikawa Prefecture who operated on an international route. My eldest sister was the next to go, marrying a professional soldier. Immediately after she was born, my third sister was taken by a family headed by a teacher of English at a middle school, a man who had been a close friend of Father’s since his Kumamoto days. The teacher’s family had no children of its own, and when Father was told that his good friend very much wanted to have one, he apparently promised to deliver my sister, even while she was still in Mother’s womb. In order to hoodwink her neighbors into thinking that the child was her own, the teacher’s wife put a cushion under her kimono to exhibit her bulging stomach. That was the story I heard. Fearing that the secret might come out one day, the teacher’s family ended its relations with us, and from that time on we heard nothing about my sister. Sometime after 1970, this sister of mine suddenly appeared before me. She had seen a photograph of me in the papers taken while I was filming Men and War (SensЕЌ to ningen) and suspected that the man she saw just might be her younger brother. Matsuyama was really a pleasant, laid-back town. “Ah, those bygone springs, in the castle town of a hundred and fifteen thousand koku” was a haiku about Matsuyama by the poet Masaoka Shiki.159 Even if the reality did not inspire such richly poetic sentiments, one could still very much feel the town’s peaceful, idyllic atmosphere when I was living there as a young boy. In my dark-blue splashed kimono, I used to go around frolicking under soft light reminiscent of an impressionist painting. The scene alluded to in AndЕЌ Tsuguo’s haiku “The dark-blue splashed kimono! Ah! that was the initiation of everything!” is exactly what I experienced as a young boy. In those days, there was only light rail transport between Takahama and Matsuyama; the national railway service had not yet arrived. Near Takahama was a nice beach, and when summer came during my primary school years, I went there every day with a one-month light rail pass. Friends of my brothers’ also came along. Even though I had nothing to show for this except learning how to steal watermelons, I was having a lot of fun. The Ishite River running alongside Matsuyama Castle provided another Page 61 →nice place for me to play. I did things like going to the riverbank to look for beetles and climbing up the steep castle walls. In the winter, I had fun burning fallen leaves and branches to roast a doteyaki bowl of beef tendon. You could say that those were my carefree days of youth!

In those days, I also saw a good number of films. It was a time when going to the movies was virtually the only form of entertainment easily accessible to us. Mother was also a great movie fan, and from the time I was a small child she would often take me to the movie theater. Perhaps my interest in film is attributable to Mother’s influence. I was especially fond of watching continuing episodes of western movies. This was the age of the live movie interpreter, the katsuben.160 Before one episode came to an end, he would chant, “Aah! What’s going to happen next in her destiny?” and the audience would have to wait to see the next episode the following week. Needless to say, I didn’t let the opportunity pass by. My moviegoing habits with Mother continued after I entered middle school. Yet at Matsuyama Middle School, students were forbidden to watch movies, and when caught the inevitable punishment was a one-week suspension. When a film ended, our sports teacher would be waiting in ambush outside the cinema. It was a thrilling experience to try to slip away from his watchful eyes, and I did manage to avoid his clutches every time. I recall a time when Kenkichi was a second-year student at Matsuyama Higher School, Katsumi was a third-year student at Matsuyama Middle School, and I was in my fifth year in elementary school. Two of Kenkichi’s middle school friends, Shigematsu Tsurunosuke (later to become a painter) and Nakamura Kusatao (later to become a master haiku poet), would come to play at our house every day. Shigematsu Tsurunosuke, a friend of both my brothers, was as many as seven years my senior. I used to call him “Tsuru-san, Tsuru-san” and adored him as if he were my own brother. In spite of his diminutive stature—he Page 62 →was less than five feet tall—he was a most charismatic figure filled with boundless energy. Before long, Tsuru-san joined the Japanese Communist Party and was later arrested on the charge of having infringed Japan’s Peace Preservation Law. This was followed by his suicide in prison in 1938. I will have more to say about this later. Nakamura Kusatao’s original name was SeiichirЕЌ, and we fondly called him “Kiyo-san.”161 A quiet man with the air of a philosopher, he was very fond of me as I habitually sat by my brothers’ side listening to their conversation. I remember receiving from him a picture collection of Botticelli’s paintings, but as an elementary school student, I had no means of comprehending such works. Even so, with the collection in hand, I felt a little elated. At that time, encouraged by Shigematsu and the brother who aspired to become a painter, I began studying oil painting at a private academy. The instructor there was to become the film director Itami Mansaku and father of the actor Itami JЕ«zЕЌ. His real name was Ikeuchi Yoshitoyo, but instead of addressing him as Ikeuchi-sensei, the students in secret called him Crescent Moon because of his extraordinarily long jaw. Under the pen name Ikeuchi Gumi, he painted the covers and all the illustrations for Middle School Students (ChЕ«gakusei), a journal devoted to school entrance examinations. That appeared to be his primary means of making a living, and surely teaching at the oil-painting academy was only a way to make up any deficit. In the old days at Matsuyama Middle School, Shigematsu, Nakamura, and Itami were all members of a circulating journal called Exuberance (Rakuten) edited by young students with a serious interest in art. Greatly influenced by the TaishЕЌ humanism of the White Birch School (Shirakaba-ha) and others,162 all the members entertained high artistic aspirations. For example, seeking to become first-rate artists, Shigematsu and Itami conscientiously applied themselves to painting in a competitive spirit. With people like these close to me since I was a small boy, there is no doubt that I was under their influence in one way or another. For instance, I subscribed without fail to such magazines as Red Bird (Akai tori),163 and Page 63 →this, I think, was the result of the influence of my brothers and friends like Shigematsu. When I was a middle school student, I was encouraged by Shigematsu to read Arishima Takeo. That was just after Arishima’s suicide, and Tsuru-san was apparently quite traumatized by the event. ItЕЌ Daisuke was also a member of the Rakuten group, although he entered the movie industry earlier than Itami Mansaku and at the time was no longer living in Matsuyama.164

When I was in my sixth year of elementary school, Father retired. Kenkichi went to the capital to study at Tokyo University, while Katsumi, determined to become a painter, also went to Tokyo immediately following his graduation from middle school. There Katsumi began his studies at the Pacific Painting Research Center, then located near Kasuga-chЕЌ. In the end, when I finished my first year of middle school, the rest of my family moved to Tokyo. There we rented a house in Nakano. This was only about a year after the Great KantЕЌ Earthquake, and Tokyo’s devastation, still evident for everyone to see, suggested the gravity of the calamity. As an honor student at Tokyo University, Kenkichi was exempt from tuition. Before my arrival in Tokyo and with his newly evolving interest in stage sets, Katsumi had decided to pay a visit to Osanai Kaoru and asked the master to take him on as a disciple.165 Osanai told the young man that if he was interested in working Page 64 →on stage sets he should study architecture first. Thereupon, Katsumi took the entrance examination for the Department of Architecture at the Ueno School of Art. At the time, the department admitted no more than seven candidates, making the situation very challenging. In the end, not only did he pass the test, but he also qualified as an honor student, exempting him from tuition as well. Considering that Father had retired, our family found itself reduced to very modest means. One can imagine just how thankful my parents were over such exemptions for my two brothers. I, on the other hand, was a problem. In stark contrast to my brothers, I was disgraced for having failed an examination for transfer students taken after my arrival in Tokyo, making me wonder if there was a huge discrepancy between a Matsuyama and a Tokyo middle school. I took the examination to get into the Sixth Tokyo Metropolitan Middle School, that is, the second-year class at present-day Shinjuku Senior High School. Even at first glance, the questions seemed difficult, and I had no idea how to answer them. In the end, I was admitted into the second year of Meiji Middle School. It was not surprising, then, that I began to develop a strange complex visГ -vis my brothers. During my early Tokyo days, Kenkichi sometimes took me to watch kabuki plays at the Ichimura-za and movies at Shinjuku’s Musashino-kan.166 Other than that, besides going to school, I never ventured outside alone. My daily schedule consisted only of commuting by streetcar between our house in Nakano and my school in SuidЕЌbashi. On the way at Yotsuya Station, when students from the Atomi Girls School came onboard in their smart middy blouses and skirts, I would vaguely tell myself that Tokyo had really good-looking girls, even though that was just about the end of the story. Essentially, at the outset, I was a reasonably serious middle school student, doing my share of studying. In those days, I never stopped on my way back from school to watch movies. I started going to the movies at the end of my third year of middle school or at the beginning of my fourth year. From that time on, I became a much more avid movie fan. Of what I saw at that time, the film that moved me the most was Salvation Hunters directed by [Josef von] Sternberg and filmed at [Charlie] Chaplin’s studio. The first work by Sternberg, it was a relatively short silent film. The plot was simple, but it had very remarkable images.167 I must have seen the film at least a dozen times. Page 65 →There is a scene in the film in which, about to become a prostitute, a young vagabond is trying to put on makeup, a sequence later adopted by Kinugasa Teinosuke in his film Crossroads (JЕ«jiro).168 Being a drifter, however, the girl has no makeup box and of course no eyebrow pencil. Thereupon, she lights a match, blows out the flame, and uses the tip to paint her eyebrows. That scene left a very strong impression on my young mind. Other films I found interesting included Chaplin’s Gold Rush, which I watched over and over again. Regarding Japanese films, I remember watching Ushihara Kiyohiko’s works often; they were all ShЕЌchiku productions starring Suzuki Denmei such as The Love Competitor (Koi no senshu) and The King of the Land (Riku no ЕЌja), about students, and He and Tokyo (Kare to Tokyo) and He and the Pasture (Kare to den’en), about the adventures of the young. While it was not the sole cause, my burgeoning interest in film led me once again to neglect my studies. The consequence this time was my failure to pass the entrance examination for higher school, my second round of humiliation since coming to Tokyo. The contrast between me and my two brothers was becoming more and more

marked. I ended up spending one extra year preparing for the examination before eventually getting into First Waseda Higher School. During that year, I began to develop an interest in western-style plays, or shingeki, and often went to Tsukiji to watch them. Meanwhile, the country’s economic climate had been getting worse and the social atmosphere had turned treacherous. Suppression of intellectual freedom was beginning to raise its ugly head, and Japan’s march toward militarism became increasingly palpable. I was very depressed. There was also a great sense of anxiety about my future. Meanwhile, little by little, I was beginning to open my eyes to the reality of social contradictions. This is how, before I knew it, my boyhood years came to an end.

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Chapter Two My Student Years By the time I entered First Waseda Higher School, my interests had decidedly shifted from film to theater. To be sure, there were organizations such as film study societies at the school, but they concerned themselves not with filmmaking but with film criticism. Even when I took part in their activities, I was utterly bored. I suppose students today can easily make their own films using 8mm or 16mm cameras, but in my day a 16mm was too expensive an item for students to acquire. Watching plays, on the other hand, did not require as much money. As long as one was able to rent a shed, one could very well stage a play on one’s own. You might say that such thinking was what prompted my move toward drama. My special area of study at school was German literature, and one of my teachers was Funaki Shigenobu for whom I was a special favorite.169 Mr. Funaki’s sister was a shingeki actress named Funaki Yoshie who had created quite a stir in Japan due to her love affair with Shimada SeijirЕЌ, the author of the TaishЕЌ bestseller This World (ChijЕЌ).170 I don’t know if his sister’s association with shingeki was the reason, but Mr. Funaki was a great enthusiast of the theater, and he translated quite a few works by people such as [Gerhart] Hauptmann. Perhaps partly under Mr. Funaki’s influence, I found myself going to the Tsukiji Little Theatre more and more frequently. Page 68 →I was above all most interested in stage direction, and I thought being an actor would be the easiest way to learn about the profession. People might laugh at the notion of me becoming an actor, but I was serious. With that in mind, I became a “performer” in a brand new theatrical troupe called the Association for New Plays (ShinkЕЌgeki KyЕЌkai). During my student days, there were quite a few “associated” troupes around Tsukiji, and the Association for New Plays was one of them. Its leader was ЕЊkuma Toshio, the translator of [Sergei] Tretyakov’s Roar China!171 ЕЊkuma was a graduate of Waseda’s Department of Russian Literature, a classmate of the dramatist Miyoshi JЕ«rЕЌ,172 and a ShЕЌchiku employee. When he accompanied Ichikawa Sadanji II during his trip to Russia for his kabuki performances,173 he brought back [Vsevolod] Meyerhold’s stage plays and introduced them to Japan through his translations, among them Roar China! and Gas Masks.174 In those days, Roar China! in particular was performed very often as an agitprop anti-imperialist play. The first play performed by the Association for New Plays was Tretyakov’s Gas Masks, staged in 1931 at the Aviation Hall (HikЕЌ Kaikan), with none other than me in the starring role. Around that time, the kabuki troupe Zenshin-za was established, and its first show was Kabuki Kingdom (Kabuki ЕЌkoku), an exposГ© of the feudalistic character of the kabuki world. Thereupon, the question was raised within our troupe as to whether we should support it through our appearance in the same play. As a ShЕЌchiku Page 69 →employee, ЕЊkuma Toshio was opposed to the idea, but the rest of us decided to act as extras to show our support; our opinion was that we should more actively participate in the theatrical movement as part of the effort toward the liberation of the proletariat. Because of this difference, our confrontation with ЕЊkuma escalated to the point where we had to dissociate ourselves from him and his associates. After we parted company with ЕЊkuma, we staged two plays at the Tsukiji Little Theatre for the Association, namely, Murayama Tomoyoshi’s The Zeppelin Incident (Zepperin jiken) and Friedrich Wolf’s Cyankali, translated by Kubo Sakae as Potassium Cyanide (Seisankari).175 The former was a one-act comedy I directed, and that was the first time I saw Murayama. Come to think of it, I have no idea what he really thought about my stage direction as an amateur and a mere student. But he never uttered a word with the slightest hint of disapproval. Potassium Cyanide deals with the question of birth control among proletarian German women, and it was the first play directed by Kubo Sakae. A very intimidating man, Kubo was extraordinarily demanding when it came to

stage direction.176 Greatly influenced by kabuki conventions, he was Page 70 →so single-minded that he designed a hanamichi on the set.177 I thought it was odd for a hanamichi to appear on a shingeki stage, but naturally I did not protest. In the play, I played a laborer. I have forgotten how I acted, but it must have been quite appalling. “Yamamoto, your laborer doesn’t cut it; it’s just too abstract!” With Kubo’s piercing rebuke, I thought that I could no longer continue as an actor. Even though I had had little intention of becoming one from the outset, criticism like that meant that the situation was beyond hope. It was at that point that I decided to give up my acting career altogether. At the Association for New Plays, I became acquainted with Nagahama Fujio, Kiyama Hiroshi, and Namikii KЕЌzЕЌ. Since our association had a sort of affiliation with the Tsukiji Little Theatre, I went there constantly and was able to form close friendships with Uno JЕ«kichi178 and Shin KinzЕЌ,179 who were there as research students. In those days, Tsukiji staged a large number of Russian plays. As a spectator, I discovered that police officers were standing guard along each aisle at regular intervals. To this day, it is still impossible to forget the oppressive atmosphere under which we watched the performances. Despite the police presence, the spectators would all uninhibitedly express their emotions whenever they saw scenes that directly appealed to their hearts. The intensity of their passion was remarkable. That was Page 71 →the time when Hisaita EijirЕЌ,180 Sugimoto RyЕЌkichi,181 and Hijikata Yoshi182 were active. I entered the Faculty of Literature at Waseda University in 1932. From my days in higher school through university, I didn’t just dedicate myself to drama; I also dabbled in German and read Marx. In many ways, the influence of materialism on me was considerable. I also read Kobayashi Takiji’s novels with suppressed texts all over the place,183 works that might be published one day and banned the next. With such experiences, I gradually began to open my eyes to left-wing thought. Page 72 →Fujita Sekiji, who served as a professor of German at Waseda until a short time ago, was a schoolmate of mine, and he was also of the leftist persuasion. Before that I had been under the influence of Shigematsu Tsurunosuke. And, of course, the impact of the theater was also considerable. At the time, shingeki was the victim of various kinds of suppression, and despite the physical hardships it faced, it was the most salient representation of the ascending left-wing thought of the time. As far as I was concerned, I believe the impact on me of Funaki Shigenobu was also significant. I suppose what this means is that I was the recipient of quite a mishmash of influences. Besides Fujita Sekiji, among my schoolmates were Kawazoe ShirЕЌ, Taniguchi Senkichi, and Shikanai Nobutaka.184 We would frequently go to a tearoom to discuss the films and plays we saw or to talk about ideas and ideologies. I must have spent more time visiting tearooms than going to classrooms. Among my friends, there was even someone who later married a tearoom waitress. Around that time, I fell in love, and the girl is now my wife. We first met in 1927 or 1928, when I was in my fourth or fifth year of middle school. We were distant relatives but had no blood relations. She had a certain flair in conveying her way of thinking, and that, I think, is why we enjoyed each other’s company. My only regret was that she lived in KЕЌfu rather than Tokyo, and to meet her I had to make a special trip. I couldn’t afford the extra train fare each time I wished to see her even though the money involved was not that much. One time, eager to see her, I went to the tearoom where five or six of my friends had gathered and passed a hat to raise funds. My friends quickly made their contributions, and in the end I was able to collect more than enough for a round-trip ticket to KЕЌfu. In times like those, they were all truly angels. One of the unforgettable experiences I had as a student came from watching films from the Soviet Union. In Japan virtually all Soviet films were rejected by the censors, but I did manage to see Nikolai Ekk’s Road to Life and was most profoundly moved. I also found [Vsevolod Illarianovich] Pudovkin’s Storm over Asia interesting.

Many segments of the film had been expunged, so watching it was like reading a book filled with excised passages. Nonetheless, it was a moving experience for the audience. Page 73 →In those days, Soviet montage theory was a much-debated subject. As a theory, it was the American [D. W.] Griffith who first articulated the art of montage. But his ideas mostly focused on techniques such as the use of close-ups and ways to create suspense. On the other hand, Soviet montage theory was built on historical materialism, and this is where it differed greatly from Griffith’s views. Historical materialism was at its foundation, and techniques were developed on top of it. As I recall, what I learned was that if one removed just the techniques the film itself would end up falling apart. Another influence came from documentary films. [Victor] Turin’s Turksib,185 as well as [Sergei Mikhailovich] Eisenstein’s The Old and the New,186 were documentaries, but they also embodied dramatic elements, making them enormously powerful. In those days, filmmaking aspirants and those already in the film industry must have been quite impressed just by the technical aspects of those films alone. Of course, there were some good American films. I liked The Man I Killed, which deals with World War I,187 Wild Boys on the Road, which reflects the conditions of the Depression, and Heroes for Sale. I liked the film director [William A.] Wellman.188 Incidentally, neither John Ford’s The Grapes of Wrath nor Chaplin’s The Great Dictator was ever released in prewar Japan. Among French films, I liked RenГ© Clair’s Sous les toits de Paris. The use of sound montage was uniquely his own. Come to think of it, I was perhaps more influenced by foreign than by Japanese films. At the time, Eisenstein’s theories had not yet entered Japan as a coherent body of ideas, but I recall I was greatly influenced by Pudovkin’s book on film directing.189 While my friends and I were learning about film, we were not involved in real film production itself; our endeavors could only take the form of Page 74 →reading theoretical journals and watching movies. In time, while watching a film, I would try to sketch my own continuity. Since I was doing this in the darkness of the cinema, I had no idea what I had been drawing once brightness returned. I would then go back into the cinema and watch the film again. I realized what I was doing was petty business, but I repeated the exercise quite often. During my student days, then, I must say that my desire to become a filmmaker was never entirely out of my mind. At the same time, I was skeptical about my ability. It also struck me that, compared to drama, the film world seemed too distant from where I stood. And yet it was also true that, ever since I had watched Salvation Hunters in my middle school days, I found myself unfailingly mesmerized by the art, power, and imagery offered by the film medium. By the time my friends and I entered university around 1932, the fascist mood in Japan was becoming more pronounced, and within universities military training was becoming more and more prevalent. As I was opposed to such exercises, I did not participate, even though I realized that not getting credit in that area would turn out to be a very serious problem for me. Convinced of the correlation between the escalation of military training and war, we were emphatically determined to voice our opposition, and for that purpose we talked about organizing a student gathering, with the understanding that we might be detained by the authorities. We decided after much discussion to organize an “art Olympiad”; the term Olympiad was quite fashionable in those days, probably due to German influence. Under that name, the students would organize an assembly at the ЕЊkuma Auditorium to show their opposition to military training. We decided that the program would consist of three components: staging a play, showing a film, and giving a lecture. For our lecturer, we decided to ask Hayashi Fusao.190 The man was soon Page 75 →to have a 180-degree change of position, but at the time he was a central figure in proletarian literature. To even ask a person like him to speak, however, posed serious problems. For the play, we decided that all of us would contribute. I recall that we decided to produce a four-act play

highlighting the students’ struggle against the reactionary trends of the time. Each of us would write an act, and I was to come up with the last. The end product, however, was subject to censorship at the Totsuka Police Station.191 The first three acts received only minor warnings, but the part I wrote caught the attention of the censors, who ordered its complete elimination. The play itself was no masterpiece, but we still pleaded with the police. Its performance was finally approved as long as we deleted the fourth act. We had no choice but to abide by the decision. Without it, however, the play was no longer interesting. We therefore decided to perform the fourth act not as a part of the play but in the form of a collective chant. If it were presented as a chorus of voices to make our point, we assumed that there would be no further complications. For the film component, the only choice was a 16mm production. Yet, due to mechanical and other problems, it was impossible for the students to complete the work by themselves. So we decided to ask the Japan Proletarian Film League (Nihon Puroretaria Eiga DЕЌmei, or Prokino), for assistance.192 During my visit there with a script opposing military training, Page 76 →I met Kunikida Torao, the son of Kunikida Doppo, who was good enough to discuss many matters with me. According to him, it was not a good idea to take on such a theme from the angle of either film photography or plot design. Instead, we talked about a strike we had held over the distribution of tickets for the Waseda-KeiЕЌ baseball game. Sometime earlier a strike had taken place for about two months over the unfair distribution of tickets for the Waseda-KeiЕЌ showdown. The spectators were students, and yet ticket distribution was monopolized in the hands of the sports divisions and the right wing. Ticket allotments to the general student body came with restrictions and for a price. The reason for our strike was our belief that such actions ran totally counter to the spirit of sports. Kunikida suggested that our film deal with this incident, with the theme of students restoring sports to its rightful place. We all agreed, entitling our film Sports, and started shooting. Meanwhile, Prokino provided full support to our endeavor. With that all our preparations were ready. The only thing we had to do was divide up the tickets, sell them, and wait for the day to come. When the day arrived, the ЕЊkuma Auditorium was completely filled. Professor Kasugai Hideo from Tokyo University, Kenkichi’s brother-in-law, came with his family, saying, “I don’t want to miss Satsuo’s play!” We screened the film, and Hayashi Fusao gave a talk revealing his leftist position. Everything went fine up to that point. At that moment, from the second floor of the auditorium, handbills from the Communist Youth League were abruptly dropped to where the audience was seated on the first floor, causing a great commotion. I became agitated, thinking that this would lead to something serious. It was just a matter of time before arrests would be made. By the time the play ended, we heard that scores of policemen had arrived. As seen from the second floor, they had surrounded the auditorium by positioning themselves close to one another. I realized that I was doomed. Near ЕЊkuma Auditorium was a modern tearoom operated by the wife of the actor Tsurumaru Mutsuhiko, a place where they used tubular chairs, the kind rarely seen in those days. We had borrowed some of those chairs as stage props. In an instant, I picked up one of them and ran out of the auditorium, trying to squeeze myself between two policemen. “Hey, you! Where do you think you’re going?” My heart began pounding the moment the police ordered me to stop. “This is something we borrowed as a stage prop, and I’m just going to return it to the tearoom, as I shouldВ .В .В .” “Okay, go!” Once I returned the chair to its rightful place, I ran as fast as I could Page 77 →back home, which was then in

Ikejiri in Setagaya Ward. Kasugai Hideo was already there, and he and Father gave me a merciless thrashing. A few days later I was finally caught by the police at home. By then the university had apparently reached the decision that I be expelled. I would like to add the following story as an appendix to my account. Before my detention by the police, I had gone to the university with trepidation as there was a test I had to take. I was not exactly a conscientious student, and this time I hadn’t studied at all. The classroom was on the first floor, and I could see outside very well from the window. While taking the German language test, I could see a detective walking onto our campus. Intending to cheat, I had brought a dictionary into the classroom. But I was so worried that I might get caught that I couldn’t even bring myself to open it. At that moment, Funaki Shigenobu entered the room and approached me. “Yamamoto, how’s it going? Can you do it?” “Yes, it’s all right.” But of course it was not all right. Hardly able to answer the questions, I fled the classroom. It is incredible even now to think about what happened next, as I ended up receiving a perfect score on that German test. The only sure thing is that Funaki must have given me a break by granting me huge sympathy points. Before I was taken away by the police, Mother told me to change my student clothes into kimono and hakama, saying that it would be better that way once I was put in the police cell. And so in my hakama they took me away. I was not handcuffed at the time, but my hands were bound with a piece of string. I was taken by streetcar on the Tamagawa Line from Ikejiri to Shibuya; from there we changed to another line until we reached Takadanobaba. I was then detained at the Totsuka Police Station for two weeks. As my transgression was nothing more than having read the newspaper of the Communist Youth League, the matter didn’t go any farther. Kawazoe ShirЕЌ, however, was detained for about a month. Taniguchi Senkichi, on the other hand, escaped punishment, as he had a relative inside the Metropolitan Police Department. When Father visited me in detention, he asked what I wanted to eat, to which I responded, “soba noodles.” Thereupon, the Special Higher Police (“Tokkō”) brought me exactly what I had ordered.193 Page 78 →When I returned home after two weeks of detention, Mother stopped me in the vestibule and said, “You mustn’t go in now. Take off all your clothes right here!” After she made me strip naked on the spot, she explained, “Your clothes must be infested with lice by now,” before she threw them all into a heated bathtub. I was much impressed. Other than that, Mother never made much of a fuss over the whole affair. Soon afterward, a family conference took place to debate my future. Both Kenkichi, then a professor at Niigata University, and Katsumi, then an employee in the design department of the ЕЊbayashi Construction Group, came to Tokyo for the event. So did my brother-in-law, the sea captain who operated an overseas route. Kenkichi’s opinion was that I be given another opportunity to study at a different university, only this time the institution must not be a liberal arts school. The sea captain’s words were harsh. “What you have done so far is like pissing at the moon. You’re a damn fool to think that you can make the world turn upside down that way. The moon is going to splash all the piss back at you!” And then he declared, “You’ll do no good if you stay on land. I’ll take you onboard my ship!” What he meant was that on the ship he would make me wash dishes until I worked my way up to become something of a sea captain. Father concurred, but Katsumi was good enough to raise objections. His opinion was that I would never make a sea captain even if I was given the opportunity. The best course for me, he suggested, would be to do what I liked. This naturally led to the question of what I wanted to do. Given the choice, I would have liked to work in the shingeki theater. But at such a time of severe repression, I realized that this line of work was not going to bring food to the table. Next to Tsukiji was a shack where curry

rice could be had for just ten sen, but Uno JЕ«kichi had lamented that he couldn’t afford it even at that price. That’s how bad the situation was. In view of this, I couldn’t very well tell everyone that I wanted to go into that profession. On the other hand, I couldn’t just keep sponging off my parents. Thinking that I might be able to somehow eke out a living by working in the film industry, I told my family that that was what I wanted to do. After much debate, a settlement was reached whereby they agreed to explore a way to get me into that profession. The person who immediately Page 79 →came to my mind was ItЕЌ Daisuke. I had previously met ItЕЌ through Katsumi and had visited the Nikkatsu Uzumaki Studio in Kyoto for over ten days, observing Itō’s filming techniques. For that reason, I entertained faint hopes that something might be worked out if I went to discuss the matter with him. Just at that time, ItЕЌ had resigned from Nikkatsu and formed a new production company called “Group Seven” with people such as Uchida Tomu. And he was also in Tokyo. After asking Shigematsu Tsurunosuke for the favor of his assistance as Itō’s close friend, I went to see the director and asked that he take me in as his apprentice. ItЕЌ gently declined my request, saying that it would be best for me to enter film studios such as ShЕЌchiku or Nikkatsu if I wanted to learn about filmmaking. He also indicated that his own studio could go out of business at any moment. That said, he refused to give me an introduction to the other film studios. At the time, I thought that was rather cold of him. It was only later that I learned that ItЕЌ had apparently been nervous about my relationship with Shigematsu Tsurunosuke. Strongly influenced by Kishida RyЕ«sei, Shigematsu in 1924, at the age of twenty, had already been a prizewinner at the second ShunyЕЌkai Exhibition before winning other awards at its third and fourth shows.194 Having attracted the attention of established Tokyo painters, he gradually distanced himself from them starting around 1927 or 1928. During my student days in Tokyo, he also visited our house in Ikejiri a number of times. But he no longer appeared to be his former self; with his gold-framed glasses and very expensive kimono, he presented quite a contrast to his informal style and disheveled appearance of the old days. That turned out to be mere camouflage. Soon after the March 15 Incident of 1928,195 Shigematsu joined the Japanese Communist Party. The purpose of his visits to our house was to raise funds from my brothers. Shigematsu of course had also gone to ItЕЌ for the same purpose, thereby making his activities sufficiently transparent in Itō’s eyes. Itō’s apprehension over my relationship with Shigematsu was apparently based on his suspicion that Page 80 →Shigematsu had sent me to him to establish a communist cell within the film industry. In the end, I took the test to join ShЕЌchiku in April 1933 and was accepted into the company in August. I was one of three successful applicants. Incidentally, in November of the same year I entered ShЕЌchiku, Shigematsu Tsurunosuke was arrested as the man in charge of the Kansai District Committee of the Japanese Communist Party. He was given a sentence of four years and was incarcerated in Sakai.

Page 81 →

Chapter Three My Years as an Assistant Director Upon entering ShЕЌchiku, every new employee was assigned to work under a director. My other new colleagues came to be associated with Nomura HЕЌtei and Sasaki Keisuke and I with Naruse Mikio.196 At the end of the day after these arrangements were made, the three of us went to a tearoom in Kamata. As we were chatting, it became apparent how uninformed I was about Japanese films compared to my new colleagues. Among ShЕЌchiku’s directors, I knew of big names such as Shimazu YasujirЕЌ, Nomura HЕЌtei, and Ozu YasujirЕЌ but no one else. As for Naruse Mikio, I had never even heard his name. As I was becoming fretful over my ignorance, my two colleagues readily concurred that I was the luckiest. “Is that right? Um, I wonder what sort of a director Mr. Naruse is.” With a surprised look on their faces, my colleagues asked, “What? You didn’t know? He is the up-andcoming guy that everyone looks up to.” “Oh! Yeah, of course I know! Of course I know!” Trying not to bring further humiliation upon myself, I managed to hide my embarrassment by drawing the subject to a fitting close. After saying goodbye to the other two, I went to a secondhand bookstore and bought several issues of Film Review (Kinema JunpЕЌ).197 I dug out their introductory comments on Naruse, who Page 82 →indeed was described as a “new director on the rise.” Not having seen any of his movies, I found myself restlessly searching out his films. I entered ShЕЌchiku as an assistant director. I had taken an examination in April, but the announcement of my application’s result somehow never arrived. Curious, I made inquiries and was told that it was still not available. Just when I was about to give up hope, the notice finally came in August saying that I had passed. This didn’t happen just to me; the two other new employees also got late notices. I suppose those were signs of the old, laid-back days. My monthly pay was twenty-five yen, thirty if you include the meal tickets. I believe that the salary of a freshly minted university graduate at the time was about sixty yen; in other words, I got half of what they earned. In ShЕЌchiku’s art department was a colleague named Kanasu Takashi, a graduate of architecture from the art school two years earlier than Katsumi, and the two of us became close friends. I was surprised when I heard that Kanasu had been responsible for many of the stage sets at the Tsukiji Little Theatre. During my student days, I had seen virtually every play with stage sets he had worked on, and I was astounded to learn that in fact he was the man behind the scenes. Apparently, one frequent visitor to Kanasu was Kobayashi Takiji.198 Having caught a glimpse of the novelist somewhere myself, I was subsequently convinced that it must have been during one of his visits to Kanasu. Come to think of it, in February 1933—the year I entered ShЕЌchiku—Kobayashi had already met his brutal demise at the Tsukiji Police Station. Therefore, my earlier impression was based on a faulty memory. I must have seen Kobayashi earlier than I thought, and at a different location. The first production Naruse Mikio made with me as his apprentice was a silent film called Two Eyes (SЕЌbЕЌ), with Tanaka Kinuyo in the starring role and Shibuya Minoru as his assistant director. They were already shooting when I joined the team. In shooting a silent film, it was impossible for the camera to do long-cuts. As the dialogue was without sound, one could only take short-cuts before incorporating words displayed on white boards after each cut, a process that greatly complicated the operation. As I was joining the crew midway, I had no idea what was going on. We somehow managed to complete the shooting, even though Shibuya was quite unhappy with me.

Page 83 →The approximately one-hour film took about one month to shoot. We didn’t have the luxury of discussing this or that based on any film theory; my foremost task was simply to learn the practicalities of working as an assistant director. To broaden my knowledge from other angles, I asked to take on other responsibilities, such as working with other groups, before Naruse’s next project began. Naruse’s next production was Endless Road (Kagiri-naki hodЕЌ), also a silent film. As I recall, we recruited as many as seven new faces for the shooting phase. No particular testing was involved in their selection; we simply went to the dance halls in the Tameike area and picked up good-looking girls. One of the new faces was Shinobu Setsuko, who apparently was scouted while she was working at a telephone exchange. Those were interesting times. Endless Road became Naruse’s last ShЕЌchiku production. After the shooting ended, Naruse told me that he was being recruited by PCL and asked if I would go with him.199 I was so happy to be invited that I immediately agreed. He then told me that since he wouldn’t be working immediately after moving to PCL, I should stay with ShЕЌchiku for the time being so I would continue to learn. PCL, he underscored, was making talkies. At ShЕЌchiku, Naruse’s talents had never been appreciated by Kido ShirЕЌ, then the head of the Kamata Studio. The result was that Naruse could only make silent films; none of his ShЕЌchiku productions was a talkie. One time, when Naruse asked me to go and pick up his salary in his stead, I found out that his salary bag came with meal tickets. At ShЕЌchiku, only those whose pay was below one hundred yen could receive such tickets, suggesting that Naruse’s pay as a director was below that amount. I didn’t say anything about it, but I secretly sympathized with him. That was the extent to which he was mistreated there. Before going to PCL, I was apprenticed to Gosho Heinosuke and studied the art of making a talkie.200 I recall going to film on location at a Ginza cafГ© Page 84 →where, while being badgered by the waitresses, I learned how to work the clapperboard for the first time in my life. In the end, I didn’t stay for even a year at ShЕЌchiku. After joining PCL, I found that there were only four directors and no more than twelve or thirteen assistant directors. It was a small company that resembled an independent outfit. While I was a third assistant director at ShЕЌchiku, my position at PCL was immediately changed to that of chief assistant director exclusive to the Naruse team. My ShЕЌchiku salary was twenty-five yen, while at PCL I received fifty yen. Despite its small size, PCL was a very modern company; it even had time cards for its employees. At the time, I don’t think many companies in general or even commercial firms had such a thing. We got extra pay for coming in early and working overtime. Nowadays, that’s common practice, to be sure, but in those years it really helped to have such additional benefits. What was more, at PCL an assistant directorship was not regarded as a stepping stone to becoming a director; it was a specialized and independent position. I learned later that the person who had designed such fundamental rules for PCL was ЕЊmura Einosuke. The man who established PCL was Uemura Yasuji, the son of the president of Sapporo Breweries;201 Uemura and ЕЊmura were cousins. Apparently, ЕЊmura created the system at Uemura’s request. It appeared to be an imitation of the American system, but even so, especially compared to companies such as ShЕЌchiku, people were greatly impressed with this modern innovation. When I joined PCL in 1934, I was surprised to find that Taniguchi Senkichi, a friend from my student days, was already working there. I had always thought that his career was in the theater. I suppose one could hardly earn a living in that line of work. At PCL, Taniguchi became my senior colleague. The first film Naruse made at PCL, with me as his assistant, was The Maiden’s Heart: Three Sisters (Otomegokoro sannin shimai). Kawabata Yasunari’s original story provided especially congenial material for Naruse’s taste, and the film became his first talkie. Upon finishing The Maiden’s Heart as Naruse’s chief assistant director, I had a little free time to go over other screenplays and learn how to craft camera shots. As a general rule, the shooting of a film did not proceed

sequentially from the script’s beginning to the end; there were sudden leaps from Page 85 →one particular scene to another. Accordingly, one could hardly be prepared for camera action unless there was a very good idea as to how the cuts and camera angles were to be executed. For instance, let’s say person A appears in a certain scene somewhere in the script and person B also appears later in the same scene as the story unfolds. If the two actors were asked to come at the same time when shooting began, Naruse would get pretty cranky. Even if both were asked to appear, say, at nine in the morning, the second actor would need to wait for a long time before his turn came, perhaps not until two or three in the afternoon depending on the situation. Nothing displeased Naruse more than to have his actors wait. But the reverse was also true. When the crew was prepared to shoot at around three in the afternoon, Naruse would ask as early as ten in the morning if the actor had arrived. If he hadn’t, Naruse would again be annoyed. Making sure that the actors showed up on time was the work of the assistant director. But the crucial issue was to decide what montage to implement, and if that question remained unresolved it was futile to make the call to assemble the actors. I believe that is the fundamental step in learning about filmmaking techniques, something I finally began to comprehend around that time. Meanwhile, Naruse was riding one of the peaks of his career when he made The Maiden’s Heart, Girl in the Gossip (Uwasa no musume), and Wife, Be Like a Rose (Tsuma yo bara no yЕЌni). Girl in the Gossip began as a Japanese adaptation of Chekhov’s The Cherry Orchard. When the project began, it was decided that Yasumi Toshio, a graduate of Waseda’s Department of Russian Literature, would be given the task of coming up with a script based on his knowledge of The Cherry Orchard, but it was Naruse himself who ended up being the screenwriter. I could appreciate the flavor of Chekhov’s work, but, seen from a practical angle, I think turning it into a Japanese story was a difficult feat. Naruse depicted it in his own style as a story about the decline of a large sake-making enterprise; for me, his creativity was highly inspirational. Perhaps due to his newly acquired ability to make talkies at PCL, something he had long aspired to do, Naruse’s creative energies burst forth like rushing torrents. In 1935 alone, he made five films; the second one, Wife, Be Like a Rose, was selected as the best film of the year. Based on an original story by Nakano Minoru called “Two Wives” (“Futari-zuma”), the film starred Chiba Sachiko in the leading role.202 Page 86 →Sadly, PCL, as a newly established company, had very few actors. As it was making talkies, the company was seen as a heretic, so to speak, by the other studios. Even if attempts had been made to snatch actors away from the likes of ShЕЌchiku and Nikkatsu, given the system of exclusive affiliation between actors and their companies, as well as other factors, it would have been no easy task. And so PCL frequently had to recruit shingeki performers such as Maruyama Sadao and Hosokawa Chikako or light comedy stars such as Tsutsumi Masako and Umezono Tatsuko. Taking advantage of this situation, I created as many acting jobs as I could and filled them with many of my friends from Tsukiji who had been beleaguered by official suppression and dismal living conditions. People such as Uno JЕ«kichi appreciated this even if he was only given a small role as an extra. One time Naruse asked me to find someone for a film whose name I have now forgotten, and I brought Takizawa Osamu along for his first film role. A few days later Naruse called me into his presence and asked gruffly if Takizawa could indeed be called an actor. “What? You mean you didn’t know? He is a famous shingeki actor!” “Hmm, I wonder about that. He, an actor?” Still, Naruse was displeased. This is what happened. Since Takizawa was appearing in a film for the first time, he had trouble understanding the camera. Once he started to speak his lines, he would move outside camera range. He was told not to do this many times but to no avail. “I say, Yamamoto! Why did you recommend someone like that?”

I, too, found myself in a bind. It appeared that among the people I had introduced to Naruse the one he was most pleased with was Mishima Masao.203 As PCL had to recruit many of its actors from shingeki and light comedy, Chiba Sachiko, the leading actress in Girl in the Gossip and Wife, Be Like a Rose, was unique in that she was the first star PCL nurtured itself. Fittingly for her roles, she was blessed with a beautiful face. Let me digress a little to relate the following story. If my memory serves me right, it happened while we were shooting Girl in the Gossip on location at Bessho Hot Springs in Nagano Prefecture. While doing location shooting, Page 87 →we were frequently at the mercy of local weather conditions; a cloudy day meant that we had to wait until the sky cleared. In situations like this, we had to while away our time by finding something to do in the area. In this particular case, we were all bored waiting for the weather to change; only Naruse and Chiba were having a good time talking with each other. Returning to my lodging, I took a bath before dinner and went to the area that served as its de facto lobby. There I again found the two of them having a good chat; Chiba was playing with and plucking Naruse’s white hair. “What an affable pair,” I thought. Among the crew, there were already rumors that something suspicious was going on between them. Under such circumstances, it was my duty as Naruse’s chief assistant to find out what was happening. Already, somebody was blaming me for allowing this to go on, saying that it did not set a good example. “But, hey, isn’t it one’s free choice to love?” “It’s free all right, but must they do it in the open where everybody can see?” As the complaints were getting more raucous, the only thing I could do was visit Naruse in his room and warn him about such rumors. “It’s okay with me, but someone among the staff is getting jealous. Won’t you please be a little more discreet?” “You must be joking! What’s wrong with what we’ve been acting?” Brushing aside the controversy with a smile, Naruse said, “Anyhow, I understand the situation.” I bowed, excused myself, and left his room. Then, after some time had passed, I was waiting for the bus to PCL at the Ikejiri bus stop. Whenever the shooting began at nine in the morning, I would arrive at the studio about ninety minutes earlier to check on things; failure to do so would lead to all kinds of noisy criticism. At that time, as I was at the bus stop around five, a car was coming toward me from the direction of Shibuya. In those days, there were very few cars in the area, to say nothing of seeing one at such an early hour. And it was the only car. I looked at the vehicle without paying it much attention, and then I saw Naruse’s face. I let out an inadvertent cry, “Ah!” Naruse also noticed me, and the car came to a sudden stop. Rolling down the window, Naruse asked if I was going to the studio. When I said yes, he said, “That’s early! Well, get in!” Inside I saw that Chiba was also in the car. I suppose they were on their way home from having spent the previous night together. Realizing what was happening, I was the one who found himself in a most awkward situation. Suppressing my embarrassment, I rode with them until I reached the studio. Page 88 →In the end, the two of them married; soon afterward, their marriage broke up.204 Let me add another superfluous detail to this one. This happened after the war, when I happened to receive a photograph of Chiba Sachiko from an unlikely source. The story involves my brother-in-law the sea captain. My brother-in-law had been working as the captain of an oil tanker owned by the company Idemitsu KЕЌsan.205

He was the one who first brought Iraqi oil to Japan after the war ended. Since no agreement between Japan and Iraq existed at the time, it would be more accurate to describe the oil as little different from a stolen commodity. Iraq was still under British domination, and my brother-in-law apparently had to face considerable danger to accomplish the act, including being hunted and fired upon by British destroyers. (Ishihara Shintarō has written about that in a novel.) As Idemitsu built its postwar ventures on the strength of such foreign oil, my brother-in-law could well be counted as one of the great contributors to the current development of Idemitsu Kōsan today. These events were also reported with great fanfare in the press, and my brother-in-law at the time practically fancied himself a general returning home in glorious triumph. Not long after that, Idemitsu built a hundred-thousand-ton oil tanker called Nisshō Maru, the largest by tonnage in Japan at the time. My brother-in-law, now captain of the new vessel, was again making preparations to depart for Iraq. After a while, he brought me a photograph taken to commemorate the event. He himself looked all important in the picture. I also saw a beautiful woman among the crowd, who, upon closer inspection, turned out to be Chiba Sachiko. It was then that I first learned that Chiba had become a concubine of the president of Idemitsu. More surprising, however, was that in the picture Chiba didn’t even look a day older, still her same glamorous self.

Let me say a little more about Naruse’s influence on me. One thing I learned from him had to do with the structuring of a film’s tempo based on its continuities. Naruse’s steady-handed arrangement Page 89 →enabled him to produce a narrative that streamed pleasingly throughout the entirety of his film. What this essentially means is that Naruse was truly a master in the creation of rhythm and in the techniques configuring its movement. This was demonstrated also in Naruse’s attentiveness to the framing of his scenes; he taught me how it can produce different effects in the film’s progression. I would describe another lesson I learned from him as the creative freedom to craft filmic perspectives. For instance, I was resistant to Ozu Yasujirō’s particular technique of placing the camera in a low position and invariably shooting at a low angle, believing it was rigidly incommodious. It is no exaggeration to say that this sensibility of mine was a clear reflection of Naruse’s influence. My thinking was that human beings are surely capable of adopting independent perspectives rather than just looking up from below like a mouse; it didn’t matter whether the camera was shooting from below, from above, or from the side. Needless to say, directors such as Ozu and Mizoguchi Kenji had their own aesthetic sensibilities, each producing wonderful results of his own. But, as far as camera angle was concerned, Naruse was more uninhibited. Perhaps Yamanaka Sadao was most comparable to Naruse when it came to how he interpreted the world. While Yamanaka did have his own share of idiosyncrasies, as far as creative freedom was concerned, I think he and Naruse were very much alike. Perhaps because of this, Naruse and Yamanaka were the best of friends among PCL directors. Incidentally, Yamanaka died of an illness at the young age of twenty-nine on the Chinese continent in 1938. He expressed regret in his will that Humanity and Paper Balloons (NinjЕЌ kamifЕ«sen) would become a posthumous work; there is no question that if he had gone on living he would have produced many more wonderful films.206 Once, during my early days as a filmmaker, I was cautioned by Naruse about my penchant for camera panning, a technique whose utilization, I was told, must be governed by its intrinsic necessity. Let’s say A is speaking Page 90 →with B in a scene. With the former’s words still audible, the panning of the camera from A to B follows a logical sequence. It is bad practice to use the technique if no actual conversation takes place. In such a situation, Naruse indicated that the sequence should be accomplished using a a cut. I very well understood what he was saying. Naruse was very adept at allowing his images to exude an ambiance, one particularly associated with the common people (shomin), and when it came to portraying the subtleties surrounding the melancholy sorrow of women, his

talents were second to none.207 I suppose this had something to do with the fact that he grew up poor. He suffered family misfortunes from the time he was a first-year middle school student, shortly before he became a property handler at ShЕЌchiku. He then studied filmmaking while producing scripts and later rose through the ranks to become a director. For these reasons, he was not particularly skilled at representing characters from high society, but I suppose this fact also testifies to a certain democratic populism that constituted his makeup. Throughout the war, Naruse never abandoned his conscience or his consistent lament about his inability to make his own films. During shooting he never raised his voice in anger; rather, he was the type that engaged his work with few words. And he was a very kind gentleman.

During my stint as an assistant director, Murayama Tomoyoshi made a film at PCL called The Responsibility of Kissing (Seppun no sekinin). Murayama was not well informed about the art of filmmaking, and I thought the work must have been too much for him. Since this was happening at a time when I was not assisting Naruse, I was willing to lend Murayama a hand whenever possible. Meanwhile, it appeared that Murayama himself was hoping for the same thing, given my familiarity with him. However, in the beginning PCL’s studio director, Mori Iwao, was unwilling to put me together with Murayama; instead, the man chosen for the task was a new employee at ShЕЌchiku named Matsui Minoru. Having no understanding of Murayama’s work, Matsui suffered a nervous breakdown before he was released from that responsibility. Thereupon I was urgently called in as his replacement in the middle of the project. If I remember it correctly, at the time Murayama was serializing a novel in the journal Reconstruction (KaizЕЌ); he was in the middle of writing it Page 91 →while simultaneously trying to make a film. Having learned from certain sources, including his novel White Night (Byakuya), about his arrest in 1932 following the suppression of the Japan Proletarian Cultural Alliance,208 along with his subsequent ideological conversion and release from prison in 1934, I was acutely aware of the profound anguish he experienced at the time.209 I remember that I was just about to tell him it was impossible to be a filmmaker while being preoccupied with novel writing when I hastily decided at the last moment to suppress my impulse to do so. After Murayama arrived on location each morning, he would frequently fall asleep, understandably so as he had been up all night working on his novel. He would say to me, “Sat-chan, for this scene just shoot it this way! ” before going off to rest. Sometimes, he would demand, “Do it this way!” after the manner of a foreign film he had seen even though Japanese film technology at the time was incapable of accomplishing the feat. I protested, but I would still try to come up with the best result I could by playing with the camera. One time Murayama wanted to shoot in a single cut a housewife’s movements in a room measuring about eight tatami mats. To do this, the camera was placed in the middle of the room and followed the housewife’s actions while Murayama himself was watching from his vantage point at the ceiling. As the shooting went on, it reached a point where the cameraman was unable to tell in which direction the actress would move next. I then built a scaffold over the camera, sat on it, and gestured to the cameraman; a tap on his left or right shoulder meant that he should turn the camera in that direction. No other director had tried that before, and to me it was a very interesting exercise regardless of how well the method worked. Murayama’s abilities as a director were truly remarkable. He was very good at motivating actors such as Tsutsumi Masako, who in this film was in the leading role. In comparison, that was a relative weakness for Naruse. Page 92 →While exhibiting extraordinary talent in the techniques of streaming filmic movements, Naruse was a little inadequate when it came to giving acting instructions.210 While he was unable to create or structure rhythmic narrative movement as a whole, the way Murayama worked with actors was as superb as one would expect. From him I was able to learn much.

Illustrations Yamamoto Satsuo at age three stands between his parents with his siblings behind him and to the right Yamamoto Satsuo (second right, front) with his Waseda University schoolmates Yamamoto and family. His wife Yoshie holds their second son Yō and Yamamoto their daughter Izumi. Their oldest son, Shun, stands in the middle. Yamamoto (third right) with Kamei Fumio, Iwasaki Akira, Mizuki Yōko, and Itō Takerō (first, second, fourth, and sixth right, respectively) at New Star Films. Behind them is a poster for Town of Violence (1950). Kimura Isao (foreground) and Okada Eiji in The Vacuum Zone (1952) Yamamoto (second right) during the filming of Edge of the Sun (1954), with the original author, Umezaki Haruo, and actors Hara Yasumi and Tsuruta Kōji (third to fifth right, respectively) Yamamoto (center) during the filming of Streets without the Sun (1954) Arima Ineko, Yamamoto, Nakamura Kanzaburō XVII, and Itō Yūnosuke (front, from right) during the filming of Scarlet Battle Coat (1958) Mikuni Rentarō and Mochizuki Yūko in Song of the Cart-Pullers (1959) Uno Jūkichi and Kagawa Kyōko in The Human Wall (1959) Shimomoto Tsutomu (center) as Yamamoto Senji in Battle without Arms (1960) Yamamoto with writer Hirotsu Kazuo (right) and actor Utsui Ken (left) during the filming of The Matsukawa Incident (1961) Yamamoto with Ichikawa Raizō while filming Ninja: A Band of Assassins (1962) Yamamoto with Naraoka Tomoko in The Witness’ Chair (1965) Tamiya Jirō (center) as Zaizen Gorō in The Great White Tower (1966) Yamamoto in Vietnam (ca. 1969) Yamamoto with Asaoka Ruriko and Takahashi Hideki while filming part 1 of Men and War (1970) Yamamoto (back) with Asaoka Ruriko, Takizawa Osamu, and Mito Mitsuko (from right) while filming part 3 of Men and War (1973) Yamamoto with Uno Jūkichi (second right), Nakamura Tamao (fifth right), Itō Takerō, Miyako Tokuko, and cinematographer Kobayashi Setsuo (first, second, and third right, back) during the filming of Annular Eclipse (1975) Yamamoto with Asaoka Ruriko (first right, front) and Hira Mikijirō (second right, front) while filming The Tenpō Outlaws of the Marsh (1976) From United Vietnam (1977) Yamamoto with Ōtake Shinobu while filming Nomugi Pass (1979) Ōtake Shinobu, Harada Mieko, and Yuri Chikako (first, second, and third left) as young textile mill workers in Nomugi Pass Yamamoto with Dietwoman and activist Ichikawa Fusae (first, left) during the filming of Nomugi Pass Yamamoto with (from right) Ōtake Shinobu, Harada Mieko, Francis Ford Coppola, Kotegawa Yūko, and Yuri Chikako during the filming of Nomugi Pass

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Chapter Four Before Conscription Immediately after my collaboration with Murayama, an order came in 1937 for me to direct a new film. The project I was given was based on Yoshiya Nobuko’s original work Young Lady (OjЕЌsan).211 The story deals with the experiences of an exceptionally strong-willed, middle-class Tokyo “ojЕЌsan” who comes to teach in a middle school in the countryside, a plot akin to the adventures of a female botchan.212 That film, trifling as it was, marked my debut as a film director. Young Lady’s film editor had worked for a long time on Naruse’s films. Upon inspecting my film negatives, I remember that he promptly remarked, “Yours is exactly like Naruse’s. I’d say the cuts are very similar.” I suppose that was how strong Naruse’s influence on me was. The response to my film was so-so, presumably the result of critics indulging a freshly minted director. It was the time when we had just entered the era of the talkies, and I recall being praised as “a new talkies director who knows how to manipulate sound.” Page 94 →The film’s cameraman was Mimura Akira, who had studied in the United States.213 During the postwar occupation of Japan, he collaborated with US film technicians to document in color the destruction caused by the atomic bomb. As that film is currently kept in the United States, there is a movement in Japan, the so-called Ten-Foot Movement, to buy it back. The first film that grew out of such agitation was Give Back My Humanity (Ningen o kaese), directed by Tachibana YЕ«ten, who until a short time ago was working as my assistant director.214 With such connections, I can’t help thinking that fate had bound Mimura and me together on not a few occasions. After the completion of Young Lady, PCL merged with the JO Studio to form TЕЌhЕЌ Films. Subsequently, all my prewar films were TЕЌhЕЌ productions. In the year I made Young Lady, I was also asked to film another work by Yoshiya Nobuko called Mother’s Song (Haha no kyoku) in two parts. A brainchild of the studio chief, Mori Iwao, the project was a Japanese version of the American production Stella Dallas;215 presumably, Mori was fond of that kind of tragedy. If one was to put a label on it, you could say it was an extraordinary “new-style play” (shinpa-geki),216 with Hara Setsuko in the leading role. Page 95 →The film was screened at the Nichigeki Theatre and became an unexpected hit; at the time, TЕЌhЕЌ still rented Nichigeki to screen its films. On Naruse’s invitation, we went into the beer hall in front of Nichigeki one day after the film’s public showing and looked at the scene from the second floor. As we watched, the audience began to form a long queue that eventually encircled the Nichigeki building three times. Even I was completely taken by surprise. I don’t suppose the popularity of Mother’s Song was the only reason, but that occasion marked the transformation of Nichigeki into a TЕЌhЕЌ property. The total number of spectators seeing the film was probably around ten million. In those days, the Special Higher Police continued to treat me as if I were on a blacklist. About once a year, I was summoned before them to have my “convictions” investigated.217 I detested the exercise with every bone in my body, but since a failure to appear would have terrible consequences, I had no choice but to comply. I lived in Ikejiri at the time, and I was supposed to show up at the Setagaya Police Station. When I entered their room, they always asked about my recent activities. And then there would be wisecracks such as: “Say, you’re doing pretty nicely these days, aren’t you? Working yourself into quite a flashy world.В .В .В . Now, tell me, why did you use shingeki actors? You think they are good?” “They are good.” “But those guys are not good ideologically.”

They were beating around the bush, trying to find out if I was a source of funding for their activities. Some time passed after the shooting of Mother’s Song, and I was again asked to appear at the Setagaya Police Station. At the time, they already knew that I had become a film director. “Now, what have you made lately?” “I made a movie called Mother’s Song.” They stared at me afresh with a startled look. “What! You made that?” Page 96 →“Yes, I did, sir. The movie is now being screened, so please go and see it.” “Let me tell you, I’ve seen it twice already! I cried and cried. Just couldn’t help it. Pretty nice film you’ve made. Keep up the good work!” I felt a little strange being complimented by the Special Higher Police. After that, no more police summons came. As I was asked to make the film involuntarily, I left virtually no trace of my subjective self in Mother’s Song. In due course, someone would tease me by saying that the film was the first among Japan’s three great melodramas, but I think of it as just a part of my assignment as an artisan and nothing more.218 The only occasion on which I felt fortunate for having made it was during that police interrogation. Admittedly, it also brought me momentary pain as I wondered whether I had indeed sunk so low as to be worthy of praise from the Special Higher Police. A year after Mother’s Song, in 1938, I made The Pastoral Symphony (Den’en kЕЌkyЕЌgaku) based on AndrГ© Gide’s novel.219 I suggested the project on my own initiative, with Tanaka Chikao as the scenarist and Hara Setsuko and Takada Minoru in the leading roles. Shot on location in Hokkaido for the first time, it is one film that brings back many cherished memories. Yet, ultimately, the film was a failure. As I recall, many critics pointed to its idealistic content and its lack of realism vis-Г -vis Japan’s indigenous climate. Among the invited guests at the film’s screening was Horiguchi Daigaku, and he didn’t say anything suggesting disapproval.220 Gide also saw it; the film was shown overseas under the auspices of a literary journal in France, and when Kon Hidemi went to Paris, he showed it to Gide .221 Page 97 →I later heard that Gide praised it at the time, but I have no idea if that is true.222 The film’s assistant director was Sekigawa Hideo, whom I had known since my ShЕЌchiku days.223 He was introduced to me as an aspiring filmmaker by a mutual friend, Fujita Sekiji, whom I had known since my student days. When Sekigawa was studying science and technology at Niigata Higher School, his goal was to become a physician. A rugby player with an extraordinarily rugged physique, he was expelled from school due to his participation in a strike. He showed up after coming to Tokyo with nothing to do. I was already with a friend when he came to visit, and the three of us drank together. With sake in his belly, Sekigawa started singing Niigata folk songs from the island of Sado, proving that he was a wonderful performer and quite an interesting fellow. Sekigawa was also writing a novel at the time, and when he asked me to read it I found that there was a distinct Russian flavor to it. He told me that he was also doing some oil painting and showed me his works, which strongly reminded me of Vincent van Gogh. He and I have been friends ever since. About the time we finished shooting The Pastoral Symphony, a letter came from Shigematsu Tsurunosuke in prison. He must have known through my brother’s correspondence that I was making the film. His letter expressed his good wishes for my work and his great fondness for Beethoven, whose music, he said, was still stirring in his head. He also said that he would soon finish his four-year prison sentence and once he got out, he would like to paint to his heart’s content.

I was looking forward to the day of our reunion. Soon after his letter arrived, however, I unexpectedly received the tragic news of his suicide. On the morning of November 30, 1938, the very day of his release, Shigematsu Tsurunosuke took advantage of an unguarded moment by his handlers and Page 98 →ended his life by jumping from the third-floor prison corridor onto the courtyard stairwell below. I couldn’t believe what had taken place. How could something like that have happened when he was about to get out of prison alive and with such a fervent desire to paint, as his letter indicated? Why did the Tsuru-san I knew do it? I speculated that his suicide might have been prompted by his anguish at being forced to renounce his political ideology. His character was such that once he had chosen a path he would have forged ahead regardless of whatever adversities might lie ahead. If such a man had succumbed to the pressure to give up his beliefs, would he not have chosen suicide if the ensuing anguish turned out to be too much to bear? As I contemplated this possibility, I fell into deep despair. Heartbroken by Tsuru-san’s tragic death, I shed angry, uncontrollable tears. After doing some subsequent research, I found out that Shigematsu Tsurunosuke had not in fact renounced his political beliefs. At the same time, I was stunned to learn that apparently there had been rumors emanating from a spy that Shigematsu was himself a spy. One existing document, the trial records of Hakamada Satomi, showed that such rumors were spreading.224 In it Hakamada testified that a spy named ЕЊizumi KenzЕЌ, who had infiltrated the JCP, had revealed under interrogation the names of several other spies, and Shigematsu was among them.225 Hakamada also stated at his public trial that Shigematsu was a mere featherweight with no convictions of his own. I thought these views were absurd. Judging from his character, it was impossible to believe that Shigematsu Tsurunosuke had been a spy. At the Page 99 →time Hakamada was giving his testimony, Shigematsu was serving his sentence in the Osaka Prison in Sakai. I am afraid Hakamada’s statement must have been allowed to filter into Shigematsu’s ears through the actions of malicious government officials. Maybe it’s only my imagination, but Tsuru-san might very well have been told by the authorities that once he was identified in a trial as a spy, he would have no friends or a future even after his release. He then must have been encouraged to renounce his ideology and switch sides. If that was indeed the case, there could be no greater humiliation as far as he was concerned. Shigematsu had gone so far as to suspend his career in painting, which he loved so much, in order to fight with all he had against the growing tide of fascism from the TaishЕЌ to the ShЕЌwa years. There is no question that this action was based on his judgment that political inertia on his part would only result in the denial of his freedom to paint as he wished. If he hadn’t committed suicide and had instead returned to normal social life, he would have picked up his brush again, just as he had indicated in his letter. And yet Japan was in the midst of a fascist storm, and the war was getting increasingly more menacing. I had no idea about the extent to which he might still have thought it possible to paint of his own free will. But if he had painted at all, my guess is that he would most likely have endeavored to create more intensely socially engaged works. By moving in that direction, he would most certainly have encountered a new array of creative anxieties. Until this day, I still mourn Tsuru-san’s death with irrepressible regret.226

After finishing The Pastoral Symphony, my next assignment was to do an adaptation of Yoshiya Nobuko’s Family Diary (Katei nikki) in two parts.227 That was the third time I engaged this author’s material. I had been working quite zealously as a film director until I made The Pastoral Symphony, Page 100 →but by that time I was gradually losing my interest in filmmaking. Perhaps Shigematsu’s suicide further exacerbated my growing sense of frustration. That said, I had already been married for three years, beginning in 1935, and when I was filming Family Diary my

first son was born. To support my family, I had to make films despite my misgivings. It was in this state of mind that I started this project. This period marked the beginning of my lapse into a slump. For a long time, I remained hopelessly demoralized in both spirit and creativity. The only commercially successful movie I made was The New Tange Sazen: The Chapter of the Two-Armed Swordsman (Shinpen Tange Sazen: SЕЌshu no maki), which I made a year later in 1939.228 Tange Sazen’s creator is generally thought to be Hayashi FubЕЌ, but the original author of this movie was Kawaguchi MatsutarЕЌ. The story begins with the theft of a famous sword from the Owari fiefdom, whence a young samurai is dispatched to Edo to investigate but to no avail. After a short while, the samurai happens to venture into the drill hall of the fencing master Chiba ShЕ«saku where, inexplicably, he finds the stolen property.229 As he stealthily attempts to leave with the sword, he is discovered by Chiba, who proceeds first to cut off one of his arms and then to mutilate one of his eyes, thereby giving birth to the bizarre one-armed, one-eyed swordsman Tange Sazen. That part of the story, the first sequence of The New Tange Sazen, was to be made under the direction of Watanabe Kunio.230 One day I was abruptly asked to report to the chief executives, who were having a conference. It just happened that I was wearing an eye patch to Page 101 →cover up a sty on my eyelid, and as I walked into the room all the executives burst out laughing. When I asked why, they apologized and told me that they were just considering ЕЊkЕЌchi Denjirō’s enthusiastic proposal to work with me on a Tange Sazen film before dissolving into another round of laughter. As I came in just as they were discussing the matter, it must have been quite a funny scene. The executives wanted to divide the first sequence of the film into two parts, with Watanabe directing the first and I the second part, beginning with the samurai’s entry into the drill hall and ending with his multiple mutilations. I declined their offer as I had never worked on a period piece and had no idea how to do a chanbara sequence, only to be told that a professional swordplay instructor, a tateshi, would be on the scene to help and everything would be all right. In the end, I was half coerced into accepting the assignment. After we started shooting, one vexing question emerged: ЕЊkЕЌchi DenjirЕЌ was to play both Chiba ShЕ«saku and Tange Sazen. The two characters had to do a chanbara scene, and ЕЊkЕЌchi was the only soul to do it. I spent a whole night thinking about how this could be accomplished and came up with nothing. The next morning, I went to the studio and consulted the tateshi. He gave a simple reply. “Yamamoto-san, here’s where you use a double!” As luck would have it, the body shape of that particular tateshi was exactly the same as ЕЊkЕЌchi’s. And so with him as ЕЊkЕЌchi’s stand-in, I simply filmed the sequence without revealing his face. But then I had no idea how to come up with the continuities. At my request, in a trial shot ЕЊkЕЌchi and the tateshi started a chanbara scene, with the latter announcing at every turn whether he was playing Tange or Chiba. It appeared to be a really simple procedure; the only thing we had to do was complete the subsequent cuts. And so the shooting went on and the film turned out to be quite a hit. ЕЊkЕЌchi himself apparently found this version of Tange Sazen much to his liking. One trouble with ЕЊkЕЌchi was that he couldn’t deliver his lines well. His peculiar style of speech was famous for being the frequent object of mimicry, but what I found was that the way he spoke was the natural result of his having trouble saying his lines. In the same year I filmed The New Tange Sazen, I went on to make three more films in a row—A Beautiful Start (Uruwashiki shuppatsu), The Town (Machi), and Madam with a Ribbon (Ribon o musubu fujin), all of them artistic failures. The Town, based on an interesting story by Abe Tomoji, is about the only one of which I retain some recollection.

While I was making Madam with a Ribbon, Japan authorized legislationPage 102 → known as the Film Law (Eiga-hЕЌ).231 The passage of the National Mobilization Law (Kokka SЕЌdЕЌin-hЕЌ) a year before, in 1938, had prepared Japan as a nation for a total plunge into the quagmire of war. In an attempt to fully achieve the goals of the National Mobilization Law, the Film Law gave rise to a system of thought control in film production, and with their passage it was no longer an exaggeration to say that freedom in filmmaking had completely disappeared. Under the new law, film directors had to submit to a licensing system before their professional status could be recognized. It functioned as a regulatory mechanism; it was impossible to make movies unless one was licensed under that system. If one made antiwar films or movies that did not agree with Japan’s national policy, one would have one’s license revoked in no time, leaving him no choice but to abandon the profession. For me, as it was for many others, filmmaking was increasingly turning into a distasteful business. The first film director to have his license revoked under the Film Law was Kamei Fumio.232 At the time, the government was promoting the production of documentary films, an action that in fact led to the creation of a large number and variety of them in Japan. With the ever-expanding war theater in China, the government mobilized not only makers of dramatic films but also documentarists, with the ultimate goal of glorifying the nation’s war exploits. One might say that until then the necessary conditions for the development of documentary films did not exist in Japan. Ironically, the country’s wartime structure might have encouraged the rise of this particular genre. At the time, the term “documentary film” was not in common usage; the genre was referred to as “culture film” (bunka eiga). There were a large number of documentarists, and the most talented among them was TЕЌhō’s Kamei Fumio. Page 103 →In 1938 Kamei earned considerable acclaim for his editing work on the documentary films Shanghai (Shanhai) and Beijing (Pekin). In 1940 he made another documentary called Fighting Soldiers (Tatakau heitai), in which he captured images of war-weary soldiers and the grief of the Chinese people. Regarding it as an antiwar film, the censors prohibited its public screening. A year later, after Kamei produced his masterpiece, Kobayashi Issa, he was arrested for having violated the Peace Preservation Law. The revocation of his director’s license followed. Around that same time, TЕЌhō’s Mori Iwao asked me to reedit Kamei’s The Fighting Soldiers to make it publicly palatable. After watching the film a number of times, I found it an excellent documentary and believed that any further editorial tinkering was impossible. I told Mori that I had thought hard about it and just couldn’t do it. If I had reedited Kamei’s work and turned it into something of a national policy film, I am afraid I would have added an appallingly terrible burden of shame to my life.

I think it was in the fall of 1939. After finishing With Father in the Breeze (Soyo kaze chichi to tomo ni), I took a trip to Korea. The journey was in response to a request for my assistance from a Korean director named Seo who was trying his very best to make films there under adverse conditions. During my student days, I had a Korean friend named Park who was now working as a newspaper reporter in Korea. Part of the appeal of going to Korea was the opportunity to see him again. Once there I became acutely aware that the Korean filmmaking scene was much more disheartening than I had anticipated. Virtually all films shown in Korean cinemas were made in Japan, and there was no venue in which to screen local productions. Indeed, the situation was much worse than what Japan’s independent filmmakers faced in the postwar era. The Koreans were unable to make films despite their financial investment, and even when they managed to produce them, they could not be screened. Such was the situation under which the Korean filmmakers labored. In the capital, Kyongsong, a main road divided the Korean and Japanese quarters. Many times my friend Park and I would stroll there after a few drinks. One evening around midnight, we got drunk and began singing Waseda’s school song as we walked down the street with arms around each other’s shoulders. Near an

intersection, a police officer stopped us. “What do you think you’re doing, getting drunk in the middle of the night like this and singing so loudly? ” he angrily shouted at us. Park went a few steps toward him. “He is my friend from Waseda. You Page 104 →tell me what’s wrong with singing our school song after a few drinks?” he retorted. The officer demanded to know my name and profession, and I handed him my name card. Perhaps he, too, was from Kagoshima; as soon as he saw my name Satsuo, he said, “Hey, you are from Kagoshima too?” “That’s right! I am a film director.” “Oh, is that right? I beg your pardon.” His attitude changed abruptly. “How can you officers holler at people like that without a good reason?” After snapping at the officer, we left the scene. My lodgings were in the Korean rather than the Japanese sector. There were quite a few people in the film industry hanging around in the neighborhood, apparently folks of meager means who would gather around cheap drinking places at nightfall and chat about moviemaking. They could speak Japanese, but even when I was around they chose to speak only Korean. At the time, the Japanese government forced the Koreans to use Japanese in an attempt to dispossess them of their own tongue. Their revulsion at such a high-handed measure manifested itself in their refusal to use Japanese even when I was with them. I was painfully cognizant of their sentiments, and before long we became friends. One day, when Park and I went into a drinking place, they were in the middle of a heated discussion. More than a simple argument, I got the feeling that they were directing their rage against a common object. Ordinarily, when Park and I joined them, they would greet us with a “Yah!,” but on that day they scarcely took any notice of us and continued to occupy themselves with what they were doing. When I asked the film director Seo what was happening, I was told that an order had arrived from the Korean governor-general strictly prohibiting the use of Korean in any future films. All dialogue was to be delivered in Japanese; even superimposed titles had to be given exclusively in Japanese. “Could anything be more outrageous?” Like the other Koreans, director Seo was venting his anger at me. I joined my friends, saying there was no reason why films made by Koreans should be packaged in Japanese. One of them, a popular actor named Kim with a befittingly carrying voice, expressed his sense of indignation with exceptional poignancy. After staying in Korea for about a month, I returned to Japan toward the end of the year. The film in whose production I had been asked to assist was ultimately aborted. On the other hand, I couldn’t help being strongly impressed with the courage demonstrated by my Korean friends, who defiantly persevered in making films under all sorts of adverse conditions. There is a sequel to the story. In 1965 I somewhat belatedly attended a Page 105 →film festival that was taking place in the Soviet Union. There I was told that the leader of the film delegation from the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea was waiting to see me. When I went over to meet him, I discovered that he was Kim, the actor from the old days. It was a reunion after twenty-five years, and our conversation continued throughout the night. At the beginning of the Korean War, Kim was still living in the south. In time he was assigned to the army after being told that those working in the film and art worlds had to carry guns and join in the fight just like everybody else. No sooner did he reach the front lines as a commanding officer than he took his men and fled to the north. For his action, he apparently received a medal from Kim Il-sung. That was what he told me that night, as I watched the way his radiant expressions overlapped with my mental images of him delivering his impassioned

speech at the cheap drinking place years before in Seoul’s Korean quarters.

Returning from Korea, I made The Sisters’ Agreement (Shimai no yakusoku). As I can just barely recall what kind of film it was, it must have been one of little significance made when I was still in a slump. The cast included Hanabusa Yuriko, Hanai Ranko, Hara Setsuko, Nakamura Meiko, and others. Hara Setsuko appeared in six of my prewar films, and this one was her fifth. I have little to write about the film itself, but let me just say a few things about Hara. What jump-started her rise to fame was The New Earth (Atarashiki tsuchi, 1937), a film codirected by Itami Mansaku and Arnold Fanck, for which she was picked to play the heroine’s role.233 While watching it, I was impressed with her good looks but less so with her acting. It was around this time that the PCL and JO merged to form TЕЌhЕЌ. The new company decided that Hara’s first starring role was to be in Mother’s Song, and it was my job to direct it. This led to my first meeting with Hara. While speaking with her, I had a feeling that her voice was not coming from her mouth but from her head. Frankly, I thought this was going to be trouble. When I started to work on the film, there were naturally many occasions on which I would look at her through the camera. In so doing, I began to think that there was something a little unusual about her. She had an attractivePage 106 → face, to be sure, but it didn’t strike me as being particularly Japanese. Her eyes were not blue, but they were large and deep-set. With a high nose bridge, she was tall, with a European’s build. I started to wonder if her family had received some foreign blood, perhaps three generations earlier. Her older brother, then working at TЕЌhЕЌ as a cameraman’s assistant, told me that their grandfather was from Shimoda, which only served to corroborate my suspicions.234 That is how beautiful Hara Setsuko was, something that distinguished her from the average Japanese woman. In terms of personality, she was warm and self-possessed, without a star’s pretentiousness. Her acting aside, I was very favorably disposed toward this aspect of her. There were many people who were more than just favorably disposed toward her. An unmarried young man working as a scriptwriter was deeply enamored of her, and for a time she seemed interested in him as well. However, I heard that her brother-in-law, the film director Kumagai Hisatora, had been resolutely driving away any admirers who dared to approach her. Hara Setsuko became a more seasoned actress after she appeared in Ozu Yasujirō’s films. All things considered, I think the period of her collaboration with Ozu was the one in which she did her best as a performer. If one were to evaluate Hara as an actress alone, without taking Ozu into consideration, one would have to say that she was the type whose beauty preceded her acting skills. Not long after the war, I visited Hara at her Kamakura residence at Maruyama Seiji’s request to discuss her appearance in his film. She was living in the house she had built on Kumagai’s property. When I showed up, she said, “Sat-chan sensei, let’s have a drink!” and brought out a beer bottle. In those days, beer was in short supply, so I drank reservedly. But she freely offered one bottle after another, and finally the two of us ended up consuming close to a dozen. She hadn’t even ventured to touch a drop of alcohol in the past, and at last I said, “You have changed completely!” “I can’t sleep without drinking.” She looked forlorn. If she had equipped herself with truly good acting skills, I think she would still have an active career in film today.

Let me return to my original story. In 1941 I was making a film called It’s Paradise When One Sings (Utaeba tengoku) on the condition that I be allowed to cover the current conditions Page 107 →of Japanese pioneering immigrants in Manchuria. The film

itself was of no significance, with Furukawa Roppa in the starring role.235 At the time, I was beginning to wonder whether I should go as far as to give up my filmmaking career altogether. In those days, working with the camera gave me not even the slightest pleasure. On the other hand, I couldn’t summon the stamina to articulate what I would like to do. Censorship had become more stringent, drowning out our voices in the name of national policy and making it impossible to make films of one’s free will. I couldn’t bear to look at my own wretched self, one capable only of drifting along with the currents of the time. My fact-finding trip to Manchuria, the northeastern part of China, was perhaps one desperate attempt to flee from such a predicament. After finishing It’s Paradise When One Sings, I departed from Lushun for Harbin in June 1941. On the way, I stopped in Xinjing ([present-day] Changchun) and visited, among other places, Man’ei’s studio there.236 Its director was the former military police captain Amakasu Masahiko, who, at the time of the Great KantЕЌ Earthquake, killed ЕЊsugi Sakae, his wife ItЕЌ Noe, and ЕЊsugi’s nephew SЕЌichi.237 I Page 108 →didn’t meet Amakasu but merely paid a visit to the studio before leaving immediately for Harbin. In Harbin I stayed in a hotel in the Russian quarter. I still remember how the White Russian doorman made a fool of me because of my inability to speak any Russian. World War II had begun two years earlier, in 1939, and by the time I reached Harbin the situation was tense, with speculation that war between Germany and the Soviet Union could break out at any time. Meanwhile, caught in an impasse on the Chinese front, Japan was exploring strategies in response to that situation. The stalemate in the Sino-Japanese War had encouraged the Chinese to intensify their resistance against Japan, so much so that in Harbin my companions and I were forbidden to enter the Chinese quarter. Meanwhile, we were warned about marauding bandits. The situation was such that we didn’t feel at ease walking alone. When we went to a Japanese army dormitory in Harbin, we were told that beginning the next day each of us would be provided with a guard for his protection. I went to the dormitory the next day only to find the place virtually empty. Thinking that this was odd, I happened to notice a Russian newspaper lying nearby with big eye-catching captions. Realizing that something must have happened, I asked one of the few remaining men there and was told that the article was about the outbreak of German-Soviet conflict. Apparently, the German army had launched a large-scale attack on the Soviet Union by pouring from all sides into the latter’s territory. That explained the solitary conditions at the dormitory. I felt that the Kwantung Army was making some unusual moves. In the end, the army was unable to provide us with any more service. Without a guard, all I could do was buy a bottle of vodka and return to my hotel. Pondering what the world and Japan would become in the future, I remember drinking so much that I found myself unable to walk. Meanwhile, on the banks of the Songhua River, the summer season had just begun. White Russian lovers took rides in boats with floors covered in fragrant grass. Onshore, half-naked bathers were having a good time under the sun. While they were enjoying what the short summer could offer with apparent serenity, in another part of the world the war was being fought on an increasingly horrendous scale. The dissonance between those two images filled one with a sense of foreboding and emptiness. From Harbin I traveled to Lake Jinbo in the interior of Jilin Province to take a firsthand look at the land brought under cultivation. What I saw was an extraordinarily miserable scene, so much so that one could hardly bear to look. I stayed with the family of a Japanese settler, only to find that their Page 109 →child was so thin that his legs were like burdock weeds. My heart was about to cry out, “This is too much, this is just too much!” I returned to Japan after a roughly one-month sojourn. My report stated that I had spent about two thousand yen on a totally unproductive journey. It was in December of that year that Japan plunged into the Pacific War.

With the outbreak of the Pacific War, all Japanese films began to parrot the country’s national policy. Film projects were now in the hands of the military. Beyond making films applauding Japan’s fighting spirit, all creative autonomy had ceased to exist. If freedom existed at all, it meant whatever little autonomy one could exercise by hoodwinking the military. Even if one succeeded in doing so, however, the result was nothing more than an insignificant maneuver within the stringent confines of Japan’s national policy. There were only two ways to avoid making national policy films: one could end up as a victim of torture in prison or one could feign illness. But then somebody else would have no choice but to suffer the same fate under the bondage of national policy. The first project to come my way was The Wings of Triumph (Tsubasa no gaika) in 1942, a public relations film that advertised the army’s sophisticated new fighter plane, the Hayabusa, in order to recruit more pilots. Once in the air, the Hayabusa’s landing gear would fold into the plane, a design that marked the earliest mechanical innovation of the Japanese fighter plane. The screenplay, written by Kurosawa Akira, tells the simple story of how an aspiring young test pilot acquires the necessary skills to operate the plane before he flies off to the front. I placed my focus on the mechanics of the flight. Affixed at the plane’s tail, the camera captured from the rear its dash down the runway, its lift into the air, and the folding of its landing mechanism. Then the camera was affixed at the plane’s front end, capturing the movements at its back and the pilots’ maneuvers during their training. The actual filming process was what occupied my attention. The army’s training base was located in Mie Prefecture where the filming took place. What impressed me most was the opulence and extravagance of the army’s supplies. The pilots were assembled and trained there before flying off to the southern front. One time we were invited to a farewell party for men who were leaving the next day. The orgy associated with the event was incredible. The camera captured their actual departure the next day, and this became the last scene of the film.238 Page 110 →I was hoping that they would leave me alone after I made this film, but they didn’t let me off the hook. Once the Pacific War began, the army’s Intelligence Bureau started to consolidate existing film companies into three: TЕЌhЕЌ, ShЕЌchiku, and Dai’ei. From 1942 to 1943, the military ordered each of those studios to make films on steelmaking, shipbuilding, and airplane production, respectively. When Mori Iwao asked to see me, I was told to make a film on steel. “What do you mean, steel?” I asked. “Meaning a film about increasing steel production!” “Ah, you mean a film on a steelmaking company?” The biggest steelmaker was the Yawata Steel Works (Yawata Seitetsujo).239 Because it was situated in a strategic location, filming in that area was prohibited. At the time, a wall had been built around the steel works to hide it from public view; only its blast furnaces could be seen from a passing train. It was quite a dynamic sight. Thinking that it would be interesting to film the steel mill’s blast furnaces, I told Mori that the project would be meaningless if we couldn’t work inside the steelworks. “Well, the Army Ministry asked us to do it in the first place. I suppose they’ll allow it if we make the request.” Just as he said, the army immediately gave us its okay. Once the decision was made, I had to go on a fact-finding tour at the steel mill. Once there, I learned that one of its employees was Iwashita Shunsaku, the man who wrote The Life of Wild Matsu (MuhЕЌmatsu no isshЕЌ).240 I met with him and asked that he come up with a rough outline of the story. Iwashita’s plot outline was as follows. Repeated demands for greater steel production lead to serious

mechanical troubles with the blast furnace. Only the joint efforts of all the workers, particularly those of an old veteran, resolve the problem. In the end, we began filming in accordance with the army’s instructions. As it was necessary to film various parts of the factory’s facilities, we Page 111 →frequently had to shoot on location. However, as the steel mill was enclosed by a high wall, there was no way we could accomplish the task by shooting at random angles from random spots. For this reason, a corporal from the military police was assigned to accompany us at all times. A rather picky fellow, he would peek into our camera at every turn and had to be consulted before we were permitted to do our shooting. As this was going too far, I thought a talk with him over sake was in order. When I invited him over for a drink at my lodgings, he turned out to be quite a guzzler. “You know, this is an army film. Do you think it’s necessary to be so overly strict about what we shoot? ” I said. “I guess not, but after all I have my duties to perform.” The sake flowed freely as we continued our conversation. After a while, he came to my place every night to drink as an uninvited guest. Around that time we heard the news about the battles between the German and Soviet armies at Stalingrad. One night, as we were drinking, that became the subject of conversation. “Yamamoto-san, which side do you think will win?” He first raised the question. “The Soviets will, no doubt about it. The Germans have no chance.” Perhaps I had had too much to drink—I told him what I truly believed. Then, all of a sudden, his expression turned stern and his voice became angry. “What on earth are you talking about? The Germans will definitely win! The Soviets will lose!” “No way. Let me tell you, the Soviets will definitely win.” “You scum!” With that sudden outburst, he stood up and drew his sword. Scowling at me for a while, he returned his weapon to its sheath, turned his back on me, and brusquely walked out of my room. I remember how stunned I was before sobering up in no time. The film’s protagonist is an old veteran, a man so experienced in working with the blast furnace that by merely putting his ear next to it he can tell how well it is working. While he is the most respected worker in the facility, in the film he would end up losing his life through a fall into the furnace. In the midst of our location shooting, I in fact witnessed the fall of a real veteran worker into the furnace, supposedly the result of extreme fatigue due to working under constant pressure. Fortunately, he didn’t lose his life, as he fell onto the roof covering part of the burning furnace below, a device installed to protect the facility from air attacks. He fell onto the rooftop with a thud before rolling down from it, with blood all over him. Page 112 →Thick iron pipes crawled out from the blast furnace like snakes, and it was through those pipes that hot blasts were sent into the furnace. That is how the title of the film, Searing Wind (NeppЕ«), came about.241 It was my last film before the end of the war. As soon as I finished Searing Wind, the papers arrived announcing that I had been called up into military service.

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Chapter Five Private Second Class Yamamoto I took my first physical examination for conscriptive service in 1934 at the age of twenty-four. Generally speaking, an examination of this kind had to be performed at twenty-one; only students were allowed an extension until graduation. If I had graduated without a hitch, I could have taken the examination in 1936. But since I had been expelled from my university in 1933, I had to take it in 1934. Physical fitness was classified into four levels, A, B, C, and D. Level A was deemed physically fit for immediate military service. Level B was subdivided into first and second classes; both indicated varying degrees of physical deficiency not serious enough to preclude one from serving. A person so identified was obliged to perform military duties according to the situation on the battlefield. Level C indicated debilities that made one unfit for military service but good enough for home-front defense. Finally, level D men were considered totally unfit. I had my physical examination in Komatsu in Ishikawa Prefecture, my original domicile. The area was largely a farming community endowed with robustly built young men with physical attributes far superior to mine. I suppose I should look upon that as a blessing. While I had no outstanding physical abnormalities, the examining officer announced that I had passed at level C. Secretly, in my heart, I felt relieved. I was so identified because of my depressed chest and flat feet; at the time my chest must have been quite flat. The military doctor asked if I had ever contracted tuberculosis and whether my family had had it in its medical history. He showered me with all kinds of questions and examined my chest with great care. As for the flat-footedness, the condition was deemed unsuitable for marching with the army. I purposely asked the medical examiner to include me in level B, second class, but was ordered, much to my secret relief, to stay behind on the home front to make movies. Since I wasn’t on active duty, all I did for a while was send other draftees Page 114 →to the front. However, with the situation becoming increasingly tense after Japan’s plunge into the Pacific War and the resultant shortage of combatants, those previously designated as level C had to undergo another medical test. I, too, had to be reexamined in 1942, with a subsequent reclassification into level C, first class. With that I started to worry about my precarious position. After finishing Searing Wind, I finally received my call-up papers. It came as a shock. By that time I was married with three children. But since Japan was engaged in a war of aggression, it was only natural that I, too, would be carried off somewhere as a result. Perhaps I would not return home alive. On the other hand, escape was not an option; once I was caught, my family would surely suffer the consequences. Resigned to the situation, I answered the draft. I joined the Sakura Regiment in Chiba Prefecture as a temporary draftee. On the day I departed for Sakura from KyЕЌdЕЌ in Setagaya, where I lived, a large group of people, including many actresses, came to the train station to send me off. As Hara Setsuko and others were among them, I still vividly recall the surprised looks on the faces of the people from the neighborhood watching the scene. Once the new recruits were gathered at the Sakura Regiment, I found out that virtually all of us were temporary draftees not really cut out for military life. We were sometimes made to practice our salutes, but otherwise we received no special training. Our time was spent doing things such as receiving our assigned pistols and sewing a single star onto our military uniforms. It soon occurred to me that we would likely be taken to another location, and the anxiety associated with that grew stronger by the day. One time, as I was busy sewing my collar ensign onto my uniform inside the two-story army barracks, I heard someone coming sluggishly up the stairs. No sooner had he reached the second floor than he gave an abrupt cry, “Is Second Private Yamamoto here?” “Yes, sir!” I answered without thinking. Upon closer inspection, I noticed that the man approaching me

was none other than Uno JЕ«kichi.242 Even when noncommissioned officers walked past him, Uno didn’t bother to salute. As I recall, he had joined the army four years earlier, and yet the military uniform he was wearing was dirty and had only two stars on it. “Hey, you poor fellow! I’m here at heavy gunnery. Somebody told me that a Yamamoto had come in, and so I came over to take a look.” “Is that right? Thanks.” This surprising encounter with Uno brought me great pleasure. Page 115 →“By the way, Sat-chan, what’s going to happen to you?” “That’s what I don’t know. Most likely I’ll be taken to another location, but I don’t know where. Can you find out?” “Okay, I’ll do some checking.” Thereupon, Uno JЕ«kichi managed to establish contact with my wife, create a special opportunity for us to meet, and take care of me in various ways. As to where I might be taken, apparently all he was able to find out was that it probably wouldn’t be the southern front. In the roughly two weeks I was with the Sakura Regiment, I was given an injection mixed with three ingredients, a clear sign that I would finally be called up for duty in a foreign land. As to where the location might be, I was in the dark during my stay in Sakura. When the time came, we were assembled in the square in front of Shinagawa Station, whence we were taken by train to Shimonoseki. Once there we realized that our destination was the Chinese mainland. From Shimonoseki, a ship took us to Pusan. During the journey, the crowd created a great commotion upon hearing that a submarine would set sail. From Pusan, we were packed like livestock onto a freight train. When the train made a stop on the way, the soldiers would all squat down in a line around the car to defecate. That was how we were taken to Dezhou in China’s Shandong Province. After we disembarked from the train, a truck took us all the way into the interior where our army barracks was located. There we received training for three months. The design of the barracks was quite different from that found in Japan, but there was no real substantive difference between them. My experience there was something I will never forget for the rest of my life. Virtually all the soldiers were country folks, but their circumstances at home were irrelevant within the confines of the barracks. The significance of individual careers up to that point in time was totally wiped out as the new soldiers were integrated into a new organization called the army. A military education was hammered into them, all from a clean slate, beginning at the most rudimentary level. The place could truly be described as a vacuum zone.243 The foremost goal of this training was to inculcate unadulterated loyalty to the Japanese emperor. Since our superiors’ orders were synonymous with the emperor’s own, they were inviolate as far as we were concerned. From our standpoint as freshly minted privates second class, even privates Page 116 →first class were our superiors. Above them were the senior privates, lance corporals, corporals, sergeants, sergeant majors, and warrant officers, and up they went. Their collar insignia were all different according to rank: a corporal’s had a golden strip across it with a star, a sergeant had two, and a sergeant major had three. A lance corporal had only a golden strip with no stars; he served with unquestioned authority as the officer responsible for a small unit. Generally, a sergeant was the one responsible for the unit’s overall administration, but the lance corporal’s duty was the supervision of its everyday activities. The way I saw it, all lance corporals were ruffians who closely watched everything I did. I also got slapped twice as often as other soldiers.

After I joined the army, I conducted myself with the understanding that all I needed to do was take care of my own business and conscientiously perform my duties. With that in mind, I never once did such things as washing my lance corporal’s underwear. When noncommissioned officers, lance corporals, and senior privates returned after military drills, first-year soldiers would all jump at their feet to remove their gaiters and take off their boots before they started to polish the latter. I absolutely refused to do any such thing. That was the main reason why I was so unpopular and got slapped so many times. My superior officers also became interested in me as a film director, and as a result they treated me with even greater maliciousness. One day, soon after I returned to the barracks, I was called into the presence of the commanding officer, a first lieutenant who was even younger than me. When I entered his private room, he asked me politely to feel at ease and, with unusual kindness, instructed his orderly to bring me red tea and a sweet bean jelly. Our conversation revealed that he, too, was a Waseda man, had worked as TЕЌhō’s manager in Hibiya, and was quite familiar with who I was. I left him that day with a somewhat reservedly positive impression. After this meeting, I was often called to his office shortly after our nightly roll call. Once such an order came from the first lieutenant’s orderly to the lance corporal, the latter would give me a look of irritation before saying, “Hey, you, the lieutenant is asking to see you again. Now get going!” “Yes, sir!” I saluted and out I went. The lieutenant and I really didn’t have anything serious to talk about; tea was served while we chatted about films. When I returned to my unit, there were times when the lights were already out, and my unit leader would again be upset as a result. In every instance, I was treated nastily and beaten up. Every night after dinner, an officer on duty would call the roll. To me Page 117 →that was the most tormenting time of the day. After he finished and left, the sergeant for internal affairs would grill us on matters concerning military discipline, questions we were obliged to answer one by one. If we got stuck, blows would rain down mercilessly on our cheeks from open hands or his footwear. There were times when the lance corporal himself would perform the act, screaming, “You fools! Can’t you even remember what I taught you?” As a result, I ended up losing two front teeth. Occasionally, letters and packages containing daily items would arrive from Japan. Actresses, including Hara Setsuko, often sent me these things. All the items had to pass through the censors, and, after our roll call, I would be asked to read certain letters aloud. Their content consisted of nothing more than expressions such as “How are you doing?” and “Please persevere and do your best!” yet I was forced to recite them for everyone to hear. When I finished, the lance corporal would make an outrageous statement. “Hey, how many times have you done it with Hara Setsuko?” “No sir! I have done no such thing.” “You liar!” No sooner had he blurted out these words than he slapped me hard across my face. It was an absolutely dreadful experience. I felt depressed, miserable, and angry, but there was nothing I could do. Given such circumstances, I could understand perfectly why the lance corporal and others were so nasty to me at every turn, but without changing my behavior, I kept on minding my own business and my business alone. It was only natural that within our unit I was getting increasingly bad grades. After this was reported to the commanding officer, his attitude toward me gradually began to change and he started to give me warnings. “Hey, your grades look bad. Can’t you work a little harder?” With that, his summons to me for conversation also became less frequent. Meanwhile, Father’s letters arrived with greater frequency. During a visit when I was with the Sakura

Regiment, Father told me, “Since all you can do is make movies, TЕЌhЕЌ is saying that it is working to have you transferred to the Press Corps.” Since this idea was planted in his head, his letters always asked about my move to the new division. As I gathered through another source that TЕЌhЕЌ had indeed been acting on my behalf, I did hope for an early transfer. However, during my three-month military education, it became painfully clear to me that this would never happen. As all letters were censored, my superior officers already knew about Father’s inquiries about my transfer. Again that was one of the reasons why I was looked upon with suspicion. People were angry at me, saying that my transfer plan was exacerbating my slothful work. Page 118 →Then Father’s letters suddenly stopped coming. Just as I was wondering what had happened, I was called to appear before our commanding officer. His attitude was totally different from before. As soon as I entered his room, he cried out, “Attention!” Of course, no tea or anything else was served. I then noticed Father’s letters on his desk. In an instant, I understood what was happening. Father’s letters did arrive; they simply weren’t delivered into my hands. “Read this letter!” he ordered. I did what I was told. Father’s hand was executed with flair, and there were places where his writing style made it difficult for me to read. As I struggled along the way, I noticed, as I expected, that he asked whether my transfer order had arrived. After I finished, the commanding officer lashed out at me. “Your grades are poor. According to your unit’s report, you don’t have any army spirit. That’s why you think you will be transferred to the Press Corps. But in the army, this sort of thing never happens. You have been trained as an infantryman and only as an infantryman. If you think you could be transferred, that’s just more proof that you lack the spirit of a soldier!” After showering me with harsh words, he finally said, “If I and a piece of trash like you return to our country alive at the end of the war, I will never watch a movie made by a scum with no military spirit like you!” “You rat!,” I thought, but could only answer with a “Yes, sir!” Despite the abuse I endured, I somehow managed to complete my military education, even though my assignment order had not arrived. Until it did, we had to do practical field training. As I was supposed to be assigned to a heavy gunnery regiment, I had to learn how to maneuver the equipment. The training consisted of taking the pieces apart, reassembling them, and firing with live ammunition. Before our training began, our instructor explained, “Japan’s .38 heavy machine gun is among the world’s best, and it can hit the target even with your eyes closed.” When it came to actual firing, however, I never seemed to be able to hit the mark despite my best efforts. Noticing my failure, the instructor standing beside me would proceed to kick my behind with as much brute force as he could muster. I was about to blurt out, “Didn’t you just say that it could hit the target even with our eyes closed?” but I couldn’t utter those words. On that front as well, I was often the target of harsh abuse. Our training ended with a long march. A terribly strenuous exercise, I lost count of how many kilometers we had to walk carrying heavy equipment, and at the end I was totally exhausted. A senior officer on horseback Page 119 →approached and amused himself by saying, “Hey, here is one that’s wiped out!” After returning to the barracks, I found that my foot was completely covered with blisters. The military doctor at the clinic cut them open with his scalpel, firmly squeezed out the fluid, and covered the area with a generous application of iodine, a treatment that could make you jump with pain. In the end, I was assigned to a heavy machine gun unit, and there my experiences were as miserable as they had

been during my training. After about a month, I finally received my transfer to the Press Corps. I was assigned to the Film Section of the Press Corps affiliated with the Twelfth Army Command in Jinan.244 The command headquarters occupied a splendid building that earlier had been a part of a university. The commanding officer was a Waseda professor who specialized in the economy of the United States. When I went to introduce myself, he said with a smile, “You know, you were the fellow with no army spirit! Even though I very much wanted to have you here, your grades were too bad for the Press Corps. That was the answer I got. But hey, you finally made it!” We lived outside the barracks in a dormitory about a ten-minute walk from the command headquarters. It was a nice three-story building with a basement serving as the Press Corps’ living quarters, while the officers occupied all the top floors. Among the members of the Press Corps were many newspaper reporters; the rest consisted of an assortment of university instructors, painters, film technicians, and so on. The leader of the Press Corps was Sergeant Inoue, a graduate of the Osaka University of Foreign Studies. When it was roll call time in the morning, he would say, “No need for all of you to get up. I will do it myself.” He would then rush to ground level, shout a loud “Roll call!,” and report to command headquarters that everything was normal. He would then walk slowly downstairs and announce, “Well, time to get up!” In this way our life was a complete contrast to what we had experienced before; here the army spirit was nowhere to be found. We would wash our faces, change into our military uniforms, and report to the general office of the command headquarters. After we returned at night, there were no more duties to perform, not even a roll call. The Chinese cook for the officers lived with us in the basement. On our first night, he announced that this would be our welcome celebration as he prepared Chinese dishes and brought out the wine. We drank until around eleven in the evening when our leader said, “Let’s all go to bed. We have an early day tomorrow!” Page 120 →“Yes, your highness!” “Please stop calling me that! Just use my name!” “Understood, Mr. Inoue! Should we spread out the futon for you?” “No need to do it for me! Just do your own.” This is how things were done night after night. After everybody had gone to sleep, there was even a fellow who began writing a novel. Meanwhile, two or three other rascals would change into the cook’s Chinese clothes, jump over the wall, and go outside to buy sex. The focus of our work as a movie team was to visit various army units with our film projectors. As many of the places we visited had no electricity, we had to bring a generator with us as well. I had no experience working with projectors, and the technicians were good enough to teach me things such as the way to roll up films. Before long, I received an order to produce a documentary on the new Henan campaign, one aimed at the repair and maintenance of the Beijing-Wuhan Railroad. Based on its military strategy, our command headquarters moved from Jinan to Beijing and then from Beijing to Zhengzhou. Our team moved ahead of our command to Beijing, where we requisitioned equipment and personnel from the Huabei Film Company before rejoining it. On the way just before crossing the Yellow River, I was stricken with terrible diarrhea and had to leave our command to get some rest. Just then, somebody came and asked about Private Second Class Yamamoto. It was Tamura TaijirЕЌ, then serving as the Press Corps leader of our subordinate group, the Asahi Unit.245 I told him about my ailment and said that I would soon depart to catch up with the rest of my team. He informed me that his unit, too, would soon be moving along and expressed the hope that we would meet somewhere again.

It was just a brief encounter, but I was very glad to see an old friend from my student days. At the moment we parted, I felt that I had suddenly awakened from my dreams of the past. I also knew that I had to return with renewed resolution to the reality of being in the deep interior of a faraway land called China. After returning to my command, I began filming along my journey until I reached Zhengzhou. Before I had any time to rest, another order came, demanding that I go to Beijing to inspect the rush prints of the various Page 121 →army units gathered there. I received my travel passes and was immediately on my way. The most terrifying experience of my journey to Beijing and back occurred during the crossing of the Yellow River. The river was approximately one and a half kilometers wide, with a makeshift iron bridge for the train to pass over. There was nothing to protect us other than a few machine guns at the end of the bridge and some logs pointing at the sky to give the illusion that they were antiaircraft guns. As a matter of fact, at the time of our crossing, we encountered air attacks. Fortunately, we somehow managed to make it to the other side, but we were terrified by the aircraft flying above our heads and the yellow, muddy currents swirling under our feet. I was absolutely horrified and thought I was going to die. After I arrived at Beijing, a colonel from the North China Expeditionary Force was already waiting for me when I reported to its Press Corps. “Mr. Yamamoto, I saw your Searing Wind. Quite a nice movie! Keep up the good work! Just let me know if there is anything you need. Do you have any money?” “No, sir.” “Well, take mine!” In addition to the money, I even got an invitation to dine at a restaurant reserved for officers only. There I was dumbfounded to find that all the waitresses were Japanese wearing purple-colored kimonos. When I told the colonel that I planned to spend that night in an army depot, he said that such lodging was inadequate for my work and made arrangements for me to stay in a hotel. After inspecting the rush prints, I had to return to Zhengzhou immediately. Having been treated so well by the colonel, I wished I could go to Beijing on any number of future occasions. When the time came for my second trip to Beijing, I had high expectations when I reported to the Press Corps of the Expeditionary Army. But there I was told that the colonel had been transferred and now a captain was in charge of the place. He treated me frostily, saying that for my needs army depot lodging would do just fine. Like the barracks, the army depot maintained a roll call and curfew system. With nowhere else to go, I stayed there for the night, and the people at the Huabei Film Company took me out for dinner. When I returned after a few drinks, just as I feared, I was angrily reprimanded by the officer on duty. When I went to the Press Corps offices the next day, I told the captain that I would not be able to do my work if I stayed at the army depot. At last I was given permission to stay at the Amakasu Residence next to the Huabei Film Company. At night I would exchange my military uniform for western-stylePage 122 → clothes brought to me by the staff of the Huabei Film Company before we all went outside. Feeling relieved, I drank heavily that night. A long time passed before I went to Beijing for the third time, and I stayed at the Amakasu Residence as before. When I got up the next morning, there was quite a raucous commotion; apparently, Amakasu Masahiko from the Manchurian Film Association had arrived.246 He had shown up early in the morning at the Huabei studio and opened all the desk drawers to check if the pencils had been used thriftily before giving a speech extolling the virtues of frugality. Just as I was pondering his penny-pinching style, the head of the studio came in to convey Amakasu’s invitation to me for dinner that night. I was a little late when I arrived at the designated restaurant. The studio director was standing erect before Amakasu, who greeted my arrival by saying things such as “Ah! You are not exactly young yourself! Let me

thank you for all your trouble.” I was a little irritated by his remark, which I thought was uncalled for, but I just said, “Thank you for your kind invitation tonight.” “Come, why don’t you sit next to me at my table?” I did as I was told. Studying his face closely, I considered the fact that this was the son of a bitch who killed Ōsugi Sakae.247 I have no idea to this day why Amakasu chose to dine with me that night. Did he do it just because I was a film director? Later he witnessed Japan’s defeat in Manchuria before he committed suicide by taking potassium cyanide on August 20, 1945.248

While I was traveling between Beijing and Zhengzhou, our troops were also making a series of small advances before plans were made to attack Luoyang, a city not far from Zhengzhou, the command headquarters of the Twelfth Army. Seen from Zhengzhou’s perspective, Luoyang was situated in the foothills just across the River Luo, which ran through its suburbs. Just before reaching Luoyang, one came to the famous Longmen area with its Buddhist sculptures carved in stone, and it was at that location that we were stranded because of heavy rain threatening to flood River Lou. We stayed Page 123 →in local village houses, recorded the stone statues on film, and waited for the water to subside.249 After the rain stopped and fair weather returned, we managed to cross the river. A cameraman and I went toward Luoyang to take a look at the area. According to the Japanese soldiers we met immediately after the river crossing, the city still had not succumbed to the Japanese attack despite heavy bombardment by tanks and from the air. It was just the beginning of early summer, with a cloudless, blue sky and nothing at all to suggest that we were in the midst of a war. We saw the large city walls in the distance, and the tanks were probably still bombarding the area around the West Gate. We went along the river to take a look. As we were tottering along under the languid rays of early summer, I heard a sudden bang, leading me to throw myself immediately into the river; we were being shot at from the city wall. The cameraman was used to situations like this, and he laid himself flat on the ground. We took a quick glance at the area and beat a hasty retreat. Later we were informed repeatedly that our troops were going to storm Luoyang that day. Every time I went out with the equipment following the announcement, however, I found that Luoyang was still staunchly defended against enemy encroachment. Both sides exchanged fire with the city wall between them, and during cease-fire intervals, Japanese loudspeakers blared calls demanding surrender. The Chinese answered by intensifying their counterattacks. When the Japanese shut off their loudspeakers, the Chinese for their part began to send music across the city wall.250 This continued back and forth any number of times. Finally, we were told that the Japanese really were going to storm the city. Surveying the scene, we could see how fierce the fighting was. After furious attacks and counterattacks, we were told that the Japanese had finally managed to charge into the city proper. Carrying our film equipment, we entered Luoyang at its South Gate. Inside the city walls were streets with rows of old houses, with just a few two-story buildings here and there. Once we got into the city interior Page 124 →through the gate, we found quite a few dead Chinese soldiers lying in the open. Trenches dug along both sides of the streets served as passageways. Even though they ran along the roads, they burrowed just beneath the houses in such a way that planes would never have recognized them from above. I thought that explained why the Japanese hadn’t been able to storm the city for such a long time. As the cameraman and I were walking along the streets, we could still hear gunfire from afar; the Chinese regular

army had already fled, but apparently its remaining forces were keeping up their resistance. “Hey! It’s dangerous! This is not a place for you two to loiter around!” An approaching officer shouted angrily at us, and we hurriedly moved to one side of the street. Just then something caught my eye. When I looked more closely, I found that a Chinese soldier lying on his back was not dead as I had thought. Writhing faintly, he was badly injured and appeared to be in great pain. He was no longer able to speak and was on the verge of death. “He can’t be helped. The man is going to die,” the cameraman muttered. I, too, understood the situation instantly. A Japanese soldier happened to pass, and I asked, “Would you give him a shot through the heart as an act of mercy? It’s too much to see him suffer like this.” “Why not?” The soldier proceeded to pick up a stone next to him, one as big as his hand. “But why waste a bullet on him!” So saying, he smashed the stone against the face of the dying Chinese soldier. Instinctively, I averted my eyes, but the noise of his act reverberated horribly in my ears. I left as if I were fleeing the scene. What a horrible thing had happened because of my needless meddling! The pain and regret I felt lodged deep inside me and refused to go away. Since Luoyang was known as an ancient capital, I thought I could shoot some picturesque scenes. But once there the city itself was not as impressive as I had thought, and I was disappointed. More disheartening was the blatant plundering committed by the Japanese troops. All the shops had been looted by infantrymen. It was far from a pretty sight. We lodged in an abandoned house and continued filming for a while. When we had run out of places to film inside the city, the cameraman and I eventually decided to survey the area outside the city walls. Part of it was a large park, and we could see a monument to the war dead in the distance. The park was covered with a profuse growth of peonies.251 Bathed in the rays of the early summer sun, the scene was so beautiful that it Page 125 →appeared utterly divine. In it the war seemed to be nothing more than an unbelievable lie. “Let’s go to take a look at the monument.” As we started out, I noticed one area in the lovely peony field that appeared to be a little roughed up. When I looked more closely, I saw a corpse lying flat on the ground, in stunning contrast to the exquisite scenery around it. A closer examination revealed that the body was that of a young officer of the Chinese army. The fact that the body had not entirely rotted away indicated that his death had come not long ago. The cameraman took a small diary from the dead man’s breast pocket. As he was looking through it, he found between its pages a young woman’s photograph, undoubtedly that of the officer’s wife, who must have been praying for his safety and awaiting his return home. Surely, she never would have imagined, even in her nightmares, that her husband had perished in a place like this. We gently returned the diary and the photograph to the dead man’s pocket, both muttering words like, “That’s what war is all about.” While after that not much changed on the Chinese front beyond the passage of time, it became obvious even to us that war weariness had crept into the Japanese army. We were well aware that Japanese war planes had disappeared from sight, and our troops’ condition had deteriorated to the point where new regiments were assigned carbines and nothing else. In any event, reports about our troops’ setbacks in Okinawa and the bombing of the Japanese homeland reached us one after another. In time many of us began to talk about Japan’s imminent demise; some were hoping for an early defeat so they could return home. Surely the day did arrive when we greeted August 15 in Zhengzhou. I didn’t hear the emperor’s special

broadcast myself, but a representative of our team had been ordered to listen to the announcement at the command headquarters. When he returned, he reported that, although he hadn’t completely comprehended what was said, Japan had apparently agreed to an unconditional surrender. Thinking that at last they would be able to go home, my friends greeted the message with jubilation; some saw the occasion as one worthy of celebration. One of my friends who had been suffering for days from fever and coughing appeared especially jubilant upon hearing the news. It was apparent to everyone that he had contracted tuberculosis. Meanwhile, in contrast to our state of elation, there were also those who refused to acknowledge Japan’s defeat, saying that they had not been beaten in China and would remain in the country to keep on fighting. This was especially true among the tank divisions. Declaring their absolute refusal Page 126 →to surrender, they ran their tanks onto the streets in a reckless attempt to show their power. But such maneuvers failed to escalate into any significant commotion, and most Japanese forces were inclined to follow the order for an unconditional surrender. The agitation died down in about ten days. In the end, as prisoners of the Chinese Nationalist forces, we began our lives as internees. During our internment, the only thing we could do was wait eagerly for the day of our homecoming. I was also worried about the declining health of my tubercular friend; it was imperative that we return home as soon as possible if only for his sake. As a force affiliated with the Twelfth Army Command, however, our unit had to wait until all the troops under its direct control had been expatriated. During the interval, with the increasing deterioration of my friend’s health, our patience was wearing thin. It was not until June 1946, a year after Japan’s defeat, that we were finally allowed expatriation from Zhengzhou. For the rest of my life, I will never forget that day and what happened to my sick friend. On the day of our long-awaited repatriation, my friend, by then reduced to skin and bones, was so sick that he was virtually unable to move. The joy I felt about returning to Japan was beginning to be overshadowed by my anxiety over his condition. His desire to return home was what had given him the tenacity to go on living, an aspiration that must be fulfilled. I departed from our command headquarters with the rest of our troops, carrying my sick friend on my back and heading toward Zhengzhou Station. On the way, he whispered repeatedly into my ears, “Yamamoto, have you put the red cloth into my rucksack? ” He was concerned about a piece of red cloth he wanted to give to his wife as a present when he returned home. “Don’t worry! It’s in your rucksack,” I answered every time he asked. The cloth was nothing special, but his fervent desire to bring it back to his beloved wife struck me as particularly touching. We arrived uneventfully at the station where our belongings had to undergo inspection at the square in front of it. During the long wait for the process to begin, my dying friend fell into a long slumber. When the inspection began, I had to shake him awake before we were asked to stand at an assigned spot in the square. If his grave condition came to light, there was no question that he would be forced to stay behind. That’s why I did what I had to do. If he should be compelled to stay, there was little chance that he would return to his native land alive. The soldiers stood in a line at some distance from one another, each spreading a towel before him, placing the contents of his rucksack on it, and then standing erect. Some Chinese formed a circle around us, watching the Page 127 →action. I stood behind my friend as the inspection took place in case of an emergency. “Hold on! It will be done soon!” Despite my best efforts to encourage him, my friend’s body in front of me was beginning to sway from side to side.

At last the inspection ended, bringing me much relief. At that moment, it happened. Before I could reach him, my friend’s wobbling body tumbled to the ground. When I came hurriedly to his side, his head was buried in the pool of blood he spewed when he fell, and his body was completely motionless. When I picked him up, I saw that he was already dead. All this happened in a flash. In confusion we called his name, but instead of bringing him back to life it only accentuated our grief. Not much time was left before the train’s departure. Before then we had to find a way to dispose of his body. For the time being, I began to pack what he had left into his rucksack. Then a young boy emerged from the crowd of Chinese watchers and stood before me. Ignoring me in my befuddled surprise, he barefacedly proceeded to loot my friend’s belongings. Seized with a mixture of grief and anger, I at first managed to remain quiet. But when the boy started to put his hand on the piece of red cloth that my friend had treated with such loving care, I could no longer suppress my swelling rage. “Hey, you! What do you think you’re doing?” I yelled at him furiously. For a second, the boy appeared to flinch. Then suddenly, his face trembling, he spat in my face as he screamed, “Ni shibushi ye jianyin le wo de muqin?”252 In a voice that sounded like crying, he was saying, “You, too, violated my mother, didn’t you?” The moment I heard his seething words, I was overcome with a pain impossible to describe. Needless to say, I hadn’t committed any act of rape. Yet hadn’t we Japanese come to China in our muddy boots as invaders? And hadn’t someone dishonored and humiliated this young boy’s mother and his family beyond any hope of redemption? With such thoughts in mind, I no longer knew how to act. I simply took back the red cloth my friend had left behind, and let the boy and his friends do whatever they pleased. Moments later we scrabbled together some pieces of wood, set up a scaffold, and proceeded to cremate our friend’s body on top of it. Enveloped in the red, blazing flames, the body presented an image reminiscent of a Page 128 →dark, embossed silhouette. I bowed my head deeply and clasped my hands in prayer. (I later reenacted my impressions in the last scene of Men and War, Part III.) Before the scaffold was entirely ablaze, we had to leave to take the train, the last repatriation run from Zhengzhou. I got onto the last carriage of the roofless train, watching the flames as they consumed my friend’s body and the rising white smoke in the air. I could still see the smoldering whiteness no matter how far the train traveled. “Good-bye, my friend!,” I screamed inside. But by no means was it a sentimental cry.

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Chapter Six The TЕЌhЕЌ Labor Strikes We were interned for about ten days at a Shanghai prisoner-of-war camp before our repatriation to Japan by LST.253 I remember that while I was onboard the vessel, the captain told me about the death of Shimazu YasujirЕЌ.254 The news made me feel that the world of dramatic film was once again knocking on my door; the thought that I was a soldier had already evaporated within me. Reminding myself that the Japanese army had already been disbanded, I took the private second class badge from my army uniform and tossed it as far as I could into the sea. Our ship arrived in a small harbor in Yamaguchi Prefecture. I was very happy to again step on Japanese soil. In contrast to China’s muddy rivers, the streams in Japan were refreshingly clear. We immediately went to one and took off all our clothes and bathed. At the end of June, the water felt good; I felt that the dirt and grime of army life had all been washed away. A special welcome party for the expatriated soldiers was held that night in the local town, and the sake taken with its Japanese accompaniment tasted exceptionally good. My first worries were my family’s whereabouts and circumstances and next the conditions in Tokyo. On a bulletin board close to the pier was an enlarged map of certain parts of Japan on which the war-affected areas were painted in red. The area around Hamadayama, where my second-oldest brother Katsumi lived, appeared to be one that had escaped devastation. I Page 130 →sent him a telegram about my train schedule and boarded one exclusively for expatriates the day after I landed in Japan. The train traveled slowly eastward along the SanyЕЌ Line on the Pacific coast. Once it passed the area around Shimonoseki, one began to see the scars of war. When the train reached Hiroshima, it was shocking to realize how great the devastation really was. After we passed through Nagoya, an ominous premonition began to grow in my mind. I knew that my family members had evacuated to KЕЌfu,255 but since we were unable to maintain contact, I knew nothing about what had happened to them subsequently. I also knew that KЕЌfu had been bombed, and they might all have perished in the fire. Even if they had managed to escape that fate, they might have died of hunger as a result of Japan’s dire food shortages. My anxiety only grew as the train made its way toward Tokyo. It took about two days to reach the capital. Down and out and deeply worried, I carried my rucksack on my back as I left the train at Shinagawa Station. Looking around, I found Katsumi, but no one else appeared to have come to greet me. A terrible inkling flitted across my mind, and I shouted my brother’s name as if my doubts could be erased by doing so. Running to my side, Katsumi held my hands tightly. “Thanks for coming.В .В .В . How’s my wife?” I asked. “She was evacuated to the outer reaches of Tachikawa.256 Everybody is safe! I am going to take you to them! ” With my worries gone all at once, I felt my spirits quickly return. Walking briskly down the steps of the train station, I found Mother and my oldest brother, Kenkichi, waiting for me at the station’s overpass. Over their protests, Katsumi had them return home before dragging me to Shibuya. There was a drinking place where we used to go before the war, and his idea was to take me there for some black market sake. The establishment was at the rear of a TЕЌhЕЌ-affiliated cinema, and as I was passing through it with my rucksack on my back, I happened to notice that it was showing Mother’s Song, my second film. Surprised, I was more immediately struck with embarrassment than a sense of elation or yearning for the old days. Stunned when she saw me come in, the bar’s proprietress was good enough to bring out the beer she had hidden, even though it was just two o’clock in the afternoon. I hadn’t felt beer run down my throat for a

Page 131 →long while; the sensation keenly reminded me that I had indeed returned home. Before going to Tachikawa, I visited Katsumi’s house in Hamadayama. My family was living in an area about a mile and a half from Tachikawa Station. There were Occupation forces along the way, and my brother thought it would be dangerous for a man in an army uniform to walk around in broad daylight with a rucksack on his back. I followed his advice that we wait until nightfall. I remember that I got off at Tachikawa Station at around eight in the evening. The square in front of it was teeming with American soldiers and street prostitutes, a scene baring the reality that Japan was now under foreign occupation. The noisy tumult created by the American soldiers struck me as something bizarre. As I already knew about Japan’s food shortages, I had packed as much rice and dried bread into my rucksack as possible. It would be terrible if I was caught by those bulky Occupation soldiers and had my things confiscated. Out of anxiety, I held the rucksack strings tightly against my chest. We had no idea what might happen to us as we waited for a bus. Katsumi and I decided that it would be safer to walk the whole way home. Whenever an American jeep approached us with its searchlights during the one-and-ahalf-mile journey, Katsumi would quickly give repeated warnings before the two of us hastily concealed ourselves under the cover of darkness by the roadside. With such trepidation, I barely managed to return to the embrace of my family. My three children were already asleep out of exhaustion for having waited so long for my homecoming. I woke them up and gently hugged them to my chest, one by one.

Two days later, wearing a pair of badgeless overalls formerly used by members of the army’s motorized vehicle unit, I reported to TЕЌhЕЌ. On the set, I saw Naruse Mikio, who was just then making a film starring Furukawa Roppa. He welcomed me back and suggested that I rest for a while before returning to work. Since both TЕЌhЕЌ and Naruse were saying the same thing, I decided to follow their advice for the time being. Persistent fatigue was taking its toll; I was suffering from a fever of unknown cause and was bedridden for about a month. It was not until September that I went back to work. Once there, I found that there were already labor-management conflicts within the company. It was the beginning of the First TЕЌhЕЌ Labor Strike. Around that time, US filmmakers who had joined the General Page 132 →Headquarters as civilian employees were given supervisory roles over the affairs of Japanese filmmaking. Through such channels, the Occupation forces established guidelines with the goal of democratizing Japanese films by eliminating the remnants of militarism. At the time, the loss of their cinemas in wartime fires and other setbacks had made it difficult for Japanese film companies to rebuild. Meanwhile, labor unions were being organized within the industry with the aim of making democratic films. This was a time filled with rising aspirations and high spirits. By the time I returned to work, a split was developing within the intensifying labor movement. The Labor Union for Japanese Films and Theater (Nihon Eiga Engeki RЕЌdЕЌ Kumiai, or Nichieien) was formed as an amalgamation of all previous labor unions within film and theater companies. While Nichieien was a member of the All Japan Congress of Industrial Unions (Sanbetsu Kaigi),257 about eight hundred union members in the distribution unit of TЕЌhō’s operations branch were opposed to the idea of affiliation. Having left the Nichieien, they were attempting to create a labor union of their own. With restlessness developing within the studio, it became impossible for me to stay home indefinitely. I went to work by walking a mile and a half to Tachikawa Station before continuing my commute by train. It took a long time to get to the studio, but that was how I did it every day. Soon the second labor union was formed, and the atmosphere within TЕЌhЕЌ was becoming increasingly agitated. It was clear that management was operating in the shadow of the new labor organization. As a reaction to a series of TЕЌhЕЌ initiatives along such lines, our own union, headed by the producer ItЕЌ TakerЕЌ as our

committee chair, went on a protracted fifty-five-day strike to negotiate questions over the recognition of Nichieien and democratic rights for employees against management prerogatives.258 This came to be known as the Second TЕЌhЕЌ Labor Strike. Page 133 →In its midst, the level of agitation reached the point where five hundred employees declared their separation from TЕЌhЕЌ, an action taken under the direction of The Flag Society (Hata no Kai), formed among eleven stars, including Hasegawa Kazuo and ЕЊkЕЌchi DenjirЕЌ, along with a group of directors, including Watanabe Kunio. The management provided workspace for those five hundred workers, and that development would eventually lead to the birth of a new company, New TЕЌhЕЌ (Shin-TЕЌhЕЌ).259 The fact that ЕЊkЕЌchi DenjirЕЌ and others took all the big stars, such as Yamada Isuzu, in a collective exodus from TЕЌhЕЌ created considerable turmoil among the actors who were less well known. In response, attempts were made by directors and producers to bring the stars back into their camp through one-on-one persuasion. I myself spent a whole night at this and succeeded in turning only Numazaki Isao around.260 Virtually none of the other stars returned to the fold. I think a widespread sentiment within the studio was that it was impossible to make films without the big stars and many were thinking of joining the departed ones. At that time, Kinugasa Teinosuke made a speech on the balcony before the wavering actors and other employees, saying, “Ladies and gentlemen! Stars aren’t necessary. We can still make wonderful films without them!”261 The talk was significant not merely in addressing the indecisiveness among the actors; it was an excellent speech in itself. From then on, the words “We can make films without stars” were very well known. I was quite exhausted during the period of the second labor upheaval. In addition to my daily commute from the outer reaches of Tachikawa, which alone would have been a grueling exercise, I very often had to move from place to place. One time my job even demanded that I resort to physical force. Page 134 →At the time, the room serving as our union headquarters was occupied by members of the second labor union. Our strategy was to throw them out the window one by one, and we proceeded to do just that. However, one of our adversaries was a rugged individual from the lighting department whose formidable muscle power threatened to thwart our game plan. Seeing this, I devised a maneuver with the cameraman Maeda Minoru, with me clinging onto our adversary’s legs and Maeda thrusting his head against the man’s chest at the same time. I still vividly remember how our joint efforts scored a spectacular success in throwing the man out. My physical exhaustion from doing work of this kind led to my desire to move to a place where I could have an easier commute. Just then the proprietress of the same Shibuya sake house I had visited on the day of my return told me that her friend had a house for rent in EifukuchЕЌ. For me this was a piece of god-sent information. In the end, the proprietress put in a good word for me, and I thereby completed the deal at the end of 1946. Incidentally, I later bought the house, remodeled it, and am currently living in it.

It was obvious that the management’s goal in creating the second labor union was to crush the first. Yet Kinugasa Teinosuke, Naruse Mikio, Gosho Heinosuke, Kurosawa Akira, Imai Tadashi, Takizawa Eisuke, Toyoda Shirō, Kamei Fumio, and other directors remained with the latter. Realizing that the first labor union could not be so easily squashed, the management ultimately supplied the entire capital needed to establish New Tōhō Film Company (Shin-Tōhō Eiga Seisakusho, later Shin-Tōhō). For the time being, both Tōhō and Shin-Tōhō operated simultaneously, thereby resolving the labor conflict and allowing the undisrupted production of films. The year 1947, when film production resumed, also witnessed a very interesting rivalry between the two studios in the works they produced. Shin-Tōhō was completely devoted to the production of star-centered entertainment films. Tōhō, on the other hand, followed Kinugasa’s advice and used virtually all newcomers, relying on strategic planning and the skill of its directors to create films befitting a new era. Films made by Tōhō in that year included Four Love Stories (Yotsu no koi no monogatari), directed by Kurosawa, Naruse, Yamamoto

KajirЕЌ, and Kinugasa; Seeing You Once More (Ima hitotabi no),262 by Gosho Heinosuke; Wonderful Sunday (Subarashiki nichiyЕЌbi) by Kurosawa Akira; Enemy of the People (MinshЕ« no teki), by Imai Page 135 →Tadashi; Actress (JoyЕ«), by Kinugasa Teinosuke; and War and Peace (SensЕЌ to heiwa) codirected by Kamei Fumio and myself. War and Peace was produced to commemorate the promulgation of Japan’s new postwar Constitution. At the time, Kamei Fumio had already made preparations for the project, and I was invited to participate as the film’s codirector. As a veteran documentarian, Kamei fully demonstrated his skills in successfully heightening the dynamic intensity of the film’s dramatic structure. Meanwhile, I myself take full responsibility for supplying whatever ideological substance there was to the film. Our desire to contribute to our country’s efforts at democratization in a new era and our sense of rivalry with Shin-TЕЌhЕЌ combined to fervently engage both our crew and the cast in the film’s production. Yasumi Toshio provided the original screenplay,263 a tragedy involving the surprising return of a man to his wife, who had remarried under the misguided belief that her husband had been killed on the battlefield. Thematically, the film deals with the tragedy and evil of war, along with our deep commitment to future peace during a period of flourishing democracy in postwar Japan. The Chinese war front was the setting for the first half of the film. War was seen through the tormented experiences of the Chinese people, and I think that we succeeded in achieving a close scrutiny of the essence of war. At the time, TЕЌhЕЌ had just graduated a crop of newcomers, and each director was responsible for picking talent among the group. I took Kishi Hatae and Izu Hajime under my wing, and that is why they both starred in War and Peace, along with Ikebe RyЕЌ. Incidentally, there is a scene in the film in which one of the protagonists, who has become insane, recovers after receiving the shock of having the needle of a sewing machine accidentally pierce his fingernail.264 That was an adaptation of a similar scene in a Russian film that Kamei had seen, which left a strong impression on him. War and Peace was released in 1947, the year in which American policy toward Japan was undergoing a transition in preparation for war in Korea. This tendency manifested itself, for example, in [General Douglas] Page 136 →MacArthur’s order to abort a general strike planned for February 1.265 Censors within the US Army had already been replaced with reactionaries, and War and Peace, too, had to go through a malicious censorship process conducted by such individuals. We had no choice but to visit the GHQ censors every day for more than a month. The result was that before the film’s release we had to cut out scenes in twenty different places, depicting, for example, the suppression of a labor strike by capitalists allied with the right wing and a massive gathering on May Day—a total of two thousand feet of film or about thirty minutes of screen time. In spite of those cuts, the film generated a great reaction as soon as it was released. Its theme song, “The Song of Exile” (RyЕ«bЕЌ no uta), was greeted with wide enthusiasm as if it were a popular song. Its lyrics were translated from a song sung by Chinese refugees, while the original march-like music was rearranged and infused with a sorrowful melody. There was no question that for the Japanese, as war victimizers and victims alike, the film and its theme song had something that was profoundly moving. We as labor unionists were enormously invigorated by the film’s popularity. Incidentally, among the ten best films of the year were six from TЕЌhЕЌ but none from Shin-TЕЌhЕЌ. War and Peace was ranked second on the list. While making War and Peace, I reflected on my life up to the point where I was forced to participate in the invasion of China as a soldier. Such reflections inspired my firm resolution that not only would I make antiwar pacifism a theme in my films, but it must be my lifelong occupation as well. In addition, I also decided to join the Japanese Communist Party as it was the only political party to have persistently raised the banner of antiwar pacifism during the war years.

Meanwhile, the disputes between labor and management continued unabated. To expunge the influence of the

Japanese Communist Party, management in due course decided to bring in the legal scholar Watanabe TetsuzЕЌ and others—men with absolutely no experience in the production Page 137 →and distribution of films—to take charge of making all management decisions.266 The film projects we had planned and already set in motion were all terminated by force. These included Big Forest (Dai-shinrin, directed by Yamamoto), which deals with workers in Hokkaido’s lumber industry; Genius Are the Clouds (Kumo wa tensai de aru, directed by Yamamoto), which depicts the life of Ishikawa Takuboku;267 and A Man of Passion (HonЕЌ no otoko, directed by Kusuda Kiyoshi), a film made in collaboration with the national railway workers. It was obvious that management was beginning to abandon the business of filmmaking. Finally, in April 1948, management dismissed well over 1,000 TЕЌhЕЌ employees, including some 270 studio workers, to restructure businesses associated with the movie industry.268 The labor union immediately launched a strike, leading to the outbreak of the so-called Third TЕЌhЕЌ Labor Strike. While it was a difficult struggle, labor’s tenacious resistance inspired a greater sense of solidarity among unionists. Directors and actors, including Mifune ToshirЕЌ, Kishi Hatae, and others, went their separate ways to all parts of the country. Under the slogan “Protect Japanese Culture and Japanese Films!” appeals were made to intellectuals, writers, political parties, and labor unions throughout Japan. Numerous Societies for the Preservation of Culture (Bunka o Mamoru-kai) were formed in different parts of the country, and our struggle was gaining the support of progressive forces nationwide. It was only natural that our activities bred an awareness that films must belong to the people and be of the people. Meanwhile, the labor union petitioned for a provisional injunction with a Tokyo district court to protect union jobs and allow its members to continue their work in film production. Management, on the other hand, applied for its own provisional injunction with the same court to protect its property rights while seeking to close its offices. The court dismissed the labor union’s initiative and ordered that management’s demands be carried out. That decision would have led to our eviction from the studio by force, an action to which the union was resolutely opposed. Thereupon, labor Page 138 →union members and supporters continued our resistance by barricading ourselves within the studio.269 We had learned from our sources that when the time came for our eviction the police would likely apply considerable force. In response, we stayed on alert and took turns day and night, barricading ourselves in the studio in anticipation of a long struggle. At night our supporters slept on mats laid out on the studio stage. There was also a contingent of reporters who stayed with us at all times. As it was rather boring in the evenings, we sometimes held dance parties or spent time drinking cheap sake. Meanwhile, the negotiations continued. While I was not privy to such gatherings, one can see how intense such talks were from the story that on one occasion Sekigawa Hideo slammed his fist on the table so hard that its heavy glass broke.270 On the night of August 18, as I considered going home to get a change of clothing, I asked the reporters if they thought the police would come the next day. To kill time, they were playing mahjong at the time. “Nah, I don’t think they’re going to come tomorrow!” I went home that night. The next morning, I took the OdakyЕ« Line to SeijЕЌ-Gakuen Station for my trip to the studio. As the train passed through Soshigaya-ЕЊkura, just one station prior to my destination, I happened to notice on the southern side of the railroad crossing that the road leading to our studio was packed with police officers and armored vehicles. The long-awaited hour was near, I thought. I was already fidgety when I arrived at SeijЕЌ-Gakuen. Looking down from the station’s ticket gate on the overpass, I could see that the police had already posted a cordon on the stairs leading to the studio, and pedestrians going in that direction were being stopped and questioned. Detecting no police presence on the other side, I went down the stairs to SeijЕЌ-Gakuen and walked along the railroad line to Soshigaya. I then cut across the tracks to a small path leading to the rear of the studio along an open ditch. Once I crossed the ditch, I ducked under some

barbed wire before finally arriving at the studio. Once inside, I found the studio in a great uproar. Before the gate, tanks Page 139 →and armored vehicles were moving back and forth as if they were putting on a demonstration of force. Realizing the seriousness of the situation, I went to the union headquarters, only to find that everyone was involved in a heated debate. The union officials were having their own conference in a different room. Before long the committee chair, ItЕЌ TakerЕЌ, announced the result of their deliberations: they had decided to evacuate after all.271 Before noon all the strikers lined up and sang “The Internationale” as we exited the studio by its rear door. Outside armored vehicles were lined up in formation. Among those walking at the head of our line was Gosho Heinosuke. All the actresses were crying as they sang. On that day, August 19, 1948, the forces that came before the studio were led by six US army jeeps, followed by two thousand armed officers from the Metropolitan Police Department, a squadron from the US Army, seven tanks, and three planes. Given such a monstrous display of power, it was said at the time, fittingly, that “the only thing they didn’t bring was a battleship” (“konakatta no wa gunkan dake”). The enforcement of the Tokyo district court’s injunction as it related to the TЕЌhЕЌ Studio, occurring in the midst of escalating US assaults on Japan’s democratic forces, must be inscribed in our memory as the sweeping suppression of the strikers and a clear act of military intervention on the part of the US Army. Despite the eviction, the labor dispute dragged on until October, since we simply could not swallow management’s dismissal of as many as 270 employees. The matter was resolved through the voluntary resignation of 16 union leaders; the list included our committee chair ItЕЌ TakerЕЌ, Kamei Fumio, Yamagata YЕ«saku, Kusuda Kiyoshi, Miyamori Shigeru, and myself. We were at least relieved that a compromise agreement was reached following our resignation. Management would limit the dismissal of those already so informed to the minimum, and the labor union would receive fifteen million yen as compensation for the dispute. In due course, the funds would return to the coffers of Nichieien. After the labor dispute was settled, I went to TЕЌhЕЌ one time on some business. Just as I was leaving, a GHQ army censor who happened to be there suddenly grabbed me from behind. When I looked back, he gave me a smile and made a slicing gesture across his neck with self-satisfied glee, Page 140 →meaning, “Hey, you got fired, didn’t you?” Suppressing my urge to literally kick the ass of that son of a bitch, I decided to leave him alone and went home. From that time on, for the next twenty-odd years, I never walked through TЕЌhō’s gate again. After the labor upheaval, an endless stream of people left TЕЌhЕЌ; this included those who voluntarily resigned and those who were dismissed. Kurosawa Akira, Naruse Mikio, Yamamoto KajirЕЌ, and others formed the Association for Cinematic Art (Eiga Geijutsu KyЕЌkai) and became independent. Until 1950 TЕЌhЕЌ shifted its filmmaking business almost entirely to Shin-TЕЌhЕЌ and devoted its attention to the massive firing of its workers. It had 5,600 employees in the immediate aftermath of the war, and by 1950, in a span of five years, that number had been reduced to a little more than 2,000. By the time this great enterprise was accomplished, TЕЌhō’s head, Kobayashi IchizЕЌ, reportedly declared, “After five years of grueling struggle, TЕЌhЕЌ now doesn’t have even a single communist, a communist sympathizer, or an uncooperative employee within its ranks!”272

After I lost my job, I pondered what I should do next to support myself. I had no funds with which to make a film even if I had wanted to. I had no practical business skills and no real prospects of finding a new job. Physical limitations also precluded any hopes for me to enlist as a day laborer. One day, as Kamei Fumio, Itō Takerō, and I were talking about our future, somebody—I believed it was Kamei—said, “Hey, there is money to be made in the ice business!” Kamei was very capable in this area

as well; he was quite savvy when it came to things like how much profit one could make if one sold so-and-somany cups of coffee. Yes, I think it must have been Kamei who suggested it. So the idea was to start a shaved ice business. Each of us received a very small discharge allowance, and it appeared possible to start such a business if we pooled our resources. That was how we lightheartedly entertained the idea. It was the beginning of summer, and ItЕЌ immediately went to Asakusa to get a set of equipment for the business. We also managed to find a small Page 141 →rental shop at Kami-Itabashi, the third station from Ikebukuro on the TЕЌjЕЌ Line. It turned out that the actual people doing the business were our wives. Counting their chickens before they hatched, the women were all in high spirits, preparing all kinds of raw ingredients such as adzuki beans, and everything seemed to be going well before the shop opened for business. Unfortunately, that particular summer was drenched with rain. After suffering big losses, the business went under. Even Kamei, smart as he was, never made the calculation that rain could spoil our enterprise. Meanwhile, TЕЌhЕЌ had reimbursed Nichieien to the tune of fifteen million yen, and the question arose as to what the labor union was going to do with that money. Fifteen million yen was what Nichieien had borrowed from its supporting groups as operating funds during the labor struggle, and the funds were exhausted by then. Ordinarily, the labor union would have had to repay the loan to its creditors, but Nichieien managed to secure an extension, thereby making it possible to make a film on its own. The result was Town of Violence (BЕЌryoku no machi). As essentially the end product of the financial settlement that ended the TЕЌhЕЌ strikes, it could, in that sense, be precisely described as their child. The original story, The Pen Does Not Lie (Pen itsuwarazu) was a reportage based on the personal experiences of a group of reporters from the Urawa branch of the Asahi Shimbun. A record of the so-called HonjЕЌ Incident of 1949, an event triggered by an Asahi exposГ© of the local textile trade on the black market, the story describes the courageous struggle by reporters and citizens of HonjЕЌ in Saitama Prefecture to banish local gangsters who were acting in collusion with the town’s prosecutors and police force.273 At the time of the incident, a friend from my student days then working at the Asahi Shimbun sent me the book and asked if I could adapt it for the screen. While I did find it an interesting story, I thought it would be difficult to accommodate his request considering my circumstances at the time. Just then Nichieien brought forth a proposal for a new film. Appreciative of the unanticipated opportunity, I made a very strong recommendation for The Pen Does Not Lie. In the final analysis, it was Nichieien whose considerable clout, a result of its solid internal cohesiveness, made the film project possible. Dai’ei agreed to distribute the film in addition to loaning us the funds Page 142 →to make up for any deficiency in our production costs. The film’s title, Town of Violence, was chosen according to Dai’ei’s wishes.274 As far as the cast was concerned, solidarity within the ranks of Nichieien attracted actors from various studios and theatrical groups.275 As for myself, I also wanted to ascertain the extent to which this independent film could recuperate the financial investment we made on its production. Upon its release, I was encouraged to find that the film was a great success; I suppose you could say that it gave me the confidence to make films independently outside the confines of the established film industry. The shooting of Town of Violence took place in HonjЕЌ itself, where it all began. I met my friend at the Asahi Shimbun and other reporters from the paper’s Urawa branch, along with young people who had been active during the incident. All of them would later contribute to the making of this film. The town was peaceful then; the most menacing gangster boss was out of commission as he was spending his days in prison. Thinking that no apparent danger existed, I decided not to rely too much on studio sets in favor of actual location shooting in HonjЕЌ. Under that arrangement, we were obliged to use the homes of those who had been victims of the gangsters. At first everyone refused to cooperate for fear of retaliation, and our first job was to go around persuading the

townspeople to change their minds. I decided to stay in cheap lodgings in HonjЕЌ. The owner, like the town’s young men, was an enthusiast in promoting Japan’s democratization initiatives. The local press, however, published commentaries declaring that the HonjЕЌ Incident was an embarrassment to the town and there was no need to parade such an indignity before the whole country through film as this would only create headaches for the local area. We, on the other hand, ignored such sentiments and started shooting. The center stage for the incident was a Japanese-style inn, or ryokan, and our shooting began at night from the street. The bright lights attracted swarms of curious onlookers, and we had to set up rope barriers for crowd control. The local police and other security guards were also called in, just in case. As the number of spectators grew, we found that some individuals—membersPage 143 → of a gang, it turned out—were pushing the crowd from behind. The jostling and shoving were so relentless that the people in the front row screamed in pain as the ropes before them began to press tightly against their midsections, turning the situation into a huge uproar. The human walls began to collapse, and the lights were about to be knocked down as well. Meanwhile, the police chose to do nothing. Should this situation be allowed to continue, there would surely be casualties. We therefore hurriedly turned off the lights and suspended shooting for the night. The street in question was a relatively busy one, with food stands and drinking booths. After our shooting was interrupted, we were informed that the gang boss was having his yakitori at one of the booths. It appeared that he had somehow managed to get out of jail on bail. If so, we suspected that he might have been the force behind the commotion. Two or three days later the owner of my lodging house came in with a letter from the gang boss. A paraphrased version of it reads as follows. As I am out on bail, I cannot venture anywhere outside my house. Most of my underlings have already left me. According to what has reached my ears at home, there was apparently a great commotion, which led to the interruption of your shooting. Financially, you must have suffered a great deal. For that reason, I would like to meet with you and talk about it. After discussing this with everyone around, our conclusion was that it would be in our best interest to meet with the man. While sickened by the idea, I agreed to a meeting but replied that I would like him to come to me. Meanwhile, the mass media caught wind of this meeting, and, for the story, newspaper and newsreel reporters started arriving at the place where I stayed. The second floor of my lodge was partitioned by sliding doors into four separate six-mat rooms. The newsreel people set up their cameras on the other side of the sliding door and waited for our guest to appear. The idea was that, once he and I sat down face to face to talk, the reporters would slide open the doors all at once and begin filming. I had no idea whether the boss knew about these arrangements, but another one of his letters arrived. His angry message was: You invited me to come for a visit, but while on bail, I am not permitted to venture anywhere outside. If I did, I would have broken the law and would once again be taken into custody. Don’t tell me you didn’t have the common sense to know that! Page 144 →Hadn’t he just ventured outside the other day as he enjoyed his yakitori at the food booth? But of course I had no means of making him come over with that kind of argument. I decided to pay him a visit instead. I did notify the police about my visit, just to be on the safe side. Feeling vulnerable going alone, I ended up taking as my companion the chief assistant director, Maruyama Seiji, a bald man with an imposing figure. When we arrived and opened the door to the vestibule, a petty underling quickly showed his face and said,

“We have been waiting for you, gentlemen. Please come right in.” We were led into an eight-mat room next to the entryway. A table was placed in the center of the room, but I decided to sit as far away from it as I could. When I looked more closely, I found to my amazement that there was a copy of our film script on it. Just as I was thinking about that mystery, the boss appeared before us. “Oh, please, Mr. Yamamoto, come closer!” He was asking me to come to the table, but it would be dreadful if he should decide to brandish a sword in my face. “I am okay where I am, thank you.” “Come on now. Do come closer!” The boss had a small build, but he had a piercing stare. Though unnerved, I had no choice but to move forward. Behind me was Maruyama, who made no attempt to follow suit. The boss began to speak. “Now, I have no followers with me except one. All the others have quit, and I spent all my money at the trial.” “Oh, that must have been awful!” “I’ve sold all my wife’s kimonos and everything else just to tide me over. Hey, there’s a chest over there. If you think I’m lying, I can open it for you to see!” “No, that’s all right. No need to open it. I understand perfectly what you’re saying. But as far as money goes, I am in no better shape than you are.” I was beginning to understand that what the boss was trying to do was to make us cough up some money. I continued, “What I am doing now is making an independent film, without the sort of big budget TЕЌhЕЌ or ShЕЌchiku could provide. Like you, I am flat broke.” At that moment, the boss seemed to have noticed something outside, which made him jumpy. “Looks like we have visitors! Go and take a look!” he ordered his henchman. The man immediately ran out the door. He returned after a while and whispered something in the boss’s ear. Thereupon, the color of his master’s face suddenly changed. I thought something bad was about to happen. Page 145 →“Have you gentlemen asked the police to put a surveillance team on me? Look, this is not the reason why I invited you here. What I want to do is give you the benefit of my cooperation. To tell you the truth, I have read your filmscript. It is obvious that you are using me as your model!” “No, we certainly have no such intentionВ .В .В .” “There is no other way to look at it. But I am not pointing a finger at you for this. It seems to me that you gentlemen are having a tough time doing your work here. The longer you stay, the greater your expenses will be, right? What I am saying is that I’m going to offer you some assistance to make it easier for you to work. I may not have any followers with me now, but, with my old connections, I will have no trouble rounding up as many men as I want. Now, what do you gentlemen think?” His offer to give us assistance was another way of saying he wanted money from us; he couldn’t mention money because that would have been a threat. I knew I had to say no unequivocally. “Well, this film is not the same as what you have in mind. We are making it with no financial backing whatsoever. If it is a commercial success, well, things might be differentВ .В .В .”

I realized that the conversation had drifted in an unintended direction, but I continued, “You know of Mr. Yukawa, the Nobel Prize winner, don’t you?276 He is a great scientist of world acclaim. This film, too, may one day become known internationally.” I was thinking of bragging a little, but when I noticed that I was talking about something totally irrelevant, I hastily brought the conversation back to where I wanted it to go. “In short, I think what you want is money. It is true that an ordinary film company would pay off a local influence peddler to shoot a film on his turf. But that’s beyond my ability. I have no money to pay you with.” What I really wanted to say was that I couldn’t make a film dedicated to nonviolence by shelling out money to a gangster, but those were words that I couldn’t bring myself to say. In the end, the boss had tears in his eyes, and I realized how ludicrous it was to waste time by continuing our conversation. Saying that we would discuss his proposal among ourselves, we left. After that meeting, I made no response whatsoever to the boss and let the matter rest. One night, the noise of somebody yelling on the first floor of our lodge reached our room on the second. With an ashen look on his face, the owner came running into our room and said, “Somebody who looks Page 146 →like a gangster is here and insisting that he see Mr. Yamamoto. What shall we do?” It happened so suddenly that I was not ready psychologically to handle the situation. Thinking what a mess I had gotten myself into, I looked worriedly at the men gathering in the room until my eyes caught Maruyama Seiji’s face. “That’s it. Maruyama Seiji. It’s your show! You’re the biggest guy among us. You will go and see the fellow and say that you’re Yamamoto Satsuo!” Everybody agreed that this was the best strategy. Unable to resist, Maruyama walked down the stairs. We followed and listened from behind the sliding door in the next rom. “So, you’re the famous Mr. Yamamoto Satsuo?” “Yes, that’s meВ .В .В .” Good player as he was, Maruyama appeared unruffled. As expected, the gangster asked that his men be allowed to handle the crowd during our shooting. Maruyama refused him point blank before asking him to leave. It was quite a performance. To this day, Maruyama vividly remembers what happened that evening. He still bears a grudge against me and calls me a coward.277 A day or two after this event, I received a letter whose message I paraphrase below. I am a young man living in a rural area a few kilometers from HonjЕЌ. I work in ЕЊmiya and commute by train. Last night I worked late and took the last train home. While reading the weekly, I heard somebody mention the name Yamamoto Satsuo. When I looked up in surprise, I saw two characters who looked like gangsters having a conversation in front of me. Pretending that I was reading, I overheard them talking about the commotion during your location shooting. One man said that Yamamoto was the leader during the TЕЌhЕЌ Labor Strikes, that he was a stubborn man who would not easily yield to ordinary pressure, and that the only way to deal with him would be to use violence. He then handed over to the other man what looked like a furoshiki-wrapped bundle and insinuated that his partner should do whatever was necessary. The other man said he understood and expressed his complete confidence that the job would be accomplished. I had a feeling that what was wrapped inside the bundle was a pistol, and I think he was going to use it at your filming site. Please take care of yourself.

Page 147 →Getting a little apprehensive, I took the precaution of asking a local committee member of the Japanese Communist Party to investigate the identity of the letter’s sender. Before the results came back, I had no choice but to continue with my work. When shooting began the next day, a large crowd of onlookers gathered like before. When I looked around, I saw two disreputable-looking dotera-clad men looking in my direction.278 Realizing that danger was near, I was tense and nervous. When filming actually began, the two men walked behind the camera before I even noticed. My attention was no longer focused on the shooting. “Camera! Action!,” I shouted, but I couldn’t help turning to look at the two characters behind my back. I wasn’t paying any attention to the performance of my actors. When my assistant director said “Cut!” I had no idea where the cut had occurred. All I could do was give a vague okay. Before long, the investigative report came in from the local committee. The sender had indeed been found, but the man so identified said that he hadn’t written the letter. I thought about it later, and, although I couldn’t say it with absolute certainty, in all probability it must have been the work of the gang boss himself. I couldn’t think of any other possibility. If that were true, the man was a criminal of considerable intelligence. Apart from this episode, there were also other, minor incidents of harassment. Anyhow, we managed to finish filming in HonjЕЌ without any big trouble. Around the time of the film’s completion, however, the papers began to report with great fanfare on something else. This time it was about a lawsuit brought against me by a public prosecutor. During the HonjЕЌ incident, two local prosecutors were cronies of the local gangsters. In the film, they were represented by a single prosecutor whose name was made up of a word from each of their names.279 After reading the filmscript, one of those prosecutors declared that the film clearly constituted a slander against him. An order to appear came to me from the public prosecutor’s office. When I went with a lawyer, I met four or five prosecutors there. I was told Page 148 →that one of them was a friend of the prosecutor in question. Our conversation began like this. “Mr. Yamamoto, is your film fictional or is it a documentary?” The fact that the prosecutor was able to use such terms as fiction and documentary at that time demonstrated that he was quite a film veteran. I thought there had to be a reason behind his question. I hesitated for just a second before I answered, “Well, it’s a semidocumentary.” “Why, is there such a thing as a semidocumentary?” For a moment, he, too, appeared puzzled. “Incidentally, Mr. Yamamoto, won’t you consider changing the name of the prosecutor in your film?” Ah, so that was the reason he raised that question with me. If the film was fictional, it wouldn’t matter if a name change took place. But if it was a documentary, he might have a case; the man was testing the waters here. For some reason, his action greatly infuriated me. It was a fact that the incident took place, and the prosecutor in question was clearly in the wrong. There was no legitimate need whatsoever for a name change just because of a partial resemblance. “No, I won’t consider it. I may be able to change other things, but now all the sound tracks are in. It would be enormously costly to make such a change.” “Come now, is it going to be that costly? To tell you the truth, that prosecutor is a friend of mine. Right now I am trying to calm him down, but the man is pretty angry and insists that he will sue. Just won’t listen to any advice. Can’t you do something about it?” “Not until you agree to pay up. Would you do it for friendship?” The prosecutor seemed irritated by what I said and looked glum. At that point, my lawyer declared, “If you gentlemen wish to sue, I suggest you just go right ahead. Behind us is the support of millions of ordinary people.

Let’s have an open and fair fight!” His words brought our meeting to an end. After the film was completed, a premiere screening took place at a Dai’ei studio. The prosecutors still refused to give up and dragged along a major from GHQ’s Legal Affairs Bureau. I am sure their goal was to put pressure on the film’s release by using the influence of the United States. I wasn’t present at the scene and didn’t hear what was actually said, but apparently the major dismissed their plea, saying, “This sort of thing happened many times in the United States. There is no need to make a big fuss about it.” With that, the prosecutors gave up and did not sue in the end. I have already mentioned that the film was a success. Nichieien received 15.5 million yen from Dai’ei, more than the settlement money of 15 million it received after the Tōhō Labor Strikes, resulting in a net profit of half a million yen.

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Chapter Seven Independent Filmmaking and Its Struggles The success of Town of Violence after its release in February 1950 gave us both confidence and hope. Even before that time, we had been exploring ways to make public-interest films by working primarily with the Societies for the Preservation of Culture, which had been created all over the country in the aftermath of the TЕЌhЕЌ strikes. With regard to film distribution, our deliberations favored future collaboration with the North Star Trading Company (Hokusei ShЕЌji), founded in 1947. While small, it had already earned the distinction of being the exclusive distributor of close to ten films from the Soviet Union. With the success of Town of Violence, Imai Tadashi, Kamei Fumio, ItЕЌ TakerЕЌ, and I decided to start the New Star Film Company (Shinsei Eiga-sha) in April 1950. Along with the Modern Film Association (Kindai Eiga KyЕЌkai), created by ShindЕЌ Kaneto, Yoshimura KЕЌzaburЕЌ, and others, our efforts provided the first sparks that ignited the movement of independent filmmaking in Japan.280 We decided that Imai Tadashi’s And Live We Must (Dokkoi ikiteru) would be New Star’s first production. At the time, still unable to screen our films in big cinemas, we collaborated with the Progressive Troupe (Zenshin-za), whose various associated groups had been traveling the country untiringly giving public performances.281 Page 150 →And Live We Must was completed in 1951. As is stated at its outset, it was “a product resulting from the cooperation of those who love Japanese film”; its budget largely came from fund-raising campaigns among the general public.282 This included initiatives to raise fifty yen per person through promotional drives carried out during Zenshin-za’s nationwide tour, as well as contributions from film circles throughout the country. Our endeavors involved fifty thousand people who contributed a total of five million yen. In response to such high anticipation among the public, both the film crew and the cast gave up their earnings before the movie’s release. We even had a distinguished company of extras: the film critic Iwasaki Akira played an unemployed worker; and Kobayashi Masako, later to serve as a Dietwoman from the Japanese Communist Party, filled in as an elementary school teacher.283 At the same time, the substance of the film was so outstanding that critics compared it to works of Italian neorealism.284 The film was also a commercial success due to its distribution Page 151 →by North Star as planned. Subsequently, the New Star Film Company and North Star merged, giving the latter an opportunity to become a distributor for both Japanese and foreign films. Just about a year before the founding of New Star, the increasingly severe suppression of the country’s labor movement by the United States had brought Japan into a tumultuous phase of its postwar history. The general election of January 1949 had resulted in a dramatic increase in Diet representatives from the Japanese Communist Party: from four to thirty-five.285 In July of the same year, the Shimoyama and Mitaka incidents took place, followed by the Matsukawa Incident in August.286 The culpability for those so-called utterly incredible events was framed in such a way that suspicions were invariably channeled toward the Communist Party, thereby very effectively planting in the public mind an impression of just how horrific the party was. As if to finish off one’s opponents when they were down, the raging storm of the Red Purge soon followed.287 It was against this background Page 152 →that the Korean War broke out in June 1950, and Japan had no choice but to continue to tread history’s treacherous course. As a target of the Red Purge myself, any prospect I had of filmmaking through established channels became increasingly remote. This was the background for the birth of our New Star Film Company. Its creation brought no particular financial relief to us, however; in fact we had a hard time even keeping the doors open. At the time, Sekigawa Hideo was working at Toyoko Film (present-day TЕЌei) after he left TЕЌhЕЌ, and he was good enough to pass along some of his work to me. I suppose he was doing this not so much because of pressing deadlines as out of thoughtfulness, and he let me make whatever I could out of it. In short I was the recipient of

his leftover tasks. But even the temporary income this kind of work generated was a very small amount compared to what was needed to support my family. I realized that I had to resign myself to living in poverty. The second New Star film was Rising Storm over Hakone (Hakone fЕ«unroku, 1952), which I directed with Kusuda Kiyoshi and Kosaka Tetsuto. Based on the original story Water from Hakone (Hakone yЕЌsui) by Katakura Teru, it was produced in collaboration with Zenshin-za. The plot follows the exploits of the Edo townsman Tomono Yoemon, who succeeded in pioneering paddy farming by channeling water from Lake Ashinoko to a wasteland through a long tunnel in excess of a thousand meters by boring through the hillside of Hakone. This was accomplished with scientific surveying techniques and civil engineering feats despite the repression and interference of Bakufu officials.288 The story as it unfolded demanded ambitious cinematography along with a considerable budget, and for this reason we operated very much in the red. Furthermore, we encountered various obstacles along the way. At the time, the Japanese Communist Party had been outlawed, and the Zenshin-za was placed under surveillance for being “red.” With rumors circulating that Communist Party leaders had been working undercover in the troupe, there was even an incident in which MacArthur’s GHQ started to check into cooperative apartments managed by the Zenshin-za. At the beginning of the film, there was a jam-packed scene of two Page 153 →groups of peasants, one praying for rain by ascending a Hakone mountain and another coming from the Fuji foothills and crossing Lake Ashinoko by boat. The former group consisted of extras recruited among day laborers from Odawara who were paid much less than usual for their participation. We carried them to Hakone’s mountaintop using dozens of buses. It was still early morning. From my camera position on the lake, I first filmed the arrival of the peasants by boat, followed by others ascending the mountain. While we were filming on the lake, a motorboat appeared and circled around our vessel in an attempt to obstruct the shooting. Using a telescope, we saw that the motorboat’s occupants were police officers. Meanwhile, our film crew was doing its work by paddling rocky Japanese-style boats made of wood, and the weather was not as cooperative as we had hoped. The unanticipated obstruction by the police added to our jittery mood. Ignoring our loud protests and angry fists in the air, the motorboat made a few more revolutions before speeding away from the scene on a straight course. After finishing our shoot on the lake and before going on to the next scene, I took a nap inside a bus. While so doing, I heard a noise outside as if somebody was communicating with another party, only to discover that it was another police officer. “He’s taking a rest now! He’s taking a rest!” The man was busily transmitting his findings through his radio. There had been cases where we had to deal with police officers standing guard during our filming, but going to such lengths to report such minutiae as the director taking a rest was mind-boggling. I did some checking out of curiosity, only to discover that the police apparently had the mistaken view that the Communist Party was having some sort of important conference on the lake. To camouflage its activity, it was believed that the party had hired a large number of actors and extras to roam the area; the location shooting, the police determined, was part of the smokescreen. This also explained the episode of the motorboat on the lake. The nonsense of it all was absolutely preposterous. All the actors truly demonstrated their dedication to the making of the film. There was a scene in which the peasants, overjoyed to see water finally running down the aqueduct, throw themselves into the water. It is a summer scene in the film, but the shooting was done in the middle of winter near a small lake in ItЕЌ on the Izu Peninsula. The actors rubbed oil on their bodies to make it look like sweat and valiantly braved the cold as they plunged into the icy water. As for the tunnel-digging scene on the hillside, since no other location Page 154 →could be found, the filming was done after we had burrowed a hole under Zenshin-za’s garden and covered it with dirt. The scene in

which the work parties advancing from opposite ends meet was filmed under a tent in the middle of a snowstorm. Our actors exhibited such enthusiasm that their fervor was enough to blow away the chill. I must also note that Takeda Atsushi continued to work as my assistant director after this production. After the film was released, there was considerable interference by the police through their harassment of local cinemas. For this reason, we were unable to secure reputable establishments for the film’s screening; that was one of the major reasons why we fell into the red. Because so many people actually saw the film, however, Rising Storm over Hakone was certainly not a failure; rather, I thought it was a commercial hit. True, we were unable to recover our excessive spending. As it so happened, our redemption came only when China and France subsequently decided to buy the film. Even so, for a while the debt it incurred continued to beset New Star.

The year 1952, when I finished Rising Storm over Hakone, also witnessed one of the peaks in the development of postwar Japan’s independent film movement. For instance, the North Star Trading Company had been steadily consolidating its position, distributing in 1952 films that included Imai Tadashi’s The Yamabiko School (Yamabiko gakkЕЌ, Yagi Productions) and ShindЕЌ Kaneto’s Children of Hiroshima (Genbaku no ko, Modern Film Association).289 December of the same year saw the release of The Vacuum Zone (ShinkЕ« chitai), New Star’s third production, again with North Star as its distributor. I directed the film with Yamagata YЕ«saku’s screenplay, an adaptation of Noma Hiroshi’s original novel. With the rapid proliferation of Japanese cinemas, it was screened in as many as two thousand establishments throughout the country, a fact that did not go unnoticed. The story begins with the return of Private First Class Kitani to his original Osaka unit after his incarceration for the alleged theft of an on-duty officer’s wallet. Once back he discovers that fourth-year privates like him have Page 155 →been displaced by a new crop of soldiers. What remains unchanged is the unrelenting violence perpetrated on freshmen recruits by senior soldiers. Sitting on his bed upon returning from the hospital is all it takes for Kitani to elicit the latter’s resentment. The only person who shows some understanding toward Kitani is Private First Class Soda, an intellectual. In time Kitani becomes aware that his jail sentence and victimization were the result of a power struggle between two men, Lieutenant Hayashi and Lieutenant Nakabori.290 Before long the unit begins to pick soldiers for combat duty. Initially, Kitani is not among those chosen, but insidious behind-the-scenes maneuverings by the unit’s leader, Kaneko, Nakabori’s crony, makes sure that he is. Meanwhile, stories about Kitani’s dishonor as a returned prisoner begin to spread within his unit, one already permeated with an air of ferocity just before the soldiers’ departure for the battlefield. When the senior privates purposely talk about Kitani’s incarceration within earshot, Kitani vehemently responds with physical violence, to which the senior soldiers can offer no resistance. Before being sent to the front, Kitani desperately seeks out Lieutenant Hayashi, the man who has framed him by giving damaging testimony, punches him, and knocks him down. Kitani then attempts to desert by climbing over the wall of the army barracks. When his efforts fail, he can only await the day when he will be shipped to the battlefield. Reading Noma Hiroshi’s novel convinced me with compelling certitude that I must turn The Vacuum Zone into a film. In it I found overlapping layers of experience between my own and what emerged from Noma’s narrative.291 In exasperation, I was reminded of what had happened to me as a freshman recruit in my small army unit as I was taught military discipline. My wretched experiences returned to haunt me like raging waves of revulsion emanating from my inner recesses. I can still remember to this day, Page 156 →after finalizing plans to adapt Noma’s novel onscreen, how my determination to redress the humiliation I had experienced manifested itself within me like blazing passion before a fight. My film budget, however, was only twenty-five million yen. To work within such tight limits meant that it was practically impossible to film the interior of an army barracks from a constructed set; my only option was to use an existing structure. While the original novel tells the story of a Kansai regiment, the fact that we were filming in

the KantЕЌ region led us to search the area for any remaining barracks. We found that, even if part of such a structure existed, it had already been used as either a school or a repatriation camp, with the original gates or other parts missing. Nothing we found in our extensive search suited our purposes. We then learned that one other place, the barracks of the Sakura Regiment, where I myself had been housed when I was a temporary recruit, was about to be turned into a factory and a part of it still survived. It was just incredible that no one, not even me, had thought of the place at the beginning of our search. As the Sakura Regiment was a rather large unit, complete with an affiliated army hospital and other structures, the place would suit our purposes even if only a part of it remained. Upon inspection, all that was left of the four original buildings was one structure, and all the others were being used as repatriation camps. If those camps appeared in the film as if they were a part of the army barracks, however, they, too, might work. Moreover, by sheer coincidence, the only remaining block was the very one to which I had been assigned. Once inside the old building after such a long time, strangely I came to develop a sense of nostalgia about it. We negotiated with the concerned party and ended up renting the place. The Sakura Regiment barracks was situated atop a small hill, and in the past the foothill town below had served the needs of the soldiers. During filming, our actors lived in the town’s ryokan, while the rest of the film crew was accommodated inside the barracks. I shared an eight-mat room, formerly used by our army unit leader, with our cameraman, Maeda Minoru, by bringing in bedding for two. Local women were hired as cooks using the old officers’ cafeteria, which remained intact. At the time, rice was still a rationed item, but Chiba Prefecture fared better than Tokyo in terms of food supply. Thanks to the black market, at least we were able to eat polished rice. We didn’t have to modify any of the facilities inside the barracks for our filming purposes, from the officers’ rooms to the offices and the staircases; that’s why we felt as if we were working inside a real army unit. That the first thing we saw in the morning was the movie set itself further heightened Page 157 →the sensation that I was actually living in the past within the army. For that reason, I couldn’t help becoming energized about what I was doing. Using authentic army barracks did have positive effects. I do think that our actors had a very tough time. As an independent filmmaker, I wasn’t able to hire any actors affiliated exclusively with established film companies. For this reason, ours largely came from the shingeki theater, and they performed brilliantly. For example, the army’s unit leader had a rather boring job; he would do things such as put cream on his face, polish his collar patch, and obsess over the way he wore his hat. Nishimura KЕЌ, playing this distastefully swanky character, was very good. When Kitani (Kimura Isao) attempts to desert, Soda (Shimomoto Tsutomu) turns a blind eye to make good Kitani’s escape. Thereupon, the infuriated unit leader gets physically violent with Soda. This was more easily said than done, as the shorter Nishimura had to make a special effort to jump up to strike his subordinate. Nishimura performed the sequence in such a way that, far from looking ludicrous, he successfully added an element of viciousness to his character.292 I also made it hard on the actors by insisting that they not fake violent actions. Ordinarily, in a scene in which someone is slapped, the victim will slyly deflect his face sideways before we put in the sound, thereby simulating a blow across the face. But that wouldn’t produce the real feel. When we shot slapping scenes this way, the trickery was immediately apparent. I therefore asked the actors to bear the pain and actually get whacked. Since this was the army, violence of this sort was common. This arrangement applied not only to the shot before the camera. The action was real in rehearsals and repeated in the same way when it got an NG. I think both the perpetrators and the victims of the violence gritted their teeth and got through it. I was so deeply engaged in what I was doing that I felt I was filming my own autobiography. The film generated considerable response upon its release. This was due, I suppose, to the fact that many people had read the novel and war scars still Page 158 →haunted the minds and bodies of many. At the same time, the absence of television and the confinement of public entertainment to the theater and cinema might also have explained the situation. In fact the reaction was stronger than I expected. “Solitary Night” (“Adamakura”), an old soldiers’ song sung in the film, achieved considerable popularity, perhaps because of its

melancholy tone. In the end, close to ten million people watched The Vacuum Zone. It took us about three months to make the film. As we were able to shoot about 70 percent of our scenes in the Sakura army barracks, our work ran very efficiently. For that reason, we didn’t spend a lot on production. What was certainly costly to us was pay for the extras, who were mostly students. Besides the transportation costs of taking several hundred of them to Sakura, we also had to shave their heads for their roles as army personnel. Those expenses were considerable. Those who took part in the mob scene in which soldiers are exercising naked in the yard of the army barracks were mostly student extras. Apparently Yamada YЕЌji also appeared in the film as an extra.293 I must say, in general, that the students looked a little awkward in their military roles. It was often said that, in the many films made in those days, the roles that best showcased the talents of male and female actors in Japan were those of the soldier and the prostitute. While I don’t think that was necessarily the only explanation, all the male actors in The Vacuum Zone won critical acclaim for their realistic portraits of various character types within the army. Tone Harue, the only actress in the film playing a prostitute, also received very positive critical reviews. As I mentioned earlier, The Vacuum Zone created a big sensation, so much so that a number of individuals, having seen the film, were so inspired by it that they decided to enter into the film industry themselves. As for me, it is one of my favorite works. The commercial success of The Vacuum Zone brought about a period of stability to its distributor, North Star. For a time, it appeared that it would be able to stand on firmer financial ground. Such good fortune, however, was short-lived. There were various contributing factors to this. Upon reflection, the six major film companies continued to carve up their monopoly Page 159 →of the marketplace by creating their own chain of subsidiary cinemas, with Nikkatsu joining them in 1954. Our complacency over the success of previous films produced an excessive degree of self-confidence about the inevitability of future commercial triumph. There were undue escalations in film budgets. Satisfied with their reliance on their distributors, producers also began to make films that drifted away from the lives of the common people. With Ieki Miyoji’s At the Edge of the Clouds (Kumo nagaruru hate ni, May 1953) representing the apex of its success, North Star’s fortunes plunged into a dramatic downward spiral. Thereafter, the independent films it distributed were either commercial failures or disappointments, irrespective of their quality. In 1953 those films included If Only I Could Offer My Life (Kimi ni sasageshi inochi nariseba, directed by Wakasugi Mitsuo), KanikЕЌsen (The Cannery Boat, directed by Yamamura SЕЌ), Red Bicycle (Akai jitensha, directed by Fujiwara Sugio), and Hiroshima (directed by Sekigawa Hideo). In 1954 they included Edge of the Sun (Hi no hate, directed by Yamamoto Satsuo), Wild Feast (KyЕЌen, directed by Sekigawa Hideo), Cape Ashizuri (Ashizuri-misaki, directed by Yoshimura KЕЌzaburЕЌ), and Lights (Tomoshibi, directed by Ieki Miyoji). The bankruptcy of North Star occurred in July 1954. North Star’s successor was Independent Film Studio (Dokuritsu Eiga-sha), and the first production it distributed was my Streets without the Sun (TaiyЕЌ no nai machi) in August 1954. Needless to say, the original work was based on Tokunaga Sunao’s novel serialized in the journal Battle Flag (Senki) in 1929 and one of the masterpieces of Japanese proletarian literature. The story’s setting centers around a narrow stretch of tenement houses in downtown Tokyo during the late TaishЕЌ period, a neighborhood whose accessibility to sunlight is so poor that it is called “streets without the sun.” As employees in a nearby printery, the neighborhood’s residents support their livelihood by earning meager wages. One day the company abruptly announces the firing of thirty workers, and the people respond by holding a strike. Unable to endure the burden of police suppression and their escalating misery, someone sets fire to the house of the company president, which leads to a series of arrests of union leaders. Shortly afterward, the company announces the firing of all employees. One night an act of arson at the factory, followed by a growing number of arrests, forces the remaining union leaders to accede to the management’s demands. Unable to accept their leaders’ action, young union members carry off the union’s banner and run into the streets,

crying, “Let’s protect our flag!” One can appreciate from this very brief synopsis that the film necessarily required production on a very elaborate scale. First, an extraordinarily large number of actors participated. Second, as the story took place a long Page 160 →time ago, we faced various difficulties in securing the setting we wanted. Unable to film the long stretch of tenement houses on location, we had to build an open set for our “streets without the sun.” Those factors alone were very costly. Added to our challenges was again a variety of headaches we had to face during the actual shooting. Filming on location in Asakusa and other places, we were obstructed by local gangsters. It was common practice within the film industry to buy off the bosses of the local gangs while doing location shooting to preempt any acts of harassment. We believed that the police clearance order would suffice, while the gangsters had a different interpretation. When told that we had no money to pay them as a struggling independent producer, our adversaries planted themselves in front of the camera to prevent filming. Miyako Tokuko, who had just begun work at our location site around this time, turned deadly pale and confronted the gangsters. “Hey! Please get out of our way!” “Am I hearing this right? Are you telling me that I can’t stand right here on public land?” The situation was such that we just managed to save our cameras, which were about to be smashed to pieces. A little earlier, before the shooting of Streets without the Sun, Miyako Tokuko had been employed as an office worker at the New Star Film Company. After filming began, her duty was to act as our liaison with the actors. When the location shooting turned hazardous, all the other on-site staff members quit, and that’s why Miyako had been asked to stay on the scene to help out. In those days, the number of actors with a private telephone was extremely small, and to arrange their schedules we had to send out sixty or even seventy telegrams every day. The job was grueling enough, but in times of emergency we had no choice but to sacrifice Miyako’s work at the office. Another colleague of mine since the days of Streets without the Sun was Tachibana YЕ«ten. Now well known as the director of The Glass Rabbit (Garasu no usagi) and Give Back My Humanity (Ningen o kaese), he was then working as my assistant director.294 For the film, we shot many scenes of the labor union’s hideout, located on the second floor of a cafГ©.295 One time I was supposed to film a sequence Page 161 →of an old woman warming up a bottle of sake in the cafГ© downstairs. When I got to the set to do the shoot, what I found instead was a youthful-looking woman with telltale lines drawn on her face to fake what were supposed to be her wrinkles. I had no idea who brought the woman to the set, but, appalled at what I saw, I was furious. “Hey! This is not going to work! Quickly, somebody find me an old lady close by!” Thereupon, all my assistant directors ran hurriedly out to look for one. Then it was Tachibana who came in with his find, a really decrepit-looking old woman whom he took the additional care of carrying on his back. Before I could get angry, the scene was so hilarious that I ended up bursting into laughter. A detective played by Nishimura KЕЌ was already in action, keeping a close watch on the labor union’s hideout. Our next shot was one of a stray dog coming in to forage for food in a garbage can. But the animals brought in for the act ranged from terriers to well-nourished dogs, and I was impressed by none. Finally, our props room was filled with all kinds of growling and barking canines. At last we managed to find one with the right look, but when it came to the all-important shooting moment, the animal refused to show any interest in the garbage. At the end of my wits, I put Tachibana into the can and had him entice the dog by dispensing bait from the inside. If I were to ask him to perform the same act today, Tachibana might remonstrate by crying out, “Give back my humanity!”296 Our greatest challenge while making this film had to do with money. With the labor strike as its narrative focus, Streets without the Sun was a rarity in Japanese films up to that time. While I was quite engaged in its production,

the expenses involved in creating the open set and other matters aggravated our financial situation to such a point that we wondered if sufficient funds would be available to do our location shooting. The film’s last scene, of laborers carrying off the union flag and running into the streets, involved the participation of a lot of extras. In the end, as we were unable to pay their transportation and food costs as promised, they understandably got quite angry and started their own strike by refusing to cooperate with the film crew. A film about a labor strike had now inspired an authentic labor strike of its own. The strikers were led by Kojima Yoshifumi and Katagiri Naoki, students at Waseda University who later became close associatesPage 162 → of mine.297 People might laugh and describe this action by our extras as an “extra strike,” but I was certainly in no mood for any such humor. The strike was not our only headache. For quite some time, we were virtually incapable of paying our actors for the services they rendered. Since the film was not what one might call a commercial success, this state of affairs continued for a long time, a development that led to very difficult working conditions for us over the next several years. Since what I am going to describe next took place after Uno JЕ«kichi had finished his Unbelievable Affection (Ayani itoshiki),298 it must have been two years after we did Streets without the Sun. It happened on our way back after Uno, Miyako, and I had had a few drinks in Shibuya. Maeda Minoru was the cameraman for both Unbelievable Affection and Streets without the Sun, and he had received only a partial salary for the former. While we were strolling home, I raised that topic, and Uno JЕ«kichi immediately became infuriated. “What about you people? Haven’t you not paid up for Streets without the Sun?” Since he touched me on a sore spot, I, too, became enraged, and we flew at one another’s throats. Well, I suppose both of us were young at the time. The stunned Miyako tried to stop us, only to be swept aside with such ferocity that when she fell she lost a wristwatch she had just purchased. Uno and I were crashing into one another, making loud noises as our bodies smashed against the window blinds of shops that were already closed. Uno gripped my hair and refused to let go; I am sure I lost quite a chunk of what had been on my head as a result. Then years passed, and when I celebrated my sixtieth birthday, Uno said the following in his speech before the other guests: “I felt sorry for pulling out Sat-chan’s hair at the time. I regret that his thinning hair today may well have been my doing!”

In 1954 I went alone to attend the Karlovy Vary Film Festival in Czechoslovakia, bringing with me a copy of the just-finished Streets without Page 163 →the Sun. It was my first postwar trip abroad, and without a traveling companion I found myself very much ill at ease. My travel expenses, close to one million yen, came from contributions by a large number of well-wishers. I was deeply grateful for their extraordinary kindness. Many people came to send me off at Haneda Airport, including family members and those from the film community. They brought along banners and red flags, and one person even needlessly screamed, “Banzai! ” All of this embarrassed me greatly. I took an Air France aircraft bound for Paris, carrying a bouquet of flowers I had received from my well-wishers. Japan had yet to restore its diplomatic relations with Czechoslovakia, and it was necessary for travelers to go to Paris first. A little excited onboard, I promptly offered the flowers with a “please” to a beautiful flight attendant, who frigidly rejected my gesture and placed the bouquet into the overhead compartment. Having disgraced myself in public, throughout my flight to Paris I felt resentful about the offending bouquet, a small part of which stuck out of the compartment. The plane arrived at Paris after stopovers in Bangkok, Calcutta, Baghdad, and Rome. Due to the language barrier, the film I carried was held for a time at airport customs. I was greeted at the airport by a Japanese painter who took me to a Chinese restaurant, saying that a French director of documentary films had been waiting to see me. The director was a young woman who was good enough to have made arrangements for my air ticket and visa

from Paris to Prague. To express my gratitude, I thought of promptly reimbursing her for the cost of my air ticket but then suddenly found myself in a bind. My money was inside a calico wrapped around my waist, and it would certainly be out of the question to fumble around my midsection in front of a young lady. I could have gone into the men’s room, but since I was in a hurry, I went over to a window, released my belt, and finally managed to accomplish my task. My ungainliness at that time must have reached pathetic proportions. The next morning, I left Paris after presenting a request to the Czech consulate general to have my film forwarded to me in Prague. Upon my arrival in Prague, I was greeted by a young woman with virtually no fluency in Japanese, contrary to what I had been told. Feeling worried, I traveled by car to the old hot springs town of Karlovy Vary, the site of the film festival. The event was held for a period of approximately ten days, and I believe I arrived on its third or fourth day. Because I was the only Japanese in attendance, I was asked upon my arrival to give a short speech. The venue was constructed in the classical style, with large chandeliers hanging from the ceiling and a floor carpeted in a crimson red. When I climbed nervously Page 164 →onto the stage, I was greeted with applause, which for some reason did not stop. I tried to gesture to the audience to end their clapping, but the only effect was that it became even louder. For a moment, I felt perplexed, not knowing what to do. In the evening of the same day, a representative from another country arrived, and he too made a speech. I noticed that he was clapping his own hands as he ascended the stage. When his clapping stopped, the audience followed suit, and silence returned to the hall. “Ah, so that’s the way to do it,” I thought to myself, but it was already too late. It turned out that the copy of Streets without the Sun failed to arrive despite my hopes. Everybody grew concerned about the situation and made inquiries in Prague, but still the film did not show up until the end of the festival. Two films from Japan were presented at the gathering, a documentary on the bloody May Day of 1952 and ShindЕЌ Kaneto’s Children of Hiroshima.299 Both received awards, with Shindō’s work receiving the Peace Prize. When I accepted the awards onstage on behalf of both films as Japan’s representative, the chairman of the review committee, a bald gentleman, suddenly hugged and kissed me on both cheeks. I was so stunned that I instinctively averted my face. It was not until the festival’s participants were beginning to leave for Prague that my film arrived. Members of the review committee were considerate enough to view it right away before giving my work rather affirmative appraisals. It was decided that no award could be given as the festival itself had ended, but an award of a special kind was to be established. I was then given the Director’s Prize (KantokushЕЌ).300 During the festival, I spoke with the participating Soviet representatives about a plan of mine. “I would very much like to go to the Soviet Union to see Soviet films. Is that a possibility?” “No problem at all. We would be glad to make the arrangements. We’ll inform you by telegram as soon as we return to the Soviet Union and have a chance to discuss this matter. This will take about a week.” With that I decided to wait for the Soviet response. Page 165 →A week later, I departed for Moscow after receiving an invitation. At the airport, people in the local film community and a fluent Japanese-speaking interpreter were there to greet me and take me to the Hotel Metropol. As soon as I arrived, a crowd formed in front of the establishment; perhaps at the time a Japanese was still a rarity in Moscow. Before leaving Japan, I had been asked, if I had a chance to visit the Soviet Union, to bring some gifts to Kawasaki Tamotsu and Okada Yoshiko, who were then living in Moscow.301 I immediately asked the interpreter for help in locating their addresses, only to find that Okada was on vacation outside Moscow at the time. I was also told that there was no Japanese by the name of Kawasaki Tamotsu in the Soviet Union. It was not until later

that I learned from Kawasaki that he was indeed in Moscow at the time and actually saw me as he stood among the crowd gathered before the Hotel Metropol. There must have been some reason why he didn’t call out my name. During my stay in the Soviet Union, I was unable to see either one of them. In Moscow I was given the opportunity to see a large number of films, including Battleship Potemkin and Mother.302 I stayed in Moscow for only about a month, but I was able to meet Pudovkin’s widow along with many in the film community, visit museums and the Bolshoi Theater, and travel to Leningrad for two or three days. It was a totally exhausting journey with no time to rest. On the day on which a celebration was held to commemorate the signingPage 166 → of the Geneva Conference in July of that year, I joined the representatives of a number of other countries and was asked to address the people gathered in a square. The huge outburst of “Mir! Mir!” [Peace! Peace!] from the crowd produced a little excitement in me as well. There was also a preview of Streets without the Sun in Moscow. The fact that many had read Tokunaga Sunao’s original story apparently had led to considerable interest in the film as well. The reviews were mixed, there was some criticism, and a discussion ensued as a result. With reference to the film’s depiction of Kayo’s death in childbirth,303 Solntseva, the widow of the director Dovzhenko, thought that the scene showing blood running across the basin was too sadistic for her taste and the fighting scenes were atrocious. She commented, “In the Soviet Union, we do no such scenes. They should have been insinuated through the effects of montage.”304 In response, I said something to the following effect. “Like American films, scenes involving fighting, shooting, and bloodshed are extremely well received in Japan. To tell the truth, I don’t like it myself, but if those scenes are not depicted with a certain degree of realism, I would not be able to draw an audience in Japan.” Solntseva replied, “That’s something we cannot understand.” Time was not sufficient when discussions took place abroad. We didn’t have a chance to say even as much as one-third of what was on our minds before the conversation ended. When I returned to my hotel the day before I was scheduled to leave for Japan, I found that Okada Yoshiko had left me a note with the female hotel manager. Written in a beautiful hand, the note said something like “I learned about your stay in Moscow from the paper I read after returning from my vacation today. I came to visit you at the hotel, but regrettably you were out. According to the hotel manager, you will return to Japan tomorrow morning. But I must go to a drama school tomorrow and will not be able to send you off. It is incredibly rude of me, but I will go home today without the pleasure of meeting you.” She also left me her telephone number. Page 167 →I telephoned her from my hotel room to let her know that I carried gifts for her from other parties and that I would leave these gifts with the hotel for her to pick up at a convenient time. When I asked her about Kawasaki Tamotsu, she replied that she didn’t know about him. I then told her that I would also leave the gifts for Kawasaki with the hotel, and she was welcome to have them. What I learned subsequently from Kawasaki was that for some reason he ended up receiving the gifts. I left for Japan the next day with a stopover in Paris.

Despite its very high production costs, Streets without the Sun was not a commercial success. It was the fourth production from New Star, which by then had found itself in such dire straits that it could no longer sustain itself. It was subsequently absorbed by the newly established Independent Film Studio/Central Film Studio (Dokuritsu Eiga-sha/ChЕ«ЕЌ Eiga-sha), which earlier had aspired to make inroads into the established channels of production and distribution. Despite such ambitions, however, from the outset the company experienced difficulties.

In order to give a boost to such an independent studio, three film directors—Yoshimura KЕЌzaburЕЌ, Imai Tadashi, and myself, worked together to make an omnibus film called If Indeed One Loves (Ai sureba koso).305 I think all of us, including the crew and cast, were concerned about the crisis facing independent films and wanted to keep the spirit of independent production alive. We worked with the understanding that the film had to be made with low cost and within a short time frame. All the crew and cast members volunteered to work without pay, and the project was completed in ten days. In 1954 TЕЌei had already launched its weekly double-feature screenings in cinemas and Nikkatsu had begun its own film productions. A year later, in 1955, the five major film companies entered into an agreement that aimed to kick Nikkatsu out and put pressure on independent film studios. Furthermore, provoked by TЕЌei’s double-feature gambit, the other companies decided to follow suit, all in an unmistakable effort to establish their own subsidiary cinema chain and further strengthen their monopoly. During 1955, however, the major player, ShЕЌchiku, was not yet fully prepared to proceed with its own doublefeature arrangement by screening just its own productions. For this reason, it was still possible to pair Page 168 →ShЕЌchiku films with independently financed movies upon their release; the list included Imai Tadashi’s Here Lies the Fountain (Koko ni izumi ari), Ieki Miyoji’s Sisters (Shimai), and my Floating Weeds Diary (Ukikusa nikki). Based on Mayama Miho’s play The Story of the Ichikawa BagorЕЌ Troupe (Ichikawa BagorЕЌ ichiza tenmatsuki) and adapted for the screen by Yasumi Toshio, Floating Weeds Diary was born under such circumstances. It was a joint venture between Yamamoto Productions, created in the same year, and the theater group HaiyЕ«za. The production and distribution were through the Independent Film Studio, with ShЕЌchiku as its de facto distributor. I believe the motivations in making the film included a desire to lend a helping hand to the Independent Film Studio, which was then struggling in the midst of management troubles. Both the staff and the cast agreed to receive only half their normal fees, and the payment of the rest would depend on how well the film fared commercially. Mayama Miho’s father, Mayama Seika, was a close friend of ShЕЌchiku’s ЕЊtani TakejirЕЌ, and, if I remember correctly, this connection helped secure the support of the kabuki troupe directly affiliated with ЕЊtani.306 Furthermore, we relied heavily on the good services of Zenshin-za.307 There was a sword-fighting sequence in the film involving Banzuiin ChЕЌbei, a scene based, as I recall, on [Kawatake] Mokuami’s play Vintage Banzui ChЕЌbei (Kiwametsuki Banzui ChЕЌbei).308 None of our actors knew anything about kabukistyle performances and speech delivery, and Zenshin-za was good enough to provide them with detailed lessons. Floating Weeds Diary is a comedy about a traveling troupe that happens to run into a labor strike in a coal-mining town before developing a sense of solidarity with the laborers there. While the troupe performs kabuki plays Page 169 →during its itinerant journey, its star actor takes the troupe’s money and flees. Faced with impending breakup, the troupe arrives in a coal-mining town and decides to try its luck there one last time. Just as the conditions of a local labor strike convince the troupe that its breakup is unavoidable, the sympathetic labor union asks the actors to stage a kabuki performance based on something written by its cultural division. What they get is a contemporary play about a labor strike. The comedy lies in the actors’ endeavor to perform something they have never attempted before, and they manage to complete the feat. Greatly impressed, the labor unionists pay the troupe handsomely, thereby saving it from dissolution. The cast includes TЕЌno EijirЕЌ, Tsushima Keiko, Sugawara Kenji, and Ozawa EitarЕЌ, with Nakadai Tatsuya and Ozawa ShЕЌichi playing minor roles.309 It was an enjoyable film to work on. If one likens the experience of this traveling kabuki troupe to the state of independent filmmaking, I think the story of Floating Weeds Diary suggested a possible direction for the latter to take in the future. On balance, the film received positive reviews, and I suppose we were able to pay off the other half of the salary we owed our staff and actors. Besides Floating Weeds Diary, films made in those days included Imai Tadashi’s Darkness at Noon (Mahiru no ankoku),310 but independent films as a whole fell deeper into serious gloom.

In the following year, 1956, I made Typhoon Furor (TaifЕ« sЕЌdЕЌki), based on Sugiura Mimpei’s original work The Story of Typhoon Number Thirteen (TaifЕ« jЕ«sangЕЌ shimatsuki), with the adaptation by Yasumi Toshio and Yamagata YЕ«saku.311 It was a joint venture between Yamamoto Productions Page 170 →and the Picture-Perfect Group (Madoka gurЕ«pu), created by ShЕЌchiku’s Sada Keiji and Sano ShЕ«ji.312 ShЕЌchiku was again the film’s distributor. The name of the original setting in Aichi Prefecture’s Atsumi-chЕЌ was changed in the film to Fugue.313 Driven by his fervent desire for financial gain, the villain, a local councilman and construction contractor, joins hands with the town mayor and dominates the town council. When the town is damaged by a typhoon, the councilman conspires to steal government relief subsidies by having a still functional elementary school demolished. Meanwhile, a reform-minded young man endeavors to stop this from happening. When his friend Yoshinari KЕЌichi comes to town, local bosses of all descriptions misidentify him as an official from the Ministry of Construction and attempt to inveigle him with geishas.314 While the character Yoshinari does not exist in the original story, we wanted him to play a role similar to what [Nikolai] Gogol’s sham government inspector [Khlestakov] does in the latter’s play. The shooting was done on the coast of the BЕЌsЕЌ Peninsula.315 In the town of Atsumi, a well-known local notoriety, a construction contractor turned councilman, that is, the film’s model, actually existed. According to the original author, Sugiura, he was a lecherous fellow who committed all kinds of vicious acts without a trace of guilt. For this reason, he didn’t care in the least how he was portrayed in the novel; the only thing that interested him was his newly acquired fame as a fictional character. Apparently pleased with what was happening, he reportedly declared, “Mimpei-san was the first Page 171 →to make a name for himself from Atsumi-chЕЌ, and he is a genius. That’s why he was good enough to write about me in his novel.” After the film was completed, it was released in Toyonaka, a city in that part of the country. Apparently on the day of its release the councilman himself went to see the film, leaving instructions that he be contacted by telephone should there be a need. The audience laughed while watching the show; the fact that everyone knew the film’s setting was modeled after Atsumi-chЕЌ certainly made it more comical. At the end of the film, when the city council called and asked to speak with the councilman, a message was duly broadcast within the cinema: “Councilman XX from Atsumi-chЕЌ, you have a telephone call.” Realizing that he was the model for the film’s villain, the audience burst into laughter. Unperturbed, the councilman stood and left the cinema amid the outburst, fully aware that he was the center of everyone’s attention. I heard this story from Sugiura Mimpei. After a while, thinking about making a film on the struggle against military bases in Japan based again on a Sugiura story, I took a trip to Atsumi-chЕЌ. I was just in time for a meeting of the local council, and Sugiura said that he would introduce me to the very construction contractor in question. I was not particularly eager to meet a figure I had depicted so negatively in my film, but it turned out that he was not at all disturbed about what I did. Giving me his name card filled with all kinds of titles, he was in a good mood, saying, “Ah! Thank you so much for everything!” (Iya, kono tabi wa dЕЌmo iroiro to).316

In the year 1956, when I made Typhoon Furor, the saying “The postwar days are now behind us!” (mohaya sengo dewa nai) was beginning to gain currency in Japanese society,317 a phenomenon symbolized by the appearance of the so-called sun youths (taiyЕЌ-zoku) in the same year.318 While the Page 172 →sale of television sets increased markedly, the film community as a whole had yet to embrace a sense of crisis in its future. From the beginning of 1958, the total number of Japanese moviegoers had reached an all-time high of eleven hundred million. Just around that time, ShЕЌchiku’s ЕЊtani TakejirЕЌ asked to see me. Surely he had seen Floating Weeds Diary and Typhoon Furor, both of which were distributed by ShЕЌchiku. When we met, he asked that I give a

film role to Nakamura KanzaburЕЌ, a kabuki actor of whom he held a very high opinion.319 When I suggested Kinoshita Junji’s Scarlet Battle Coat (Akai jinbaori), an adaptation of AlarcГіn’s novel The ThreeCornered Hat, ЕЊtani thought that was an interesting idea.320 Kinoshita set very high standards when it came to turning his work into film; he had resolutely turned down repeated requests to put his play Twilight Crane (YЕ«zuru) on the screen.321 For some reason, he was accommodating enough to give us his prompt consent and, in addition, allow us complete freedom to work on the screenplay. Kinoshita’s play is a satire involving the interactions between peasants and an amorous local official during the Edo period. In the film, Nakamura KanzaburЕЌ and Kagawa KyЕЌko played the official and his wife and ItЕЌ YЕ«nosuke and Arima Ineko a peasant couple working at a water mill. Before the shooting, I had never met KanzaburЕЌ, and I wondered whether a figure Page 173 →in the kabuki world, leading a life we could not begin to imagine, would be the type to work smoothly with us. Another cause for concern was the fact that this would be Kanzaburō’s first film appearance. KanzaburЕЌ was a professional, of course, and as soon as the shooting began, he was already immersed in his work. In a scene in which he was matching wits with ItЕЌ the farmer, he even warmed up to the point where he wished to spice up Takaiwa Hajime’s original screenplay. He was apparently a close personal friend of Itō’s, and his fervent request was that he be allowed to say “Horseface!” when confronted with Itō’s prominently elongated jawline—a request we finally granted in view of his extraordinary zest. That said, KanzaburЕЌ also caused us headaches on several occasions. We stayed at Izu’s TЕЌfuya Ryokan when we filmed on location. The kabuki actor had about six attendants with him, and, when filming on location, even a nurse became a part of his entourage. I thought this would add to our budgetary strains, but what I am going to talk about had nothing to do with money. It happened when we were about to shoot a scene in which the official was surveying the rural fields, where naturally he would have to step into grassy areas. Just then I discovered that Kanzaburō’s expressions were a little unusual. “Yamamoto-san, I am terrified of green frogs!,” he blurted out. “Are there any in this area?” “Naturally, there are!” Even with that fair warning, our work would be impossible if KanzaburЕЌ froze up every time a frog appeared. Doing the only thing possible, all the film crew jumped in to participate in a zealous frog hunt, complete with Kanzaburō’s directive, “Make sure you get every one of them!” It was, however, impossible to catch them all despite our best efforts, and I was absolutely stupefied. As an official, KanzaburЕЌ also had to be on horseback, and when we were about to shoot the scene he made another revelation, that horseback riding was not a skill he had mastered. “Now, that’s a problem. We can use a substitute for the long shots, but with close-ups I’m afraid you will have to do it yourselfВ .В .В .” “Oh! Well then, I’ll do the best I can.” He tried to mount the horse with tepid enthusiasm, but his chubby form often frustrated his attempts to negotiate the animal. I realized that this was hard on him, but it was the only way we could think of. In the end, we substituted Kobayashi Chigusa in our long shots; Kobayashi had been working as my assistant director for a long time, since the days when we made Town of Violence. In the film, there is a scene in which the official visits the farmer’s wife Page 174 →under the cover of night, an event not in the original story. The idea was for the official to climb onto a rotating waterwheel, which would take him up to the second floor where he would slip into the house through a window. To carry a man of Kanzaburō’s bulk would require the service of a fairly large waterwheel, which we made especially for the occasion. As we were about to shoot the scene near the fast-flowing Tama River, KanzaburЕЌ again inquired if

there were any frogs in the area. We managed to cajole our man into the water, but this time, like his adventure with the horse, Kanzaburō couldn’t climb onto the waterwheel. It was very tough work, both for him and for our crew. So we did have some trouble a few times, but the work itself was very enjoyable. Kanzaburō himself appeared to be quite fond of the film. Very happy about how things turned out, Ōtani Takejirō brought me a bouquet of flowers when the film was previewed at a Shōchiku cinema, saying in his address that kabuki actors, too, should participate much more actively in the film business. I remember that on that occasion Kinoshita Junji and Yamamoto Yasue came as well, and we went out for a drink at the Ginza after the screening ended.322 One time after I finished the film, I visited Kanzaburō and found Nakamura Kankurō, still a small child at the time, also at home. Naturally, I couldn’t even imagine at the time that he would later appear in the first part of my Men and War, playing the role of Godai Shunsuke.323

The year before I made Scarlet Battle Coat, I had endeavored to make a film called The Decoy (Otori) based on the SugЕЌ Incident (SugЕЌ jiken), in which a police substation was blown up in 1952. Ultimately, my project had to be aborted due to financial difficulties. SugЕЌ Village was located between Taketa City, ЕЊita Prefecture, and the area near the prefectural border with Kumamoto. There a police officer disguised as one Ichiki Haruaki came to the village and cleverly approached Page 175 →Communist Party members, gaining their confidence and creating the impression that he was a committed revolutionary. Scheming to smear the Communist Party by blowing up a police substation, he had a large number of police officers stake out the area before asking two party members to meet him at the SugЕЌ Middle School. After their meeting with Ichiki, the two party members, who knew nothing about Ichiki’s plot, started to walk toward the police station. The wife of the local policeman had already made preparations in the face of the impending action planned by the police. Meanwhile, Ichiki acted quickly. The explosion itself was not huge, and because the police already knew what was going to happen there were no injuries. As soon as the police building blew up, officers in hiding sprang out and arrested the two party members. In the meantime, Ichiki evaporated from the scene. The question soon turned to Ichiki’s whereabouts. First, newspaper reporters worked hard to dig up photographs of the man. This they did, turning up a picture of Ichiki when he was a middle school student and another of him at his marriage ceremony, thereby revealing his true identity as a police officer named Todaka Kiminori. Even then, his whereabouts were unknown. It was not until reporters from the KyЕЌdЕЌ News Agency received a tip that they ultimately traced the man to a Shinjuku apartment in Tokyo. When reporters went to the apartment and knocked on his door, the man who had presented himself as a graduate student at Tokyo University refused to admit that he was Todaka. “Why don’t we just go outside and talk?” In an unguarded moment, the man agreed, and he was quickly surrounded by a crowd of reporters outside. They took him to his favorite bar, told the proprietress that the establishment was closed to other customers, and requested the presence of a lawyer, Masaki Hiroshi.324 Even so, the man in question still refused to admit that he was Todaka Kiminori. When Todaka’s trial took place shortly afterward in Fukuoka, I went as an observer. The lawyer Okabayashi asked sharp questions, but Todaka Page 176 →very deftly gave evasive answers, prompting the former to blurt out angrily, “You are a cold-blooded animal!” Ultimately, even though it was evident that Todaka had committed a crime, his career blossomed in the police establishment.325 Wishing to turn this event into a film, I started shooting at a highland location near Karuizawa, which had a topography similar to that of SugЕЌ, as shooting in SugЕЌ itself would have been too costly. I had a police

substation constructed, but, at that point my funds dried up. Not wanting to repeat the same mistake we had experienced when making Streets without the Sun, we had no choice but to abort our plans. I think by that time we had already spent eight million yen. I had aborted many projects in their planning stages, but this was the first film we killed after plans had been made, casting decided, and filming was in progress. I think we finished about one-fifth of the shooting. Nanbara KЕЌji was playing Todaka Kiminori and Yano Sen a Communist Party member. To this day, Yano regrets our decision to abort, saying that it prevented him from becoming a big star. As a matter of fact, if we had managed to finish the project, it might very well have been an interesting quasi-thriller.

After distributing Ieki Miyoji’s Half Brothers (Ibo kyЕЌdai) in 1957 as its last Japanese film,326 the Independent Film Studio encountered such serious management difficulties that it collapsed two years later, in 1959. To be sure, we had to reflect on the studio’s own shortcomings, but it had been hugely disadvantaged by not having its own distribution network, the requisite stronghold for any independent production. In order to combat this harsh reality and guarantee its own autonomy, the only way for an independent studio to survive was to develop new business strategies. One experiment we tried, I think, was the making of the film Song of the CartPullers Page 177 →(Niguruma no uta) in 1959, a project funded by ten-yen contributions from women in farming communities. In other words, it was a production that Japan’s farm women brought into being through their own funds and for their own viewing. I had read Yamashiro Tomoe’s original story quite a long time before and found it interesting, but it struck me that it would be quite costly to turn it into a film, a venture that an independent producer could hardly afford. Later, when I heard that Kinoshita Keisuke had secured the rights to the story, the thought of doing something with it gradually evaporated from my mind.327 Then one day Nakayama Wataru of the National Farmers Film Association (Zenkoku NЕЌson Eiga KyЕЌkai or ZennЕЌei) asked to see me through my assistant director, Yamagishi Toyokichi, and told me the following. While there were a large number of associations among Japan’s farm women, no united organization existed. A strong proposal had been put forward that those separate associations be integrated into an Association of Farm Women (NЕЌson Fujin KyЕЌkai). To materialize this project, they had to propose an action plan with a common goal. As part of such an effort, ZennЕЌei received a request that a film be made for its members with the cooperation of film experts. “How about it? Would you be interested in making a film if you had an interesting story about farm life?” At that moment, Yamashiro’s novel flitted through my mind. Even though I knew about Kinoshita Keisuke’s rights to the story, he didn’t seem Page 178 →to have made any moves, nor did ShЕЌchiku appear to be interested in that project. Perhaps I could make something out of it. Thereupon, I recommended Song of the Cart-Pullers as an option, to which Nakayama consented, even though he was worried about funding. When I was told that there would be about four million members if a national organization of farm women should materialize, I made the following proposal: “Let’s ask each one of them to make a ten-yen contribution. That would amount to forty million yen. I can make something happen with that kind of support.” Nakayama assured me that this was a possibility if the contributions were collected through agricultural co-ops (nЕЌkyЕЌ). In going forward with the project, what we needed was an understanding of the film as a whole by the sponsoring organizations. With that in mind, we printed out the story’s synopsis and sent it to the representatives of various women’s groups for their deliberation. Spanning the Meiji era through the postwar period, the story focuses on the struggles of a poor farmer’s daughter from a remote mountain village in Hiroshima Prefecture and her life with her husband, who worked as a cart-puller. After independent reviews, many objections were raised about the project. One reservation had to do with the depiction of rural life. The challenges of raising children in the face of all sorts of adversity, the ill-

treatment by mothers-in-law, the making of straw sandals and charcoal sacks at night, and the heavy work that began as early as the break of dawn—these were the routine hardships under which all farm women toiled, and their proposed reconstruction onscreen was not particularly greeted with enthusiasm. The second objection had to do with the custom in Japanese villages of men going to bed with their first and second wives together (saishЕЌ dЕЌkin). This was a conventional practice through the Meiji period, but bringing it into the open might be morally disconcerting. While factually accurate, some felt it ill-considered to go to such lengths as to reenact such behavior onscreen. I thought that these objections were reasonable to a degree. Yet my opinion was that if one were to present a true picture of Japanese farmers it was incumbent on us to paint the harsh realities of their lives along with their inherently buoyant optimism. Forgoing that step would make it impossible to represent the authenticity of farm life. I suggested that all concerned parties discuss the matter once more and suggest a more fitting story if they could identify one. After another round of deliberations, a decision was made that we would be given the discretion to make all decisions. The original author, Yamashiro, also consented to our plans, and Kinoshita Keisuke, once he knew about our circumstances, was good enough to promptly transfer the movie rights to us. Page 179 →After much thought, I decided to ask Yoda Yoshimasa to write the screenplay and Mikuni RentarЕЌ and Mochizuki YЕ«ko to play the two pivotal roles before I started working on more specific matters.328 After work had begun, Yamashiro asked that the screenplay be written by Matsuyama ZenzЕЌ and the female role be played by Takamine Hideko, but those requests were impossible to entertain.329 First, Yoda was already working on the screenplay, and, second, Takamine, a ShЕЌchiku star, could not be considered for an independent film due in part to tricky complications arising from the agreement among the five major film studios. I believe Yamashiro was not happy with the situation, perhaps due to some misunderstanding. Through her close friend Taketani Mitsuo,330 she negotiated the matter with Miyako Tokuko, Yamamoto Production’s on-site supervisor. Then one day I was astonished to receive a request from Taketani that Miyako be fired. Such an action involved human rights considerations, and I declined. To prevent matters from becoming more tempestuous, I asked that Miyako be exempted from on-site duties as far as this project was concerned. Page 180 →Before the shooting began, I had to tour the country persuading agricultural co-ops to lend their assistance. I told them that since this project was a celebration of the unity of farm women’s associations, once finished the film would first be released in the farming villages and screened on an itinerant basis, something that had never happened anywhere in the world. The agricultural co-ops were very pleased that the project would be accomplished through their own efforts, and everywhere I went I received support for the proposed ten-yen campaign. While the story focuses on events taking place in Miyoshi in Hiroshima Prefecture, the shooting was primarily done in Nagano Prefecture. The construction of sets and new farmhouses drained our budget. We asked that the farmers’ contributions be ten yen or ten yen’s worth of rice or, for those who couldn’t afford it, even an egg.331 We were not entirely successful in our efforts, and in the end I believe we collected about thirty-five million yen. We were also running a little over budget, and it appeared that we would be going into the red. A national meeting of Japan’s farm women took place in September 1959 in Tokyo’s Kudan Hall, where the film was previewed. I think there were about two thousand participants, and neither I nor the actors had seen the completed version before the preview. The film was screened after we made our addresses. As there had been considerable opposition to our project before we began, I was worried about how the audience would react. Once the film began, however, everyone watched it enthusiastically. When a scene of farmers laboring in the wintry fields came up, the room was filled with applause; it seemed that the spectators identified themselves completely with those appearing in the film. As we entered into the latter half, when the character Moichi, played by Mikuni RentarЕЌ, acquires a second wife, they cried out, “What a scum!” and “To hell with that old geezer!” In the audience was Mikuni himself, who, feeling threatened and uncomfortable in the room, snuck out of the theater to find a safer sanctuary. It did appear that my earlier worry about the

film’s reception was unwarranted. Several representatives from the major film studios also attended, and three or four eagerly asked that their company be given the rights to its distribution. As far as the ZennЕЌei was concerned, our deficit needed to be addressed. So it was decided that Shin-TЕЌhЕЌ would be given distribution rights for a limited duration of one month. It turned out that the profits from that one month were enough to cover our entire shortfall. Page 181 →For the film’s screening, the farm communities prepared ninety-nine movable projectors, thereby requiring at least ninety-nine technicians to operate the equipment. To pay for their transportation and daily allowances, we charged the viewers an additional ten yen as an admission fee. Counting the ten-yen contributions already collected locally, the audience thus paid twenty yen to make and watch the film. Later I frequently wrote in various places to encourage people to make films with ten-yen contributions. The urban audience aside, I believe that more than ten million people watched the film in the farming villages alone. When I went to one of those places, I discovered that the low electric voltage and the poor quality of the projectors dimmed the screen to the point where one almost couldn’t see the images. Even so, the spectators all watched enthusiastically. Various things happened during the filming of Song of the Cart-Pullers. Mindful that this film represented the wishes of more than three million farm women, perhaps I got carried away in what I was doing, something that the crew members of the time still talk about often to this day. There is a scene in the film in which a baby appears, and it would be a total mess if he should start to cry. The crew brought in any number of babies, and each and every one of them was crying mightily despite our best efforts. I finally got so irritated that I shouted, “Bring me a mute baby!” and stunned everybody into speechlessness. One time the effects of Hidari Sachiko’s lines were not good, and I stubbornly reenacted the scene many times until I got the optimal effect. I was so persistent that everyone around me became utterly exhausted. At the end of those trials, naturally Hidari’s performance was brilliant. Enraged over my alleged favors toward Hidari, Mochizuki YЕ«ko reportedly voiced her unhappiness to Mikuni RentarЕЌ and Nishimura KЕЌ and invited them along in a protest against me. I had no idea if that was the cause or not, but Hidari apparently ended up suffering much under Mochizuki’s ill-treatment, often resulting in her turning to Miyako in tears. To tell the truth, I certainly was not doing her any particular favors; I was just trying my best to engage Hidari’s delivery to my satisfaction.332 The incident, it seemed, was the result of some misunderstanding. Page 182 →The girl playing Hidari Sachiko’s role as a young child was Hidari Tokie, Sachiko’s sister, then a fifth- or sixth-year elementary school student. At first we found ourselves in a bind because we couldn’t find a child actor to play that role, and then Sachiko said she had a sister who looked like her and brought her to us from Toyama where she lived at the time. I think that performance inspired Tokie’s future career as an actress. Like Mochizuki, it was the first time for Mikuni RentarЕЌ to appear in my film. He greatly impressed me as someone deeply committed to acting, including the art of putting on makeup. Toward the end of the film, his character, Moichi, dies in a field from the effects of atomic radiation while tilling the land. He develops a swelling around his face and eyes as his pancreas fails. A vinyl-like substance had been applied around his eyes before he put on his makeup. Mikuni created that effect all by himself, and his final appearance surprised everyone. We shot his death sequence in Nagano Prefecture. After we had made the necessary preparations, somebody said, “Hey, Ren-chan is not here!” As we waited for the shooting to begin, a strange-looking old man came in through the back door. Wondering who that might be, we looked at the figure more closely, and it was him. Seeing how the makeup had transformed Mikuni into a real old man, Mochizuki, playing his wife, again got angry, saying that it was not right for her husband to age so abruptly independent of his wife. The following story was what I heard later. It appeared that Mikuni had made a special trip to Tokyo University so that he could see a picture of an atomic bomb victim who had died of pancreatic failure. He then created the

swelling effect around his eyes by mimicking what he had seen. Moichi, the character Mikuni played, had buck teeth. Mikuni had all his teeth extracted and a set of false buck teeth made. I suppose one must call his action an admirable display of professional grit.333 At any rate, everyone was truly dedicated to his or her work.

Page 183 →My idea of releasing Song of the Cart-Pullers at the village level was not entirely successful due to economic circumstances, but I think it was noteworthy that more than ten million farmers watched it. With the assistance of us film specialists, it was a product the farmers themselves made, screened, and watched, a film created on their own terms, funded with their own money, and realized as a weapon in their own struggle. In that sense, it was a major success story as an independent production released through independent channels. I then proceeded to make The Human Wall (Ningen no kabe) in cooperation with the Japan Teachers’ Union (NikkyЕЌso), Battle without Arms (Buki-naki tatakai) with the Osaka division of the General Council of Trade Unions of Japan (Osaka SЕЌhyЕЌ), and The Matsukawa Incident (Matsukawa jiken) with the Film Production Committee for the Matsukawa Incident (Matsukawa Jiken Geki-eiga Seisaku JikkЕЌ I’inkai). Without exception, we provided production assistance to workers in various workplaces and regions who presented us with requests for the kind of films they wanted to see. What this meant was that the people who had until then been supporting independent films as mere spectators were providing and campaigning for funds to make the films they themselves deemed necessary. Meanwhile, they sought assistance from filmmakers in the production and release of such films. It was the beginning of a new phenomenon. Based on Ishikawa Tatsuzō’s novel, serialized in the Asahi Shimbun, on NikkyЕЌso’s struggle over the question of teacher evaluations (kinmu hyЕЌtei or kinpyЕЌ for short), The Human Wall originated, I think, as a proposal Yamamoto Productions brought to the attention of NikkyЕЌso. Very cautious about bringing the novel to the screen, NikkyЕЌso was lukewarm about the project initially. Prior to this, the 1953 film Hiroshima, which NikkyЕЌso had made with Sekigawa Hideo as director, ended up with a deficit, and apprehension about making the same mistake prompted the union to act with extraordinary prudence. On the other hand, based on the success of Song of the Cart-Pullers, Shin-TЕЌhЕЌ had quickly agreed to distribute the film before it was made, an action that motivated NikkyЕЌso to proceed to the production stage. On NikkyЕЌso’s part, it was necessary to make a public appeal by drawing attention to the teachers’ predicament. The policy on kinmu hyЕЌtei, described as a system of presenting report cards to teachers, was clearly one advanced by the government as part of its campaign to strengthen state control over education. The initiative was also aimed at NikkyЕЌso’s internal fragmentation. A year or so before The Human Wall was put onscreen, the dispute had taken the form of a joint struggle among the labor unions and Page 184 →the students’ guardians at the prefectural and local levels. Beyond that, the need for a general appeal to the public prompted NikkyЕЌso to contribute about twenty million yen toward the production of The Human Wall. The story is set in an elementary school in an impoverished town in Kyushu close to a coal mine and a fishing harbor. The film depicts the experiences of a female teacher as she is awakened to the struggle against the educational conditions of the time as both an educator and a human being. From a filmmaker’s perspective, it was a difficult film to make as it was not easy to draw individual distinctions among the considerable number of teachers who appeared in the movie. Apart from a few scenes we shot on a set, the film was virtually shot on location. We found an elementary school in Ibaraki Prefecture that resembled the one in the story and rented the place for the summer holidays. The scene in which a large number of children appear was shot with the participation and cooperation of all the students from that school. NikkyЕЌso was very pleased to see the finished product and grateful for what we had done. I recall that Ishikawa TatsuzЕЌ, the original author, lavished praise on us. He was more enthusiastic than anyone else in making speeches about the film during its screening. At the film’s preview in the BunkyЕЌ Hall, he gave a most

passionate speech.334 We also talked about making a sequel to this film, but it never materialized. In general, the film was positively received.335 Commercially speaking, it was also exceedingly successful.

I finished making The Human Wall in the autumn of 1959. At around that time, the man who headed the youth division of the Labor Union for Transportation Workers in Osaka came to visit me. The following is his story. He had come across Nishiguchi Katsumi’s novel Yamasen, based on the Page 185 →life of Yamamoto Senji, and was moved by it.336 He realized for the first time that Yamamoto was a very fine man and the son of a flower grower in Uji. The novel had been passed from one reader to another among his fellow workers, and they finally paid a visit to Yamamoto’s grave together. Meanwhile, they began to develop a strong desire to see the novel turned into a film. The man came and asked if I could do it. That was the beginning of the film Battle without Arms. Shortly after this visit, the Film Project Committee on Yamamoto Senji was formed under the auspices of such organizations as the Osaka division of SЕЌhyЕЌ. The sponsors began to campaign throughout the country, and the contributions thus received finally brought the project to fruition. The period from 1959 into 1960 coincided with events associated with the US-Japan Security Treaty (Anpo). In March 1959, the People’s Council for the Prevention of Anpo Revision (Anpo Kaitei Soshi Kokumin Kaigi) was formed. The signing of a new security treaty in January 1960 triggered a massive citizens’ movement to oppose its ratification by the Diet. Hand in hand with such a movement were ongoing struggles against US military bases in various parts of Japan, along with labor strikes over the dismissal of a large number of workers at the Mitsui Miike coal mines. Such movements coalesced into a massive struggle among our citizens. That was the background against which the project for Battle without Arms took shape. Since I had never met Yamamoto Senji, it was challenging for me to draw his portrait, but I did speak with Nishiguchi Katsumi, as well as Yamamoto’s former friends Ritsumeikan University’s Suekawa Hiroshi and Taniguchi ZentarЕЌ, to learn more about the man before I began preparations for shooting. I also had Taniguchi (played in the film by Uno JЕ«kichi) go over the filmscript by Yamagata YЕ«saku. The film’s historical context was set against the late TaishЕЌ and early ShЕЌwa periods. Toward the end of the TaishЕЌ years, when Yamamoto Senji was a biology instructor at DЕЌshisha University, the infamous Peace Preservation Law (Jian IjihЕЌ) was promulgated and the suppression of the freedom of thought began to raise its ugly head. Expelled from the university, he joined the Labor-Farmer Party and became acutely aware of the need Page 186 →for political reform after witnessing the miseries of the peasants’ labor struggles. Meanwhile, as Japanese capitalism entered an impasse amid worldwide financial depression, the government responded by preparing for wars of aggression. In 1928, as a Labor-Farmer Party candidate, Yamamoto was elected after fierce fights with those trying to obstruct the general election. He resolutely struggled against the suppression of the Communist Party over the March 15, 1928, Incident.337 Meanwhile, the government attempted to revise the Peace Preservation Law, making it an even more vicious instrument. Facing perilous circumstances, Yamamoto decided to speak against the initiative in the Imperial Diet. “I, Yamamoto Senji, will stand as the solitary defender of the fortress of freedom,” he proclaimed. “But I am not lonesome, as I have the people standing behind me in support.”338 After making this public declaration, he left Kyoto for Tokyo. The night before his scheduled speech in the Diet, he was assassinated by a knife-wielding right winger in a ryokan in Tokyo’s Kanda district. The film was shot in black and white; only the last scene, in which Yamamoto’s friends and associates gather around his grave after the war, was filmed in color. There were many conflicting views over that decision, but it was driven by my strong desire to show the red flag in the scene.339 A very grueling film to make, it certainly could not have been completed without the assistance of farmers and laborers in the Kansai area and the support of reformist political parties. The film crew worked hard by stationing themselves in the same area and lodging in Buddhist temples.

In the film, there is a furious fight sequence between different groups of farmers and the police, a scene involving a large number of people. Considering the very high cost of employing extras, an appeal was made to the Kansai labor unions so that we could ask their members to take part. When the action started, the heat of the moment apparently turned the scene into a real scuffle. Despite our call for moderation, nobody listened. Page 187 →The filming continued as the extras brawled while accusing the other side of excessive violence. One man actually threw another, who was playing a police officer, into the middle of an off-limits paddy field. Finally, it reached a point where everybody pleaded that he be allowed to play any role but a police officer. I must say that those individuals contributed much to the successful completion of the film. The flower garden in Uji also lent us considerable support by allowing us, among other things, to shoot on location. One time our art director, Kubo Kazuo, and I were given permission to see Senji’s study in the garden so that we could later build an accompanying set. One of the detainees during the police suppression of the March 15 Incident, Kubo at the time had sent a postcard to Senji. And there in Senji’s study we were stunned to find that very postcard. The experience moved Kubo almost to tears as he held in his hands what he had written more than thirty years before while ruminating on his current work on the very same recipient. The person who impressed me the most while making Battle without Arms was Asanuma InejirЕЌ, then chairman of the Japan Socialist Party. It seemed that Asanuma at sixteen or seventeen years of age had actually known Yamamoto Senji. When I was conducting previews of the film before its official screening, I invited Asanuma to be a member of the audience in the hope that he could point out its shortcomings. In a postcard he sent me later he described his impressions in detail: “It must have been a formidable task for you to reconstruct his portrait, but the figure you created very much resembles the Yamamoto Senji I knew when I was young.” Later, when I was casually watching television in October after the previews had just begun, I saw the picture abruptly switch to an announcement of “Chairman Asanuma’s assassination.” That was a time when the revision of the US-Japan Security Treaty had given a new lease on life to the right wing, which was then starting another round of loud proclamations in defense of Japan’s emperor system. Since I had just finished a film about a man who had fallen prey to the knife of a right-wing assassin, and since another man who had written to me so thoughtfully about the same film had now met exactly the same fate, the news came as a great shock.340 For a while after the incident, I couldn’t help having ominous thoughts about my own safety. The film had been previewed multiple times, and Page 188 →on each such occasion I had made short introductory remarks onstage. I dreaded the spectacle of a right winger leaping from a front row seat while I was doing it. I was not ready to die. I had a family to support, and Yamamoto Productions was experiencing its most trying times as an independent production company. To give one example, we were not earning enough income to pay our actors’ fees. In those days, I even had to resort to having Ms. Miyako seek the services of a shady land contractor who would give us a loan of a hundred thousand yen at a monthly interest rate of 10 percent. At the time, Yamamoto Productions’ staff members, including Kobayashi Chigusa and Takeda Atsushi, were starting to have babies after their marriages. A single person might be able to survive, but when it came to families with new babies, I had to pay them regardless of how meager the amount might be. No, I just couldn’t afford to die. The making of Battle without Arms cost more than we had expected. Worse, we didn’t attract enough moviegoers to cover our expenses, resulting in a deficit. Perhaps our publicity and screening were poorly executed. But when the film was later shown in its 16mm. version, we had a very large audience. I believe it was shown during Japan’s annual collective bargaining organized by labor unions in the spring (shuntЕЌ). In that sense, even though it was a commercial failure, it ended up being a well-watched film.

I believe the movie that fully exemplified our efforts in independent filmmaking and screening was The Matsukawa Incident (Matsukawa jiken), completed in 1961.341 At the time, the Society for the Protection of Matsukawa (Matsukawa o Mamoru-kai) was organized by workers from various professions and regions all over the country to support those accused over the incident. The responsibility for producing and publicizing the film

rested with the Film Committee formed within the Society for the Protection of Matsukawa.342 Production funding of forty-five million yen was collected through wide-ranging public campaigns conducted by the Film Committee. I began work on the film at a time when the actual trial was just about to be referred back from the Supreme Court to a lower court. The film was unable to follow the ensuing proceedings and had to conclude where the Page 189 →case stood at the completion of the second trial. The screenplay, written jointly by ShindЕЌ Kaneto and Yamagata YЕ«saku, was based essentially on the testimony of the defendant Akama Katsumi and the official records of the first and second trials.343 In making casting decisions, I had a very hard time finding an actor who could play the defendant Akama; in the end I had to visit drama troupes all over the place. The person that I finally found, Ozawa KЕЌji, created quite a sensation due to his remarkable resemblance to the individual he would portray. Just then the Film Committee asked that we make a short documentary on Matsukawa before we worked on the feature film itself. Since I couldn’t possibly squeeze out any extra time to work on a documentary, I entrusted the work to Takeda Atsushi. However, as many as two documentary films had already been made on Matsukawa, and we were concerned that yet another wouldn’t add anything substantive to the existing ones. Takeda himself also expressed reservations. The trial back in the lower court occurred just around this time. When I went there as an observer, I learned that apparently a new witness had surfaced, although the defense team had decided to keep it a secret until an opportune time. Further probes revealed that this witness was a former thief and that he had seen the real perpetrators of the crime in the course of committing a burglary. Intrigued by the finding, I wondered if there was any way to persuade this individual to appear in our documentary. When I presented my request to members of the defense team, I found that they would disclose absolutely nothing to the media and would not reveal the whereabouts of this witness. I gave them my word that I would not talk to the media and fervently asked for an interview with that witness. My stubborn persistence paid off when my request was finally granted. Page 190 →When Takeda actually met and talked with that witness, the man turned out to be quite an obliging fellow. The former thief volunteered to reconstruct what he had done at the scene of the crime and invited Takeda to film the sequence. That proved to be a godsend for our purposes. We took him quietly to the crime scene, where he told us where and how he was resting after committing the burglary and how he saw the real criminals approaching as he smoked a cigarette. Takeda filmed his entire reenactment at the site. It goes without saying that what we got was not a commonplace documentary. That was what triggered my future production of Story of a Japanese Thief (Nippon dorobЕЌ monogatari), but at the time the thought never even entered my mind.344 The Matsukawa Incident consists mainly of courtroom scenes, and there was no attempt whatsoever to obstruct our filming. As a matter of fact, the Society for the Protection of Matsukawa was the more powerful party and was able to get its way despite the prosecution’s objections to filming inside the courtroom. The film’s reception was largely positive, although defense attorney ЕЊtsuka raised an objection that the commotion generated by the defendants in one of the courtroom scenes was a little overblown. The film was also looked upon as propaganda in certain circles. Yet in the three months of its independent release, as many as 5.3 million people saw it, an achievement made possible by the direct connections the Film Committee had with workplaces nationwide. Thanks to such success, the main office of the Society for the Protection of Matsukawa was able to purchase as many as five or six motorbikes; apparently the film provided a considerable boost to its fund-raising campaigns and other support activities.345 Two years after the film was completed, I attended a film festival in the Soviet Union and made a stop in China on my return trip. That was Page 191 →before the Cultural Revolution and the first time I met people connected with the film industry in China. As we talked about various subjects, suddenly somebody said, “Mr. Yamamoto, we have just received news about the Matsukawa trial. All the defendants have been found not guilty. With that, we

have decided to hold elaborate screenings of your film in Beijing. Right now in Shanghai we are busy dubbing the dialogue into Chinese; our people will work at this throughout the night. As the film will be screened at a gathering to commemorate the innocence of all those accused, won’t you please join us there?” The gathering was held at a big hall. I, too, gave a short speech and was greeted with thunderous applause. There I saw for the first time Japanese actors onscreen speaking their lines in Chinese. I was a little surprised, but the effect appeared to be excellent. In the year following the release of The Matsukawa Incident, 1962, I made a film with the National Farmers Film Association called Farm Girls (Nyūbō o idaku musume-tachi) on the subject of dairy farming.346 That was the last film I made as an independent filmmaker.

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Chapter Eight Work within the Mainstream Industry In the early 1960s, the Japanese film industry as a whole was beginning to slide into a slow decline. Already in January 1956, various Japanese film companies had together decided to release two films per week, thereby plunging themselves into a production race. In 1961 Shin-TЕЌhЕЌ dropped out of the competition by cutting its annual production by 30 percent, from 530 films to 370. Releasing two films per week meant that each studio would need to come up with 8 to 10 films per month, a development that naturally resulted in a decline in their overall quality. While it was true that fierce rivalry within the industry served to intensify the production war, the rising popularity of television also encouraged film studios to compete by escalating output. Before television came on the scene, the film industry had been making an unremitting stream of profits. The past was a dream too sweet to forget, and the continued production of cheap films made in a hurry was the strategy they adopted. In the end, with the buildup of production deficits and the deterioration in quality, the Japanese movie industry began to go downhill. At the time I received an overture from Dai’ei, the industry was sliding more and more deeply into such a predicament. At that time, some of my friends who had previously worked in independent productions were beginning to relocate themselves within the film industry. We had no special desire to continue making exclusively independent films, nor did we hold any particular contempt toward the established industry. On my part, I was prepared at all times to work within the mainstream industry as long as my services were needed. But I was the very last person to get offers anywhere. Perhaps I was regarded as “the reddest” of them all.347 As my friends were becoming more financially secure, I supposePage 194 → I was the one who had the most trouble making a living. Economically speaking, I was a complete catastrophe. When Nagata Masaichi proposed that I work within Dai’ei,348 certain high-ranking officials apparently opposed the idea on the grounds that I was a communist. I learned that Nagata quashed the opposition, saying that as long as I could perform being a communist wouldn’t be an impediment.349 As far as this matter was concerned, I suppose I should feel indebted to Nagata, but still I was utterly astounded that of all people it was Nagata, the rightest of the right, who made the move to recruit me. The news that Nagata wanted to see me was conveyed through the producer ItЕЌ TakerЕЌ. If Nagata wanted me to make a film, I supposed he would naturally have me do a contemporary work. Contrary to what I thought, he asked if I was willing to work with Ichikawa RaizЕЌ to make some kind of a period film.350 I was troubled by that request. I had done very few period films, and I wasn’t particularly interested in making another one. I asked Nagata to give me some time to think about it, but I had no idea what I wanted to do as I fretted over this matter for about a week. One day a story called Ninja: A Band of Assassins (Shinobi no mono), which Murayama Tomoyoshi was serializing in the Sunday edition of Red Flag (Akahata), suddenly flickered through my head, and I thought, “That’s it!”351 The matter could somehow Page 195 →be resolved by having Ichikawa play the character Ishikawa Goemon, who appears at the beginning of the story. When Nagata pressed me for a response, I asked what he thought of my plan. “What’s a shinobi no mono anyway?” “A ninja, it’s a story about ninjas.” “A ninja? You mean somebody who makes a symbolic sign with his fingers and then transforms himself into a mouse or a toad? I’m afraid that isn’t such a good idea!” Nagata looked unimpressed.

“No, this is different. What you described is the old kind. What I am talking about is the scientific techniques a ninja uses.” I then went on to talk about the role ninjas had played in Japanese history and how their practices were in fact based on science. Nagata began to show some interest. “Is that so? Is there an original story somewhere? And who is the author?” “It’s a serialized story by Murayama Tomoyoshi.” “Really? By Murayama?” Easily impressed by big names, Nagata’s curiosity was further aroused. “Well, well, let’s do give it some thought then. By the way, where is the story serialized?” I was about to say Red Flag, but, at that very moment I restrained myself. “It’s serialized in a regional newspaper.” “A regional newspaper? Well, I’ll read it when it is published as a single volume. For the time being, why don’t you think about the story line?” After discussing it with the screenwriter Takaiwa Hajime, I took a draft of the story to Nagata. “Now, that’s interesting stuff! Let’s do it!” Perhaps Nagata already knew that the story was being serialized in Red Flag, but still the proposal was approved and we were ready to begin shooting.

The filming was largely done at Dai’ei’s Kyoto studio. At the time within the film industry, those who had earlier been targeted in the Red Purge were essentially looked upon with trepidation. As someone who until then had been working exclusively as an independent filmmaker, I was regarded inside Dai’ei’s Kyoto studio as something of a heretic. I could sense that in the air, as if everyone was just opening a little crack in the window to take a curious peek at the coming of a red devil. Furthermore, the head of the studio let it be known that Shinobi no mono was a rather Page 196 →disagreeable title for a film and doubted if a story about the exploits of ninjas would be well received. Overall, those experiences didn’t quite make me feel at home. I consulted various people on the ninja’s martial arts (ninjutsu) by speaking with a scholar in the field who also served as a deputy mayor of Iga Ueno and by observing a demonstration by a successor to the Togakure school of ninjutsu who also happened to be running an osteopathic clinic in Noda City in Chiba Prefecture.352 The latter offered to assist us when the shooting began. I also met a former head of Togakure ninjutsu living in Nara, a man who demonstrated the use of a shuriken (a ninja’s throwing star) using a card. When he threw the card, it sliced through the air parallel to the ground. Once the shooting began, I was totally obsessed with our budget, perhaps due to an ingrained habit of operating as an impoverished independent producer in the past. Since the story was set in the Warring States period,353 we had to create battle scenes, which greatly inflated our expenses. We rented the Ishiuchi training grounds from the SelfDefense Forces and constructed the Momochi Fortress on its premises just for the film before blowing the whole thing up in the end.354 With all that, our budget just kept escalating. One could often trace the kabuki origins of actors in period films; this was true for both Ichikawa RaizЕЌ and JЕЌ KenzaburЕЌ (also known as Wakayama TomisaburЕЌ), both of whom appeared with an escort of two or three attendants.355 If we went on location with four or five actors, we would Page 197 →need about ten taxis to provide extra transportation for their entourages. I found myself nervous at all times about our film budget. Once shooting began, however, both Ichikawa and Wakayama in their roles as Goemon and Nobunaga were totally devoted to their acting. RaizЕЌ didn’t have the overbearing arrogance common to actors; an honest and

upright person, he was willing to try new roles such as those in shingeki. Meanwhile, playing Momochi SandayЕ«, ItЕЌ YЕ«nosuke was unique, as he was in other films.356 The film when released turned out to be a great commercial success, producing something of a ninja boom. Big boss Nagata was stunned by its popularity and asked me to make an immediate sequel. Goemon met his end when he was supposedly boiled to death in an oil-filled cauldron; that was how far a sequel could possibly go. In fact I supposed I would have to go that far even though his demise was based on folklore. I therefore accepted the assignment and promised to take the narrative to as far as Goemon’s execution.357 With Nobunaga’s death at HonnЕЌji and the subsequent control Hideyoshi established over Japan, Goemon was finally caught and executed—that was the substance of the sequel. Battle scenes were likewise staged, and, just as before, I was concerned about the budget as filming proceeded. The sequel, like the first installment, was again a box office success and a source of great jubilation for Nagata. Meanwhile, the ninja boom inspired by the films was heating up, and weapons such as throwing stars were becoming increasingly popular. This led to some extreme behavior; there was a news report that a child imitating Page 198 →a ninja ended up strangling himself. While I was beginning to reflect on the negative influence of the films, I was again called to the presence of Nagata, who proceeded to ask if I was willing to do a third installment of the ninja series with Ichikawa RaizЕЌ. “I’m afraid not. Goemon already dies in the cauldron. It is impossible to do another sequel.” “But, you see, we are talking about a ninja. It is conceivable that in fact Goemon wasn’t thrown into the cauldron. A dummy was the one that got killed, and Goemon survived. If we turn the story around this way, we can do a third installment!” Nagata began to talk fast and loose. I told Nagata what I thought about the matter, that ninjutsu originated in China and came to Japan with Buddhism. It was used for the protection of that religion, whose suppression by Nobunaga inspired the ninjas’ resistance to the warlord. Ninjutsu then witnessed an indigenous transformation, and when Hideyoshi invaded Korea, ninjas were sent across the sea as reconnaissance agents.358 Korea, on the other hand, had its own share of ninjas, who defeated their Japanese counterparts in preliminary skirmishes. Once Hideyoshi’s days were over and the Tokugawa family seized control of Japan, Hattori HanzЕЌ and others used the ninjas in conspiracies.359 When subsequent peace over the land rendered such exploits redundant, the ninjas became spies serving the interests of the Tokugawa shoguns. With the collapse of the shogunate and the coming of the Meiji Restoration, a modern police system came into being, and former ninjas reinvented themselves again as members of the Special Higher Police and thence as agents of the Army Nakano School.360 In fact, I learned that the foremost ninja today, a Page 199 →KЕЌka native who currently resides in Chiba Prefecture,361 had once studied at the Nakano School; Murayama Tomoyoshi certainly was no writer of quackery when he created Shinobi no mono. I told Nagata that, if that was the kind of ninja history he wanted to turn into a film, I would like to do it. But I also mentioned that, since the protagonist would change from one episode to another, Ichikawa Raizō’s role alone would not be able to sustain the narrative. In the end Nagata did not give his consent. “Oh well, in any case, I won’t be able to do the third installment with Goemon as the protagonist. Even if Murayama agrees to the idea, I wouldn’t want to be the film’s director. If you wish to have it done, please ask somebody else.” That said, I left the scene. Shinobi no mono eventually generated six installments, thanks to the work of other directors, and the series became Dai’ei’s gold mine. If you do the math, Goemon would have been some two hundred years old by the time of the fifth installment. And so in the end it was Kirigakure SaizЕЌ who ended up as the protagonist.362

After I turned down the directorship of the third Shinobi no mono installment, Nagata Masaichi asked that I direct

a gendai-geki, a contemporary film, a genre I was comfortable in. In 1963, the same year I made the sequel to Shinobi no mono, I adapted Sugiura Mimpei’s Red Water (Akai mizu) for the screen. From that time to 1969, when I completed The Tengu Gang (TengutЕЌ), I worked more or less exclusively for Dai’ei and made ten films. One negative thing about making films within the established industry was that the director was not often allowed to make films of his own choosing. With contemporary films, this became even more difficult, perhaps due to the more serious nature of their themes. About the only possible course of action a film director could take was to select from the films he had been asked to do by the studio’s executives. In this connection, the first film on Page 200 →the company’s list that I found intriguing enough to make was The Tycoon (Kizudarake no sanga, 1964).363 Ishikawa Tatsuzō’s original story paints the portrait of a high-flying but callous capitalist who dominates a conglomerate of business interests focusing on railroad development. What I found interesting was the image of this prominent tycoon, an authentic representation of which type had rarely appeared in Japanese films of the time. This is somebody who levels hills, lays railroad tracks, builds extensive residential projects, takes mistresses, and stirs up trouble within his family. At the same time, he is also a successful entrepreneur consumed by a ferocious appetite for work. That was the kind of capitalist I wanted very much to depict in my film. The trouble was to find someone to play this character. I thought Yamamura SЕЌ would be a good choice, but he had already committed himself to do a television show and didn’t have any extra time for this project. Somehow, I felt Takizawa Osamu did not quite fit my image of the protagonist. When I was at a loss as to what to do next, Nagata said, “Yamamoto-san, what do you think about Fujiwara Yoshie?”364 It appeared that Nagata knew Fujiwara very well. “I’m afraid I don’t know Fujiwara. The only thing I know about him is his song that goes вЂDontodonto-dontoВ .В .В .’ Would he be okay?” “No problem. The man can act.” “Is that right? Perhaps we could give it a try.” Nagata immediately telephoned Fujiwara, then in Italy, and had him come back to Japan. When I met and talked with him, I got the impression that he might very well fit the role of the archetypal capitalist. With that, we quickly moved into the filming phase. Once that began, I realized I was in big trouble—Fujiwara just couldn’t act. For three days, we shot the same scene over and over again without making any progress. We needed him to say his lines while making certain bodily gestures, but it seemed impossible for him to do both at the same time no matter how many trials we had. That was understandable—he was Page 201 →not an actor in the first place. He was also a nice and humble man impossible for anyone to dislike. While working with him, I was filled with a sense of regret as our camera kept cranking on. I had no choice but to tell Nagata in person about what happened. Meanwhile, it was a stroke of luck when the television appearance Yamamura SЕЌ had scheduled was suspended. Seizing that opportunity, I spoke with Yamamura and got him to agree to work for us. With that, I went to see Nagata. “I am very sorry, but won’t you let me change the star?” “If you don’t think Fujiwara will work, I suppose it can’t be helped. He and I are friends. Let me try to convince him to step down without making him angry.” With that, the substitution was made. I didn’t know how to express my apologies to Fujiwara, but the portrait of the capitalist by Yamamura was a success. After the film was completed, I recall that much was said in the

press to the effect that, for the first time, a capitalist had made an appearance in a Japanese film. The critics also pointed to the film’s effective depiction of a vivacious emblem of the newly risen bourgeoisie. The original author, Ishikawa Tatsuzō, also seemed to have taken considerable delight in the film.

I had earlier met ЕЊtani TakejirЕЌ, an elder executive at ShЕЌchiku. After I began working for Dai’ei, he had asked to see me a number of times; perhaps he had been watching my career closely. When he asked if I would make a film for ShЕЌchiku, I said that as long as there was something interesting in the plans, I would like to give it a try. “Ah, a film about the lollipop ladies—now that would be an interesting story.” ЕЊtani began to talk about his proposal in detail. “What about it? Interested?” “Well, let me think about it.” I left him with those words and allowed the matter to rest. Then, shortly after I made the ninja story, he again asked to see me. “Hey, I didn’t realize you could do period films as well. Sorry I hadn’t noticed. What about making one for us?” He then went on and on about a story drawn from a kabuki play and asked if I was interested. “That sounds very interesting. Please give me a little time to think about it.” ЕЊtani had apparently taken a liking to me, but in the end nothing came of his ideas. While I was interested in making serious films, I also wanted to do a comedy; indeed, I itched to make a comic satire. From that angle, ЕЊtani’s ideas struck me as being too old-fashioned to arouse my interest. Page 202 →Speaking of comic satire, I already had one in mind. I mentioned earlier that, while I was filming The Matsukawa Incident, I also made a documentary on the affair. From the time of the case’s reversal, resulting in not guilty verdicts for all the defendants, I had been thinking of making a satire modeled after the life of the witness who had appeared in the documentary. The project culminated in Story of a Japanese Thief [1965]. As I mentioned earlier, this witness was a former thief. After the war ended, urbanites began traveling to rural areas, bringing with them their kimonos and other commodities to exchange for rice. Bountiful collections of such belongings were kept in village storehouses, thereby encouraging the emergence of break-in specialists. The stolen items were sold to hot-goods brokers, who in turn disposed of them in faraway places. Our witness was one of those break-in specialists who operated in the vicinity of Fukushima, a veteran thief with four previous criminal convictions. After his arrest for burglary, he was out on bail awaiting sentencing. In the meantime, he and an accomplice attempted unsuccessfully to break into yet another storehouse on the day of the Matsukawa Incident. While resting during his getaway at the railroad tracks near Matsukawa Station, he saw as many as nine heavily built men coming in his direction. Thinking that he was about to be caught in a police cordon, he braced himself for the eventuality, only to find that the men gave no indication that they were about to nab him. The thief ventured a “Good evening” in the local dialect, and the men responded by greeting him in standard Japanese. After the men disappeared into the dark, he hurriedly ran up a tall building and covered himself with wheat straw before he heard a loud sound. When he came down and asked the raucous villagers what had happened, he was told that a train had just overturned and there were signs that the tracks had been tampered with. It immediately dawned on our witness that the accident was the work of the nine men he had encountered. Shortly afterward he was given his sentence and sent to prison, where he met the defendants in the Matsukawa Incident. As soon as he saw them, he thought that these small men were not the ones he had seen before. He also heard that three men had tampered with the tracks, but he had seen nine men. After his release, he earned a living pretending to be a dentist or assuming other roles in the area around

Kawamata Dam in the interior of Nikko.365 After many twists and turns, his presence became known to the Japan Lawyers Association for Freedom (JiyЕ« HЕЌsЕЌdan). Thereupon, the organizationPage 203 → asked him to testify at the new trial about what he had seen on the day of the incident.366 If he chose to tell the truth, he would bring justice to the Matsukawa defendants, but he would also have to unveil his own transgressions while on bail. He struggled over this dilemma but finally made up his mind to appear on the witness stand. The testimony he gave in court was often hilarious. Even Judge Kadota couldn’t help chuckling when the witness said, “I’ve told many lies in my life, but hey, what the heck is going on when our own bigwig police officers are doing the same? You know what people say, вЂIf you start lying, you will certainly end up being a thief!’” I thought what this witness could bring to the table was truly a rare find. The first time I thought of hearing his story was just before the Supreme Court reached its not guilty verdict for all the Matsukawa defendants. Thinking of having KaikЕЌ Ken serialize the story in a weekly magazine, I proceeded to ask the witness to come to Tokyo.367 At the time, I had gone to China, via Russia, and was unable to meet him. When Miyako met the witness at Tokyo’s Asakusa Station upon his arrival on the TЕЌbu Line, she was astounded to find that our man had arrived with his wife, two kids, his sister, and his mother-in-law, all in a row. From her perspective, she must have been a little worried about how the poverty-stricken Yamamoto Productions would manage to pay for such a trip. Miyako found a cheap Ginza hotel for him and his party and then arranged a meeting between KaikЕЌ and the man. Apparently, KaikЕЌ was so amazed at what the man had to say that he couldn’t contain himself, saying, “He told me the full story; there is nothing more for me to write about. You Page 204 →can simply use what he said as the screenplay.” When our witness learned about the final not guilty verdict for all the defendants during his stay in Tokyo, he shed tears of satisfaction. Certainly, the man was not totally rotten to the core. About a year later I learned that TЕЌei was interested in turning the story into a film. After our screenwriter, Takaiwa Hajime, spoke with the TЕЌei producer, Ueki Teruo, the latter expressed great enthusiasm for the project. The director of the TЕЌei film studio, too, was warming up to the idea. At that point, I asked Takaiwa and his cowriter, Takeda Atsushi, to meet with the witness again. They spent over ten hours listening to what he had to say about his early life up to the point where he gave his testimony on the stand. In fact the man narrated his story with such eagerness that his listeners didn’t have time to change the tape in their recorder. The former thief even gave them a live demonstration of the techniques used in the commission of his act. Our script was based on the recording, but TЕЌei raised some issues. First, it was clear from the story that it had to do with the Matsukawa Incident, and in TЕЌei’s view that was not acceptable. Second, the studio asked that the train wreck be replaced with a fire. I, for my part, was ready to compromise only to the extent of changing the name of the incident from Matsukawa to Sugiyama. A fire, however, was out of the question. I made it absolutely clear that I could not make that kind of compromise before I walked away from the negotiations.A few days later TЕЌei agreed to abide by my wishes. After we completed the screenplay and moved into the preparatory stage, I spoke with Mikuni RentarЕЌ about the project. He thought it was interesting and wanted very much to get involved. Thereupon, we had the witness come to TЕЌei to meet the star. In his enthusiasm, Mikuni wore a small tape recorder with a microphone that looked like a wristwatch. The witness began to tell his story, including such matters as how he tried to prevent an opening door from making a sound by urinating on the doorsill and the kind of clothes he wore while committing a breakin, animating the narrative with his own demonstrations. Mikuni recorded everything so that he could study the man’s dialect and movements. After meeting with Mikuni, it was the witness’s turn to meet with TЕЌei’s property manager, who got a lecture from the former thief on the essential equipment of the burglar’s trade. While lecturing, the man likewise gave a live demonstration, a bizarre experience for everyone as the instructor was none other than a bona fide thief himself. Once the actual filming of the warehouse break-in began, a scene we did on our set, we had to punch a hole in the wall. This we had to do correctly, yet no one seemed to know Page 205 →exactly how to

accomplish such a feat. It became necessary for a real professional to give us technical assistance, and for that we again had to inconvenience our witness. He was good enough to oblige without any fuss and gave us a real demonstration of how that was done along with the technique of severing the integrated bamboo pieces stuffed inside the wall. His contributions were greatly appreciated by everyone within the studio. At one time, we were concerned that it might be uncomfortable for him to meet with reporters, but his response, in his typically easygoing way, was, “Hey, make sure you take my picture with Mikuni RentarЕЌ!” After watching our completed film, he offered us a sincere tribute, saying that it was interesting and really well done. There was, however, one scene in the film that I was forced to cut. After the thief goes to jail, he learns that his mother is fatally ill. He applies for but is denied temporary leave to be present at the moment of her death. Already infuriated, he creates a huge commotion inside the jailhouse after finding a cockroach in his food. Meanwhile, the prison guards rush in and drag him into a room meant for disciplining unruly inmates. While he is in solitary confinement on the other side of the corridor, the defendants in the Sugiyama Incident cheer him on by singing “The Internationale.” Turning his head to look toward the singing, he is carried off on the shoulders of the guards. That was an interesting scene, but after watching the preview version, the TЕЌei studio director thought the film as a whole was running too long and asked that the singing sequence be cut. I tried as hard as I could to save it. As the matter dragged on, TЕЌei’s president, ЕЊkawa Hiroshi, was scheduled to preview the film. The studio director then asked that I remove the singing scene only when the president was watching; he was concerned that ЕЊkawa might complain about the film’s length. For the time being, I had no choice but to abide by his wishes. President ЕЊkawa watched the film’s preview at the company headquarters. As the print was all rushes, the sound track and the images had to be presented separately, creating a certain degree of cacophony for which we asked his forbearance. As I was not keen to watch the film with ЕЊkawa, I deliberately arrived late. As I was walking toward the film’s preview room, ЕЊkawa was just coming out, and his eyes were red. The producer had been waiting, and when he and I walked into the president’s room, ЕЊkawa greeted us, saying, “That’s a very fine film.” Not a word of complaint was made about the film’s length. The redness in his eyes was the result of his tears. With all that behind us, the studio director was even more adamant in his demand that the singing sequence be removed. His reasoning was that Page 206 →its inclusion after this stage would only anger the president. I felt that I had been set up, but the sequence eventually did end up in a trash can.368 The film failed to draw as many viewers as I had hoped. Those who saw it said it was interesting, but I wish more people had seen it.369

In 1965, the same year I finished making Story of a Japanese Thief, Dai’ei released two of my other films, both from Yamamoto Productions, namely, The Witness’ Chair (Shōnin no isu) and The Spy (Supai). The Witness’ Chair was based on Kaikō Ken’s Labyrinth at the Corner (Katasumi no meiro), a novel about the murder of an electrical appliance shop owner in the city of Tokushima.370 The person who changed its title to The Witness’ Chair was Nagata Masaichi. After I read the original story, I was so moved by it that I asked Nagata to let me turn it into a film. His readiness to cover the production costs, I suppose, could be seen as my reward for having made such popular ninja films. My aim in making The Witness’ Chair was to expose the abuses of state power through the depiction of a wrongly accused woman and a nephew who tried desperately to prove her innocence. At the time, Fuji Shigeko, the woman on whom the main character was modeled, was still serving her sentence in the Wakayama Penitentiary. The murder of the appliance shop owner in Tokushima took place in November 1953. The police at first took the

position that the killer had entered the shop from the outside, but in time the thinking was that the killing was more likely an inside job. Based partly on false testimony from an employee, the police finally identified the killer as the owner’s wife Shigeko. In the film, Naraoka Tomoko and Fukuda Toyoto play Shigeko and her nephew, respectively. The nephew, a humble citizen whose action was initially prompted by his desire to preserve his family’s good name, soon begins to develop an unwavering will to bring justice to his aunt. Meanwhile, looming before him are instruments of established power ready to trample down his efforts. The film was largely shot on location in Tokushima, where part of the local population was unsympathetic toward Shigeko; people who came to Page 207 →see us filming were quite convinced that she was her husband’s killer. We went on shooting despite such reactions; we, too, needed to have our own tenacity of purpose to do our work. The film ended up being one of my favorite works, but Dai’ei gave it virtually no publicity or did anything else on its behalf. For this reason, it was a huge commercial failure. Nagata Masaichi said that it was Dai’ei’s worst performer, to which I could only privately ask, why hadn’t the company chosen to promote it more aggressively? The film’s production manager, Yamazaki Sadato, and its assistant director, ЕЊsawa Yutaka, had worked so hard on it that they were apparently even more mortified than I was on hearing Nagata’s words. After the film’s release, the KyЕЌdЕЌ News reporter SaitЕЌ Shigeo led a movement demanding the conditional release of Fuji Shigeko from prison. With the full assistance of Kitabayashi Tanie, Ichikawa Fusae, and Setouchi JakuchЕЌ,371 Shigeko was released after serving thirteen years in jail, almost her entire fourteenyear sentence. Upon her discharge, Shigeko did not return to Tokushima and sought employment in Tokyo, where she began to petition for a retrial with the assistance of the aforementioned individuals. It was then that I met her for the first time. After watching my film, her whole face creased up in tears, and she said emotionally that her experiences had been just like what the film portrayed. The movement for Shigeko’s retrial, which was supported by Matsumoto SeichЕЌ, Aochi Shin, and others, gradually gathered considerable momentum.372 Meanwhile, my film was also being screened in various places, not for Page 208 →any commercial purpose but as a means of galvanizing support for her case. Toward the end of 1979, a long-awaited and elaborate meeting was scheduled to be held in Tokushima to demand her retrial. When all the preparations were complete, Fuji Shigeko unfortunately passed away before it took place. The planned event, which I also attended, was quickly changed to one dedicated to her commemoration. Ichikawa Fusae was also in attendance, and together we went to the court to protest its failure to order a retrial. Ms. Ichikawa, too, has now passed away. Yet partly against the background of such movements, a decision was later made in favor of Fuji Shigeko’s appeal. It was terribly regrettable that Shigeko could not be with us to see that day.373 I had no idea how much the film contributed to the gathering support for Shigeko, nor do I know its effect on the subsequent development of her case. But at least it was part of the overall initiative. In this sense, not only is The Witness’ Chair one of my favorite works, it is also one of the films I am really glad I made. I also wish to add that the original author, KaikЕЌ Ken, refused payment for his novel’s movie rights and contributed the entire amount to Shigeko’s retrial.

Those watching my films about resistance against authority—The Witness’ Chair, for example—might well imagine that they, too, would resolutely rise to fight the hard battles. My other films, such as Freezing Point (HyЕЌten), a film I made for Dai’ei in 1966, however, do not ignite similar passions. Based on Miura Ayako’s novel, an Asahi Shimbun contest winner, the film received Page 209 →good reviews and was quite successful commercially. Perplexed by its leitmotif of man’s original sin, however, I must confess that I, for one, was not quite able to fully engage its subject matter.374

If one follows this line of thought, my film The Great White Tower (Shiroi kyotЕЌ), based on Yamasaki Toyoko’s original story, had a particularly interesting theme. Made for Dai’ei in the same year as Freezing Point, it directly challenges established authority by unveiling the behind-the-scenes realities of the medical profession with its incessant factional infighting. Although Dai’ei made the initial proposal, it was a film that I would have wanted to make.375 The problem, however, was to find a suitable location at which to shoot the film. Due to intervening factional dynamics and power relationships, no hospital was willing to lend us assistance; we were at first coldly rejected everywhere. Yet I was convinced that there had to be doctors under the sun who refused to acquiesce in the face of the prevailing power structure, and, just as our frustrations began to wear us down, we managed to find several such individuals. One was working in the hospital affiliated with Nihon University and was willing to offer us full assistance, from the selection of medical equipment to giving us advice on doctors’ mannerisms as they scrutinize X-ray photos. His earnest instructions made it possible for us to give our film a sense of authenticity. There is a sequence in the film in which an operation is being performed to remove a patient’s gastric cardia cancer. Due to the need to have our equipment inside an operating room, we were unable to film the scene on Page 210 →our set. Instead, we obtained permission to look at the surgical theater at Tokyo Women’s University Hospital. It was configured in such a way that the medical interns could observe and study the operation from an overhang, a setup that would easily facilitate our shooting. When I visited the place, I was astonished to find that the very model for my film’s protagonist was performing a surgery there. A former Chiba Medical University professor and an authority on cardia cancer surgery, he went to work there after quitting his former job. Since he was depicted as a villain in the film, I thought the situation might get thorny, and yet we had no choice but to ask permission to use that operating room. When I spoke with a doctor at the same hospital who was an authority on cardiac diseases, I was told that we could only use it to film our sequence on a Sunday. He negotiated on our behalf and was able to seal the deal. In filming the surgical scene, a real human body was used until the patient’s face was hidden from sight. After that, we substituted a dummy stuffed with the internal organs of a piglet, such as a stomach and heart, which closely resemble those of a human being. In making surgical incisions on the body, we followed the guidance of the heart specialist all the way. The film’s first scene, following the credits, was also a surgical procedure to remove a gastric cardia cancer. In filming that sequence, I thought we would have to use a real human patient to achieve the desired effect. When I visited Chiba Medical University for a consultation, many doctors there were ill-disposed toward the professor on whom the film’s protagonist was modeled; some indicated that they would be willing to help out if public disclosure of their identities was categorically prohibited. Just then there was a patient awaiting such a surgery, and, while I thought that the action was unethical, I requested their assistance. The patient himself, under anesthesia, had no knowledge of what was taking place. Of course, we did not show his face. The camera had been affixed from above beforehand, and when the surgeon gave us the signal during the procedure, it was switched on to record that part of the surgery alone. This is how the first scene of the film was shot. I decided to make the film in black and white instead of color to prevent the surgical scenes from appearing exceedingly graphic. The operating room in the Women’s Hospital provided an ideal setting for filming the surgery, but for the other interior scenes we were unable to find a single location that would allow us to accomplish everything we wanted. Our solution was to go from one hospital to another, shooting different scenes, before deftly integrating them as if they came from one single hospital. Furthermore, we were also prohibited from filming the exterior of hospitals, forcing us sometimes Page 211 →to resort to trickery by substituting scenes from look-alike universities. For the sake of the film’s title, we had to find a hospital with a large white tower. Our assiduous search finally ended with permission to film at St. Luke’s Hospital,376 except that there was a cross on top of its tower. After consultation with the cameraman, we eliminated the image of the cross from the picture and left just its white tower behind.377 A controversy arose when the film was screened at a film festival in Moscow; some felt that the surgical scene at

the beginning was gruesome. For that reason, the film received the Silver Award instead of the Grand Prix. In Japan I thought the film received, relatively speaking, high critical acclaim.378 After the film was released, I was invited to a gathering of doctors who were also practicing novelists. I went without confidence, not knowing what they would say about the film. When I met them, they congratulated me, commenting that until then Japanese films about medical doctors invariably had been misrepresentations, and mine offered the only authentic interpretation. Those words were more gratifying to me that any prize I might have received. The original author, Yamasaki Toyoko, also seemed to be very pleased with the film; later I would adapt two of her other novels for the screen.379 The actors, beginning with Tamiya JirЕЌ and Tamura Takahiro, did wonderfully. I will particularly note the extraordinary performance of Takizawa Osamu, who, in the last scene at the trial, managed to jam three pages of dialogue flawlessly into his head. In any case, two things I learned while making this film keenly impressed me. First, there will always be individuals who defy factionalism and established authority, and, second, without their assistance, a film like this could never have been made.

After The Great White Tower, I made a series of four films for Dai’ei: The Fake Detective (Nise keiji, 1967), Zatoichi the Outlaw (ZatЕЌichi rЕЌyaburi, 1967), The Peony Lantern (Botan dЕЌrЕЌ, 1968), and The Tengu Gang Page 212 →(TengutЕЌ, 1969). Meanwhile, it began to dawn on me that my experiences at Dai’ei were just the opposite of the difficulties I had faced while making independent films. When I worked within the industry, I didn’t have to worry too much about money. On the other hand, I began to feel the constraints of having to work within the company’s bureaucratic framework. The time when I began to entertain such misgivings coincided with the bankruptcy of Dai’ei itself; the last film I made for the company before that happened was The Tengu Gang. Among other options, I thought about returning to independent films. At the time, a widespread trend in independent productions was making pornographic films, or erodakushon.380 And then there was the birth of the ATG [Japan Art Theater Guild] movement in which filmmakers infused their low-budget works with their own designs, creating a new wave that was beginning to receive positive reviews. While I thought that the ATG movement was a very good thing, I couldn’t help thinking that its works were just a little different from the kind that my group and I wished to make ourselves.381 Realizing that we had to come up with our own project, I happened to come across A Story of Tokyo’s Labor Negotiations (Tokyo sЕЌgidan monogatari, published by RЕЌdЕЌ JunpЕЌsha, 1965), a piece of reportage produced by workers who had themselves gone through a series of struggles as a result of their employers’ bankruptcies, reorganizations, and labor dismissals. Hoping to somehow turn this into a film, I had a few meetings with the individuals involved to hear their stories. The problem, however, was money, and I had absolutely no means of securing it. After much thinking, I decided to make a broad appeal to sell advance tickets and then use the proceeds to fund the production costs. What we were hoping for was that our initiative would not end with the fund-raising efforts for this particular film but would continue as an ongoingPage 213 → movement. To accomplish this, we had to go deep into broad segments of the work force. Thus, our preparations took about three years to complete. First, young assistant directors joined labor groups as aides and studied the essential issues at hand before they considered what they had learned as a whole. We then focused our story on the labor struggles at All Japan Metal Rollers and complemented it with stories from the labor groups involved. We then decided to entitle the film Slave Factory (Dorei kЕЌjЕЌ). Our screenwriters, Takeda Atsushi and Kojima Yoshifumi, sent their work to many labor unions throughout the country, including that of the Yawata Iron Works, in an attempt to gather opinions and spread the word about the advance ticketing initiative. They picked up good ideas from the many responses they received and applied them to their screenplay. The production and screening committee for Slave Factory was organized through such catchphrases as “a

film with a hundred thousand producers and one thousand actors, a film made by and screened for everybody.” In this manner, the production represented not merely the work of specialists; it took the form of a united endeavor between moviemakers and workers. Sugimura Haruko, Hiiro Tomoe, and others volunteered enthusiastically to make an appearance, and our fund-raising was going well. I recommended Takeda Atsushi as the film’s director while I worked behind the scenes. We experienced considerable difficulty in finding a factory for our location shooting. Needless to say, Japan Rollers refused to cooperate in any way. At the end of our wits, we requested assistance from the various labor unions affiliated with the All Japan Metal Union and were able to shoot at various places where the union was sufficiently strong. There was even a case in which the company president was ready to help, but senior officials who found the film’s title objectionable refused to cooperate. Labor unionists also provided personnel for mass scenes. The clash between labor unionists and gangsters was shot before the main gate of Japan Rollers. Since we had secured permission for this from the police, we anticipated no opposition while filming from the roadside, only to find ourselves embroiled in a virtual squabble with company officials. Completed in 1968, the film was a success. We distributed it through independent channels, and the efforts of labor unions and other democratic groups, which helped organize screenings, attracted 1.5 million spectators from all over the country. In this sense, it is no exaggeration to say that the film was supported solely by a movement organized from below—everything from the writing of the screenplay to arranging for public screenings. This Page 214 →style of filmmaking would continue in such works as Okinawa by Takeda Atsushi, Open Ditch School (Dobugawa gakkyЕ«) by Tachibana YЕ«ten, and Vietnam (Betonamu) by Masuda KentarЕЌ.382

The long documentary Vietnam was completed in 1969, a year after we finished making Slave Factory. This was a time when a large number of news stories and documentary films on the Vietnam War were being made, virtually all of them taking South Vietnam’s perspective and persistently following the position of the United States. When the subject of making a documentary from North Vietnam’s point of view was brought up, my interest was aroused. Long before that, in 1964, I had participated in an Asian-African film festival in Indonesia with Song of the CartPullers. North Vietnam’s contribution was Kim Dong, a film about juveniles and the first I had ever seen from that country.383 It was a richly lyrical work, so much so that I was surprised and moved to see such a production at a time when the country was at war.384 At the same time, I also saw a documentary film from the Liberation Front. Produced in the middle of the conflict, its visual quality was naturally not good, but the dramatic impact it generated derived from that fact that it was filmed in the face of imminent danger. At the festival, I met and spoke with Vietnamese representatives from both productions. In the dramatic film division, Song of the Cart-Pullers received the festival’s grand prize. At the award ceremony, an African youth told me that he thought it was “a really good film.” “Do you understand the film?” I asked him in surprise. “I eat rice. Therefore, I can understand it.” “Ah, I see.” I was happy that a young man from as faraway a place as Africa had such empathy for my film. After Kim Dong won the top prize in its division, I again offered my congratulations to the Vietnamese filmmakers; that was the extent of my contact with the Vietnamese people. When I was asked to make a documentary film in North Vietnam, I was not entirely confident about my ability to do so. But nothing could be accomplished without actually going there. I thereforePage 215 → took an immediate flight to Vietnam to make the necessary arrangements for the project.

In those days, to go to Hanoi one had to travel first to Phnom Penh in Cambodia and then catch a connecting flight on a transport plane belonging to the International Supervisory Commission, created at the time of the Geneva Accords. The plane stopped at Vientiane in Laos before leaving for Hanoi at the end of the day; the war made only night flights possible. After reaching the border between Laos and Vietnam, the plane began to maneuver for landing. Thinking that we should then be in the sky over Hanoi, I intently looked through the window, only to find glittering reflections from some lakes below. Before long the plane made an abrupt descent into the pitch-black darkness. Just as I was beginning to feel nervous, the lights on the runway were suddenly turned on and quickly went off again as our plane taxied down the runway, leaving us again in darkness. The next morning revealed that Hanoi was quite a beautiful city. I entered into various negotiations with the Vietnamese about the film project, but they failed to produce any definitive answers. As the circumstances remained unclear, I decided to return home to think about the matter. I stayed in Hanoi for only about ten days before returning to Japan. Back in Japan, my various conversations with the parties concerned resulted in the firming up of some general ideas. It was estimated that filming would take about one year, but it was not possible for me to make that kind of extensive time commitment away from Japan. Under such circumstances, I recommended Masuda KentarЕЌ to be our man in Vietnam. Having reevaluated and revised our original plans after he reached Vietnam, Masuda started filming. Once that began, I visited Vietnam once more and then left everything to Masuda—it was he who did the difficult work. My job was to edit the film he sent from Vietnam. The end product was the film Vietnam. Working on this project allowed me to keenly reflect once again on the criminal inhumanity associated with wars of aggression. After the 1964 Gulf of Tonkin Affair, itself clearly the result of provocation and conspiracy on the part of the United States, that same country began bombing the north before expanding the theater of war to cover the entire country with increasing ferocity. Apart from repeated air strikes in the north, the ground troops ravaged the land of South Vietnam. While I was in Hanoi, a stream of information from the south allowed me to comprehend with unmistakable clarity the circumstances surrounding atrocities committed by the American troops. Almost all of them were exactly the same as those perpetrated in the My Lai Massacre. It was not just a war against the Liberation Front, but a full-scale genocide using everything they had in their arsenal, including Page 216 →napalm, ball bombs, and poisonous gas, the only exception being atomic and hydrogen bombs. I once took a trip from Hanoi southward until I reached the river at the seventeenth parallel. Looking through binoculars from a trench on the northern side, one could see just before one’s eyes the uncanny image of the United States’ Seventh Fleet. My experiences inspired me to embrace the following thoughts. It was true that the weapons’ capabilities were no longer the same, but wasn’t the action of the United States in Vietnam no different from what Japan had done in China during World War II? Imperialist aggression always manifested itself in the same way. Such reflections convinced me of the need to present the reality of Japan’s war of aggression onscreen. In order to prevent another tragic war, our people must firmly grasp what wars are really like. For this purpose as well, it was necessary to present the history of Japanese aggression in the ShЕЌwa period through film. Such resolutions hardened while I was in Vietnam. At that time, the image of Gomikawa Junpei’s novel Men and War (SensЕЌ to ningen) was already floating in my head. Later, when the Nikkatsu producer ЕЊtsuka KanЕЌ brought up the subject, we very much concurred about turning it into a film. If I hadn’t gone to Vietnam, I probably wouldn’t have taken up that enterprise. Vietnam attracted a large number of viewers and earned good reviews in Japan, but I had no knowledge of how it was received in Vietnam. I heard that Ho Chi Minh, who appeared in the last scene of this color film, was looking forward to seeing it. The year he died was 1969, immediately after the completion of the film. I believe he must have seen it shortly before he passed away, but I regret that I never learned what he thought of it.

My journey to Vietnam was a very rewarding experience, if only because it connected me with the making of Men

and War. I began immersing myself in this new film after my return to Japan, interrupted only by my work on The Tengu Gang for Dai’ei. Needless to say, while filming the latter, I simultaneously made preparations for Men and War. When Nikkatsu’s ЕЊtsuka brought up the subject, I was still editing Vietnam. At first I wanted to make Men and War as a five-part film. In due course, however, Nikkatsu’s circumstances dictated that the film had to end with its third segment, thereby reducing my project to a less than fully developed enterprise. My original aim was to depict the Tokyo Trials and adjudicate the merchants of death as war criminals in the fifth segment. That was why I devoted considerable attention in the first segment to the portrayal of the newly risen bourgeoisie represented by the Godai family, which later Page 217 →engaged in its deadly wartime business. If I had intended to organize the film in only three segments, I would not have given so much attention to the depiction of their circumstances and would instead have placed my emphasis on the representation of the lives of ordinary people. Since I had already filmed the first part the way I did, I had no choice but to retain its overall structural skeleton until the very end. That explains why I had some difficulties telling the rest of the story in the third segment.385 The first part of the film focuses on the Godai financial clique and its continental offensives in collusion with the military. The story begins with the March 15 Incident in 1928 and ends with the Shanghai Incident of 1932, interweaving events such as the Jinan Incident, the assassination of Zhang Zuolin, and the railroad explosion at Liu’tiao’gou in Manchuria, which triggered the outbreak of Japan’s Fifteen-Year War with China. It was quite a large-scale undertaking. One challenge we faced was the representation of China at a time when Sino-Japanese diplomatic relations had not yet been established. If on-site filming in China was out of the question, Hokkaido was the only remaining option. The film’s entire opening sequence, with the horse bandits, was shot there. Scenes from the city of Fengtian were shot in sets created in Nikkatsu’s studio; the company was good enough to build them despite the expense involved.386 Art director Yokoo YoshirЕЌ also labored mightily on the project. Another question we had to address was how to present different types of characters. Both historical and fictional figures appear in Gomikawa’s novel, but they never interact with one another in the same scene or at the same time, presumably because it would have been factually untenable to mix fictional characters and living historical figures. Yet in the film the absence of engagement between actual war instigators and fictional characters would not just deflate the story’s dramatic effect; it would cripple the narrative structure itself. Leaving that question aside, my films consistently include a large number of actors; I couldn’t help feeling a bit vulnerable having just a few characters to work with. Once I had rounded up my players, however, I often found myself in a quandary, not having the luxury to give all of them due attention. I understood that the only natural solution was to engage them individually with the unfolding of the drama, and yet in Men and War Page 218 →the number of characters was greater than ever. I even had some appearing as Koreans, Chinese, and Russians. Giving them language lessons turned out to be a tremendous problem. In the case of Korean, since we had many Korean acquaintances, at least the task was somewhat easier to accomplish. What was truly tough was Chinese. In many scenes, the Japanese actors had to deliver their lines in that language, and they did so through rote memorization, as meticulous linguistic explications would only have complicated the matter. Facing the biggest challenge was Yamamoto Gaku, my nephew, who played a Chinese Communist Party member named Bai Yongxiang. Claiming that he would never be able to speak the lines, he did do his best. The actors playing Russians were not Japanese, but they weren’t Russian either. While their features resembled those of Russians, they had a hard time speaking the language. When I took the film to the Soviet Union, the worst criticism I received had to do with their Russian pronunciation. “No Russian sounds like that! ” was what I was told. The narrative angle of the second part was slightly modified to allow the depiction of five pairs of men and women in love against the background of the time, from 1932 to 1937, before the outbreak of the Second SinoJapanese War. A greater emphasis was put on the unfolding human dramas, and I thought that, to that extent, I managed to do it successfully.

The problem was with the next segment. At the point where we were about to work on the screenplay, Nikkatsu informed us that the third sequence was going to be the film’s last, and we were asked to act accordingly. If that was the official policy and nothing more could be done, we had no choice. In the end, the film concludes with the total defeat of the Japanese troops at the hands of the Soviet army at Nomonhan in 1939, and all the characters who had appeared up to that point would have to be dealt with in some manner. For instance, in the original script, Lieutenant Tsuge, played by Takahashi Hideki, was supposed to die at the southern front, but in the film he perishes instead in the battle at Nomonhan. As a matter of fact, we were lucky to be able to give a clear-cut sense of closure to Lieutenant Tsuge. Other characters, like the Chinese woman played by Kurihara Komaki and the Korean man by Chii Takeo, never had a chance to reappear in the drama; the narrative was already stretched to the limit in trying to follow up with the stories of Godai Shunsuke (KitaЕЌji Kinya) and Shimegi KЕЌhei (Yamamoto Kei). Another big problem with the third part had to do with finding a location in which to shoot the Nomonhan scenes, the first time tank battles had ever been fought between warring states. Obviously we needed tanks. In Japan even the Self-Defense Forces didn’t have the kind of old tanks used in Page 219 →Nomonhan’s times, and, even if they did the film’s content would probably have precluded any possibility of their cooperation with us. If we shot the battle scenes in Japan, we would have to make any number of such tanks ourselves, and the financial repercussions would most surely have been the termination of the third segment altogether. I turned to the Soviet Union for help. We first negotiated through local public channels but got nowhere. Apparently, to make a war film in the Soviet Union, we had to use the Red Army, as we would not be allowed to hire extras to reduce the likelihood of accidents. Ultimately, no collaboration would be possible without a nod from the Red Army. I then met with someone connected to the Soviet government through another channel and delivered a threepronged request. First, we wanted full cooperation with and assistance from Soviet filmmaking personnel and the Red Army. Second, the Red Army would perform drills according to our specifications; once we had that segment on film, we could later do some tricks to connect those scenes with our actors’ appearances. Third, we would borrow Soviet documentary films on the Nomonhan Incident so that we could work from them. As much as possible, I asked that the Soviet side agree to our first request. “Mr. Yamamoto, those demands will be difficult to meet!” The man’s reaction was not encouraging. “Human life is what our country treasures the most. I don’t suppose our laws will permit any filming under dangerous conditions.” “Well, I suppose that can’t be helped.” “Please don’t be disappointed. I’ll try my best.” Those comforting words did not quite alleviate my despair. Yet a few days later we received permission to go ahead, thereby allowing the producers from Nikkatsu and the Soviet end to enter into concrete negotiations. As far as tanks were concerned, even the Soviet Union did not have the type used during the Nomonhan battles. Our next best solution was to have the Soviet side assemble ten early World War II era tanks that were found scattered in various parts of the vast country. Just as we expected, no tanks resembling those used by Japan could be found. The only thing we could do was borrow three Soviet armored vehicles and retrofit them with cannonfiring capabilities to make them look like the real thing. Before such arrangements could be made, we had to decide where to shoot the battle scenes. During our location hunt with Soviet personnel, we realized that any use of agricultural land would unequivocally require paying financial compensation to the collective farms (kolkhoz); the only possibilities left to us were areas of barren land or sites used for military Page 220 →drills. We ended up selecting the vast area at the old Stalingrad (present-day Volgograd) battlefields as the Nomonhan site before assembling all the tanks in that area. As for troops, we gathered two companies of soldiers and a company of engineers from an army division stationed

in the area, along with other tank forces under the name of military drilling. At the same time, we had army camps set up in one corner of the wild fields in our shooting location. As they were supposed to be taking part in military exercises, the troops received no pay as extras. The engineers joined us when we needed them for trench work, and their efforts proved very helpful. I used as many Soviet staff members as I could; only irreplaceable ones were brought in from Japan. Japanese actors playing soldiers were asked to appear in multiple roles. My nephew Yamamoto Kei was supposed to die about twenty times in the Nomonhan battle scenes alone. Once I gave an order, Kei-chan would run out into the battle scene, get shot and killed, and then return to prepare for another appearance. I also used Russian troops of Asian ethnicity as Japanese soldiers. Wearing military uniforms, my assistant directors also threw themselves into the battle scenes playing various roles as they directed other actors and acted as liaisons between them. The first thing to bear in mind is that we were filming over an enormous area. Imagine having ten tanks appear on a faraway mountain ridge and dash in your direction. Dynamite was placed in three different spots, one at the rear near the mountain ridge, one just before the tanks, and the third farther away in front of them, before we carefully calculated the timing of the explosions. Once I shouted “Action!” into my wireless mike, all the tanks were set in motion at once. Since we were dealing with some rather timeworn equipment, there were times when some tanks would break down before they could finish their run. Not cognizant of the situation, other tanks would continue their forward dash. I would scream at the top of my lungs for them to stop but to no avail. Communication with the tanks by my assistant directors was done through wireless radio. Once their assigned numbers were called, the tanks began to jerk into action. Our cinematographer, Himeda Masahisa, was also preparing for action by aiming his camera at the place where the explosives were supposed to be set off. But the blasts, when they did occur, sometimes went off in a rather haphazard sequence, obliging the harried Himeda to make constant adjustments to his camera angle; it was truly a strenuous exercise. The Soviet Union strictly observed an eight-hour workday. Along with the Soviet staff, we all stayed in a large hotel in Volgograd. It took an hour Page 221 →and a half by bus to get from the hotel to the filming location, and the working hours started ticking from the moment of our departure. If we left the hotel at seven in the morning, the Soviet staff would proclaim at around three in the afternoon that time was up before everybody started to make preparations to head back. On some occasions, we had just enough time to film one scene. To film a scene at sunrise, we had to leave the hotel at around three-thirty in the morning, and around noontime everybody would leave. It was difficult to accomplish much under such circumstances. When I asked the Soviet producer for permission to work two more days in addition to what had been agreed upon, his response was negative. Another negotiation to extend the daily working hours to ten was also greeted with a “nyet”; we were told that it was impossible to change the terms of the contract at will. My last resort was to negotiate directly with members of the Soviet staff, whose services were indispensable to our work. Realizing the regrettable effect it would cause should our team return home without accomplishing our work, the Soviet staff members agreed to cooperate on a volunteer basis and work overtime without pay. That, they said, was for the sake of Russo-Japanese friendship. In the end, their cooperation, and it alone, barely allowed us to finish our work within the time limit. Having labored for a whole month in hot weather, all of us were completely exhausted. All three parts of Men and War drew sizable audiences. Nikkatsu was obviously making a profit, but it still had to abort its plans after part 3, as it had reached the point where it could no longer afford to continue production. Various reactions to the film began to reach us from both within and outside Japan. My intention in making it was to depict the history of Japanese aggression in the ShЕЌwa period, to uncover the causes of war, and to remonstrate against those responsible for starting them. In contrast to a large number of commentaries that were based on an accurate reading of my motivations, others attempted to distort them from their outset. For the most part, the latter, characteristically, stemmed from two political positions. The first was represented by disparaging remarks made by the Liberal Democratic Party’s New Liberal Press

(JiyЕ« ShimpЕЌ).387 What it said in effect was that the film “intends to incite antiestablishment ideology by playing on the antiwar sentiments of the Japanese people.” The other kind of criticism Page 222 →came from China during the Cultural Revolution; the basic message was that Men and War “distorts the history of Japanese imperialist aggression in China,” and my work was called “an extremely reactionary film that goes so far as to glorify fascists and aggressors.” It appeared that such denunciations had emanated primarily from Yao Wenyuan, one of the Gang of Four.388 Picking up on a scene at the beginning of part 1 in which a military academy instructor declares that “Manchuria and Mongolia are Japan’s lifeline,” the Chinese critics went on to say that the film “talks about acts of aggression and glorifies aggressive wars.” They also took me to task for a street scene in part 3 in which a Japanese spits at a Chinese, saying, “No Chinese would ever tolerate such behavior. In such an instance, any Chinese would rise up in resistance. This scene utterly humiliates the Chinese.” I had made no attempt to either glorify aggressive wars or humiliate the Chinese in any way. My film was made from a standpoint opposite those positions, and that was the stance on which I directed my appeal to the Japanese people. The Chinese side never demonstrated an understanding of my intentions, and I had no idea whether it was a reaction generated in earnest or by design. The film was also lambasted by Japanese supporters of China. Naturally, there might very well have been places in the film that misinterpreted Chinese manners or customs to some degree. If those inaccuracies had been pointed out to me, I would gladly have acknowledged such criticism. As it was, the reproaches I received were not of the kind that I could passively accept. I think there is a distinction between war films and combat films. War films, from the United States in particular, are almost all combat films, a genre often staged stylishly with the hero emerging on the scene just in time to save his side from imminent annihilation. Since the Nazis were the defeated party in the end, I suppose that was fine as far as it went. On the other hand, I believe that in the end such films impart a strong message to the young postwar generation that wars are no different at all from sporting events. Men and War drew a considerable reaction from secondary and high school students in Japan. Some schoolteachers were sufficiently enthusiastic to ask their pupils to write down their impressions after watching the film. Most students wrote that watching the film allowed them “to learn about the horrors of war for the first time.” Many were stunned to learn how Page 223 →wars actually started; others, who had thought of wars as thrilling events, changed their minds completely. During a discussion with high school students, many told me that their third academic quarter was so busy that their curriculum barely allowed them any time to learn about ShЕЌwa history, leading to their complete ignorance about the history of Japanese aggression in that period. Many formed study groups to learn about the subject. After hearing such comments, I was glad I had made the film. My only regret was that I was unable to continue with the fourth and fifth parts and thoroughly expose the evildoings of Japan’s merchants of death.

Shortly after I finished Men and War, Satō Ichirō from Gei’ensha, Tōhō’s auxiliary production unit, as it were, asked if I would be willing to turn Yamasaki Toyoko’s novel One Splendid Family (Kareinaru ichizoku) into a film. Then being serialized in a weekly magazine, the story was receiving considerable attention as a drama about bank mergers and the connection of such actions with Japanese political intrigues.389 The clippings Satō brought along revealed an exceedingly interesting story that probed the underbelly of Japan’s business world, operating as it was in a whirlpool of financial maneuverings and conspiracies. When I went to Tōhō to inform it of my acceptance of the proposal, twenty-five years had already passed since I left the company in 1948. The presidency had changed, but several others on the management team remained the same. When they greeted me with a complimentary “Good to have you back,” I thought to myself, “How shameless of you to say that when you were the ones who fired me?” Parts of the studio’s interior that were burned into my memory remained almost unchanged; the two and a half decades seemed to have gone by so swiftly, as if all the passing years and months had been no more than a figment of one’s

imagination. The trouble I had making the film was that no bank would give us any cooperation. While we could re-create a bank using a set, we had no idea how to design its interior spaces, such as the bank president’s office. None of the banks we contacted had the slightest willingness to show us such places. Mention of TЕЌhō’s name had no effect on them, and making further reference to the name of our film only served to reinforce their obduracy. We ended up shooting scenes of a bank’s exterior from as far away as we could, taking care not to show the name of the establishment in the picture. Just as the name of the film suggests, there were many elegantly embellishedPage 224 → scenes, including many shot on our set. Preparing them for shooting became a headache for our art director, Mano Shigeo. Following the original author’s suggestion, we leased the grand mansion belonging to the ЕЊbayashi Group’s former president as the residence of the film’s main character, a bank president.390 Knowledge that we were making One Splendid Family generated a certain reserve on the owner’s part, and in the end we were able to use only a part of the mansion. Our original plan was to film on two separate occasions in order to synchronize the necessary seasonal changes, but when the time came for the second phase of our shooting, our request was denied; the reason given was that the roof was being repaired. The controversies generated during filming, along with the political complications brought on by its subject matter, were what presumably prompted the owner’s fears. We, on our part, had no choice but to resort to some clever ways to cover up what we failed to do. The original novel depicts at length the cohabitation of the bank president with both his wife and his mistress, a subject I had no particular desire to dwell on in the film. When I reduced its coverage substantially compared to the original, my decision generated considerable opposition.391 The last party scene, in celebration of a bank merger, was filmed at the grand hall of Hotel ЕЊkura. Without the participation of crowds of people from TЕЌhō’s main and business offices, it would have been impossible to fill the place. The many expensive items used in the film—carpets, beds, and costumes—were auctioned off after the shooting, and TЕЌhЕЌ certainly suffered no losses from its investment. The bed that the main character shared with his wife and mistress apparently found a buyer immediately. I was quite certain that the company succeeded in recovering much of its production costs this way. The story I am about to tell occurred much later, at a time when the composer SatЕЌ Masaru and I traveled to Hokkaido to promote my film Nomugi Pass (ДЂ Nomugi TЕЌge [1979]).392 All the hotels in the area were full, Page 225 →and we ended up staying in one meant exclusively for persons in the medical profession. It was an elegant establishment, with a large marble bath inside the room. Just a single look would reveal that the place was used by medical doctors for less than honorable purposes. When I looked at the bed, it struck me as somewhat familiar. On closer inspection, I realized that it was indeed the one auctioned off after the film. Traveling all the way to Hokkaido, I was sleeping on the same bed I had used for my own film. I had been told that a hotel had bought it, but I would never have imagined that the buyer was the very hotel in which I stayed. One Splendid Family turned out to be a great commercial success. On the first day of its release at the YЕ«rakuza, viewers were standing in long lines even before the cinema opened for business, a scene I hadn’t seen for quite some time. The admission charge was increased to nine hundred yen instead of the usual eight hundred. After seeing how popular the film was, one TЕЌhЕЌ officials even made the disgraceful remark that the company should have adjusted the fee up another hundred yen. There were particular reasons why movie companies generally loved to work with bestsellers: the publicity was already in full swing with the book’s sales, thereby saving the companies hundreds of millions of yen in promotion. To a large degree, the popularity of this film could also be attributed to the fact that the original novel was already widely read and attracting considerable attention. When I met Yamasaki Toyoko while promoting the film in Osaka, she told me that she had another work in mind for a film and asked me to do it. She went on to say that it was a story about the sale of war planes. Thinking that it would be an interesting project, I responded positively. Our conversation would lead in time to the making of The Barren Zone.

Dai’ei engineered its own bankruptcy drama toward the end of 1971. As a result of the tenacious struggles of the studio’s union, which had lasted for two years and nine months, the labor disagreements were resolved, ushering in Dai’ei’s rebirth. That was in 1974, the year I released One Splendid Family for TЕЌhЕЌ. Dai’ei once again began production, with Tokuma Yasuyoshi as president and Takeda Atsushi as head of its studio. When Takeda asked me to make a film for the company, the second after Page 226 →its reorganization, I proposed without hesitation Ishikawa Tatsuzō’s Annular Eclipse (Kinkanshoku). The novel offers an exposГ© of a bribery case involving several hundred million yen in connection with the election to the presidency within a conservative political party and the construction of the KuzuryЕ« Dam.393 I had had that novel in mind for quite some time, and I thought it would be a suitable work to put onscreen for the rehabilitated Dai’ei. In adapting the novel, one of my goals was to expose the corruption of the conservative Liberal Democratic Party, but I had still another thought in mind. Almost all the characters in Ishikawa’s novel were villains, but I couldn’t help thinking of them as characters in a comedy, even though the story itself was merely deceivingly comical. That prompted my desire to poke fun at them across a wider spectrum of human experiences. That is why the prime minister, who appears as a relatively innocuous character in the original novel, ends up being a villain in my film. Even though all the politicians in this film are scoundrels, I took pride in thinking that it was through Annular Eclipse that Japanese cinema was finally able to paint viable portraits of the political animal. It used to be said that Japanese actors best manifested their talents playing soldiers. The fact that they were now able to play politicians and capitalists was, I suppose, a reflection of how times had changed. Nakadai Tatsuya, playing the chief cabinet secretary, for example, gave quite an authentic performance.394 We met virtually no obstructions during the course of filming; even politicians from the Liberal Democratic Party made no objections of any kind. If they had behaved otherwise, I suppose it would only have created problems by further accentuating their venality. Page 227 →The merits of the novel aside, I was quite fond of this type of film. So when my proposal was accepted, I was rather happy that things were going my way. When the film was released, I was visiting Vietnam. The Vietnam War had ended in 1975, and a united Vietnam came into being. As a follow-up to my previous documentary film, Vietnam, I was asked if I would be interested in making a film about the united country. With that in mind, I flew to Vietnam with Katagiri Naoki. As we were discussing our project there, I received a telegram informing me that Annular Eclipse was a hit in Japan and I should return to the country at once. Even if the film had not been a commercial hit, I couldn’t possibly have afforded to stay out of Japan for as long as a year, as had happened in Vietnam before. With that in mind, I left the rest of the work to Katagiri and returned home alone. The documentary he made was called United Vietnam (Tonnyatto Betonamu).395 Responsible only for minor editing, I was impressed, as I reviewed the film, by how well the cinematography crew had done. Back to Japan, I saw that Annular Eclipse was indeed attracting a large audience. I don’t have detailed figures, but I am sure over one million people saw it. I felt relieved by the result, as my aspiration in making the film, supporting the labor struggle against Dai’ei, had been properly rewarded. Dai’ei, however, didn’t have its own distribution network, and financial considerations forced it to let TЕЌhō’s subsidiary groups handle the task, thereby trimming Dai’ei’s own profits.

Immediately upon my return from Vietnam, Gei’ensha asked me to make The Barren Zone, a film to be distributed by Tōhō following One Splendid Family. Yamasaki Toyoko’s original novel deals with the feud among Japanese trading companies over the purchase of key war planes for the 1959 Second Defense

Strategy Plan, a subject that particularly interested me.396 Page 228 →The protagonist [Iki Tadashi] appears to have been modeled after Sejima RyЕ«zЕЌ, the former president of Itochu Corporation.397 A lieutenant colonel and a member of the general staff at the Imperial Headquarters, he is asked at the time of Japan’s surrender to deliver to the Kwantung Army an order from the chief of the general staff to cease hostilities. After being disarmed by Soviet forces, Iki spends eleven years in internment camps in Siberia before returning to Japan as a civilian to begin a career as an employee of a trading company. In time he becomes involved in the purchase of war planes in connection with Japan’s Second Defense Strategy Plan. In making this film, I spent considerable time crafting Iki’s character in consultation with Yamada Nobuo, the screenwriter. Since Iki’s past included his role as a member of the army’s general staff, it was essential that we exercise caution and not portray him thoughtlessly as a right-leaning figure like a phantom from the old Japanese military. Another issue had to do with the novel’s protracted narrative on the harsh conditions in Siberia’s internment camps. My interest rather lay in the structure of corruption in connection with the war plane procurement, and it was impossible to devote a similar degree of attention to the Siberian scene if I were to tell the story within the confines of three hours of screen time. Moreover, contrary to what the original work describes, I also learned that not all of the internment camps scattered across Siberia were centers of autocratic excesses where hunger and torture prevailed. While working on our screenplay, I proposed to cut short the episode on the Siberian internment while incorporating new scenes not found in the original novel. For instance, I introduced Iki’s daughter as an opponent of the US-Japan Security Treaty [Anpo] and created the scene in which she Page 229 →rebukes her father for his involvement in the commercial feud over war plane procurement.398 Since the corruption scandal took place in the middle of the anti-Anpo struggles in 1960, it was impossible to sidestep the subject altogether if any realistic portrayal of the background of the times was to be presented. We came across various incidents during our filming. In the story, Iki visits the Lockheed Corporation in the United States while crooked politicians, behind-the-scenes right-wing conspirators, and competing trading companies all feverishly embroil themselves in operations involving the type of war planes to be purchased. Once there, Iki is convinced of the superiority of Lockheed’s F-104 as he relives his past as a military man. First, we had to find a place in the United States that could serve as a substitute for the Lockheed plant Iki visits. Since Lockheed had flatly refused to cooperate with us, we had to find an unaffiliated alternative. For a time, we discussed the matter with the Douglas Aircraft Company as our crew prepared to depart for the United States to search for the right location. There we had to film test-flying scenes and do area filming in New York. Just then I discovered that my visa, and mine alone, had not been approved, a development that led us to postpone our departure. I was asked to appear before an officer at the US consulate in Tokyo’s Toranomon area. “What is your affiliation?” he asked first. “I belong to the Association of Japanese Film Directors.” “No, that’s not what I’m asking!” the officer said. I immediately sensed what he was after, and I revised my answer. “I belong to the Japanese Communist Party.” “Ah, just as I thought. Now, that’s what I wanted to know.” So saying, the officer wrote the words “FAMOUS COMMUNIST” on my visa. “What is this? You mean a communist is not allowed to go to the United States?”

“No, that’s not the case.” After I was given oral instructions to enter and depart the United States on stipulated dates, I was finally given a visa. We left for the United States in a group of four or five, including our assistant director GotЕЌ Toshio. When we passed through customs in Hawaii, I alone was abruptly taken to another room, where I was questioned in English. “When will you leave the United States?” Page 230 →“Isn’t that written down there?” “Is that information really true?” The questioning became annoyingly assiduous. I couldn’t tell whether it was merely a form of harassment or if they feared that I would engage in some sort of political activity during our location hunt. We looked at several potential locations, including the plant at the Douglas Aircraft Company. We had submitted our screenplay to Douglas and discussed the possibility of filming at its plant, but our request was eventually turned down. We then negotiated with a private aircraft repair factory. Even though it was not an ideal arrangement, we finally managed to come to a firm agreement. GotЕЌ Toshio was the one who actually did the planning and cinematography in the United States. As an odd coincidence, three weeks after the filming of The Barren Zone took place, the Lockheed bribery scandal came to light in hearings at the US Senate.399 Fact is indeed stranger than fiction. Thus, The Barren Zone became a much-talked-about topic as early as when it was being made. What I endeavored to do in the film was to reveal the essential core of corruption within Japan’s conservative party and to convey plainly to everyone through visual imagery what I thought about the Lockheed Incident. After the film’s preview, however, the original author, Yamasaki Toyoko, was the first to raise a number of complaints. First, writing for Sunday Mainichi, she criticized the film’s inattention to the Siberian internment camps, as well as its incorporation of material not found in her original work. Besides the sequence connected with the US-Japan Security Treaty, she pointed to the scene showing how election campaign funds changed hands. What I did was show the chief of staff of Japan’s Air Self-Defense Force (JASDF) receiving campaign funds inside the chief cabinet secretary’s office when he announces his candidacy for the Upper House. In response, Yamasaki wrote angrily that such preposterous behavior was utterly inconceivable. As I recall, she went on to say in effect that she and film director Yamamoto had been married in spirit, but now she wanted to throw divorce papers in his face. Since I had no recollection that we were ever married, even in spirit, I wasn’t terribly upset about what she had to say. Regarding the scene in which campaign funds change hands, Genda Page 231 →Minoru also raised objections through his secretary.400 Believing that he was the model for the character in the film who announces his candidacy in the election as JASDF’s chief of staff, he expressed the fear that his identification with a dramatic character might lead to misunderstandings and asked that we cut out the scene in question. If we failed to abide by his wishes, he would bring a lawsuit against me as the film’s director. I had never been intimidated by people bringing lawsuits against me, but when I considered Genda’s position at a time when the Lockheed Incident was getting so much attention, along with possible complications during the film’s screening, I decided to cut out the scene. Having seen The Barren Zone, the writer Imai Genji sent me a letter. As the author of Siberia’s Song (Shiberia no uta), a work based on his postwar experiences as a Siberian internee for a number of years, he had brought a lawsuit against Yamasaki alleging plagiarization in connection with his book. In his letter, Imai told me that the viciously run camps described in Yamasaki’s novel constituted just a percentage of the many such establishments in the area. I was also told that the camps in which internees served long sentences and were forced to perform hard labor were primarily meant for war criminals such as members of the general staff and the military police. If I had persistently depicted the miseries of torture, forced labor, and hunger in those relatively

few camps, as Yamasaki’s novel had done, I would have given the impression that the other camps were no different from the ones I described. That is why Imai also wrote something to the effect that our exercise of moderation in describing such scenes had been a wise decision. To bring about a renaissance in Japanese film, Tōhō workers at the time thought it necessary to create a movement in which spectators and filmmakers would work closely together to create good films for maximum exposure. From that standpoint, they worked unsparingly during the screening of The Barren Zone. As Dai’ei workers also offered their full support during the company’s difficult reconstruction phase, film industry workers were broadening the scope of their joint activities. Despite the movement, The Barren Zone could not be described as a commercial success compared to the much greater popularity of One Splendid Family.

Page 232 →While filming The Barren Zone, I began making preparations for my next project, The TempЕЌ Outlaws of the Marsh (TempЕЌ suikoden).401 A joint endeavor of the Central Union of Agricultural Cooperatives (NЕЌkyЕЌ ChЕ«ЕЌkai) and Dai’ei, the project was aimed at further galvanizing the activities of Japan’s agricultural cooperatives by tracing the historical origins of the organization. It is no exaggeration to say that Dai’ei was virtually betting everything on the success of the film. Since the company had not substantially profited from the commercial success of Annular Eclipse—its distribution had been entrusted to TЕЌhō’s subsidiaries—Dai’ei had high expectations for my new venture and decided to release it through a central distribution system of its own. On top of that, its partner this time was the agricultural cooperatives that had previously achieved spectacular success with Song of the Cart-Pullers, a film they produced and released through their own initiatives. It was only natural for Dai’ei to entertain high expectations. The central character in The TempЕЌ Outlaws of the Marsh was ЕЊhara YЕ«gaku, an extraordinary figure who founded Senzokabu-kumiai, the world’s first peasant cooperative, in Nagabe Village in present-day Chiba Prefecture; he also managed to put into practice what even labor unions today would have difficulty initiating. ЕЊhara’s progressive thinking, however, led to his arrest by the Edo Bakufu, whose interrogation of him lasted for nearly a decade before he was let go. Upon his return to the village, he discovered that peasant life there had reverted to the same old ways before the founding of the agricultural cooperatives. Realizing that all his efforts had come to naught, he took his own life.402 Our film would not have been interesting had we focused on YЕ«gaku’s great accomplishments alone. To avoid turning our work into a didactic Page 233 →sermon of sorts based on his biography, it was necessary to boldly infuse entertaining elements into the narrative. Additionally, I wished to broaden our audience base beyond the farming population to include the younger urban generation. That is why I decided to interweave YЕ«gaku’s historical exploits with episodes from the traditional recitations from the rЕЌkyoku piece The TempЕЌ Outlaws of the Marsh. It was a fact that such local gang bosses as Iioka SukegorЕЌ and Sasagawa ShigezЕЌ were dominating figures in the same locality during the same period, and it was my judgment that they, too, must have been paying attention to an unusual man like YЕ«gaku and his mentoring activities with the peasants. The film also depicts the discrepancies between YЕ«gaku’s progressive thinking, on the one hand, and the peasants’ regressive disposition on the other. For instance, in an attempt to underscore comic effect, I depicted peasants who simply could not give up their gambling habits despite repeated admonitions. By doing so, I thought that I had amply incorporated elements of entertainment for mass appeal. Ultimately, however, the film was a failure; many critics pointed to the incongruity of blending entertainment with the seriousness of YЕ«gaku’s character. Commercially, the film also flopped, particularly in urban areas. I have no detailed figures, but Dai’ei apparently lost a lot of money on it. To this day, its president reminds me of the fiasco whenever we meet, causing me much embarrassment. To the reconstituted company I am sure such a production deficit must have had a most negative effect.

Shortly after I finished The TempЕЌ Outlaws of the Marsh, ShЕЌchiku came to me with a vague request for a new film. I had received repeated propositions from ShЕЌchiku prior to this invitation but had never had a chance to work for the company. Just as I was persuaded to do something should a good proposal come along, ShЕЌchiku sent me Kobayashi KyЕ«zō’s novel The August without the Emperor (KЕЌtei no inai hachigatsu), along with a proposal for its film adaptation.403 It is a story about a coup d’état engineered by members of Japan’s Self-Defense Forces, who have hijacked a train. Parts of the story were superficial, but it did impart a sense of realism. Thinking that Page 234 →the project might be interesting if it could corroborate speculations about a coup to take place in Japan, I accepted the invitation. However, we had quite an exasperating experience with the project from the time the screenplay was being crafted. First of all, a coup d’état was something that did not lend itself easily to precise analysis. The most helpful reference for us was The Shadow Army (Kage no guntai), which was then being serialized in Red Flag (Akahata) and later published, in 1978, by New Japan Publishers. The report was a very interesting read as it provided a steadfast investigation into plans for a coup. Meanwhile, we had no idea what the interior of the Cabinet Investigative Office (Naikaku ChЕЌsashitsu) looked like.404 It was supposedly equipped with an incredible array of gadgets, such as computers, in which finely sorted amounts of complex data could be input to yield instantaneous answers with a push of a button. To represent this onscreen, we had nothing to guide us other than our imagination. We did consult the author, Yoshihara KЕЌichirЕЌ, a well-informed source of such matters, but because he, too, hadn’t seen the place, his understanding did not differ markedly from ours. As we were working on these items, time was running out, thereby forcing us to enter into the filming phase without the luxury of truly polishing up the screenplay. We therefore had to make constant revisions as we went along. We built the train and its interior components inside our set just like the real thing. The film also contains scenes depicting the interior of the prime minister’s official residence, but ShЕЌchiku’s art department reported that it had never created such a structure before and its scene men were at a loss as to what to do. I found it interesting that in its long history as a film studio, ShЕЌchiku had never before found it necessary to create such a set. It was also a testimony to the fact that ShЕЌchiku had been focusing on making contemporary domestic films (sewamono) and how little attention it had paid to producing political dramas. As this was the first time ShЕЌchiku had to re-create a prime minister’s residence, the venture caused quite a sensation within the company. During filming, I had to deal with the difficult question of how to persuasively convey to our countrymen the fact that a coup d’état could actually take place in Japan. In our country in general, such an eventuality was thought to be beyond belief, and yet there was in fact the potential for such Page 235 →a risk; what I had to do was delve into and clearly demonstrate such a possibility. If I failed to present it convincingly, my film would end up losing its appeal. After the film was completed, several questions were raised. The first was an expression of incredulity that a coup d’état would materialize on a hijacked train running from Kyushu to Tokyo at night. According to this view, troop maneuverability would surely allow its members to assemble within a much shorter time frame. However, since that was the plot in the original story, I could do little about it. Second, on the slaying of the train conductor in one of the scenes, a particularly vociferous critic declared that the killing of crew members and passengers was the work of extreme leftist groups whereas right wingers would do no such thing. Others commented that since the train was running on rails it had to stop when the signal turned red, an action contrary to what happened in the film. In order to heighten the film’s dramatic impact, I had no choice but to close my eyes to such imperfections during filming. It was true that an actual coup d’état would be a more profoundly horrifying affair, whereas in the film we spiced it up with a considerable dose of entertaining elements. There was a bedroom scene in the film involving Saburi Shin, who played a behind-the-scenes right-wing figure.405 I asked him to bare his upper body during the shooting, but he insisted on wearing a shirt, and nothing could change his mind. This argument suspended our work for as long as a whole day, leading me to go as far as to contemplate his replacement. ShЕЌchiku then intervened as peacemaker by asking me to put up with it, and we

ended up going along with Saburi’s wishes. As we were doing the postproduction sound dubbing, members of the Japanese Diet discovered that much research was already going on regarding Japan’s legislative response in the event of a military emergency or an attack by another party (“yЕ«ji rippō”), a finding that triggered a Diet investigation into the matter. My own judgment was that this was a terribly significant development even though the incident did not attract much public attention. A coup d’état would take place only if Japan’s Self-Defense Forces were treated like the country’s neglected stepchild; the reason for staging a coup in the first place emanates from the desire to acquire formal status as a military force with constitutional recognition. If emergency measures were passed and the Self-Defense Forces were recognized as such, there would Page 236 →no longer be any need for a coup. In other words, can one not think of legislating emergency measures itself as a form of coup d’état? That was my inescapable conclusion. At the film’s preview, I made some introductory remarks onstage along with the actors. Sitting in the front row was a young man holding a bag with the Japanese national flag on top. The flag was strategically positioned just for my eyes, and it was obvious that he was a right-wing youth. I was terrified by the thought that he might jump onto the stage, but I presented my views about the potential for a coup and that Japan’s legislative initiative for dealing with emergency situations was tantamount to a coup itself. Many politicians came to the preview as well. Among them, Arafune SeijЕ«rЕЌ declared, “The Self-Defense Forces are nothing like what is portrayed in this outrageous film. It is regrettable that a film like this has been made.” Those words were reported with fanfare in the Asahi Shimbun, comments that I thought had been made with the emergency legislation in mind.406 The many difficulties we experienced while making the film matched many lapses on my part as director. For instance, I had intended to highlight the exchanges between Watase Tsunehiko, playing a coup leader, and Yamamoto Kei, portraying a civilian dedicated to peace and democracy. While I was mindful of the need to underscore Yamamoto Kei’s ideas, I ended up doing just the opposite as the filming progressed. I think that constituted my biggest failure in the film. When the national campaign for The August without the Emperor began, I found myself increasingly preoccupied with work on Nomugi Pass. Just then a letter was delivered to my residence. When I opened it, it contained a sharp fruit knife, with no written message or anything else. The sender’s address was in Kumamoto, and his name was indicated as Kuma, but the postmark was from Nara. Clearly, this was harassment by the right wing. Until that time, I had received a number of threats from the right wing over questions about the Japanese emperor, but this was the first time I had ever received a knife. The incident was one manifestation of a radical shift to the right at the time, a phenomenon evidenced, among other things, by right wingers giving thunderous speeches in our streets.

After filming The August without the Emperor, I began work on Nomugi Pass, a project I had long aspired to undertake. Talks had already begun Page 237 →with Yamagishi Toyokichi from ZennЕЌei and others about my desire to turn it into a film. Shortly afterward, I heard that Yoshinaga Sayuri had created her own production company and its first film would be Nomugi Pass, with Uchida Tomu as the director. I also learned that Mingei’s film division would provide backup for the project. Then a telephone call from Uno JЕ«kichi came. “I heard that you’re going to do Nomugi Pass. How is it going?” “There’s been some talk about the project but nothing concrete.” “I see. Well, the truth isВ .В .В .” Uno went on to tell me the story of how Mingei had decided to back Sayuri Productions’ film project.

“If Mingei decides to do it, I think it would be a good thing! I wish you the very best!” I said. Our telephone conversation ended at that point. As time passed, however, the project at Sayuri Productions was aborted. As I recall, this happened more than ten years ago. Since then, the whole thing had been called a phantom project. A year before I began work on Nomugi Pass, ZennЕЌei’s Yamagishi introduced me to Mochimaru Kanji, a former navy man who ran a successful computer school in Sendai. While Mochimaru was new to the film industry, Yamagishi told me that he was very interested in getting involved with the film’s production. My encounter with Mochimaru made it possible to finally realize a dream I had cherished for many years. At first, five men—the original author Yamamoto Shigemi,407 screenwriter Yamada Nobuo, Mochimaru, Yamagishi, and myself—started our film’s location hunt in the areas around Furukawa, Nomugi Pass, and Okaya.408 For some reason, Mochimaru brought a female secretary along. We started our journey by car from Matsumoto, and after spending a night at the Otasuke Teahouse, the local village chief and others were kind enough to come and offer us greetings. One by one, we introduced ourselves. When it was Mochimaru’s turn, he appeared to have thought of something and said, “In making this film, I have made a number of resolutionsВ .В .В .” before Page 238 →turning to his secretary. She stood up and began reading from a statement Mochimaru had prepared on the subject. So that was the real reason why Mochimaru had brought her along.409 Because there was a scheduling conflict with Yamada Nobuo, we entrusted the screenplay to Hattori Kei instead. By the time it was completed, I was in the middle of filming The August without the Emperor. Due to the extraordinary length of the first draft, it had to be trimmed. I began working on it once my work for ShЕЌchiku was complete, and even before I finished autumn had arrived. That forced me to suspend my editing work in order to travel to the Hida area to track down our filming spots. Just as the work was progressing, I received news about the death of my oldest brother. Initially I mistakenly thought that the deceased was my oldest son, but in any case the news brought me profound grief and prompted my immediate return to Tokyo. The autumn sequence in Nomugi Pass revolved around the last scene, on the death of Masai Mine, played by ЕЊtake Shinobu. If we didn’t finish that scene early on, we would have to suspend shooting until the next year. I hurriedly got back to work by filming backward from the last scene once I had attended my brother’s funeral service. Having to shoot the last scene before we had a good idea of how the whole film was going to take shape, I felt enormously apologetic toward Shinobu-chan. For her role, she had already lost several kilos of weight through dieting. One of our challenges during filming was to re-create the factory. We had earlier thought that such facilities could still be found in Nagano Prefecture’s Okaya area, the story’s setting, but once there we discovered that they had all been mechanized and the old hand-operated spinners had disappeared. Fortunately, in Shiojiri we located a deserted building that had once functioned as a yarn-spinning factory, and there we found fifty such old machines. We bought all of them and put them inside the set we built. There we reconstructed the factory, complete with hot running water to allow the extraction of yarn from cocoons. Even with the help of the machines, however, our actors were unable to disengage the yarn. Thereupon, we invited a number of veteran workers from Okaya, all women over sixty years of age, as our instructors. Our special training lasted for a week, but still our actors couldn’t quite master the art. When actual filming began, a veteran worker and an actor took Page 239 →turns doing the task to achieve the necessary visual effect. Professionals as they were, our cast were experts when it came to making simulated hand gestures. On the other hand, those playing silk-spinning workers seemed to have considerable trouble coming to terms with the cocoons. Much complaint was made about the latter’s body-clinging stench and the twirling and twisting images of teeming, snow-white cocoons they saw in their dreams. Ichikawa Fusae made a special trip to visit us at the studio.410 After looking at the machines and our actresses, she was impressed by the close resemblance of our set to the real conditions in the silk-spinning factories she had

observed in her inspection tours in the past. Come to think of it, her reaction was an apt indicator of the degree of attention we had paid during our reconstruction of the factory’s interior. While we succeeded in filming the inside of the factory, a suitable structure for the exterior was nowhere to be found; even in Okaya we had no luck. We finally discovered one near the Akayu Hot Springs in Yamagata Prefecture. The factory itself had been mechanized, but the structure itself remained exactly the same as before. After reading our screenplay and realizing that it painted a negative portrait of the Meiji period factory owner, the company president initially showed little enthusiasm for cooperating with us. But his keen interest in photography and the thought of taking pictures of our actresses ultimately persuaded him to become an active supporter of our project. The Yamagata location was beset with incessant rain, however, making filming virtually impossible and causing us considerable headaches. Indeed, uncooperative weather put a curse on this film from the start. For instance, we had to shoot a large number of snowy scenes in Takayama and Furukawa in the Hida region, but the winter that year brought no snowfall despite the assurances of the local people. When heaven failed to answer our prayers, we had no choice but to haul some twenty truckloads of snow in to cover the rooftops and the ground. GotЕЌ Toshio was given primary responsibility for shooting the mob scene in which workers crossed the Nomugi Pass, and several locations were chosen for that purpose. Part of the sequence was filmed on location at Nomugi Pass itself. But when the snow there became hard and dangerously icy, the filming was done in the area around Lake Tazawa, which we reached via Iwate Prefecture.411 That was where we planned to shoot the scene of female workers falling off the cliff, but the area had already become treacherously icebound. When Kobayashi Chigusa in Hokkaido alerted us to the Page 240 →fact that the snow in the foothills of Tokachi was still powdery, the team journeyed all the way there to complete the shooting. We used long shots to capture the spectacle of hundreds of workers crossing the mountain pass. All the people involved were local folks from those snowy regions who had answered our call for assistance. Depending on the area, we had elementary and secondary schoolboys and sometimes elderly men and women put on red koshimaki waist skirts when they appeared in the scene. Seen from afar, all of them looked like young girls. In the end, the shooting took us about six months to complete. The biggest hurdle I faced this time as a film artist was overcoming the tendency to turn my work into a dreary, cheerless narrative. Generally, that is the image people have about the wretched experiences of modern Japan’s female textile workers.412 To be sure, they were met with appalling exploitation and horrendous working conditions, but I didn’t believe the spirits of the female workers had necessarily been dampened by despair. True, they had experienced many tragedies, but at the same time, wasn’t it true that life for them in the bloom of youth was also filled with its own sparkles of hope? In the film, I therefore made a conscious effort to present this particular feature. Mindful of the story’s setting, around 1902–3, and the status of women at the time, I made no attempt to impose on the female workers a feigned consciousness of liberation. In fact, I wasn’t happy about my inadequate engagement with this subject, but many people suggested that I should just leave it at that. For instance, I thought about including a final scene depicting a commotion among female workers upon learning that their employer had stealthily been manipulating their working hours at the factory. But then I realized that such a self-conscious act of defiance by daughters of poor peasants could only have taken place later in history and that, if I purposely overplayed it, it would be a fabrication on my part. In response to Masai Mine’s death, I decided to conclude the scene by having her fellow workers express their camaraderie with her by chanting the Buddha’s name. When finished, the film was well received by a wide spectrum of viewers, from the elderly to the young. During its preview in Furukawa, a number of viewers about sixty years of age came with photographs of their deceased mothers who had worked in silk factories with cocoons. I, along with others, was moved by their act.

Page 241 →In 1981 a symposium on Japanese and Soviet films took place in Tokyo. Soviet film directors, led by Grigori Chukhrai, highly praised Nomugi Pass for its vivaciousness and absence of sentimentalism.413 That said, while making the film, I had worried that my work might end up as an exercise in anachronism. Even though I couldn’t change the fact that it was a Meiji story, I still felt that many of the film’s episodes betrayed elements that struck me as too outmoded. A girl throws herself into a lake out of despair about her own ineptitude, and another ends her life after being falsely accused. Others meet their demise as a result of tuberculosis or abandonment by a man. During the filming, I couldn’t help wondering if their stories were too old-fashioned. When I was told otherwise, I was quite understandably gratified. Still, I regretted that I wasn’t able to shoot certain scenes due to the lack of snow. I was told that in the old days, heavy snows from Takayama to Furukawa would drift so high that the locals would have to cut a passage through it as if they were digging a tunnel. When one encountered female workers in this passage, one would be greeted with the strong scent of the cocoons and the fragrance of the girls’ hair cosmetics. The girls were about the same age as first- or second-year secondary school students, with just the first hints of a budding sensuality. Thinking what a fantastic story that was, I had very much wanted to capture such an image. Unfortunately, no matter how long I waited, with no snow I was unable to reenact the scene.

After I finished making Nomugi Pass, film requests arrived from various quarters, about fifteen proposals in just about a year’s time. I declined them all, as none of them interested me. During that interval, I went with Takeda Atsushi, Morikawa Tokihisa, Yamada YЕЌji, and others to China at the invitation of its filmmakers. The Cultural Revolution had ended by then, and we traveled to Beijing, Changchun, and Shanghai, where I had exchanges with Chinese filmmakers after their rehabilitation. I learned that they had suffered much during the Cultural Revolution. I replied that I had met the same fate, as my film Men and War was being totally trashed at the time. Immediately after my return from China, I received word from Takeda Page 242 →Atsushi that Dai’ei and ZenshЕЌren were launching a joint movie project; he asked that I become its director.414 As the proposal was the most enticing of all those I had received thus far, I accepted the invitation. It later became the film Auto Town (Asshiitachi no machi). What struck me at the time was, first, the material similarity between Nomugi Pass and Auto Town. The setting of Nomugi Pass was the Meiji era, a time when silk products brought home foreign currencies with which Japan purchased warships and cannons. Victorious in the Russo-Japanese War, Japan proceeded to join the ranks of the world’s great powers. Those in the limelight at the time were politicians and military men, however, not the female workers who produced the all-important silk products. By putting the spotlight on the latter in Nomugi Pass, I was able to depict their harsh working conditions as well as the spring of their youth. This time around the subject matter was exactly the same, but the seminal product enabling Japan’s dramatic leap into great economic power status was the automobile. Those who shouldered the burden of Japan’s transformation were the real producers of its manufactured goods, the employees of the country’s small and midsized subcontractors, and their working conditions were not substantially different from those depicted in Nomugi Pass. My job was to paint portraits of such young people working for subcontractors and subsubcontractors, people who labored hard in the shadow of big enterprises such as Toyota and Nissan without a chance of sharing their glory. Once I started to go over the screenplay, however, I realized that there were parts that were difficult to understand. I proceeded to meet with those who served as actual models in the screenplay in order to achieve a better understanding. The word asshii in the film’s title refers to a package of small auto parts consisting of items like screw nails, small metal plates, or copper wires used in the assembly of an automobile. But the expression did not just refer to auto parts; it seemed to me that it also symbolized the real conditions in small and midsized businesses. As

separate entities standing alone, they were no more than mere component parts, but when put together they could produce enormous power. I thought of making that the theme of my film. The problem, as far as I was concerned, was music. If I were to producePage 243 → portraits of Japan’s contemporary youth, I had to incorporate the rock music popular with the young. While I certainly did not dislike the genre, I must say that I hadn’t been a keen enthusiast. To remedy the situation, I solicited assistance from KatЕЌ Tai, who was knowledgeable in this area.415 Painting lively portraits of the young did not just involve shooting scenes of them singing; we had to infuse their activities into the dramatic movement itself. However, at my advanced age there were just too many things about contemporary youth that I didn’t know. Thereupon, I befriended the young people appearing in my film, put on a pair of jeans, and stayed with them as much as I could outside my director’s work on location. I noted their daily conversations, their mannerisms, and the language they used. At the same time, I couldn’t bear to be seen as a defunct codger in their eyes. After the film’s preview, the young people told me that I had been rejuvenated as a forty-five-year-old. Absolutely delighted at that reception, I acted from that time on in a manner consistent with my perceived age.416 We started filming Auto Town in October 1979 and finished it at the end of January the following year. It was not a commercial success at the big cinemas, but many people saw it in places like public playhouses and town halls through the auspices of ZenshЕЌren. What was unexpected was that there were few young spectators. It is true that the film provided a moving experience for those who came, but we did have many problems, including with our publicity campaign. For myself, the remaining challenge was how to draw the attention of a young audience to this kind of film.

One other future assignment I had was to make a sequel to Nomugi Pass. From the outset, I had no intention of ending the film with its first installment, which depicts something of a beginning of the female workers’ journey toward their liberation. Due to historical limitations, however, it was not possible to delineate the process of women’s liberation itself. Channeled through the momentum of TaishЕЌ democracy and the country’s labor movements, the female workers’ awakening to women’s liberation finally started to occur, and one of its earliest manifestations was the famous Yamaichi Labor Strike of 1927.417 That was when female workers consciously stood up Page 244 →for their rights, and if their struggles were not depicted I thought that the significance of making Nomugi Pass would be drastically diluted. I got a request from TЕЌhЕЌ to make Nomugi Pass: A New Chapter (ДЂ Nomugi TЕЌge: Shinryokuhen) in the summer of 1980. I promptly accepted the invitation, and told TЕЌhЕЌ that this time I wished to depict how the female workers came to be awakened to the idea of women’s liberation against the background of a labor dispute. TЕЌhЕЌ, however, expressed considerable reservations and asked that scenes of labor disputes be curtailed. The screenplay was written by Yamanouchi Hisashi, but in the first draft I went ahead and added scenes of labor upheaval. It struck me as a strange karma that I was making a TЕЌhЕЌ film on a labor conflict when I myself had been involved in one against the same company in the past. Come to think of it, besides myself, the film’s producer, ItЕЌ TakerЕЌ, who had once served as our labor union’s committee chairman, had also become a familiar face at TЕЌhЕЌ. At around the same time, Imai Tadashi, too, was making a new version of Tower of the Wild Lilies (Himeyuri no tЕЌ) for the company.418 Considering the fact that individuals who had once been fired by or had resigned from TЕЌhЕЌ were now working again at the same company, I couldn’t help thinking that our destinies must have been guided by a strange twist of fate. Before I started filming the sequel to Nomugi Pass, the direction of Japanese films had already taken a radical shift to the right; one might say that the reactionary trend had already become starkly noticeable. TЕЌhЕЌ made Japan’s Combined Fleet (RengЕЌ-kantai), with Yamamoto Isoroku as the protagonist, which fervently celebrated the passions and “poignant aspirations” (higan) of young suicide pilots perishing for the sake of their homeland.419 TЕЌei poured the profits it made from The 203-Meter Knoll Page 245 →(Nihyakusan-kЕЌchi)

into The Great Japanese Empire (Dai Nippon teikoku), with TЕЌjЕЌ Hideki as its tragic hero.420 Without exception, those films were among the few made in any particular year by their companies, and they played to rightist tendencies in a rightward-shifting political climate. Could I be the only person thinking that their content was meant to veil war’s essential nature? On top of that, TЕЌei came up with an animated production called Future War 198X in which a love story is superimposed on the scenario of a joint US-Japanese confrontation with the Soviet Union following a Soviet nuclear attack on Japan. Made with the assistance of Iwano Masataka, a former major general in the Self-Defense Forces, the film generated a controversy over its alleged role in facetiously planting the idea of a Soviet threat in the minds of young children. In response to the recent profusion of such right-leaning films, I wish to note that there was opposition at a production site in conjunction with a protest movement among the public.421 In this sociopolitical climate, I believe that one necessary action Japanese cinema must take today is clearly the production of antiwar films. Films always carry with them a mission to safeguard peace and democracy. With this in mind, I am currently making concrete preparations for two projects. The first, for Dai’ei, is based on Morimura Seiichi’s The Devil’s Gluttony (Akuma no hЕЌshoku),422 and the second, for ShЕЌchiku, on Nogami Yaeko’s Page 246 →Labyrinth (Meiro).423 The first drafts of both screenplays are now being written; I myself have been collecting a wide range of materials and contemplating ways to structure my presentation. I will spare no effort in turning these two films into powerful weapons to combat the current rightward shift in our society because we must never allow a return to a time in the past when our whole country lost its sense of direction amid dark and utter despair.

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In Place of an Afterword This is the only book my husband Yamamoto Satsuo wrote during his lifetime. Apart from participating in causes such as peace movements, he devoted himself exclusively to his work as a film director, a man without the slightest desire to be a writer. The motivation for him to overcome this disinclination and pick up a pen is explained in the book’s preface. Yamamoto passed away in the early morning of August 11 last year, that is, 1983. While the event was not entirely unanticipated, I was still astounded at how quickly his death came after his hospitalization. After he died, the book’s draft remained unpolished. While more or less complete, it awaited additional editorial refinement. A considerable amount of time lapsed before we could return to work on it, preoccupied as we were with such intricate tasks as funeral arrangements. That was why the book’s publication has been repeatedly delayed. In editing the manuscript, I was assisted by my son-in-law, Tanaka Yachio. Prior to his hospitalization at Yoyogi Hospital on May 19 last year, Yamamoto worked on his manuscript every day between his other work schedules. I think there were still many things he wanted to write about, but his hectic life apparently made it impossible to devote as much time to writing as he had hoped. That he passed away before he could see his work’s publication must have been a source of regret for him as well. Yamamoto himself decided on the title My Life as a Filmmaker before he died. As we worked on the draft and went over it any number of times, I started to think that the title might have two different meanings. First, it goes without saying that the book is precisely what its title indicates, about a life devoted to filmmaking as a director. On the other hand, just like anybody else, Yamamoto gave his existence his particular human import. Additionally, due perhaps to his time and the nature of his profession, his life was filled with many ups and downs, just like what one might see in a film. That is why I feel that the book title means both “My life as a Filmmaker” Page 248 →and “My filmlike life.” To what my husband went through during his lifetime, with its endless adversities and hardships, I wish very much to say, once again, “GokurЕЌsama deshita.”424 I wish to use this space to convey my heartfelt gratitude to those who very graciously supported Yamamoto in so many ways when he was alive. Additionally, on the occasion of this book’s publication, I was the recipient of many kindnesses from many individuals, beginning with Mr. Mori KЕЌichi of New Japan Publishers. I also wish to convey my deep and sincere gratitude to the many concerned parties that have so readily provided the photographs included in this book. Yamamoto Yoshie January 16, 1984

Footnotes 1. For details, see chapter 8, “Work within the Mainstream Industry” in this volume. 2. The report erroneously stated that Yamamoto had “majored in theater” at Waseda University when in fact he had majored in German literature. While he read Marx and Kobayashi Takiji, not an uncommon experience among university students in the capital in the early 1930s, his brief period of student activism at Waseda was motivated not by any commitment to a formal “left-wing” ideology but rather by his resistance to military training mixed with a sense of fair play at an intervarsity sporting event. For details, see his autobiography Watakushi no eiga jinsei (Tokyo: Shin Nihon Shuppansha, 1984), 25–38. 3. Yamamoto codirected the 1947 film at the invitation of Kamei Fumio (1908–87) before the appearance of a series of other Japanese films in 1950 that has often been characterized as “antiwar.” These included Taniguchi Senkichi’s Akatsuki no dassō, starring Ikebe Ryō and Yamaguchi Yoshiko, and Imai Tadashi’s Mata au hi made, starring Okada Eiji and Kuga Yoshiko. 4. This is presumably a reference to The Vacuum Zone (Shinkū chitai, 1952). 5. This is presumably a reference to The Tycoon (Kizudarake no sanga, 1964), The Great White Tower (Shiroi kyotō, 1966), and The Barren Zone (Fumō chitai, 1976), among others. 6. Town of Violence (Bōryoku no machi, 1950). 7. Yamamoto’s film was dated 1954. 8. The Human Wall (Ningen no kabe, 1959). 9. Battle without Arms (Buki-naki tatakai, 1960) depicts the struggles of Yamamoto Senji (no relation to Yamamoto the director), a lecturer at Kyoto University and Dōshisha University and later a Diet member until his assassination by a knife-wielding right winger in Tokyo on March 5, 1929. By a most chilling twist of fate, the preview of this film in 1960 coincided with another political assassination, that of the secretary general of the Japan Socialist Party, Asanuma Inejirō, by another sword-wielding right-wing youth in Tokyo on October 12 before about one thousand witnesses. More recently, Buki-naki tatakai was featured on March 11, 2003, at an event, “Yamasen: Eiga to kōen no yūbe,” at Tokyo’s Ōta Ward Plaza, commemorating the career of Yamamoto Senji (Shimbun Akahata, March 12, 2003). Other Yamamoto Satsuo films in this broad generic category include The Matsukawa Incident (Matsukawa jiken, 1961), Men and War (Sensō to ningen, in three parts, 1970–73), Annular Eclipse (Kinkanshoku, 1975), and The Barren Zone (Fūmo chitai, 1976). 10. The Great White Tower (Shiroi Kyotō, 1966). 11. Annular Eclipse (Kinkanshoku, 1975) and The Barren Zone (1976). 12. The August without the Emperor (Kōtei no inai hachigatsu, 1978). The participation of fanatical young officers leads to bloodshed on the train and the subsequent suppression of the coup by the Japanese authorities. 13. The Matsukawa Incident (Matsukawa jiken, 1961) and The Witness’ Chair (Shōnin no isu, 1965). The fact that similarly urgent problems still need to be addressed today is evident in a special edition entitled “Enzai wa naze kurikaesu no ka?” in the leading journal Sekai in June 2014. 14. Nomugi Pass (Ā Nomugi Tōge, 1979) and Auto Town (Asshiitachi no machi, 1981). 15. Ninja: A Band of Assassins (Shinobi no mono, 1962), along with its 1963 sequel, and Zatoichi the Outlaw (Zatōichi rōyaburi, 1967). 16. Yamamoto’s black-and-white documentary minimalism and the absence of a conclusive ending to a long legal battle to prove the innocence of a wrongly accused woman, Kasai Yōko (Naraoka Tomoko), for murder—her retrial was still pending while the film was being made—partly accounted for the film’s lack of popularity among Japanese moviegoers at the time. 17. Indeed, at the time of Yamamoto’s death in 1983, only a very selective group of Japanese film directors, Kurosawa Akira, Ozu Yasujirō, and Mizoguchi Kenji among them, had achieved their muchdeserved recognition outside their country. In comparison, other film artists and critics, such as Kinoshita Keisuke, Imai Tadashi, Kamei Fumio, Masumura Yasuzō, Kobayashi Masaki, and Iwasaki Akira, still remained in varying degrees in the dustier corridors of Japanese film history. Even today, the website Senses of Cinema (, which features a rich array of useful essays on worldacclaimed film directors, including a good representation from Japan, does not yet have an entry on

Yamamoto. It was not until well into the twenty-first century that he finally began to receive more scholarly attention, as in Michael H. Gibbs’s Film and Political Culture in Postwar Japan (New York: Peter Lang, 2012). 18. Sandra Brennan, The date of Hakone Fūunroku, translated by Brennan as Storm Clouds over Mount Hakone, was given incorrectly as 1951. It is difficult to argue that Yamamoto’s independently made films, such as Floating Weeds Diary (Ukikusa nikki, 1955), Typhoon Furor (Taifū sōdōki, 1956 ), Scarlet Battle Coat (Akai jinbaori, 1958), and Song of the Cart-Pullers (1959), were “almost violently left wing,” even though Floating Weeds Diary does take a pro-labor stance and some others might be described as social satires disguised as comedies targeting government authorities. In terms of artistic success, significance in film or social history, or international acclaim, surely one could argue for the greater fame of The Vacuum Zone (1952), Streets without the Sun (1954), or Song of the Cart-Pullers over Rising Storm over Hakone (1952). 19. Yamamoto. His connection with the JCP is taken up later in the essay. The same piece states that Yamamoto “dropped out” of Waseda University, whereas in fact he was expelled. 20. 21. On his wartime experiences in China, see Yamamoto, Watakushi no eiga jinsei, 95–118. Yamamoto reminisced about his travels as a Shōchiku film director in Manchuria in June 1941 (81–83), visiting the studio at the Manchurian Film Association (Man’ei) in Shinkyō (present-day Changchun) as well as Harbin, but he was not conscripted into the Japanese army until sometime in 1943 after he had finished making Searing Wind (Neppū, 1943). 22. One exception to this is that the Nihon Bunka Kaikan (Istituto Giapponese di Cultura) in Rome screened seven of his major films in January 2012. They included Niguruma no uta, Shiroi kyotō, and Kinkanshoku. 23. I have so far found no evidence to the contrary. 24. Naturally, this introduction to Yamamoto Satsuo is by no means the most appropriate venue in which to attempt a formal examination and in-depth comparison of the respective cinematic artistry and historical imaginations of these two important filmmakers across the Pacific. My comments here simply serve as an invitation to future endeavors along similar lines of inquiry once we have acquired a more profound understanding and appreciation of Yamamoto and his works. In this connection, the various chapters in Robert Brent Toplin, ed., Oliver Stone’s USA: Film, History, and Controversy (Lawrence: University Press of Kansas, 2000), along with Toplin’s introduction, could well serve as a useful source for such enterprises. Oliver Stone, Peter Kuznick, and Norimatsu Satoko’s Oribā Sutōn ga kataru Nichibeishi no shinjitsu (Tokyo: Kin’yōbi, 2015) could also serve as a useful reference, especially in connection with Stone’s views on the dropping of the atomic bombs on Japan and the US military presence in Okinawa. What I am discussing here is only the beginning of a beginning. 25. Nakadai appeared in Yamamoto’s Annular Eclipse (1975), The Barren Zone (1976), and One Splendid Family (1974), as well as Kurosawa’s Yojimbo (1961), Sanjuro (1962), Kagemusha (1980), and Ran (1985). Kurosawa and Yamamoto were born in the same year, 1910. See Nakadai’s comments on the NHK BS Channel 2 program, aired on August 2, 2010, entitled “Gyakkyō o chikara ni kaeta nekketsu kantoku: Yamamoto Satsuo seitan hyakunen” (hereafter cited as “NHK Gyakkyō o chikara ni”). 26. With musical score by Satō Masaru and cinematography by Yamamoto Shun, the film records remembrances and commentaries from such actors, producers, and directors as Mikuni Rentarō, Nishimura Kō, Yoshinaga Sayuri , Itō Takerō, and Yamada Yōji. 27. Other films in the same collection, all available in DVD format, include Kamei Fumio’s Onna hitori daichi o yuku; Imai Tadashi’s Koko ni izumi ari, Nigorie, Hashi no nai kawa (in two parts), Yamabiko gakkō, En to iu onna, and Dokkoi ikiteru; Sekigawa Hideo’s Hiroshima; and Ieki Miyoji’s Ibo kyōdai and Tomoshibi. This important collection, distributed through the national and international bookstore chain Kinokuniya Shoten, represents a major undertaking in the preservation of one of postwar Japan’s most significant cinematic legacies. 28. The program featured appearances by such notables as Nakadai Tatsuya, Mikuni Rentarō, Yamasaki Toyoko, and the prominent film critic Satō Tadao. Accompanying the program was a four-day screening (August 2–6) of ten Yamamoto films made between 1952 and 1976.

29. See Mariko Kato, “Satsuo Yamamoto: Classic Director Remembered,” Japan Times, January 25, 2008. 30. 31. See “Jinken to heiwa o kangaeru: Yamamoto Satsuo kantoku seitan hyakunen no tsudoi,” Shimbun Akahata, June 20, 2010. 32. 33. Chūnichi Shimbun, April 21, 2014. 34. 35. Satsuo, literally “the man from Satsuma or Sasshū,” contains an old reference to western Kagoshima Prefecture. 36. Yamamoto himself aspired to being a painter. See Takeda Atsushi’s comment in Yamagata Yūsaku, Yamada Nobuo, Maruyama Seiji et al., Yamamoto Satsuo enshutsu no shūhen (Tokyo: Shine Furonto Sha, 1984), 61. That this vibrant interest in painting was by no means unique to Yamamoto and his brother was evident from the testimony of the poet Nakamura Kusatao who described how painting dramatically ignited the imagination of Matsuyama’s young intellectuals in that period. See Hayashi Kōhei, “Rakuten to iu yūai no jiba: Mansaku to Kusatao no bungakuteki seishun” in Chōritsu Kuma Bijutsukan (ed.) Mansaku to Kusatao: Rakuten no kizuna (Kuma Kōgenchō, Ehime Prefecture, 2008), 7-8. Yamamoto was well known for producing elaborate and detailed continuity sketches before shooting. His early interest in painting in all likelihood prepared him for such endeavors. 37. Arishima Takeo (1878–1923) studied at the Peer’s School (Gakushūin) and Sapporo Agricultural College before going in 1903 to Haverford College and Harvard University. An admirer of Whitman, Ibsen, Tolstoy, and Kropotkin, he was one of the leading voices in the White Birch School, along with Mushanokōji Saneatsu and Shiga Naoya, although his literary themes and style were distinctly his own. His renunciation in 1922 of his family’s ownership of a tenant farm in Hokkaido was largely attributed to his socialist sympathies. His representative works include Kain no matsuei (1917), Umareizurunayami (1918), and Aru onna (1911–19). See Arishima Takeo, A Certain Woman, trans. Kenneth Strong (Tokyo: University of Tokyo Press, 1978); and Paul Anderer, Other Worlds: Arishima Takeo and the Bounds of Modern Japanese Fiction (New York: Columbia University Press, 1985). 38. Itami Mansaku (1900–1946) entered Nikkatsu’s Kyoto studio in 1927 as a scriptwriter before joining Kataoka Chiezō Productions and making such well-remembered and iconoclastic jidaigeki films as Kokushi musō (1932), Irezumi chōhan (1933), Budō taikan (1934), Chūji uridasu (1935), and Kakita Akanishi (1936). The 1937 Atarashiki tsuchi, a joint Japanese-German production, recounts the Manchurian adventures of the heroine, played by Hara Setsuko. He also wrote scenarios for Muhōmatsu no isshō (1943) and Te o tsunagu kora (1948). For a brief discussion of Itami’s films, see Donald Richie, A Hundred Years of Japanese Film, rev. ed. (Tokyo: Kodansha International, 2005), 67–68. Mansaku’s son Itami Jūzō (1933–97) was a critically acclaimed film director. 39. After withdrawing from Matsuyama Middle School, Shigematsu Tsurunosuke (1903–38) went to Tokyo, where he was influenced by the western-style painter Kishida Ryūsei. A member of the JCP from 1931 on, he was active in committee work in both the Tokyo and Kansai areas before his arrest by the Japanese authorities in December 1933. He received a seven-year prison sentence but never submitted to ideological conversion, in contrast to the overwhelming majority of left-wing artists and writers during their imprisonment. For still unknown reasons, he committed suicide on the morning of the day of his release from prison. Ten out of the twelve oil paintings identified as his works are currently collected in the Kuma Museum of Art in Ehime Prefecture’s Kuma Kōgenchō. 40. A member of the important coterie haiku journal Hototogisu, founded in Matsuyama in 1897, Nakamura Kusatao (1901–83) studied composition under Takahama Kyoshi and graduated from Tokyo Imperial University in 1933 before becoming a professor at Tokyo’s Seikei University. He left Hototogisu in 1946 to establish his own forum, the monthly journal Banryoku. Rebelling against both traditional styles of composition and more avant-garde innovations in the genre, he was known for his attention to both the particularism of traditional haiku and the medium’s artistic universality. Among his works were such haiku collections as Chōshi (1936), Ginga Izen (1953), Bōkyōkō (1956), and Biden (1967). His eighteen-volume complete works, Nakamura Kusatao zenshū, was published in Tokyo by Misuzu Shobō in 1984–91.

41. See Yamamoto, Watakushi no eiga jinsei, 31–33. For a concise description of Vietnam and United Vietnam, directed by Masuda Kentarō and Katagiri Naoki, respectively, with overall supervision by Yamamoto, see Yamagata et al., Yamamoto Satsuo enshutsu no shūhen, 295, 310–11. For Yamamoto’s longtime interest in Soviet films and his desire to meet with Soviet filmmakers after completing Streets without the Sun, see Itō Takerō’s comments in ibid., 178. 42. See Yamamoto, Watakushi no eiga jinsei, 56–57. 43. Ibid., 22–23, 32, 43–44, 56. 44. During a conversation in October 2015, Yamamoto’s son Shun told me that his father had read practically all of Kobayashi Takiji’s works. 45. Nearly three decades later Yamamoto was to turn Murayama’s novel Shinobi no mono, serialized in the Akahata, into two very successful ninja films in 1962–63, with Ichikawa Raizō in the starring role. 46. On the film and its cast and crew, see Yamagata et al., Yamamoto Satsuo enshutsu no shūhen, 212–13. 47. Yamamoto, Watakushi no eiga jinsei , 65. 48. These films are, respectively, The Pastoral Symphony (Den’en kōkyōgaku, 1938), The New Tange Sazen: The Chapter of the Two-Armed Swordsman (Shinpen Tange Sazen: Sōshu no maki, 1939), and The Sisters’ Agreement (Shimai no yakusoku, 1940). 49. Yamamoto, Watakushi no eiga jinsei, 69. 50. Ibid., 72. 51. Yamamoto says as much in ibid., 84, although Peter B. High comments that this statement “tells us more about the shame and embarrassment he experienced postwar at having collaborated with the wartime regime.” See his The Imperial Screen (Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 2003), 377. For a discussion of Yamamoto’s two “national policy” films, Tsubasa no gaika (with Kurosawa Akira as the scriptwriter) and Neppū, see 377–81 and 414–16, respectively. 52. For a discussion of the effects of the 1939 Film Law on Japanese wartime filmmakers, see Satō Tadao, Nihon eigashi II, enlarged ed. (Tokyo: Iwanami Shoten, 2008), 21–37. 53. Yamamoto, Watakushi no eiga jinsei, 83–84. It is worth noting that Searing Wind’s screenwriter, Yasumi Toshio, reportedly said in private that he was “absolutely against the imperialist war.” Unsurprisingly, he was a target of close surveillance and visits by the Japanese police. His personal sentiments notwithstanding, political pressure apparently forced him to continue writing screenplays for war propaganda films by directors such as Kinugasa Teinosuke and Watanabe Kunio. See Satō Tadao, Nihon eigashi II, 74. Yasumi later wrote the screenplay for the Kamei-Yamamoto antiwar film War and Peace in 1947. 54. Yamamoto confessed that the inability to make the films he preferred was agonizing and inspired thoughts of giving up filmmaking altogether. See “Yamamoto Satsuo: Sakuhin to jinsei o kataru,” an interview published in Shine Furonto 2 (September 1976) and reprinted in “Eiga kantoku Yamamoto Satsuo seitan hyakunen,” the program for “Eiga kantoku Yamamoto Satsuo seitan hyakunen no tsudoi,” private ed. (Tokyo: Shine Furonto Henshūbu, 2010), 9. In retrospect, Yamamoto’s The Barren Zone (Fumō chitai, 1976), on postwar Japan’s procurement of supersonic war planes with destructive powers far greater than those of its wartime Hayabusa or Zero models, represents a most dramatic reversal of the spirit behind the making of The Wings of Triumph (Tsubasa no gaika, 1942). 55. Before his dispatch to the Chinese front in 1943, Yamamoto spent his days with the Sakura Regiment stationed in Chiba Prefecture, the same setting he used for his 1952 film The Vacuum Zone. 56. From Noma’s novel Shinkū chitai (Tokyo: Kawade Shobō, 1952), borrowing the voice of Private First Class Soda. These words are highlighted onscreen at the end of Yamamoto’s 1952 film as Kitani, the protagonist, is transported by ship to fight in an unspecified location on the southern front. 57. Yamamoto went on to say, “I will never allow the resurrection of such a [system].” “Yamamoto Satsuo: Sakuhin to jinsei o kataru,” 10–11. See also Yamamoto, Watakushi no eiga jinsei, 95–99. 58. The fact that the city of Luoyang was particularly renowned for its peonies throughout China further accentuated the poignancy of this experience. 59. Yamamoto, Watakushi no eiga jinsei, 130. 60. Ibid., 292.

61. The unfinished projects were based on famous works by the novelists Nogami Yaeko (1885–1985) and Morimura Seiichi (1933–), respectively. 62. Yamamoto, Watakushi no eiga jinsei, 130. 63. Gomikawa Junpei (1916–95) was a Dalian-born Japanese novelist whose greatly celebrated novel Ningen no jōken (6 vols., Tokyo: San’ichi Shinsho, 1956–58), based partly on his own war experiences on the Manchurian-Soviet border and subsequently made into a major film by Kobayashi Masaki (in six parts, 1959–61), was emblematic of Japanese antiwar literature after World War II. A recipient of the Kikuchi Kan Prize in 1978, he was also the author of such major works as Jiyū to no keiyaku (6 vols., Tokyo: San’ichi Shinsho, 1958–60) and Sensō to ningen (18 vols., Tokyo: San’ichi Shinsho, 1965–82). Yamamoto was to turn the latter into a three-part film (1970–73) to be discussed later in this essay. Gomikawa’s twenty-volume collected works, Gomikawa Junpei chosakushū, was published by Tokyo’s San’ichi Shobō in 1983–85. 64. Yamamoto, Watakushi no eiga jinsei, 245–46. 65. See Yamagata et al., Yamamoto Satsuo enshutsu no shūhen, 236–37. Along with Miyajima Yoshio’s cinematography and Yasumi Toshio’s screenplay, the film stars Kishi Hatae, Izu Hajime, and Ikebe Ryō. See also Gibbs, Film and Political Culture, 12. 66. See Yamamoto, Watakushi no eiga jinsei, 134. 67. For a useful description of successive waves of the Tōhō Labor Strikes, dissension among the directors and actors within the studio, and the role of the JCP in the affair, see Satō Tadao, Nihon eigashi II, 189–206. For another account, see Stuart Galbraith IV, The Toho Studios Story: A History and Complete Filmography (Lanham, MD: Scarecrow Press, 2008), x–xi. 68. Yamamoto, Watakushi no eiga jinsei, 131–32 (italics mine). 69. See Yamagata et al., Yamamoto Satsuo enshutsu no shūhen, 238–39. 70. Gibbs, Film and Political Culture, 17. 71. On the founding of the New Star Film Company after the commercial success of Town of Violence, see Itō Takerō’s reminiscences in Yamagata et al., Yamamoto Satsuo enshutsu no shūhen, 175–76. Shindō Kaneto (1912–2012) made such noteworthy films as Anjōke no butōkai (1947), Ojōsan kanpai (1949), Shukuzu (1953), Ashizuri-misaki (1954), the award-winning Hadaka no shima (1960), the visually haunting Onibaba (1964), Yabu no naka no kuroneko (1968), and Hadaka no jūkyūsai (1970). Yoshimura Kōzaburō (1911–2000), a prominent film artist from the prewar to the postwar decades, directed Danryū (1939), Waga shōgai no kagayakeru hi (1948), Mori no Ishimatsu (1949), Senba-zuru (1953), Osaka monogatari (1957), Kokoro no sanmyaku (1966), and Ranru no hata (1974). 72. With impressive performances by Kawarasaki Chōjūrō, Kishi Hatae, and Kawarasaki Shizue, the film has been described as an epochal work in the social school of Japanese postwar filmmaking. See also a commentary in Richie, Hundred Years of Japanese Film, 118–19. For a reflective critique of the film for its “immature” stance on realism and its tone of resignation over the plight of the struggling laborers, see Iwasaki Akira, Gendai Nihon no eiga: Sono shisō to fūzoku (Tokyo: Chūō Kōronsha, 1958), 158–60. 73. See one suggested reading of the film by Michael H. Gibbs as “a metaphor for the contemporary political situation” in his Film and Political Culture, 22. 74. Imai Tadashi’s Yamabiko gakkō, based on Muchaku Seikyō’s 1951 compilation of essays by forty-three of his secondary school students from Yamamoto Village in Yamagata Prefecture, was produced by Yagi Yasutarō Productions and supported by the Japan Teachers’ Union (Nihon Kyōshokuin Kumiai). It had a distinguished cast, including Kimura Isao (playing Muchaku), Okada Eiji, Takizawa Osamu, and Tōno Eijirō. Shindō Kaneto’s Genbaku no ko, based on the educator Osada Arata’s compilation Genbaku no ko: Hiroshima no shōnen shōjo no uttae, is often seen as the first postwar Japanese film to treat the theme of the atomic explosion and over the years has won wide international acclaim. Otowa Nobuko plays an atomic bomb survivor from Hiroshima and later an elementary school teacher. The cast also includes Uno Jūkichi, Takizawa Osamu, and Naraoka Tomoko. 75. Yamamoto, Watakushi no eiga jinsei, 157–58. 76. Donald Keene writes, “Noma’s purpose in writing the novel was, in his words, to analyze the responsibilities of the intellectual and the revolutionary; Kitani was intended to depict the Japanese people as a whole during the war.” Donald Keene, Dawn to the West: Japanese Literature in the Modern

Era—Fiction (New York: Henry Holt, 1984), 980. 77. Both Gotō and Satō’s comments were recorded in “NHK Gyakkyō o chikara ni.” 78. The Best Film award that year went to Kurosawa Akira’s Ikiru. 79. Yamamoto, Watakushi no eiga jinsei, 159. 80. Such sentiments emanated, according to Yamagata, from the humiliations Yamamoto had suffered during his time with the Japanese army and the resultant fury he experienced, an assessment corroborated, as we have seen, by his own reminiscences in his autobiography. As the screenwriter, Yamagata himself was driven by his reaction to the Occupation forces, which had resulted in his expulsion from Tōhō after the Tōhō Labor Strikes. See Yamagata’s comments on the film in Yamagata et al., Yamamoto Satsuo enshutsu no shūhen, 14–16. 81. Yamamoto, Watakushi no eiga jinsei, 162. Playing a violent-tempered army sergeant, the actor Nishimura Kō described how his famously vicious scene with Private Soda was staged at the end of the film as Kitani attempted to escape from the barracks. Nishimura’s reminiscences are recorded in the DVD version of The Vacuum Zone from the Dokuritsu Puro Meiga Tokusen Collection. Nozawa Kei, chief of compilation for the Asahi Shimbun Yearbooks, attributes the success of The Vacuum Zone to Yamamoto’s close adaptation of Noma’s novel and the brilliant acting of those in villainous roles, a reference presumably to Katō Yoshi and Nishimura, two talented actors who made multiple appearances in Yamamoto’s later films. See Bungei Shunjū, ed., Dai-ankēto ni yoru Nihon eiga besuto 150 (Tokyo: Bunshun Bunko, 1989), 185. According to a survey conducted on the best 150 Japanese films, The Vacuum Zone placed sixty seventh. Many of the players, originally from the shingeki theater, made their first appearance as film actors in this Yamamoto production. See Yamagata et al., Yamamoto Satsuo enshutsu no shūhen, 15. 82. Iwasaki Akira pointed out that, while the film succeeds in exposing the inhumanity within the Japanese army, it fails to generate the energy to channel the sense of weariness about the military and the war into an antimilitary and antiwar sentiment. Even Soda the humanist was incapable of any such action, and ended up as “an intellectual excessively obsessed with his self-consciousness.” Iwasaki, Gendai Nihon no eiga, 163–64. 83. Namiki Yasuhiko and Gomi Hiroshi, “Toppu battā no shimeikan Yamamoto Satsuo: Intabyū kantokuron 5,” Eiga Geijutsu 10:6 (1962): 62. 84. See, for example, Satō Tadao, Nihon eigashi II, 209–10. Satō also pointed out that independent films could only find screening outlets among second-rate cinemas specializing in foreign films, as it was the general practice for first-class cinemas to exclude the screening of local productions as a means of maintaining their special status and public image. 85. See the report on that agreement in Asahi Shimbun, September 5, 1953. Originally designed as a counteroffensive against Nikkatsu’s move to hire directors and actors, including Shōchiku’s Imamura Shōhei and Suzuki Seijun, away from the five other major competing studios, the initiative was spearheaded by Nagata Masaichi, Dai’ei’s powerful president. Nikkatsu itself chose to join the party in July 1957, and the agreement then came to be known as the “agreement between six companies, ” or rokusha kyōtei (Asahi Shimbun, July 18, 1957). This continued until 1961, when ShinTōhō’s bankruptcy reduced the number of studios to five again. The star monopoly system of the film studios continued until 1971 when Dai’ei collapsed. 86. One of the strategies Yamamoto undertook in the face of this setback was to collaborate with supporting actors from unaffiliated drama troupes, as he did with Haiyūza’s Nakadai Tatsuya and Ozawa Shōichi while making Floating Weeds Diary in 1955. It is important to point out that not all contracted actors abided by the agreement among the major companies; one notable example was Mikuni Rentarō, who in 1959 agreed to take the role of Moichi, the village cart-puller in Yamamoto’s Song of the CartPullers. The price Mikuni had to pay for his act of defiance was denial of his entry into the studio of his formally affiliated company. During this difficult period, Yamamoto’s sons reminisced that their mother was often forced to sell her kimonos at pawnshops. See “NHK Gyakkyō o chikara ni.” 87. Yamamoto, Watakushi no eiga jinsei, 164. 88. Available in DVD format through Kadokawa Entateinmento. The film received the Best Cinematography award at the Eighth Mainichi Film Competition. 89. Tokunaga wrote the story from his personal experience as one of the striking workers. For an

unsympathetic review of the novel, see Donald Keene, Dawn to the West: Japanese Literature in the Modern Era—Fiction, 612–16. Sekine Hiroshi paints an intriguing portrait of Tokunaga in his “Tokunaga Sunao ron: Jukuren ni tsuite” in Nihon bungaku kenkyū kankōkai (ed.) Nihon bungaku kenkyū shiryō sōsho: Puroretaria bungaku (Tokyo: Yūseidō, 1975), 33-44. For a detailed study of Tokunaga’s novel against the background of labor strikes, see Uranishi Kazuhiko, “Tokunaga Sunao Taiyō no nai machi to kyōdō insatsu sōgi”in his Nihon Puroretaria bungaku kenkyū (Tokyo: Ōfūsha, 1990), 43-75. 90. Beyond its main cast of some thirty actors, the total number of participants in the film numbered some fifty thousand, the largest ever among independent productions. See “Kaisetsu” in the Taiyō no nai machi booklet in the DVD package from Dokuritsu Puro Meiga Hozonkai, 2. For Kubo’s meticulous drawings for the reconstructed set, see 10–11. Among the crew were many accomplished technicians and artists, including Maeda Minoru, the cinematographer, and the noted film editor Kishi Fumiko, who had worked at the Manchurian Film Association (Man’ei) during the Second Sino-Japanese War and had remained in China for a time after the war ended. Among the sponsoring organizations were trade unions of printers and a group called the Alliance of Free Film Industry Workers (Jiyū eigajin rengōkai). 91. “Kaisetsu,” 6. 92. Aisureba koso was made in 1955, with Yoshimura, Imai, and Yamamoto each directing a story, namely, “Hana-uri musume,” “Tobikonda hanayome,” and “Aisureba koso,” respectively. 93. Yamamoto, Watakushi no eiga jinsei, 176. 94. Ibid., 194–95. 95. Ibid., 197–98. On the way the film was financed, see 189–93; and a related article in Asahi Shimbun, October 3, 1958. 96. Saishō dōkin literally means “sleeping with the wife and concubine on one bed.” 97. While it is never explicitly stated, the cause of death of the male head Moichi while toiling in a muddy paddy field with his wife by his side is suggestively linked to the effects of the atomic explosion. That particular sequence, graced with extraordinary acting by Mikuni, is one of the most unforgettable scenes I have seen in postwar Japanese cinema. 98. Mention must also be made of the impressive acting of Hidari Tokie, who played a younger Otoyo as a rebellious granddaughter and compassionate daughter with a heart of gold. The care with which the film attempts to create the authentic cultural zeitgeist of the time can be seen, for example, in the judicious incorporation into the narrative of early Shōwa popular songs such as Nakayama Shimpei’s “Gondora no uta” toward the end of the film. 99. Iwasaki Akira, “Niguruma no uta: Yamamoto Satsuo kantoku kenkyū,” collected in the booklet Niguruma no uta accompanying its DVD version produced by Dokuritsu Puro Meiga Tokusen. 100. Calling Song of the Cart-Pullers Yamamoto’s “best” work, Satō Tadao comments that its reconstruction of the lives of Japanese farmers in the past could no longer be accomplished today. Satō, “Dokuritsu-puro no jidai,” in Satchan Shōchan: Sengo minshuteki dokuritsu-puro fundōki, ed. Shin Nihon Eiga Sha (Tokyo, 2015), 8. “Satchan” and “Shōchan” refer to Yamamoto Satsuo and Imai Tadashi, respectively. 101. See Yamagata et al., Yamamoto Satsuo enshutsu no shūhen, 181–82. Miyako Tokuko, a longtime assistant to Yamamoto during this phase of his career, recalled not only financial difficulties but also an actors’ strike during filming, an action prompted by the fact that they hadn’t been paid (“NHK Gyakkyō o chikara ni”). 102. For Yamamoto’s thoughts on this transition, see Namiki and Gomi, “Toppu battā no shimeikan,” 62. 103. Nagata Masaichi (1906–85) was Dai’ei’s powerful president from 1947 to 1971. The great international acclaim bestowed on Kurosawa Akira’s 1950 Rashōmon, a Dai’ei film, marked a watershed in his career, even though it was widely acknowledged that Nagata had shown little interest in it—until the international recognition poured in. Three years later, in 1953, Nagata was instrumental in establishing the so-called five-studio agreement (gosha kyōtei), among Dai’ei, Shōchiku, Tōhō, Tōei, and Shin-Tōhō, in an attempt to monopolize talent and stifle competition. His autocratic management style and the exodus of big stars from Dai’ei, including Tamiya Jirō, Yamamoto Fujiko, and later Katsu Shintarō, led to the company’s bankruptcy in 1971. For a time, Nagata was also

known as a political fixer due to his links to such political figures as Kōno Ichirō and Kishi Nobusuke. 104. Nagata reportedly stated that as long as Yamamoto was able to make interesting films it didn’t matter “whether he was red or black.” Yamagata et al., Yamamoto Satsuo enshutsu no shūhen, 132–33. 105. Yamamoto, Watakushi no eiga jinsei, 212. 106. Ibid., 215. 107. Ibid., 222. 108. For Yamamoto’s opinion on the subject, see Namiki and Gomi, “Toppu battā no shimeikan, ” 63–64. Yamamoto comments, “Of course, it is necessary to have a genuine avant-garde. But I think that rather than having an impenetrable avant-garde, it is preferable to have intelligible films, even though they may be made through orthodox means. I thought of it as my mission. . . . What I am aspiring toward is a new form of realism; you may call it socialist realism” (65). 109. See Nagisa Oshima, Cinema, Censorship, and the State: The Writings of Nagisa Oshima, 1956–1978 (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 1992), 28. Ōshima did acknowledge that directors such as Kinoshita Keisuke and Imai Tadashi managed to “maintain a balance between innovation of form and content and audience receptiveness.” That said, films such as The Tower of Lilies, Twenty-Four Eyes, and Times of Joy and Sorrow “engendered not a single substantively new element” (28–29). 110. See Thomas R. H. Havens, Fire Across the Sea: The Vietnam War and Japan 1965–1975 (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1987), 175, and, ,1884061,00.html. 111. These two films are based on Gomikawa’s Ningen no jōken and the parts of Sensō to ningen that had been published by the early 1970s, respectively. The latter, in complete form, has a total of eighteen volumes. 112. For more on Yamamoto’s motivations and challenges in taking on this megaproject, first conceived as a five-part production, see chapter 8 of his autobiography. 113. In an attempt to further tighten thought control and prevent the spread of political radicalism, the Tanaka Giichi cabinet rounded up more than fifteen hundred Japanese communists and their supporters from all over the country. This was soon followed by the revision of the Peace Preservation Law (Chian Ijihō) in June of the same year, introducing the death penalty and life imprisonment for the most serious offenders. 114. Worthy of particular mention is Nakamura Kankurō, who movingly plays the young Godai Shunsuke, a role later assumed by Kitaōji Kinya. Tamba Tetsurō makes a brief appearance as the head of a Chinese bandit gang, even though, inexplicably, he understands Japanese quite well and can speak only barely comprehensible Mandarin, which should supposedly have been his mother tongue. 115. These include a Korean resistance fighter and his female comrade played by Chii Takeo and Kimura Natsue, respectively, and a Chinese communist counterpart played by Yamamoto Gaku. Kurihara Komaki appears as the daughter of a Chinese industrialist and a victim of rape by the boorish and self-aggrandizing Godai Eisuke (Takahashi Etsushi), the oldest son of the Godai family. On another note, Men and War is the only Japanese film I know of in which the national anthem of the People’s Republic of China, “Yiyongjun Jinxingqu” (March of the Volunteers), is sung repeatedly, with lyrics in subtitled Japanese. 116. Sino-Japanese diplomatic relations were not normalized until September 1972. Location shooting in Hokkaido, including places like Nakashibetsu-chō, did provide a degree of semblance to the topography of continental northeastern China, but the elaborate sets Nikkatsu built did not quite convey a genuine sense of place. For a related story, see “Hokkaido ni mita Manshū no zanzō: Sensō to ningen dai’ ichi kara san bu” in the Asahi Shimbun column “Eiga no tabibito,” September 3, 2014, and /ASG8G56MBG8GUCFI003.html 117. For example, a “Chinese” conversation in part 1 between the characters played by Mikuni Rentarō and Ōtaki Hideji, both very fine actors, regrettably approaches comical, if not outright ludicrous, proportions; it is impossible to understand their exchanges without the Japanese subtitles. Equally awkward is the scene near the beginning in part 1, in which Tamura Takahiro, playing the Japanese physician Fuwa Manabu, delivers his dialogue in what is supposedly Chinese.

118. Yamamoto, Watakushi no eiga jinsei, 249–50. 119. See Sawachi Hisae’s comments in “Bankan komogomo,” in Sensō to ningen, ed. Nikkatsu Kabushikigaisha (unspecified date, publisher, and place of publication [2005?]), 12. Sawachi had earlier worked as Gomikawa’s assistant before serving as an adviser on matters relating to historical authenticity (shiryō kōshō) for the first and second parts of Yamamoto’s film. Continuing her career as a socially engaged writer, Sawachi was among the more than five thousand Japanese citizens, filmmakers, and writers who protested in front of the Japanese Diet building on July 18, 2015, against Prime Minister Abe Shinzō’s attempt to push through unpopular security legislation in the Lower House. See “Abe seiji o yurusanai! Zenkoku de dōji-ni,” Shimbun Akahata, July 19, 2015. 120. Yamamoto, Watakushi no eiga jinsei, 247, 258–59. 121. See Gomikawa’s comments in “Gensakusha to shite,” Sensō to ningen, 57. See also Takeda Atsushi, the scriptwriter (with Yamada Nobuo) of parts 2 and 3, “Kyakuhon ni tsuite” in ibid., 19–21. 122. Shimegi’s “surrender” to the enemy earned him the titles “hikokumin” (one not worthy to be called a Japanese subject) and “kokuzoku” (roughly “a despicable traitor to the country”). The fact that the conclusion of his story remains untold in Men and War might be one reason why Yamamoto was so keen to put onscreen Nogami Yaeko’s novel Meiro, which treats the protagonist Sugano Shōzō’s attempt to escape to the Chinese revolutionary base in Yan’an after becoming a Japanese combatant on the Chinese continent. 123. Yamamoto himself described this film as one that “probes the underbelly of Japan’s financial world as it operated amid a whirlpool of money and conspiracy, along with the drama of bank mergers and its intertwining tentacles with Japanese politics.” Yamamoto, Watakushi no eiga jinsei, 259. 124. The introduction of Takasu Aiko (Kyō Machiko) to the audience at the beginning of the film through the words of her antagonist, Manpyō Teppei, spoken to none other than his own wife (Yamamoto Yōko) is staged with unmistakable awkwardness. Surely Aiko’s predatory exploits and questionable past already would have been notorious within the rest of the family without Teppei’s pretentiously staged presentation. 125. Mikuni Rentarō, as the self-serving and situationally corrupt Dietman Kamiya Naokichi, displays considerable acting versatility. The brief appearance of two top-level Diet politicians, Kuroo and particularly the verbally challenged Hirakawa, in the middle of the film also underscores Yamamoto’s intent to include jesterlike characters in this dark political tragedy. 126. They play, respectively, Chief Cabinet Secretary Hoshino Yasuo, Diet member Kamiya Naokichi, underworld financier Ishihara Sankichi, construction corporation executive Asakura Setsuzō, and the illfated political reporter Furugaki Jōtarō. 127. Other memorable performances are by the veteran Ōtaki Hideji as the foxy minister of law and Yamamoto Gaku as a beleaguered cabinet secretary. 128. For Yamasaki’s reflections on her own novel, her visit to Siberia, and her characterization of Iki Tadashi, the protagonist, see her Sakka no shimei Watashi no sengo: Yamasaki Toyoko jisaku o kataru I (Tokyo: Shinchōsha, 2009). 129. On Yamamoto’s striking productivity in the 1970s, Michael H. Gibbs notes, after comparing him with members of the Yonki no kai (Kurosawa Akira, Kinoshita Keisuke, Ichikawa Kon, and Kobayashi Masaki) and others, that “Yamamoto’s only rivals for title [sic] of most successful filmmaker in the 1970s would be from the cohort born in the early Shouwa years, Yamada Youji (1931–) and Fukasaku Kinji (1930–2003).” Gibbs, Film and Political Culture, 74. 130. See Yamagata et al., Yamamoto Satsuo enshutsu no shūhen, 318–19. 131. This subject will be discussed below. 132. In this connection, Yamamoto’s postwar reminiscences leave little doubt that the tragic death of Shigematsu, a wartime victim of Japanese fascism, continued to cast its shadow on his creative activities after the war. See Yamamoto, Watakushi no eiga jinsei, 68–69. 133. This statement is often found in writings by and on Yamamoto. First appearing, with slightly different wording, in Yamamoto’s “Eiga hyōgen ron” (vol. 1, Yamada Kazuo [supervising editor] Eigaron Kōza (Tokyo: Gōdō Shuppan, 1977), it was reiterated in the opening words of his Watakushi no eiga jinsei, (6) and “Eiga kantoku Yamamoto Satsuo” (3). For comments on this statement by

Yamamoto Shun, Satsuo’s son and a cinematographer in his own right for films such as Auto Town, see Yamagata et al., Yamamoto Satsuo enshutsu no shūhen, 119–20. 134. Godai Yūsuke is played with studied understatement and elegant poise by the veteran Takizawa Osamu. See Yūsuke’s brief character analysis in Sensō to ningen, 44. The head of the Godai zaibatsu is bemused by what he considers the naive political idealism of his younger son Shunsuke (Nakamura Kankurō) and is perfectly prepared to suppress any labor unrest in his company and to put “communists” in jail. 135. Senji gives the following advice to Honda: “A string stretched ever too tightly is the one most likely to break.” 136. Yamagata et al., Yamamoto Satsuo enshutsu no shūhen, 24. For Yamada’s reminiscences about the interesting personal dynamic between director and producer and how he collaborated with Yamamoto in coming up with their scenarios, see 26–32 and 34–36. 137. Ibid., 64. 138. Ibid., 79. See a similar interpretation by Yoshinaga Sayuri, an actress who appeared in the second part of the Men and War trilogy and in The August without the Emperor (164). Note also the comments of Yukisada Isao, a much younger filmmaker who has been influenced by Yamamoto’s narrative style, in “NHK Gyakkyō o chikara ni.” Among Yamamoto’s films that include songs are Streets without the Sun and One Splendid Family. 139. “Bird in a Cage” was composed circa 1922 by the Taishō street musician and singer Tottori Shunyō with lyrics by Chino Kaoru. 140. “NHK Gyakkyō o chikara ni.” 141. Apparently this was a reenactment of the writer Gomikawa Junpei’s own experience. See Sawachi, “Bankan komogomo,” 12; and Kurita Ikuko, “Gensakusha no katachi” in Sensō to ningen, 27–28. Kurita is Gomikawa Junpei’s daughter. Sawachi remembers the scene with Godai Shunsuke (Kitaōji Kinya), but in fact it is Shimegi Kōhei who performs the comforting act. 142. See also Yamamoto Kei’s reminiscences about this episode as recorded in Yamagata et al., Yamamoto Satsuo enshutsu no shūhen, 134. The tortured young man is described as a “proletarian writer,” but in the film he is identified as “a student named Shimazu.” 143. See Yamamoto Kei’s reminiscences and reflections in Yamagata et al., Yamamoto Satsuo enshutsu no shūhen, 138–39. Apparently, Yamamoto Kei and Yamamoto Satsuo (the former’s uncle) had very strong disagreements over the manner in which the scene should be staged and ultimately it was the latter who compromised. 144. Earlier in the film, Iki Naoko urges her father to become a trading company employee rather than joining the Defense Agency and, in a close-up shot, questions why Japan even needs an army after its new Constitution has stipulated that the country “forever abandons war.” At the time, she is not aware that the multinational trading company her father is about to join is already deeply involved in political and international intrigues over the Japanese government’s procurement of war planes. 145. These events included the massive anti-Anpo demonstrations (1959-60) and the Mishima Incident of 1970. Again the film features an elegant cast, including Mikuni Rentarō, Tamba Tetsurō, Takizawa Osamu, Watase Tsunehiko, Saburi Shin, and Yoshinaga Sayuri, with musical score by Satō Masaru. Even Okada Yoshiko and Atsumi Kiyoshi make brief appearances as passengers on the ill-fated train. 146. See Yamagata et al., Yamamoto Satsuo enshutsu no shūhen, 21. With regard to Yamamoto’s panoramic cinematic vision, Yamagata comments that, among film directors in the postwar movement of democratizing Japanese films, Yamamoto was the one who worked on “the most impressive scale.” He further suggests that Yamamoto’s ability to engage “the fundamental contradictions in contemporary Japan” in his sweeping works was unparalleled among Japanese film directors. 147. This was suggested in a conversation between Yamamoto and Kizaki Keiichirō on March 18, 1983, as reported in Kizaki’s essay “Shuzai o oete” in Yamagata et al., Yamamoto Satsuo enshutsu no shūhen, 205. 148. See ibid., 125, 204, for Yamamoto Shun’s and Miyako Tokuko’s reminiscences. 149. See Takeda Atsushi’s comments in “Eiga kantoku Yamamoto Satsuo seitan hyakunen,” 7. 150. Starring Ōtake Shinobu, Harada Mieko, Chii Takeo, and Mikuni Rentarō, the 1979 film portrays dire rural poverty and harsh working conditions among female workers at a silk-spinning mill in Japan in

the early 1900s. For details about the making of the film and its reception, see chapter 8. 151. The Tōhō Labor Strikes (Tōhō-sōgi) were a series of three major strikes by the Tōhō film studio’s unionized but divided employees from 1946 to 1948. They ended with the suppression of union labor through a show of overwhelming force, including some eighteen hundred armed police officers, tanks, and airplanes, as well as reinforcements from the US Occupation forces. The strikes and Yamamoto’s involvement in them are described in detail in chapter 6. 152. In the original Japanese, the last sentence reads “Konna otoko wa massatsu-shinakereba naranai! ” While demands for better working conditions, pay increases, and greater staff involvement in the filmmaking process were the major motivations behind the turmoil, neither the Tōhō Labor Strikes nor most of the more notable films produced during the same period could unequivocally be characterized as direct aftereffects strategized by the JCP. Among some of the most celebrated Japanese films produced in this period was Kurosawa Akira’s Waga seishun ni kui-nashi (1946) and Yoidore tenshi (1948), Kamei Fumio and Yamamoto Satsuo’s Sensō to heiwa (1947), Gosho Heinosuke’s Ima hitotabi no (1947), Kinugasa Teinosuke’s Joyū (1947), and Sekigawa Hideo’s Daini no jinsei (1948). It is true that Imai Tadashi, Yamamoto Satsuo, and Kamei Fumio joined the JCP during the second phase of the strikes, but, as Satō Tadao has importantly pointed out, most of those who supported the union movement were not communists and most of the significant films produced at the time could hardly be described as communist propaganda. For more details, see Satō Tadao, Nihon eigashi II, 205–6. 153. An allusion originating from the Chinese classic Shi Ji, the expression was first associated with the image of a wayfaring scholar carrying a wicker suitcase of books on his back in a quest for knowledge from afar. In Japan, it has also come to be associated with ascetics or itinerant monks in their pursuit of religious experience. 154. Izumi Kyōka (1873–1939) was a most accomplished modern Japanese novelist and short story writer whose famously embellished style, suspenseful narratives, and supernatural imagination created a rich corpus of romantic literature perhaps unparalleled in the country’s modern literary experience. Among his more acclaimed works are “Kōya hijiri” (1900), Onna keizu (1907), “Uta andon” (1910), and Usu kōbai (1937). For a study in English, see Charles Shiro Inouye, The Similitude of Blossoms: A Critical Biography of Izumi Kyōka, Japanese Novelist and Playwright (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1998). 155. The predecessor to Hokkaido Imperial University, established in 1918, Sapporo Agricultural College (Sapporo Nōgakkō) was given its name in 1876. The first vice-president of the college was William Smith Clark, the president of Massachusetts Agricultural College and an influential figure in higher education in Hokkaido despite having had only a brief teaching career in Sapporo. Among the college’s many accomplished students were the Christian thinker Uchimura Kanzō, the writer and educator Nitobe Inazō, and the botanist Miyabe Kingo. 156. Satsuma, from which the name Satsuo is derived (literally, “a man from Satsuma”), was the old name for the western part of present-day Kagoshima Prefecture. 157. Matsuyama is on the island of Shikoku. 158. The original text often refers to Kenkichi and Katsumi as “my oldest brother” and “my second-oldest brother.” Japanese diction makes this possible with no jarring effect. For the sake of convenience and clarity in this English translation, I have replaced such designations with the brothers’ real names. 159. A koku is a unit of measure equivalent to 5.119 US bushels. Here the number refers to the yield of rice in Matsuyama-han at the commencement of Matsudaira Sadayuki’s administration in 1635. 160. The number of katsudō benshi, or katsuben for short, peaked at around seven thousand in the 1920s when Yamamoto was a young boy in Matsuyama. Some of the more accomplished movie interpreters, such as Tokugawa Musei (1894–1971) and Ōtsuji Shirō (1899–1952), became quite famous with their own share of fans. Part of their appeal had to do with the way they enchanted their audiences with their imaginative style of storytelling and colorful improvisation. For a description of their narrative art, see Katō Shūichi, A Sheep’s Song: A Writer’s Reminiscences of Japan and the World (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1999), 82–83. For two studies in English, see Arthur Nolletti Jr. and David Desser, eds., Reframing Japanese Cinema: Authorship, Genre, History (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1992); and Hiroshi Komatsu and Charles Musser, “Benshi Search,” Wide Angle 9,

no. 2 (1987): 73–90. For a richly illustrated study in Japanese, see Misono KyЕЌhei, Katsuben jidai (Tokyo: Iwanami Shinsho, 1990). 161. The “Sei” in SeiichirЕЌ can alternatively be read as “Kiyo.” 162. For a collection of essays exploring Rakuten and its members, centered around Itami and Nakamura, see ChЕЌritsu Kuma Bijutsukan ed., Mansaku to Kusatao: Rakuten no kizuna. One of the best discussions of the philosophy of the White Birch School writers remains Honda ShЕ«go’s classic Shirakaba-ha no bungaku (Tokyo: ShinchЕЌ Bunko, 1972). See particularly the chapters entitled “Shirakaba-ha no bungaku” and “Shirakaba to jindЕЌshugi,” 37–154. Miyoshi Yukio has an illuminating essay entitled “Shirakaba-ha no seishun” in his Nihon bungaku no kindai to hankindai (Tokyo: Tokyo Daigaku Shuppansha, 1972), 185–203. 163. Under the able editorship of Suzuki Miekichi, Akai tori evolved into an ambitious and innovative art magazine for children, with endorsements from such prominent writers as Mori ЕЊgai, Shimazaki TЕЌson, and Akutagawa RyЕ«nosuke. Published from 1918 to 1936 in 196 volumes, it was a venue for some notable literary works of the period, including Akutagawa’s “Kumo no ito” and “To Shishun,” Arishima Takeo’s “Hitofusa no budЕЌ,” and Uno KЕЌji’s “Fuki no shita no kamisama.” For the magazine, famous poets such as Kitahara HakushЕ« and SaijЕЌ Yaso also wrote memorable lyrics to grace popular children’s songs. 164. After his graduation from Matsuyama Middle School, ItЕЌ Daisuke (1898–1981) entered ShЕЌchiku’s Actors’ Training School in 1920. He was the scriptwriter for Yama no senroban (1922) and Onna to kaizoku (1923) before becoming a film director in 1923. After joining the Nikkatsu studio in 1926, he acquired critical acclaim by making the three-part ChЕ«ji tabi nikki (1927). Producing such heroes as Kunisada ChЕ«ji and Tange Sazen, Itō’s jidaigeki actors included luminaries such as ЕЊkЕЌchi DenjirЕЌ, Yorozuya Kinnosuke, and Ichikawa RaizЕЌ. A career resurrection after the war produced such works as ЕЊshЕЌ (1948), Hangyakuji (1961), and Tokugawa Ieyasu (1965). For a discussion of his techniques, see Donald Richie, A Hundred Years of Japanese Film, 69–71. 165. Osanai Kaoru (1881–1928) was a playwright, theater director, and novelist who played a pivotal role in the development of modern theater in Japan. He began to stage Western European plays through the establishment of the Free Theatre (JiyЕ« gekijЕЌ) in 1909. A 1912 meeting with K. S. Stanislavsky and studies at the Moscow Art Theater were significant events in his professional life. After staging the works of Ibsen, Chekhov, and Gorky, he served as the director of ShЕЌchiku’s Actors’ Training School in 1920 before launching the Tsukiji Little Theatre in 1924 with Hijikata Yoshi. Among the film directors he helped nurture was ItЕЌ Daisuke, the former Rakuten member. For a study of Osanai in English, see Gioia Ottaviani, “вЂDifferences’ and вЂReflexivity’: Osanai Kaoru and the Shingeki Movement, ” Asian Theatre Journal 11:2 (Autumn 1994): 213–30. 166. The Shinjuku Musashino-kan opened in June 1920 with six hundred seats. It moved to Shinjuku 3chЕЌme in 1928 with a new seating capacity of fifteen hundred, showing western films. It began screening talkies from May 1929. 167. Released through United Artists in 1925 and sometimes thought of as the first American independent film, the sixty-five-minute silent film stars George A. Arthur and Georgia Hale and counted among its fans Charlie Chaplin and Mary Pickford. Its foreword is as follows: “There are important fragments of life that have been avoided by the motion picture because Thought is concerned and not the Body. A thought can create and destroy nations—and it is all the more powerful because it is born of suffering, lives in silence, and dies when it has done its work. Our aim has been to photograph a thought—A thought that guides humans who crawl close to the earth—whose lives are simple—who begin nowhere and end nowhere.” 168. JЕ«jiro is a 1928 silent film directed by Kinugasa and starring Chihaya Akiko and BandЕЌ Hisanosuke. See William O. Gardner, “New Perceptions: Kinugasa Teinosuke’s Films and Japanese Modernism,” Cinema Journal 43:3 (Spring 2004): 59–78. 169. A graduate of Tokyo Imperial University and later a professor at Waseda University, Funaki Shigenobu (1893–1975) was a specialist on Heine and Goethe. 170. Shimada Seijirō’s (1899–1930) very popular and unfinished novel, written in four parts from 1919 to 1922, depicts the rebellions and grandiose ambitions of a poor young man, often seen as the author’s surrogate. Set against the background of Japan’s post–World War I period, it earned

the endorsement of such prominent critics as Hasegawa Nyozekan, Ikuta Chōkō, and Sakai Toshihiko and generated much support from the younger generation. The first part of the novel was made into a 1957 Dai’ei film, directed by Yoshimura Kōzaburō with screenplay by Shindō Kaneto and Kawaguchi Hiroshi in the leading role. Shimada’s scandalous love affair with Funaki Yoshie was the basis of a 1926 Shōchiku film, Josei no tawamure, directed by Ikeda Yoshinobu. 171. Sergei Mikhailovich Tretyakov’s (1892–1937) Roar China!, a drama directed by Vsevolod Meyerhold in seven scenes, was written in 1930 and inspired by a 1926 incident in which British gunboats bombarded and devastated the town of Wanxian in Sichuan Province, causing about a thousand Chinese casualties and the destruction of a large number of structures and homes. The British action led to massive demonstrations all over China. 172. Miyoshi Jūrō (1902–58) was a poet, playwright, and socialist activist who formed the Left-Wing Writers League (Sayoku Sakka Dōmei) in 1928 with Tsuboi Shigeji and Takami Jun. Among his more famous works are Kubi o kiru no wa dare da? (1928) and Honō no hito (1951). 173. Ichikawa Sadanji II (1880–1940) was an innovative kabuki actor who worked with Osanai Kaoru to establish the Free Theatre, and became an important voice in the shingeki movement. 174. The inspiration for Gas Masks, a new representation of postrevolutionary labor, came from a Pravda article describing the collective endeavor on the part of gas workers from the Ural region to repair a defective main gas pipe without the protection of gas masks. For a study of the play, see Donna Oliver, “Theatre without the Theatre: Proletkult at the Gas Factory,” Canadian Slavonic Papers/Revue Canadienne des Slavistes 36:3–4 (September–December 1994): 303–16. For Sergei Eisenstein’s dramatic production of the play in 1924, see James Goodwin, Eisenstein, Cinema, and History (Urbana and Chicago: University of Illinois Press, 1993), 29-30. 175. Friedrich Wolf (1888–1953) was a German physician and writer. Murayama Tomoyoshi (1901–77) was a noted dramatist, novelist, and stage director. His ideological affinity with communism led to the founding of such troupes as Zen’eiza, Zen’ei Gekijō, and Tokyo Sayoku Gekijō and to the production of such noted works as Bōryokudanki (1929), a play famously directed by Sano Seki and which the critic Kurahara Korehito praised as one “on the pinnacle of contemporary Japanese proletarian drama.” He also staged other important plays, incoluding Tōyō sharyō kōjō (1930), and Taiyō no nai machi (1930). After his ideological conversion in prison in 1933, he published his wellknown novel Byakuya (1934), regarded as a major work in the body of early Shōwa “conversion literature” (tenkō bungaku). In the same year, he turned Shimazaki Tōson’s historical novel Yoake-mae into a memorable play. He continued to be very active in his postwar career, publishing such works as Shinda umi (1952) and helping to establish the art troupe Tokyo Geijutsu-za in 1959, for which he served as stage director. For a study of Murayama’s art in English, see Gennifer Weisenfeld, MAVO: Japanese Artists and the Avant-Garde, 1905–1931 (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2002). 176. Kubo Sakae (1901–58) was a student of Osanai Kaoru and an assistant to Hijikata Yoshi. From 1934 to 1940, he was a major advocate of socialist realism in the arena of proletarian drama, producing his best-remembered work Kazanbaichi (1937–38) along with such other plays as Chūgoku Konanshō (1932) and Goryōkaku kessho (1933). His postwar works include Ringoen nikki (1947) and Nihon no kishō (1953). Memorably, he also served as the stage director for Shimazaki Tōson’s Yoake-mae. For an English translation of and introduction to his most critically acclaimed play, see Kubo Sakae, Land of Volcanic Ash: A Play in Two Parts, trans. David G. Goodman, rev. ed., East Asian Papers, no. 40 (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University, 1993). For a bibliographical study on Kubo, see Horii Ken’ichi, “Kubo Sake,”Kokubungaku: Kaishaku to kyōzai no kenkyū 18, no. 16 (December 1973), 167-68. 177. A hanamichi, or “flower pathway,” in kabuki theater is an elevated passageway connecting the rear of the theater to the main stage. First used in 1668 and standardized as hon-hanamichi in 1740, it allows actors to approach the audience to receive flowers after a performance. It also helps to dramatize famous actors entering or exiting the stage, thereby creating a more dynamic interaction between the performers and the spectators than is otherwise possible. 178. Uno Jūkichi (1914–88), later a leading shingeki actor, founded the important theatrical troupe Gekidan Mingei with Takizawa Osamu in 1950 before continuing his distinguished career as a prominent character actor on stage, screen, and television. He appeared in Kubo Sakae’s play Kazanbaichi in 1938 and in a number of Yamamoto Satsuo’s signature postwar films, including The Matsukawa Incident

(Matsukawa jiken, 1961), and, perhaps most memorably, as the shrewd behind-the-scenes political blackmailer Ishihara Sankichi in the dark political drama Annular Eclipse (Kinkanshoku, 1975). His son is the actor and singer Terao Akira (1947–). 179. Shin KinzЕЌ (1910–88) was an actor whose career extended from the 1930s to the mid-1980s in both film and television. 180. Hisaita EijirЕЌ (1898–1976) participated in prewar proletarian drama production with such works as Chichi (1928), Kyonen to kotoshi (1928), and DansЕЌ (1935), culminating in his most acclaimed work, HokutЕЌ no kaze (1937), a nuanced study of the management dilemmas facing the president of a textile company. It was performed memorably by Takizawa Osamu at the Tsukiji Little Theatre under the direction of Sugimoto RyЕЌkichi. After the war, Hisaita continued with his work as a playwright, writing the screenplay for Kurosawa Akira’s Waga seishun ni kui nashi (1946). 181. Sugimoto RyЕЌkichi (1907–39) was an actor, stage director, theorist of proletarian drama, and secretary of the JCP in 1931. In 1932 persecution by the police was followed by a failed attempt to escape to the Soviet Union. He was arrested in 1933. His famous 1938 border crossing into the Soviet Union through Karafuto with the actress Okada Yoshiko is the subject of Hirasawa Yoshihiro’s book EkkyЕЌ: Okada Yoshiko, Sugimoto RyЕЌkichi no dasubitДЃniya (Sapporo: Hokkaido Shimbunsha, 2000). 182. Hijikata Yoshi (1898–1959) was a a onetime count and student of Osanai Kaoru, with whom he founded the Tsukiji Little Theatre following his return from studies in Berlin in 1924. Under him, the theater managed to stage over a hundred plays in the next five years while nurturing a generation of talented artists in the profession. To escape prosecution in Japan, he went first to France and then to the Soviet Union, an action that caused him to be stripped of his aristocratic title by an embarrassed Japanese government. Arrested on his return from Moscow in 1941 and given a five-year prison sentence, he was released after Japan’s defeat and continued making extraordinary contributions to the shingeki movement. 183. The life and writings of Kobayashi Takiji (1903–33) epitomized the political struggles, imaginative vision, literary triumphs and limitations, and ultimate political defeat of prewar Japan’s left-wing literary movement. He spent his formative years in Otaru, Hokkaido, which supplied the inspiration for some of his most acclaimed works. He was particularly well known for his 1929 Kani kЕЌsen (staged by Hijikata Yoshi at the Shin Tsukiji Gekidan the same year), Fuzai jinushi (1929), “KЕЌjЕЌ saibō” (1930), and “TЕЌseikatsusha” (1932). He joined the JCP in 1931 and worked underground in 1932 before he fell into a police trap and was brutally tortured to death by Tokyo’s Special Higher Police at the Tsukiji Police Station in February 1933 at the age of thirty. The return of economic hardships and unemployment to the young in Japan around 2008 led to a dramatic resurrection of Kani kЕЌsen as a fivehundred-thousand-copy bestseller and its cinematic adaptation in 2009. For a recent assessment, see Norma Field, Kobayashi Takiji: NijЕ«isseki ni dЕЌ yomu ka (Tokyo: Iwanami Shinsho, 2009). For a translation of Kobayashi’s major works, see ЕЅeljko CipriЕЎ, вЂThe Crab Cannery Ship’ and Other Novels of Struggle (Honolulu: University of Hawai’i Press, 2013). 184. Taniguchi Senkichi (1912–2007) was a film director and husband of the actress Yachigusa Kaoru. One of his more acclaimed postwar films was Akatsuki no dassЕЌ, starring Ikebe RyЕЌ and Yamaguchi Yoshiko, sometimes seen as one of the first antiwar films produced in postwar Japan. Shikanai Nobutaka (1911–90) was an industrialist and chairman of the Fuji Sankei Communications Group, said to be the largest media company in Japan. 185. Made in 1929, Victor Turin’s renowned Turksib records the construction of a railway line connecting Turkestan to Siberia. See K. J. Coldicutt, “Turksib: Building a Railroad,” in The Documentary Tradition, ed. Lewis Jacobs (New York: W. W. Norton, 1979). 186. Originally titled Staroye i novoye and often known as The General Line in Europe, Eisenstein’s 1929 silent film, his last, depicts the collectivization of the Soviet countryside. According to Yamamoto, the Japanese translation of the film’s title is Atarashikimono to furukimono. 187. The Man I Killed, was directed by Ernst Lubitsch in 1932 and later known as Broken Lullaby. 188. Wellman directed both Wild Boys on the Road and Heroes for Sale in 1933. 189. Presumably, Yamamoto was referring to Eiga kantoku to eiga kyakuhonron, trans. Sasaki Norio (Tokyo: ЕЊraisha, 1930). For an English version, see Vsevolod Illarianovich Pudovkin, Selected Essays (London: Seagull Books, 2006).

190. Hayashi Fusao (1903–75), a onetime student of law at Tokyo Imperial University, joined the Shinjinkai and formed the Marukusushugi geijutsu kenkyūkai, both progressive student organizations with pronounced Marxist leanings. He launched the influential literary journal Bungakukai in 1933 with Kobayashi Hideo, Kawabata Yasunari, and others. His status as a newly risen proletarian writer was transformed by an “ideological conversion” (tenkō) and his declaration to abandon writing proletarian literature in 1936. His experiences during four separate imprisonment terms were articulated in Romanshugisha no techō (1935) and Gokuchūki (1940), while “Tenkō ni tsuite” (1941) revealed his political leanings toward Japan’s national polity and wartime nationalism. Purged after Japan’s defeat for his wartime collaboration, he published his most controversial postwar work Dai Tōa sensō kōteiron (1964), which viewed the “Greater East Asia War” as “the tragic but heroic finale” of Japan’s century-long battle against western imperialism. For his novel Seinen, see Yasunaga Taketo, Senjika no sakka to sakuhin (Tokyo: Miraisha, 1983), 80–119. For a critique of Hayashi’s “romanticism,” see Shimizu Shōzō, “Hayashi Fusao,” Kokubungaku: Kaishaku to kanshō 36, no. 13 (1971), 107–10. 191. Totsuka is the northern Shinjuku district where Waseda University is situated. 192. Formed in February 1929, Prokino, also known as Nihon Puroretaria Eiga Dōmei and the Japana Prolet–Kino Unio in Esperanto, made documentaries on May Day activities, films on Japan’s labor movement, and works of animation. In 1930–31, it published a journal called Puroretaria Eiga, which became a victim of official suppression. Under Prokino’s influence, even some commercial films of the time displayed a certain left-leaning “tendency” (from the German tendenz film, later called keikō eiga). These included Suzuki Shigekichi’s well-known Nani ga kanojo o sō saseta ka (1930), based on Fujimori Seikichi’s 1927 play, and works by Itō Daisuke and Uchida Tomu. With its chief members including the noted film critic Iwasaki Akira, the documentary filmmaker Atsugi Taka, and directors Sasa Genjū and Kimura Sotoji, Prokino was heavily suppressed by the Japanese authorities until its collapse in 1934. See Makino Mamoru, “Rethinking the Emergence of the Proletarian Film League of Japan (Prokino),” in In Praise of Film Studies: Essays in Honor of Makino Mamoru, ed. Aaron Gerow and Abé Mark Nornes (Victoria, BC: Kinema Club, 2001); and Abé Mark Nornes, Japanese Documentary Film: The Meiji Era through Hiroshima (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2003). See also Makino Mamaru and Aaron Gerow’s interview with Komori Shizuo and Notō Setsuo, two former members of Prokino, on September 8, 1994, at–2.html. In the same interview, Komori described Yamamoto Satsuo and Imai Tadashi as “associates” of Prokino. 193. Initially created as prewar Japan’s powerful thought-control instrument in 1911 in the aftermath of the Great Treason Affair, the Special Higher Unit (Tokubestu kōtō-ka) established offices in every prefecture after 1928 before it was renamed in 1932 the Special Higher Police Department (Tokubetsu kōtō keisatsu-bu) under the direct administration of the Ministry of Internal Affairs. Armed with stringent stipulations under the Peace Preservation Law of 1925, its major targets before the mid-1930s were communists, socialists, left-wing sympathizers of various kinds, and Korean residents in Japan. From then on, the Special Higher Police expanded its scope to include thought control over religious activities, supervision of foreigners in Japan, and counterintelligence. The system was dismantled under orders of the General Headquarters (GHQ) in October 1945. 194. An artists’ association formed in 1922 by such distinguished painters as Kosugi Hōan, Adachi Gen’ichirō, Umehara Ryūzaburō, Kishida Ryūsei, and Kimura Shōhachi, Shunyōkai organized its first open exhibition in May 1923. It has continued to sponsor shows every spring to this day. 195. On March 15, 1928, Japanese authorities under the Tanaka Gi’ichi administration rounded up more than 1,500 communists and their sympathizers in the aftermath of the first general election of the Diet’s Lower House on February 20. A total of 483 people were subsequently prosecuted. This was followed in June by the revision of Japan’s Peace Preservation Law, allowing the death penalty or life imprisonment for the most serious offenders. 196. Naruse Mikio (1905–69), one of the most renowned modern Japanese film directors, produced nearly ninety films in his long career from the 1930s to 1967. He is best remembered for his memorable portraits of modern Japanese women, often interpreted by such leading actresses as Takamine Hideko, Hara Setsuko, and Tanaka Kinuyo, and for his thematic affinities with and stylistic differences from Ozu Yasujirō. For a study in English, see Catherine Russell, The Cinema of Naruse Mikio: Women and

Japanese Modernity (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2008). 197. Published from July 1919 to the present, except for a wartime interruption from 1940 to 1946, the authoritative film magazine Kinema Junpō (or Kinejun for short) initially concerned itself with foreign films before enlarging its critical range to cover domestic productions as well. Its annual Ten Best lists for foreign and Japanese films have received considerable media and public attention. A Kinema Junpō Readers’ Award has been given since 1974 to the most popular film of the year. 198. On Kobayashi Takiji, see chapter 2, note 15. 199. Photo Chemical Laboratories Co., Ltd., or PCL, was established in Tokyo in 1929 by Masutani Rin and Uemura Yasuji as a research center for photo imaging and recording equipment for talkies before its amalgamation with three other enterprises to form Tōhō Film Studio in September 1937. 200. Gosho Heinosuke (1902–81) joined Shōchiku in 1923 and worked as the assistant director for Shimazu Yasujirō before making such silent films as Sabishiki ranbōsha (1927), Karakuri-musume (1927), and Mura no hanayome (1928). Influenced by Lubitsch, Chaplin, and haiku prosody, his Madamu to nyōbō (1931), known as “Japan’s first talkie,” represented the shomin-geki genre for which he was famously known. Izu no odoriko (1933), based on Kawabata Yasunari’s story, was followed by a series of adaptations of literary works, including Shiina Rinzō’s Entotsu no mieru basho (1953), for which he won the Peace Award at the Berlin International Film Festival. 201. Yasuji’s father was Chōzaburō (1862–1941). Sapporo Breweries is Japan’s oldest beer-making company. 202. Wife, Be Like a Rose, said to have been the first Japanese film released in the United States, depicts the relationship between a daughter and her wayward father and the latter’s relationship with his current and former wives. 203. In 1929 Mishima Masao (1906–73) joined Shin Tsukiji Gekidan and Shinkyō Gekidan, both heavily influenced by left-wing ideology. After the collapse of Shinkyō Gekidan in 1940 due to government suppression, Mishima was sent to prison. Later, in 1956, he was exclusively affiliated with the Haiyūza. He appeared in many movies from around 1935 to 1971 and was well known for his supporting roles in such films as Kobayashi Masaki’s memorable Seppuku (1962) and Jōi-uchi (1967). He also notably appeared in Yamamoto’s The Town of Violence (1950) and The Vacuum Zone (1952). 204. Naruse and Chiba were married in 1937 and divorced in 1940. 205. From its humble origins as Idemitsu Shōkai, founded in 1911 in northern Kyushu, the company entered the lucrative Manchurian market in 1914, taking advantage of the demand for lubricant oil by the South Manchurian Railroad Company (Mantetsu) before expanding into Korea and Taiwan. The postwar years witnessed many more international ventures and diversification. Idemitsu Kōsan Kabushikigaisha, the second-largest petroleum refiner in Japan today and a multinational company operating in Portugal, Puerto Rico, and more recently Vietnam, was ranked twenty-sixth in petroleum refining in the world in 2008. 206. Only three of Yamanaka Sadao’s (1909–38) twenty-six films survive today, and only fragments of the others remain. Questions remain as to the integrity of the three surviving works in their current form due partly to censorship, including that of the General Headquarters (GHQ) after the war. Ninjō kamifūsen (1937), his best-known film, suggests a refreshing and humanistic interpretation of conventional jidaigeki, while his Tange Sazen yowa: Hyakumanryō no tsubo (1935), with Ōkōchi Denjirō in the leading role, gives the legendary one-eyed, one-armed swordsman rarely seen qualities in broad human terms. For a discussion of his films, see Chiba Nobuo, Hyōden Yamanaka Sadao: Wakaki kantoku no shōzō (Tokyo: Heibonsha Raiburari, 1999); and Richie, A Hundred Years of Japanese Film, 71–77. 207. The list of actresses Naruse worked with during his distinguished career included, most prominently, Takamine Hideko, Tanaka Kinuyo, Hara Setsuko, Sugimura Haruko, Yamada Isuzu, Okada Mariko, and, in the postwar period, Kogure Michiyo, Tsukasa Yōko, Arima Ineko, Dan Reiko, and Awaji Keiko. 208. The Japan Proletarian Cultural Alliance (Federacio de Proletaj Kultur-Organizoj Japanaj or Nihon Puroretaria Bunka Ren’mei) was a broad-based organization of revolutionary writers and artists created in 1931 in response to a call from the literary theorist Kurahara Korehito (1902–91). Besides Murayama, among those arrested following the great roundup in 1932 were such writers as Nakano Shigeharu, Kubokawa Tsurujirō, Nakajō Yuriko, Tsuboi Shigeji, and Yamada Seizaburō. 209. Murayama’s important 1934 novel Byakuya offers tantalizing possibilities for an allegorical

reading of the personal failings and baseness of Murayama himself as an ideological apostate (tenkЕЌsha) by way of a story about a failed marriage between an egotistical husband and his wife, whose true love was a man said to be modeled after Kurahara Korehito, who did not recant his ideological beliefs while in prison. See Donald Keene, Dawn to the West: Japanese literature in the Modern Era-Fiction, 879–80 and 1236-1237. 210. A quiet man, Naruse was famously—or notoriously—reticent in offering acting instructions or theoretical elaborations. The screenwriter Mizuki YЕЌko, who collaborated with Naruse on many important works, including Yama no oto (1954) and Ukigumo (1955), recalled, “Naruse always refused to discuss, or even mention, meaning or theory. Sometimes I would say, вЂThe theme should—’ and he would gently but firmly cut me off by saying: вЂIt will come out by itself.’” Nakadai Tatsuya, who appeared in Naruse’s Onna ga kaidan o noboru toki (1960), reportedly remarked that “he had never in his entire career suffered such frustration” (quoted in Richie, A Hundred Years of Japanese Film, 128–29). Takamine Hideko, who appeared in many of Naruse’s classics, at one point described him as “a completely unresponsive director” who never gave her any acting instructions (quoted in “Naruse, Mikio,” Wikipedia, 211. Yoshiya Nobuko (1896–1973) is sometimes characterized as modern Japan’s early practitioner of “lesbian literature” for having authored such works as Hana monogatari (1916–26) and Yaneura no nishЕЌjo (1920), but that particular characterization underplays her considerable versatility and thematic range, as her other works, including Onna no yЕ«jЕЌ (1933–34), Tokugawa no fujintachi (1966), and its sequel (1967–68), demonstrate. As a commercial writer, she was especially known for her enormously popular novel Otto no teisЕЌ (1936–37), which treats the question of male “chastity” in marriage (illustrated strikingly by teisЕЌ in the title) and the complications arising from a failed relationship. “Onibi” (1952), a short story that reminds some critics of the style of Izumi KyЕЌka, takes the form of home drama while depicting a postwar tragedy. Those last two works were adapted for the screen by Yamamoto KajirЕЌ (1937) and Chiba Yasuki (1956), respectively. For a study of Yoshiya in English, see Michiko Suzuki, “Writing Same-Sex Love: Sexology and Literary Representation in Yoshiya Nobuko’s Early Fiction,” Journal of Asian Studies 65:3 (August 2006): 575–99. 212. This is a reference to Natsume SЕЌseki’s well-known 1906 story about the experiences of a young Tokyo man teaching in a rural middle school in Matsuyama, incidentally also the place where Yamamoto spent his younger days. The film stars Kiritachi Noboru as the main character, Kikuko, and includes a brief appearance by Takamine Hideko. 213. Mimura Akira (1901–85), also known as Harry Mimura, studied in New York in 1925 and became the first Japanese to work as an assistant cinematographer in Hollywood. He shot some sixty films, including Edmund Goulding’s Trespasser (1929) and Howard Hughes’s Hell’s Angels (1930). Returning to Japan as PCL’s cameraman before joining TЕЌhЕЌ, Mimura was responsible for filming works as stylistically diverse as Yamanaka Sadao’s NinjЕЌ kamifЕ«sen, Kurosawa Akira’s Sugata SanshirЕЌ, Fushimizu Osamu’s Shina no yoru, and Taniguchi Senkichi’s Akatsuki no dassЕЌ. In 1946 he was a member of a US film team that captured images of the atomic destruction in Hiroshima. That footage was screened in public in Japan in the 1970s. 214. Tachibana YЕ«ten (1932–2010) served as an assistant director for Imai Tadashi and Yamamoto Satsuo before working in independent productions such as Dobugawa gakkyЕ« (1972) on the rehabilitation of juvenile delinquents; Tokyo DaikЕ«shЕ«: Garasu no usagi (1979); and Ningen o kaese (1982)—all award-winning and internationally acclaimed works. Among his noted documentaries are Ikari no Miyakejima (1987), on the aborted American attempt to move field carrier landing practice (FCLP) from its military base in Atsugi to Izu’s Miyakejima Island in the 1980s, and Sumii Sue: Hyakusai no ningen sengen (2002), on the memorable writer of Hashi no nai kawa (1961–73). He was also the coscenarist of Toki o ute: Takiji (2005), the first documentary on the life of the proletarian writer Kobayashi Takiji. A member of the JCP, Tachibana is especially remembered for his antiwar and socially engaged films. 215. Based on Olive Higgins Prouty’s 1923 novel, directed by King Vidor, and with Barbara Stanwyck in the leading role, Stella Dallas (1937) depicts the vicissitudes of a working-class woman married into high society and her subsequent self-sacrifice for the sake of her beloved daughter. Prior to this production, the first adaptation of Stella Dallas onscreen was directed by Henry King in 1925, with Belle Bennett as Stella. 216. Popular from the mid-Meiji period on, the shinpa-geki sprang from the so-called shosei-geki, or

“university student plays,” of the politically charged popular rights movement. Increasingly it included in its repertoire such works as Tokutomi Roka’s Hototogisu and Ozaki KЕЌyō’s Konjiki yasha before introducing the works of playwrights such as Mayama Seika and Seto Eiichi after the turn of the century. The genre was heavily influenced by kabuki conventions with transplanted elements from western theatrical traditions. 217. The original expression is “shinjЕЌ chЕЌsa,” a darkly comic phrase describing such an exercise. 218. In the popular imagination, the three great melodramas in Japanese film were Aizen-katsura (1938–39), a love story about a widowed nurse and a physician; Kimi no na wa (1953–54), a longrunning romance starring Sada Keiji and Kishi Keiko; and Yamamoto’s Mother’s Song (1937). 219. The film follows the relationship between a primary school principal (Takada Minoru) in Hokkaido and a blind woman named YЕЌko (Hara Setsuko), whose desire to see the world is inspired by her experience with Beethoven’s Pastoral Symphony. See Yamagata et al., Yamamoto Satsuo enshutsu no shЕ«hen, 216–17. 220. Horiguchi Daigaku (1892–1981) was a prominent symbolic poet and translator known for the introduction of French surrealism into Japan and his prolific translations of French literature, including the works of Paul Verlaine, Jean Cocteau, Paul Morand, Thomas Mann, and Marie Laurencin. Among his noted works are GekkЕЌ to Piero (1919), Suna no makura (1926), and Ningen no uta (1947). 221. Kon Hidemi (1903–84) was a novelist, essayist, critic, and translator of Gide’s La Symphonie pastorale (1919). Among his more memorable works are SanchЕ« hЕЌrЕЌ (1949), which documented his war experiences in the Philippines; Miki Kiyoshi ni okeru ningen no kenkyЕ« (1950); and Mayou hito to mayoenu hito (1963). 222. Miyajima Yoshio’s camera techniques were noted by the critics, but the film itself was described as “mediocre.” See Yamagata et al., Yamamoto Satsuo enshutsu no shЕ«hen, 216. 223. Sekigawa Hideo (1908–77) was the award-winning film director of Hiroshima (1953), TetsudЕЌ ni ikiru (1951), and Toranbetto shЕЌnen (1955). He is also known for politically engaged films such as Nihon senbotsu gakusei no shuki kike: Wadatsumi no koe (1950), on the Japanese invasion of the northeastern Indian city of Imphal in early 1944; and Bakuon to daichi, on the popular struggle, known as the Sunagawa Incident, against the expansion of the US military base in Tachikawa in 1955–57. His Hiroshima was chosen for screening at an international conference, “Wounds, Scars, and Healing: Civil Society and Postwar Pacific Basin Reconciliation” (September 30–October 2, 2015) held at the University of Sydney, Australia, to mark the seventieth anniversary of the end of World War II. 224. Hakamada Satomi (1904–90) was a social activist and longtime cadre of the JCP before his expulsion in 1977. After studying in the Soviet Union, Hakamada worked with Miyamoto Kenji in 1927 to rebuild the JCP before his arrest under the Peace Preservation Law and imprisonment at Sakai Prison. After his election as a Central Committee member of the JCP in 1933, he was rearrested, but he did not undergo ideological conversion in prison. Released in 1945 along with other communists, he served in the political Politburo of the JCP before becoming vice committee chair of the party in 1970. A subsequent split with Miyamoto Kenji and his defiance of party rules led to his expulsion from the JCP. 225. In the 1933 so-called Red Lynch Incident (Akairo rinchi jiken, also known as the JCP Spy Interrogation Incident [Nihon KyЕЌsantЕЌ supai samon jiken]), two members of the JCP’s Central Committee were interrogated under suspicion of being spies sent by the Special Higher Police to infiltrate the party. Allegedly lynched by members of the JCP, Obata Tatsuo died and ЕЊizumi KenzЕЌ suffered injuries, even though the JCP denied having perpetrated any acts of violence against the two. Miyamoto Kenji and Hakamada Satomi were given a life sentence and a fifteen-year prison term, respectively. Both were released in October 1945 after Japan’s defeat. 226. Postwar Japanese scholarship has apparently not produced any more definitive answers as to the cause or causes of Shigematsu’s suicide at the age of thirty-five. See Masuyama Tasuke, Sengoki sayoku jinshi gunzЕЌ (Tokyo: Tsuge ShobЕЌ Shinsha, 2000). For a brief article on Shigematsu that touches on questions surrounding his death but offers no definitive clarification, see Kamiyama AtsurЕЌ, “Hi no dama bЕЌi: Shigematsu Tsurunosuke,” in Seitan hyakunen: Shigematsu Tsurunosuke yomoda no sЕЌzЕЌryoku Itami Mansaku Nakamura Kusatao ItЕЌ Daisuke вЂRakuten’ no nakama-tachi (KumachЕЌ, Kamiukena-gun, Ehime: ChЕЌritsu Kuma Bijutsukan, 2003), 16–24 especially 22. See also

“Hana-henro ni detekuru Shigematsu Tsurunosuke to wa,” Akahata, February 23, 2005. On May 3, 1981, the NHK network aired a program in its Nichiyō Bijutsukan series called “Watakushi to Shigematsu Tsurunosuke,” with Yamamoto Satsuo taking part. Today a number of Shigematsu’s paintings, including his self-portrait as a nineteen-year-old youth, are held at the Kuma Museum of Art in Ehime Prefecture. 227. The film was finished in 1938, the same year as The Pastoral Symphony. 228. Tange Sazen first appeared as a fictional swordsman in Hayashi Fubō’s serialized novel Shinpan Ōoka seidan (1927–28) and was a popular character in chanbara (sword-battling films) from 1928 until well into the postwar period. The easily identifiable one-eyed, one-armed master swordsman was famously played by Ōkōchi Denjirō (as in Yamanaka Sadao’s Tange Sazen yowa: Hyakumanryō no tsubo, 1935) and Arashi Kanjūrō before the war, and with varying dramatic effectiveness in postwar jidaigeki by a diverse range of actors, including Mizushima Michitarō, Ōtomo Ryūtarō, Tamba Tetsurō, and Nakamura Kinnosuke. 229. Chiba Shūsaku (1793–1856), a prominent Edo period swordsman who established the Hokushinittōryū fencing school, was the chief instructor of the Chiba dōjō, one of the three most renowned fencing drill halls of the Bakumatsu period. Among his disciples were such noted swordsmen as Yamaoka Tesshū, later a Meiji politician, and Yamanami Keisuke, later a prominent leader in the Shinsen-gumi, the “newly-chosen squad” serving the Tokugawa Bakufu. 230. Watanabe Kunio (1899–1981) was a a director known for the extraordinary speed with which he worked; he made twelve films in 1956 alone. Among his well-known works are Byakuran no uta (1939), the first of the so-called continental trilogy, which paired Li Xianglan (also known as Yamaguchi Yoshiko) and Hasegawa Kazuo; Meiji tennō to Nichi-Ro daisensō (1957); and Chūshingura (1958). 231. The Eiga-hō was passed in 1939 against the background of escalating war on the continent and the perceived need for stricter implementation of collectivist policies at home. Under the new regulations, films made for public entertainment were restricted in favor of those reflecting national policy (kokusaku). More stringent control over production mechanisms and tougher censorship of screenplays were implemented, along with greater restrictions on the screening of foreign films. The laws were annulled in December 1945. 232. Kamei Fumio (1908–87), one of the most important modern Japanese documentary filmmakers, famously ruffled the feathers of the Japanese military with his 1939 Tatakau heitai, perceived not so much as an unqualified glorification of Japanese military campaigns in China as a representation of war weariness among Japanese combatants. Shortly after the war, Kamei codirected Sensō to heiwa (1947) with Yamamoto Satsuo before making Onna no isshō (1949), Ikiteite yokkata (1956), and Sekai wa kyōfu suru (1957). In the following pages, Yamamoto tells the story of this association. For a study of Kamei in English, see Nornes, Japanese Documentary Film. 233. The “new earth” in the title was a reference to Manchuria, where, in Itami’s version, the heroine eventually migrates. Cultural differences between Itami and Fanck led to the production of two separate versions of the film. The German version, under the name Die Töchter der Samurai, turned out to be the one in popular circulation, even though some critics have noted that its scenes of Hanshin streetcars and the Itsukushima Shrine are set squarely in the middle of Tokyo. 234. Shimoda, on the Izu Peninsula, was one of the earliest Japanese ports opened to foreign trade in 1854. 235. Furukawa Roppa (1903–61), who in 1933 formed the comedy troupe “Warai no tengoku” with Tokugawa Musei, rivaled Enomoto Ken’ichi in his popularity with early Shōwa’s urban audiences. Reputed to be the “king of comedy in Marunouchi,” his career reached its peak toward the end of World War II. 236. Xinjing (Shinkyō in Japanese and the present-day city of Changchun) was the capital of the puppet state of Manchukuo established by the Japanese in northeastern China in 1932. The Man’ei studio refers to the filmmaking facilities built by the Manchurian Film Association (Manshū Eiga Kyōkai). Partly inspired by the powerful state-run filmmaking apparatus in Nazi Germany, the Soviet Union, and Italy, Man’ei was created in Xinjing in August 1937 with the backing of the Kwantung Army, Japan’s garrison force in Manchuria, and units of Manchukuo’s police force. The most comprehensive study on Man’ei and its history remains Hu Chang and Gu Quan, Manying: Guoce dianying mianmian’guan (Beijing: Zhonghua Shuju, 1990), published in the series Dongbei lunxian shisi’nian shi. A Japanese translation with annotations is usefully provided by Yokochi Takeshi and

Aida Fusako, trans., Man’ei: Kokusaku eiga no shosō (Tokyo: Pandora 1999). See also Chia-ning Chang, “Yamaguchi Yoshiko in Wartime East Asia: Transnational Stardom and Its Predicaments,” in Yamaguchi Yoshiko and Fujiwara Sakuya, Fragrant Orchid: The Story of My Early Life (Honolulu: University of Hawai’i Press, 2015), especially xxv–xxvii. 237. The brutal murder of the well-known anarchist Ōsugi, his wife, and his nephew has conventionally been attributed to Amakasu Masahiko at the time of the Great Kantō Earthquake of 1923. For a study of Amakasu that revises and complicates this belief, as well as his behind-the-scenes exploits in Manchuria, see Tsunoda Fusako, Amakasu Taii, rev. ed. (Tokyo: Chikuma Bunko, 2007), with commentary by Fujiwara Sakuya. A more recent study is Sano Shin’ichi, Amakasu Masahiko: Ranshin no kōya (Tokyo: Shinchōsha, 2008), the winner of the thirty-first Kōdansha Nonfiction Prize in 2009. See also Kajima Shigeru’s review of Sano’s work in the Mainichi Shimbun, Tokyo Morning ed., July 13, 2008. 238. For a description and appraisal of the film, see High, Imperial Screen, 376–81. The cast includes Irie Takako, Tsukita Ichirō, and Oka Jōji. See also Yamagata et al., Yamamoto Satsuo enshutsu no shūhen, 232–33. 239. Established in the city of Yahata (now part of Kitakyūshū in Fukuoka Prefecture) for the production of steel from primarily Chinese or Korean iron ore to supply the country’s need for heavy industry, the Yawata Steel Works reportedly produced about 80 percent of Japan’s pig iron and accounted for 80 to 90 percent of its steel production in 1912. 240. Muhōmatsu no isshō, a popular story about the exploits and the secret love of a rickshaw man named Matsugorō, was made into a 1943 film by Itagaki Hiroshi with Bandō Tsumasaburō in the starring role. Tōhō did a remake of the film in 1958 with a cast consisting of Mifune Toshirō and Takamine Hideko. Matsugorō’s role was played by actors Mikuni Rentarō and Katsu Shintarō in the early 1960s. 241. I follow Peter B. High’s translation of Neppū as Searing Wind in Imperial Screen, 414. The cast includes Fujita Susumu, Numazaki Isao, Sugai Ichirō, and Hara Setsuko. For a description of the story, see 414–16. See also Yamagata et al., Yamamoto Satsuo enshutsu no shūhen, 234–35. 242. On Uno Jūkichi, see chapter 2, note 10. 243. “Vacuum zone” is a reference to a prominent Noma Hiroshi novel of 1952 depicting the extraordinary inhumanity of life in a Japanese army barracks, insulated as it was from society at large. Yamamoto would adapt the novel into one of his best-known films in the same year. 244. Jinan is the provincial capital of Shandong. 245. Tamura Taijirō (1911–83) is best known as the writer of Nikutai no mon (1947), a story about young prostitutes struggling to live amid the turmoil of postwar Tokyo. Along with his other work, such as Nikutai no akuma (1946), a love story about a Chinese Communist intellectual and a Japanese army officer, it brought Tamura popular success as a so-called writer of the flesh. His other major works include Shunpuden (1947), Senjō no kao (1958), and Inago (1965). 246. On Amakasu and the Manchurian Film Association, see chapter 4, note 26. 247. See chapter 4, note 27. 248. According to Yamaguchi Yoshiko’s autobiography, Ri Kōran: Watashi no hansei (Tokyo: Shinchō Bunko, 1989), 306, Amakasu took potassium cyanide in his office when the Soviet army entered the capital of Japan’s puppet state of Manchukuo in the early morning of August 20, 1945. See also Yamaguchi and Fujiwara, Fragrant Orchid, 201–3. 249. The Longmen Grottoes (Longmen Shiku), an area containing some fourteen hundred caves, are situated twelve kilometers south of Luoyang. There tens of thousands of Buddhist statues, many originally painted, were carved into limestone mostly during the Northern Wei and Tang dynasties. Containing one of the most important and impressive collections of Chinese Buddhist sculptures, it is now a United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) World Heritage Site. 250. Presumably this was composed of patriotic Chinese songs. 251. As is well known throughout China, the peony is the flower of Luoyang City, which is also well known for its peony festival, held from mid-April to mid-May every year. 252. This is a revised version of the original quote in Chinese, but it makes more sense in the original language. 253. LST is short for “Landing Ship, Tank.”

254. Known for his significant role in the creation of Shōchiku’s prewar shomin-geki, Shimazu Yasujirō (1897–1945) actively collaborated with the Manchurian Film Association after he moved to Tōhō. His productions in this connection included an elaborate but largely forgotten musical, Watashi no uguisu (1943), starring Yamaguchi Yoshiko and Russian opera singers, a version of which was discovered in Osaka in 1984. His other well-known films include Okoto to Sasuke (1935), Asakusa no hi (1937), Okayo no kakugo (1939), Ani to sono imōto (1939), and Totsugu hi made (1940). 255. Situated in the northern part of the Kōfu basin, Kōfu City is the site of the prefectural government of Yamanashi. 256. Tachikawa is a city in western metropolitan Tokyo roughly forty kilometers from the Tokyo city center. After World War II, military installations in the city were taken over by the US Air Force. The base was returned to Japan in 1977. 257. Short for Zen Nihon Sangyō-betsu Rōdō Kumiai Kaigi, the organization was formed in 1946 to champion the cause of postwar Japanese labor and militant strikes. It suffered from internal dissension shortly after its formation, a tendency encouraged by the American occupation forces. It saw a drastic reduction of membership from 290,000 in 1950 to 47,000 in 1951 and 13,000 in 1953 before its selfdissolution in 1958. 258. Itō Takerō (1910–2001), a Tōhō producer in 1942–48 and the first committee chairman of Nichieien, led the Tōhō Labor Strikes of 1946–48. In April 1946, when the labor upheavals began, Nichieien had more than ten thousand members. Itō was the producer of the Yamamoto-Kamei film Sensō to heiwa (1947); Yamamoto’s Ningen no kabe (1959), Buki-naki tatakai (1960), Matsukawa jiken (1961), Kinkanshoku (1975), and Ā Nomugi Tōge (1979); and Imai Tadashi’s Dokkoi ikiteru (1951), Himeyuri no tō (1953), and Kobayashi Takiji (1974). See Mikuni Ichirō, ed., Gunkan dake konakatta Tōhō sōgi, Shōwa shi tanbō V (Tokyo: Banchō Shobō, 1975). 259. Ten is the usual figure given for the number of stars that formed the Hata no kai: Ōkōchi Denjirō, Hasegawa Kazuo, Irie Takako, Yamada Isuzu, Fujita Susumu, Kurokawa Yatarō, Hara Setsuko, Takamine Hideko, Yamane Hisako, and Hanai Ranko. Shin-Tōhō was established in March 1947 with such wellknown stars and more than a hundred people dissociated from Tōhō’s labor union. 260. Numazaki Isao worked with Yamamoto on his wartime film Neppū, playing the role of Kikuchi Tatsuo. He later starred in Naruse Mikio’s Yotsu no koi no monogatari daini wa and Kurosawa Akira’s Subarashiki nichiyōbi, both in 1947, before becoming active in independent films, including Yamamoto’s Konna onna ni dare ga shita (1949) and a number of Kamei Fumio’s productions such as Haha nareba onna nareba (1952). 261. Kinugasa Teinosuke (1896–1982) began his career as an onnagata before making the internationally acclaimed silent film Kurutta ippēji (1926) about a human drama unfolding inside an asylum (a sound version was released in 1982), as well as other well-known films such as Jūjiro (1928), Chūshingura (1932), and Jigokumon (1953). Kinugasa was also noted for his collaborations with Hasegawa Kazuo and Yamamoto Fujiko. 262. The title Ima hitotabi no was inspired by one of Izumi Shikibu’s famous love poems, collected in Hyakunin isshu in the early thirteenth century. 263. Yasumi Toshio (1903–91) was a graduate in Russian literature from Waseda University who joined PCL in 1936 before becoming one of the better-known scenarists in postwar Japan. His works include Higuchi Ichiyō (1939), Mata au hi made (1950), Minshū no teki (1947), and Onna no isshō, along with his famous adaptations of a number of canonical works of modern Japanese literature, including Shiga Naoya’s An’ya kōro, Arishima Takeo’s Aru onna, Kawabata Yasunari’s Yukiguni, and Oda Sakunosuke’s Meoto zenzai. He was also well-known as a translator of Russian literature. 264. The reference is to Yasukichi, played by Ikebe Ryō. 265. The first Yoshida Shigeru cabinet refused labor’s demands to improve working conditions and wage increases in December 1946. This was followed by the founding of Zen’tō (Joint Struggle Committee of National Labor Unions) on January 15, 1947, an event that marked an apex of Japan’s postwar labor movement amid heightened hopes of a general strike by an expected four million workers from thirty labor unions. Meanwhile. the Japanese socialist and communist parties attempted to topple the Yoshida cabinet and establish a democratic people’s government. At this juncture, MacArthur intervened, claiming that the strike would be contrary to the aims of the Occupation. Reportedly in tears, the

labor leader Ii Yashiro asked that the strike be aborted in a radio broadcast aired on January 31, 1947. 266. Watanabe Tetsuzō had served as a member of the Diet’s Lower House and was known for his anticommunist fervor. 267. The title Kumo wa tensai de aru came from a 1906 story by the late Meiji poet, essayist, critic, and short story writer Ishikawa Takuboku (1886–1912) about a rebellious elementary school teacher and his battles with his conservative colleagues in a desolate village in the Tōhoku region. 268. The workers were from Tokyo’s Kinuta Studio. 269. It was estimated that there were twenty-five hundred people barricaded inside the studio. Among them were prominent directors, including Kamei Fumio, Yamamoto Satsuo, Imai Tadashi, Gosho Heinosuke, and Kusuda Kiyoshi; producers, including Iwasaki Akira and Itō Takerō; the screenwriter Yamagata Yūsaku; the cameraman Miyajima Yoshio, who was to gain considerable international acclaim beginning from the 1950s; and “new faces” such as Wakayama Setsuko, Kuga Yoshiko, and Nakakita Chieko. 270. On Sekigawa Hideo, see chapter 4, note 13. 271. At around ten-thirty in the morning on the same day, it was reported that Kamei Fumio had appeared before police officers at the front gate with a written declaration reading, “Justice will not be trampled underfoot by violence!” (Seigi wa bōryoku ni yotte wa fuminijirarenai!) The decision to evacuate the Kinuta Studio was apparently dictated by the union’s realization of the futility of further resistance in the face of overwhelming odds. 272. Kobayashi Ichizō (1873–1957), a powerful Kansai financier and entrepreneur, was the founder of the Hankyū-Tōhō Group, whose business interests included the Hankyū Railroad, the Hankyū baseball team, and the Takarazuka Revue. After serving as minister of trade and commerce in the second Konoe Fumimaro cabinet in 1940–41, he was a member in the House of Peers from 1941 to 1946, national affairs minister in the Shidehara Kijūrō cabinet in 1945–46, and the first president of the Council for Rehabilitation from War Disaster in 1945–46. He was later purged due to his wartime exploits, but the order was lifted in 1951, resulting in his return to Tōhō as president. 273. The book Pen itsuwarazu Honjō jiken was published by Kajinsha in 1949. Yamamoto’s film Bōryoku no machi was released in February 1950. Urawa is a major city in southeastern Saitama Prefecture about thirty kilometers from Tokyo. 274. Pen itsuwarazu (The Pen Does Not Lie) was part of the film’s formal title. 275. Appearing in the film were Shimura Takashi, Hara Yasumi, Ikebe Ryō, Uno Jūkichi, Funakoshi Eiji, Mishima Masao, Sanjō Miki, and Kishi Hatae. The screenplay was by Yagi Yasutarō and Yamagata Yūsaku. Assembled from companies and theater groups that included Tōhō Engisha Shūdan, Dai’ei, Shōchiku, Daiichi Kyōdan, Shinkyō Gekidan, and Haiyūza, the wide-ranging cast was said to have been unprecedented. The film was ranked number eight among the Kinema Junpō’s Ten Best Films of the Year. 276. Yukawa Hideki (1907–81) was a theoretical physicist and professor at Kyoto University who won the 1949 Nobel Prize in Physics, the first Japanese Nobel laureate. 277. For Maruyama Seiji’s own interpretation of these events, see Yamagata et al., Yamamoto Satsuo enshutsu no shūhen, 45–47. 278. A dotera is a cotton-padded kimono worn in the winter. 279. The prosecutor, called Togami in the film, was played by the stage actor Takizawa Osamu (1906–2000) from Shinkyō Gekidan. Among his notable postwar roles were Aoyama Hanzō in Yoake mae, based on Shimazaki Tōson’s famous historical epic; Vincent van Gogh in Honō no hito; Willy Loman in Death of a Salesman; and the cannibalistic soldier Yasuda in Ichikawa Kon’s Nobi, adapted from Ōoka Shōhei’s celebrated novel about Japanese aggression in the Philippines during World War II. Takizawa also memorably appeared in Yamamoto’s later films, including Shiroi kyotō (1966) playing a prominent medical school professor involved in the treacherous game of academic politics, as well as Sensō to ningen (1970–73), as the head of the Godai zaibatsu in one of the most tumultuous periods in modern Japanese history. 280. Shindō Kaneto (1912–2012) made such noteworthy films as Anjōke no butōkai (1947), Ojōsan kanpai (1949), Shukuzu (1953), Ashizuri-misaki (1954), the award-winning Hadaka no shima (1960), and the visually haunting Onibaba (1964), Yabu no naka no kuroneko (1968), and Hadaka no jūkyūsai (1970). Yoshimura Kōzaburō (1911–2000), a prominent film artist whose career spanned

the prewar and postwar decades, directed Danryū (1939), Waga shōgai no kagayakeru hi (1948), Mori no Ishimatsu (1949), Senba-zuru (1953), Osaka monogatari (1957), Kokoro no sanmyaku (1966) and Ranru no hata (1974). 281. First established by Kawarazaki Chōjūrō and Nakamura Kan’emon as an innovative kabuki troupe in 1931 in opposition to Shōchiku’s monopoly, the Zenshin-za began making films from the late 1930s, producing such memorable works as Yamanaka Sadao’s classic Ninjō kamifūsen (1937). In 1949 all the troupe members joined the JCP. In 1982, in commemoration of its fiftieth year, the Zenzhinza Theatre was established in Tokyo’s Kichijōji area. The troupe was subsequently led by the actor Nakamura Umenosuke IV (1930–2016), the son of its founder, Kan’emon, who most impressively appeared in Yamamoto’s 1952 Rising Storm over Hakone. An interview with Umenosuke about Zenshin-za’s involvement in the making of Rising Storm over Hakone can be found in the film’s DVD version in the Dokuritsu Puro collection. 282. Such campaigns were referred to in Japanese as kampa, from the Russian word kampanya. 283. Iwasaki Akira (1903–81), an influential left-wing film critic and producer whose career spanned the establishment of the Proletarian Film League of Japan (Prokino), the tumultuous years of intellectual and artistic suppression under the notorious Peace Preservation Law and Film Law, and the confusion of the postwar Occupation era. Arrested in 1940, he subsequently found work at the Tokyo office of the Manchurian Film Association, producing such ill-fated films as Watashi no uguisu, with Li Xianglan (Yamaguchi Yoshiko) in the leading role. His postwar activities included the production of the noted documentaries The Effects of the Atomic Bomb on Hiroshima and Nagasaki and Kamei Fumio’s A Japanese Tragedy. An indefatigable writer and translator, he penned such works as Eiga geijutsushi (1930), Eiga to shihonshugi (1931), Nihon no eiga (1948), Sekai eigashi (1950), Eiga no riron (1956), Gendai Nihon no eiga (1958), and Nihon eiga shishi (1977). Kobayashi Masako (1924–2008) served as an elementary school teacher toward the end of the war before becoming involved in the teachers’ union movement and Tokyo city politics. She was elected to the Lower House of the Diet in 1969 and reelected as many as five times. Her service with the government lasted until 1983. 284. According to Donald Richie, the film, shot in the working-class area around Tokyo’s Ueno Station, was inspired by Vittorio De Sica’s Bicycle Thieves (1948). See Richie, Hundred Years of Japanese Film, 118–19. Starring Kawarazaki Chōjūrō, Nakamura Kan’emon, Kimura Isao, and Kishi Hatae, the film depicts the struggles and hopes of a day laborer’s family and placed fifth in Kinema Junpō’s Ten Best Films of the Year. 285. The election resulted in the formation of the third Yoshida Shigeru cabinet in mid-February 1949. 286. The Shimoyama Incident of July 6, 1949, revolved around the mysterious death of the president of Japan’s National Railway, Shimoyama Sadanori, followed by speculations of suicide and murder in the aftermath of massive employee layoffs ordered by the GHQ. The Mitaka Incident of July 15, 1949, resulted in six deaths and injuries to some twenty victims as the result of a runaway train accident at Mitaka Station on the Chūō Line. Ten members of the national railway workers union were first suspected as conspirators, although they were acquitted at subsequent trials when another worker was identified as the culprit. In the Matsukawa Incident of August 17, 1949, a train traveling from Aomori to Ueno on the Tōhoku Trunk Line derailed and overturned between Matsukawa and Kanayagawa stations, causing the deaths of three railroad workers. Again communist involvement was suspected. Subsequent trials and the discovery of new evidence, along with the extraordinary engagement of the novelist Hirotsu Kazuo (1891–1968) in defense of the accused, finally ended in the acquittal of all in August 1961. See Hirotsu Kazuo’s Matsukawa saiban, vol. 10, Hirotsu Kazuo zenshū, 13 vols. (Tokyo: Chūō Kōronsha, 1973–74); and a commentary by the tanka poet Shida Ryūzō on Hirotsu’s work in Meiji Taishō Shōwa no meicho sōkaisetsu (Tokyo: Jiyū Kokuminsha, 1978), 242–44. On some of the incidents mentioned in this note, see also Matsumoto Seichō’s well-known work Nihon no kuroi kiri, vol. 30, Matsumoto Seichō zenshū, 56 vols. (Tokyo: Bungei Shunjū, 1971–84). 287. Against the background of escalating Cold War tensions and the founding of the People’s Republic of China on October 1, 1949, General Douglas MacArthur ordered Prime Minister Yoshida Shigeru, on the eve of the Korean War in June 1950, to expel twenty-four members of the Central Committee of the JCP from public office and to abort the publication of Akahata, the party’s organ. In an attempt to purge communists and communist sympathizers from public office and private business,

expulsion orders were given in the following months to newspapers, public media firms, and both government and private enterprises. By the end of the year, some ten thousand workers had been removed from their positions. See Yong Wook Lee, “The Origin of One Party Domination: America’s Reverse Course and the Emergence of the Liberal Democratic Party in Japan,” Journal of East Asian Affairs 18, no. 2 (2004): 371–413. 288. This was based on a true story about the work of the Asakusa townsman Tomono Yoemon, who accomplished this unprecedented feat in 1670 during the rule of Tokugawa Ietsuna by successfully channeling water from Hakone to Fukaramura Village in Suruganokuni in the central part of present-day Shizuoka Prefecture. The film’s cast includes Kawarazaki Chōjūrō and Yamada Isuzu. 289. Based on Muchaku Seikyō’s 1951 compilation of essays by forty-three of his secondary school students from Yamamoto Village in Yamagata Prefecture, Imai Tadashi’s Yamabiko gakkō was produced by Yagi Yasutarō Productions and supported by the Japan Teachers’ Union (Nihon Kyōshokuin Kumiai). It had a distinguished cast, including Kimura Isao (playing Muchaku), Okada Eiji, Takizawa Osamu, and Tōno Eijirō. Shindō Kaneto’s Genbaku no ko, based on the educator Osada Arata’s compilation Genbaku no ko: Hiroshima no shōnen shōjo no uttae, is often seen as the first postwar Japanese film to treat the atomic bomb explosion and over the years has won wide international acclaim. Otowa Nobuko plays an atomic bomb survivor from Hiroshima who later becomes an elementary school teacher. The cast also includes Uno Jūkichi, Takizawa Osamu, and Naraoka Tomoko. 290. Private First Class Kitani, played by Kimura Isao, was incarcerated for two years on the alleged charge. The versatile Katō Yoshi played Lieutenant Hayashi, while Shimomoto Tsutomu gave an extraordinary performance as the intellectual Soda. Produced by Saga Zenbei and Iwasaki Akira, with music by Dan Ikuma, the film placed sixth on Kinema Junpō’s Ten Best Films of the Year list in 1952 and took second place in the Third Blue Ribbon Awards. 291. Noma Hiroshi (1915–91) joined the Thirty-Seventh Regiment of the Osaka Infantry in 1941 before he was sent to the Philippines. Court-martialed in 1943 for infringement of the Peace Preservation Law, Noma was incarcerated for six months at the Osaka army jail. The protagonist First Private Kitani, however, does not appear to have been closely based on autobiographical experiences. A brief study of Noma’s novel in English is provided in Donald Keene, Dawn to the West: Japanese Literature in the Modern Era—Fiction, 980–81. For more comprehensive studies of Noma in Japanese, see Watanabe Hiroshi, Noma Hiroshi ron (Tokyo: Shinbisha, 1969); and Yakushiji Masaaki, Noma Hiroshi kenkyū (Tokyo: Kasama Shoin, 1977). 292. Nishimura Kō (1923–97) was a shingeki actor active in Tokyo Geijutsu-za and Gekidan Mingei before establishing his fame playing largely villainous roles in both period and contemporary dramas. Memorably, he reappeared in a Yamamoto Satsuo classic, Annular Eclipse (Kinkanshoku, 1975), portraying a corrupt construction company executive who colludes with the chief cabinet secretary of the ruling political party, played by Nakadai Tatsuya. In the last part of Men and War (1973), he plays a husband who takes considerable pleasure in tormenting his wife, who is in love with another man. To the audience of Japan’s popular television drama series in the 1980s, Nishimura was particularly remembered for his title role as Mito Kōmon, the popular name for Mito Mitsukuni, earning him the nickname “Cityboy Kōmon” due to his relatively youthful demeanor compared to that of his predecessors, such as Tōno Eijirō. 293. Yamada Yōji (1931–) has been a distinguished and prolific film artist since 1961 and is currently one of the most representative Japanese filmmakers. Particularly known for his very popular Otoko wa tsurai yo series from the late 1960s to the mid-1990s, he is also well remembered for earlier works such as Shita machi no taiyō (1963) along with Shiawase no kiiroi hankachi (1977), the internationally acclaimed Tasogare Seibei (2002), and Kakushiken oni no tsume (2004). More recent works include Bushi no ichibun (2006) and Chiisai ouchi (2014). 294. Based on a story by Takagi Toshiko, Gurasu no usagi (1979) depicts the misery of the Great Tokyo Air Raid on March 10, 1945, through the eyes of a twelve-year-old girl. Ningen o kaese (1982) is a documentary about the victims of the atomic bomb. On Tachibana Yūten, also see chapter 4, note #4. 295. This sort of café or a similar secret hideout was called an ajito (agitation point) in Japanese, an oldfashioned word that in some sense epitomizes the political zeitgeist of the time. 296. As noted earlier, “Give back my humanity” (Ningen o kaese) was also the name of one of

Tachibana Yūten’s most celebrated films. For Tachibana’s reminiscences about the same scene, see Yamagata et al., Yamamoto Satsuo enshutsu no shūhen, 70. 297. Kojima Yoshifumi subsequently worked as Yamamoto’s assistant director on the major work Sensō to ningen. Katagiri Naoki later served as the assistant director on Kumai Kei’s ambitious film Kurobe no taiyō (1968) and director of the documentary Sensō o shinai kuni Nihon (2006). 298. The 1956 film, which marked Uno’s debut as a film director, was based on a series of Kanbayashi Akatsuki’s very impressive and critically acclaimed “sick-wife stories” (byōsai mono), which culminated in “Sei Yohane-byōin nite” (1946) about a struggling novelist and his relationship with his ailing wife, the publication of which predated her death by just one month. Uno’s film starred Tanaka Kinuyo and Shin Kinzō. 299. On Shindō’s film Children of Hiroshima, see this chapter, note #10. 300. At the Karlovy Vary International Film Festival in 1954, the Crystal Globe for Outstanding Artistic Contribution to World Cinema was awarded to Salt of the Earth by Herbert J. Biberman, of the United States, and True Friends (Verye druz’ya) by Mikhail Kalatozov of the Soviet Union. Ieki Miyoji’s Ibo kyōdai, based on a Tamiya Torahiko story about brutal domestic life in a military family, won the same prize four years later, in 1958, the only Japanese film to have been so honored in the festival’s history. 301. Okada Yoshiko (1902–92) was a leading actress in the silent film era, from the late Taishō to the early Shōwa period, starring in Sharekōbe no mai (1923), Machi no tejinashi (1925), Daichi wa hohoemu (1925), and Kare o meguru gonin no onna (1927). Her career suffered with the advent of the talkies, even though she appeared in Ozu Yasujirō’s Mata au hi made and Tokyo no onna. She was well known for her many love affairs, especially one with the left-wing director Sugimoto Ryōkichi, with whom she attempted an escape into the Soviet Union in January 1938. Accused of being Japanese spies, she and Sugimoto were tried in Moscow in 1939, which led to Sugimoto’s execution in the same year and her incarceration in Soviet prisons until the end of 1947. She joined the Moscow broadcasting bureau after the war as an announcer. She returned to Japan in 1972, where she stayed for the next fourteen years and appeared onstage, in a few television dramas, and in a number of films, including Yamamoto’s 1978 Kōtei no inai hachigatsu as a hijacked train passenger. She returned to the Soviet Union in 1986 and died there at the age of eighty-nine. Kawasaki Tamotsu was an actor who appeared in Yamamoto’s Pen itsuwarazu: Bōryoku no machi and Sekigawa Hideo’s Nihon senbotsu gakusei no shuki kike: Wadatsumi no koe, both in 1950. 302. Battleship Potemkin (1925), directed by Sergei Eisenstein and often regarded as one of the greatest films ever made, needs no further introduction. Mother, based on Maxim Gorky’s 1906 novel and directed by Vsevolod Pudovkin in 1926, focuses on the struggles of Pavel Vlasov’s mother in the Russian revolutionary tumult of 1905, which resulted in both her and her son’s death by tsarist forces. 303. Kayo, played by Katsura Michiko in her impressive debut role, is the younger daughter of a struggling family who joins the labor strike. 304. Yuliya Ippolitovna Solntseva (1901–89), a silent film actress, was herself a renowned director of fourteen films, having worked with her husband Aleksandr Dovzhenko, on productions such as the 1949 Michurin. She was recognized as Best Director at the 1961 Cannes Film Festival with Chronicle of Flaming Years, a story of Russian resistance against the Nazis in 1941, and her 1968 The Enchanted Desna won the Special Jury Prize at the San Sebastián International Film Festival. She was also awarded the title People’s Artist of the USSR at the age of eighty. 305. Divided into three parts, Aisureba koso was made in 1955, with Yoshimura, Imai, and Yamamoto each directing a story, namely, “Hana-uri musume,” “Tobikonda hanayome,” and “Aisureba koso,” respectively. 306. Mayama Seika (1878–48) was a novelist and prominent dramatist who rose to literary fame with his novel Minami-koizumi mura (1907). Under the influence of Ibsen, he produced plays such as Kumo no wakare michi (1917) for the shingeki theater, as well as Taira no Masakado (1925) and Hangyakujidai no Masakado (1926), before establishing himself as a major playwright in the 1920s and 1930s. In the Shōwa period, he was best remembered for his masterpiece, the kabuki play Genroku chūshingura (1934–41) famously performed by Ichikawa Sadanji II. 307. On the Zenshin-za, see this chapter, note #2.

308. Kawatake Mokuami’s play, a sewamono (loosely, a “contemporary play”) with the more commonly known title Yudono no Chōbei, was based on real events that occurred in the mid-seventeenth century. Since its first performance in Tokyo in 1881, the play has been rewritten and now consists of three acts and five scenes. Banzuiin Chōbei (1622–57), a townsman in the early Edo period and head of the so-called machi-yakko, or “town toughs,” was often regarded as the archetypal premodern Japanese chivalrous hero (kyōkaku) whose career was devoted to helping the weak and combating the strong and unruly. 309. Among the actors in Ukikusa nikki, Nakadai Tatsuya in particular would take on major roles in some of Yamamoto’s best-known films, including Karei-naru ichizoku (1974), Kinkanshoku (1975), and Fumō chitai (1976). Tōno Eijirō, a very good character actor, appeared later as a beleaguered medical school professor in Shiroi kyotō (1966). 310. Based on Masaki Hiroshi’s story, adapted for the screen by Hashimoto Shinobu, and starring Kusanagi Kōjirō and Hidari Sachiko, Imai’s Mahiru no ankoku deals with the consequences of false accusations during a criminal investigation. The title was said to have been inspired by Arthur Koestler’s famous 1940 novel of the same name. The film was ranked number one on Kinema Junpōs Ten Best Films list for 1956, with Imai as Best Director, and went on to win many other important film awards in Japan. 311. Sugiura Mimpei (1913–2001) was a critic and novelist who formed The Future’s Society (Mirai no kai) with Maruyama Masao and Noma Hiroshi after the war before establishing himself with such works as Sengo tanka ron (1951). Treating corruption in local politics in Norisoda sōdōki (1953) and the movement opposing US military bases in Japan (Kichi-roppyakugogō, 1954), he was also well known as a writer of historical novels, the most prominent of which was Shōsetsu Watanabe Kazan (1971) on the important late Edo period scholar of Western learning and Southern School (nanga) painter. As a literary scholar, Sugiura is best remembered for the important works Sengoku ransei no bungaku (1965) and Ishin zengo no bungaku (1967) and his various contributions to the study of the Italian Renaissance. 312. The Madoka Group was created in 1954. Both Sada Keiji (1926–64) and Sano Shūji (1912–78) were major male leads for Shōchiku, the former in the 1950s and 1960s and the latter from the late 1930s to the late 1970s. Sada Keiji established his fame by appearing in the popular drama Kimi no na wa (1953), with Kishi Keiko, followed by such classics as Kinoshita Keisuke’s Yorokobi mo kanashimi mo ikutoshitsuki (1957) and Ozu Yasujirō’s Sanma no aji (1962). Sano Shūji starred with Uehara Ken and Saburi Shin in Shimazu Yasujirō’s Konyaku sanbagarasu (1937), with Li Xianglan in Nomura Hiromasa’s Soshū no yoru (1941), with Tanaka Kinuyo in Ozu Yasujirō’s Kaze no naka no mendori (1948), and in Gosho Heinosuke’s Osaka no yado (1953). 313. This is a witty play on the name Fukue, Sugiura Mimpei’s birthplace in western Atsumi Peninsula. A member of the JCP, Sugiura himself served as a long-term councilman in his hometown. 314. The original text notes that Mishima Masao, Watanabe Atsushi, Sugawara Kenji, and Sada Keiji played the roles of the councilman, the town mayor, the young man, and Yoshinari, respectively. 315. The Bōsō Peninsula is in southeastern Kantō and occupies a large portion of Chiba Prefecture. 316. Iya, kono tabi wa dōmo iroiro to follows a style of formulaic social greeting not meant to be taken literally or seriously. On the other hand, by no means in this instance did it convey any malicious implications, unless the councilman meant it to be a sarcastic statement. 317. The phrase was first conceived by the literary and cultural critic Nakano Yoshio in February 1956 in the journal Bungei Shunjū.The economist Gotō Yonosuke used it in the Economic White Papers, published in July 1956 to suggest that the restoration of the Japanese postwar economy, helped to a large degree by opportunities brought about by the outbreak of the Korean War, had reached prewar levels. On the other hand, by drawing attention to the need for future “modernization,” the statement also suggested a palpable degree of uncertainty over the future direction of Japan’s economic growth. 318. “Sun youths” refers to Japan’s young urban generation of the mid-1950s ready to challenge established social norms with relatively uninhibited actions and thinking. The term was often attributed to Ishikawa Shintarō’s novel Taiyō no kisetsu (1955). 319. Nakamura Kanzaburō XVII (1909–88) was a prominent kabuki actor known for his versatility in performing both contemporary and period plays. An onnagata in his younger days, he was also renowned for his dancing style. A recipient of the Mainichi Drama Prize in 1953, he became a member of the Japanese

Art Academy in 1970 and received the honor Preserver of Important Formless Cultural Property (Jūyō mukei bunkazai hojisha) in 1975. 320. Pedro Antonio de Alarcón y Ariza’s (1833–91) El Sombrero de Tres Picos (The ThreeCornered Hat) was published in 1974. Kinoshita Junji (1914–2006) was a student of Shakespeare under Nakano Yoshio and one of postwar Japan’s preeminent dramatists. He infused his plays with a new dramatic language and anchored his works in a rich array of historical settings and political themes. His best-known works include Fūrō (1947), set in Kyushu’s Kumamoto in the early Meiji period; Kami to hito to no aida (1972), inspired by trials at the International Tribunal of the Far East; and Shigosen no matsuri (1978), which focused on the vicissitudes of the medieval Taira family. Kinoshita’s most celebrated work was the internationally acclaimed folklore play Yūzuru (1949), performed with the shingeki actress Yamamoto Yasue (1902–93) in the leading role. The popularity of the play can be glimpsed from the fact that it was performed over a thousand times between 1949 and 1986. 321. For a study of the political controversy surrounding Kinoshita’s most renowned play, see Takashima Nobuyoshi, “Literature, Ideology, and Japan’s Revised Education Law: Kinoshita Junji’s Yūzuru,” trans. Kyoko Selden, Japan Focus, December 28, 2006. For other assessments of Kinoshita’s work, see the articles by Katō Shūichi and Yamamoto Shūji collected in Sōgōhan Yūzuru (Tokyo, Miraisha, 1953); and Katō Shūichi, “Kinoshita Junji no sekai,” Katō Shūichi Jisenshū 10 (Tokyo, Iwanami Shoten, 2010), 397–400. 322. On Yamamoto Yasue, see this chapter, note #41. For a celebration of Yamamoto’s distinguished career, see Katō Shūichi, “Yamamoto Yasue densetsu,” Sekiyō mōgo 4 (Tokyo: Asahi Shimbunsha, 1994), 137–42. 323. A son of Nakamura Kanzaburō XVII, Nakamura Kankurō (1955–2012), better known as Nakamura Kanzaburō XVIII, was to become an extraordinarily versatile actor renowned for his performances in Edo period “contemporary plays” (sewamono), as well as kamigata kyōgen, and other Japanese and European productions, including, for example, the role of Iago in Othello. For his participation in Yamamoto’s Sensō to ningen, see my introductory essay. Nakamura was equally active on both television and the silver screen, playing a wide array of roles from Taira no Atsumori, Imagawa Yoshimoto, and Toyotomi Hideyoshi to Fukuzawa Yukichi. 324. Masaki Hiroshi (1896–1975) was a prominent Tokyo lawyer who devoted himself to fighting the powerful on behalf of those wrongly accused of crimes. His famous book Saibankan: Hito no inochi wa kenryoku de ubaeru mono ka? (1955), based on the 1951–53 Yakai Incident in Yamaguchi Prefecture, became a bestseller and was subsequently turned into an important Imai Tadashi film, Mahiru no ankoku (see note #31 in this chapter). A critic of Japan’s wartime behavior and Tōjō Hideki, Masaki was also involved in the postwar defense of the communist defendants in the Mitaka Incident (see note #7 in this chapter). He was the author of many books, including Nihonjin no ryōshin (1949), Waga hōtei tōsō (1956), and Saiban to akuma (1971). See Ienaga Saburō, Masaki Hiroshi (Tokyo: Sanseidō sensho, 1981). 325. The Sugō Incident occurred on June 2, 1952, with the arrest of five Communist Party members accused of blowing up a police substation in Sugō in Naoiri County, a desolate hamlet with only 350 households. The first trial at the Ōita District Court convicted all five, only to be overturned by a second trial at the Fukuoka High Court in 1958, with new evidence presented by reporters and the defense team that a police officer on active duty from the Ōita Police Headquarters, Todaka Kiminori, had been involved in the explosion. Todaka was found guilty, but he was not sentenced to any punishment. Three months later he was promoted to police lieutenant (keibuho) before his career really took off. He later became a professor at the National Police Academy (Keisatsu Daigakkō) and rose as high as head of the Metropolitan Police Department. See Sakaue Ryō, Kieta keikan: Dokyumento Sugō jiken (Tokyo: Kōdansha, 2009); and the Kyōdō journalist Aoki Osamu’s bestseller Nihon no kōan keisatsu (Tokyo: Kōdansha Gendai Shinsho, 1999). 326. On the film’s international acclaim, see note #21 in this chapter. 327. Yamashiro Tomoe (1912–2004), novelist, essayist, poet, playwright, and critic, published her novel Niguruma no uta in 1956. Kinoshita Keisuke (1912–98) worked as an assistant director for Shimazu Yasujirō in the early 1930s before making Hana saku minato (1943), Karumen kokyō ni kaeru (1951), and Nijūyon no hitomi (1954), all award-winning productions that left important footprints in the history of

modern Japanese cinema. His other notable films include the more lyrical Nogiku no gotoki kimi nariki (1955), based on Itō Sachio’s classic Nogiku no haka (1905); Yorokobi mo kanashimi mo ikutoshitsuki (1957), a study of a husband and wife team working long years as lighthouse keepers in various parts of Japan; and Narayamabushi-kō (1958), a remarkable kabuki-like stylization of Fukazawa Shichirō’s memorable novel of the same name. Within Japan his reputation was arguably comparable to or even above that of Kurosawa Akira, his longtime rival until the 1960s, although he lacked the former’s unparalleled international recognition. In 1969 a collaboration among three other masters, Kurosawa, Ichikawa Kon, and Kobayashi Masaki, resulted in the formation of Yonki no kai and raised considerable expectations, although productions by the “four horsemen” included only Kurosawa Akira’s Dodesukaden (1970) and Kobayashi Masaki’s Kaseki (1975). Kinoshita’s fiftieth and last work, based on his war experience in China, remained unfinished. A comprehensive study of Kinoshita’s works is impressively provided in Osabe Hideo, Shinpen tensai kantoku Kinoshita Keisuke (Tokyo: Ronsōsha, 2013). 328. Mikuni Rentarō (1923–2013) was a prominent actor known for the wide-ranging roles he played in his long career. He appeared in Ichikawa Kon’s Biruma no tategoto (1956) and Inugami-ke no ichizoku (1976), Uchida Tomu’s Kiga kaikyō (1965), Kobayashi Masaki’s Seppuku (1962) and Kwaidan (1965), and Satō Junya and Duan Jishun’s Mikan no taikyoku (1982). His collaboration with Yamamoto Satsuo was particularly noteworthy, beginning with Niguruma no uta; continuing with Sensō to ningen (1970–71), Kinkanshoku (1975), and Kōtei no inai hachigatsu (1978); and ending with Ā Nomugi Tōge (1979). Mochizuki Yūko (1971–77) began her career in theater with Gekidan Mingei, founded by Takizawa Osamu, before working for Shōchiku. In 1971 she was elected to the Upper House of the Japanese Diet, serving until 1977 as a Socialist Party member. Among her best-known performances were roles in Imai Tadashi’s Kome (1957) and Kinoshita Keisuke’s Narayamabushi-kō (1958). For an assessment of her role as Seki in Niguruma no uta, see Iwasaki Akira, “Niguruma no uta,” 10. 329. Matsuyama Zenzō (1925–2016) was a renowned screenwriter who collaborated with directors such as Naruse Mikio, Shibuya Minoru, and Kobayashi Masaki before becoming a film director himself, producing such acclaimed works as Namonaku mazushiku utsukushiku (starring his wife, Takamine Hideko, 1961) and Noriko wa ima (1981). Takamine Hideko (1924–2010) was generally regarded as modern Japan’s preeminent actress, with a distinguished career spanning the period from the late 1920s to the late 1970s. Her Shōchiku years generated such memorable films as Karumen kokyō ni kaeru, Nijūyon no hitomi, and Yorokobimo kanashimimo ikutoshitsuki, all directed by Kinoshita Keisuke. She also appeared in a number of Naruse Mikio’s films, including Ukigumo (1955), Onna ga kaidan o noboru toki (1960), and Hōrōki (1962). A noted essayist among modern Japanese actresses, she published her reminiscences in Watashi no tosei nikki, 2 vols. (Tokyo: Bunshun Bunko, 1998). 330. Taketani Mitsuo (1911–2000) was a distinguished physicist who collaborated with Yukawa Hideki in his research and with the philosopher Tsurumi Shunsuke, political scientist Maruyama Masao, intellectual historian Takeda Kiyoko, and others in founding the influential monthly journal Shisō no kagaku, which was published from 1946 to 1996. He served as a professor at Tokyo’s Rikkyō University from 1953 to 1969. 331. A statement at the beginning of the film indicates that it was the product of contributions from 3.2 million peasant women. 332. Hidari Sachiko (1930–2001) had starred in Nomura Hiromasa’s Wakaki no ayamachi (1952) and Masumura Yasuzō’s Danryū (1957) before appearing in Yamamoto’s Niguruma no uta. She played a destitute Tōhoku village girl transformed into the Tokyo madam of a prostitution ring in Imamura Shōhei’s Nippon konchūki (1963), a memorable performance that won her the Best Actress award at the Berlin Film Festival, the first Japanese actress to be so honored. In 1965 she starred in Uchida Tomu’s Kiga kaikyō with Mikuni Rentarō before entering into a stormy relationship with the film director Hani Susumu. Their marriage ended in divorce in 1977. 333. Mikuni’s version of the story is that he had a set of false teeth positioned atop his own and tried hard to say his lines in that condition for his role in the film. Apparently, to play the role of old Moichi toward the end of the film, he had all his upper teeth extracted by a Tokyo dentist, an action recommended to him by Nishimura Kō. The ordeal was made even more trying for Mikuni, a native of Gunma Prefecture, because he had to speak in the Miyoshi dialect of Hiroshima Prefecture. See Yamagata et al.,

Yamamoto Satsuo enshutsu no shūhen, 147; and Mikuni’s interview in the DVD version of Niguruma no uta from Dokuritsu Puro Meiga Honzonkai. The film was ranked number four on Kinema Junpō’s Ten Best Films list for 1959. Yamamoto and Hayashi Hikaru received the director and the musical score awards, respectively, at the Mainichi Film Festival.For a commemoration piece following Mikuni’s death in 2013, see “Kyō no chōryū,” Shimbun Akahata, April 16, 2013. 334. Ishikawa Tatsuzō (1905–85) won the first Akutagawa Prize in 1935 for his novel Sōbō on the experiences and trials of Japanese immigrants in the distant land of Brazil. His war novel Ikiteiru heitai (1938, translated into English by Željko Cipriš as Soldiers Alive [Honolulu: University of Hawai’i Press, 2003]) was famously banned by the Japanese authorities for its depiction of Japanese atrocities on the Chinese front, but it helped establish Ishikawa’s postwar reputation as a socially engaged writer. With a series of works beginning with Nozomi naki ni arazu (1947), Kaze ni soyogu ashi (1949–51), and Ningen no kabe (1957–59), he quickly became one of postwar Japan’s noteworthy authors. He continued his prolific career with the publication of such memorable works as Yonjūhassai no hankō (1955), Kizudarake no sanga (1964), and Kinkanshoku (1966). 335. Kagawa Kyōko starred in the film along with Uno Jūkichi, Utsui Ken, Sawamura Sadako, and Kitabayashi Tanie. The musical score was by Hayashi Hikaru. 336. Nishiguchi Katsumi’s novel Yamasen was published in 1959 by Chūō Kōronsha. Yamamoto Senji (1889–1929), sometimes abbreviated as Yamasen, was a biologist, social activist, and graduate of Tokyo Imperial University before taking up lecturer positions at Kyoto Imperial University and Dōshisha University. In February 1928, in the first national general election, he was elected as one of two LaborFarmer Party candidates. His opposition to the revision of the Peace Preservation Law led to his assassination by a right winger in Tokyo in March 1929. 337. Soon after the general election of February 1928, the Tanaka Giichi cabinet, on March 15, 1928, rounded up some sixteen hundred members of the JCP and the Labor-Farmer Party and their sympathizers throughout the country for alleged infringement of the Peace Preservation Law. The story “Senkyūhaku nijūhachi nen sangatsu jūgo-nichi” by the proletarian writer Kobayashi Takiji was famously based on this incident. 338. Another version of the speech, made at the National Farmers Union, reads as “many comrades are standing behind me in support.” Those words were inscribed on Yamamoto’s grave by the hand of Ōyama Ikuo, chairman of the Labor-Farmer Party. 339. In the film, the role of Yamamoto Senji is played with elegant finesse by Shimomoto Tsutomu, who earlier had appeared in Yamamoto’s 1952 film The Vacuum Zone as Private Soda. The rest of the cast includes Tōno Eijirō, Hosokawa Chikako, and Watanabe Misako. The film placed eighth in Kinema Junpō’s Ten Best Films of 1960. 340. On October 12, 1960, the chairman of the Japan Socialist Party, Asanuma Inejirō (1898–1960), was assassinated by a sword-wielding right-wing youth while making a speech before an audience of a thousand people in Tokyo’s Hibiya Hall along with the leaders of two other political parties. In November the assassin, Yamaguchi Otoya, killed himself during his detention by the authorities. 341. On the Matsukawa Incident, see note #7 in this chapter. 342. The Matsukawa Jiken Geki-eiga Seisaku Jikkō I’inkai was formed on February 13, 1960, with the novelist Hirotsu Kazuo as president, prominent labor leader Ōta Kaoru as vice-president, and the participation of seventy-eight other organizations. Among other distinguished novelists involved on the side of the defense were Sata Ineko and Abe Tomoji. In the last scene of the film, which takes place before the Sendai High Court, some two thousand extras from Fukushima, Miyagi, Tokyo, Niigata, Chiba, Tochigi, and Kanagawa participated. 343. The first trial, which took place in the Fukushima District Court in December 1950, ended with guilty verdicts for all twenty persons accused, including death sentences for five. The second trial, at the Sendai High Court in December 1953, produced guilty verdicts for seventeen, including death sentences for four and innocent verdicts for three. In August 1959, the Supreme Court overturned the verdict in the second trial and referred the case back to the Sendai High Court, which, in August 1961, pronounced the innocence of all the accused. In 1963 the Supreme Court dropped an appeal by the prosecution and confirmed the verdict of not guilty for all defendants. All former defendants sought compensation from the state over their ordeal, and a judgment passed in August 1970 recognized the state’s responsibility to compensate the

defendants. Controversies surrounding the incident and the identities of the real perpetrators are still being debated. In May 2010, Fukushima University established a research arm, the Matsukawa-jiken Kenkyūjo, to conduct further research into the affair. As noted, a significant literary product arising from this incident was novelist Hirotsu Kazuo’s memorable Matsukawa saiban. See note #7 in this chapter. 344. Nippon dorobō monogatari (1965), starring Mikuni Rentarō, Sakuma Yoshiko, and Itō Yūnosuke, was ranked fourth among the Ten Best Films of the Year by Kinema Junpō. Yamamoto Satsuo won the Sixteenth Blue Ribbon Director’s Award, and the film also received the Japan Reporters’ Award. 345. The cast included Ozawa Kōji, Uno Jūkichi, Utsui Ken, Senda Korenari, and Nishimura Kō. Uno contributed all his actor’s fees to the Matsukawa Jiken Taisaku Kyōgikai (presided over by Hirotsu Kazuo), which advocated for the innocence of all the defendants. Also worthy of note is that one of the film’s producers was the social and intellectual historian Itoya Toshio (1908–97), known for his studies of Kōtoku Shūsui and the Japanese socialist movement and his role as the first president of Kindai Eiga Kyōkai, which he had established with Shindō Kaneto and Yoshimura Kōzaburō in 1950. The casting of the twenty defendants was finalized only after the auditioning of as many as three hundred candidates from various drama troupes and the shingeki theater. 346. Farm Girls is based on a Yagi Yasutarō’s story about the challenges of farm life facing a group of young men and women, with Nakaya Ichirō, Yamamoto Kei, and Ieda Keiko in the leading roles. Nakadai Tatsuya also makes an appearance. 347. In the original text, the word “red” (akai) is somewhat capriciously or pointedly represented with “aka” in the katakana and “i” in the hiragana syllabaries, creating a simultaneously dramatic and somewhat comic effect. This representation can be interpreted in various ways, ranging from mischievous self-mockery to halfhearted bemusement over this characterization of his political inclinations. 348. Nagata Masaichi (1906–85) founded Daiichi Eigasha and Shinkō Kinema before serving as Dai’ei’s powerful president from 1947 to 1971. 349. Here “being a communist” (kyōsantō) is formally rendered in the original text in Chinese characters. 350. Ichikawa Raizō (1931–69) began his career as a kabuki actor and joined Dai’ei in 1954. His popularity and acting skills earned him recognition as a possible successor to Hasegawa Kazuo in terms of marketability. In the 1960s, he was one of the most renowned stars within Dai’ei, along with Katsu Shintarō. Before working with Yamamoto in period films, Ichikawa had appeared in Shin Heike monogatari (1955), playing Taira no Kiyomori; in Enjō (1958), playing a young, stuttering monk from a classic Mishima Yukio novel, Kinkakuji; and in Bonchi (1960), based on a famous Yamasaki Toyoko novel. Starting in 1963, he starred in the Nemuri Kyōshirō series based on Shibata Renzaburō’s popular creation, making the “nihilistic” swordsman he famously portrayed a household name in Japan. See the special issue on him in the journal Kinema Junpō, no. 1679 (January 2015). 351. Murayama’s novel, ostensibly a drama about the aborted assassination of the warlord Oda Nobunaga by a group of low-ranking ninjas but more pointedly a tragedy about the manipulation of the latter by those in power, was serialized in Akahata from November 1960 to May 1962. The film’s title is sometimes translated as A Band of Assassins. On Murayama’s association with Yamamoto in the prewar years, see chapter 3. 352. The two most famous schools of ninjutsu were in Iga and Kōka (also sometimes called Kōga, arguably a mispronunciation), which were situated in present-day Mie and Shiga prefectures, respectively. 353. The Warring States or Sengoku period dated roughly from the mid-fifteenth century to the very beginning of the seventeenth, ending with the unification of the country following the military victory of Tokugawa Ieyasu. Other theories put the period from the beginning of the Ōnin Wars (1467–77) to 1568 when Oda Nobunaga entered Kyoto. 354. Oda Nobunaga led an army of 50,000 in a 1581 campaign to destroy the Iga ninjas led by Momochi Tamba (1512–81, also known as Momochi Sandayū). Confronted with overwhelming odds while barricading themselves inside their fortress, the ninjas were finally wiped out at the end of the fighting, an event referred to as “Tenshō Iga no ran.” 355. Traveling with an entourage was a common practice among kabuki actors. Jō Kenzaburō (1929–92), a student of a form of traditional singing called nagauta and better known by his other stage

name, Wakayama Tomisaburō, plays Oda Nobunaga in the film. In the West, he is perhaps best known as the star of the Kozure-ōkami series (rendered Shogun Assassin in its film version), playing the wandering assassin Ogami Ittō, a play on ōkami ittō (lone wolf). He also appeared strikingly as a yakuza boss in the American film Black Rain (1989) with Michael Douglas in the leading role. An actor well known for his skills in sword-fighting scenes, he has appeared in films with his younger brother Katsu Shintarō. 356. On Momochi Sandayū, see note #8 in this chapter. Itō Yūnosuke (1919–80) appeared in Kurosawa Akira’s Norainu (1949) before resigning from Tōhō after the company’s labor upheavals. In the West, he is perhaps best remembered for his performance as a novelist in Kurosawa’s Ikiru (1952). His other films include Kurosawa’s Tsubaki Sanjūrō (1962) and Imai Tadashi’s Hashi no nai kawa (1969–70). 357. The colorful legend of Ishikawa Goemon (1558?–94?) as a popular Azuchi-Momoyama period folk hero has it that the noble-minded thief (gizoku) was a former Iga ninjutsu pupil of Momochi Sandayū before he had an affair with Momochi’s wife and later attempted unsuccessful assassinations of Oda Nobunaga and Toyotomi Hideyoshi. He was caught by the order of Hideyoshi and supposedly met a ghastly death in Kyoto’s Sanjōkawara, in a cauldron filled with boiling oil, along with his son or, according to other sources, nine or ten or twenty members of his family, including his mother. His tragedy and heroic exploits were popularized in a number of kabuki and jōruri plays, as well as in the Edo yomihon and rakugo storytelling traditions. Included in such categories were the 1778 kabuki play Kinmon gosan no kiri, by Namiki Gohei, in five acts; the jōruri play Keisei Yoshiokazome, by Chikamatsu Monzaemon; and, inevitably, a variety of contemporary video games and anime series with Goemon as the hero. 358. Hideyoshi’s campaigns against Korea and the forces from China’s Ming dynasty lasted from 1592 to 1598 in two separate phases and ended with the withdrawal of Japanese forces following his death. See Stephen Turnbull, Samurai Invasion: Japan’s Korean War, 1592–98 (London: Cassell, 2002). 359. Hattori Hanzō (1542–96) was a ninja master, nicknamed “Oni no Hanzō” (Hanzō the Devil), who famously saved Tokugawa Ieyasu’s life in June 1582 with the help of Iga and Kōka ninjas. A staple figure in Japanese manga, anime culture, and video games, he was resurrected in the popular imagination through Chiba Shin’ichi’s spirited portrayal in Hattori Hanzō: Kage no gundan. A gate in Tokyo’s Imperial Palace was called Hanzo’s Gate (Hanzōmon), which also serves as the name of a Tokyo metro line. 360. The Army Nakano School (Rikugun Nakano Gakkō) was founded in 1938. It was placed under the administration of Lt. Col. Ueda Masao in 1940 for wartime training in military intelligence and counterintelligence, covert operations, propaganda, and sabotage. Its over twenty-five hundred graduates were variously involved in capturing oil facilities in southern Sumatra, forming the Indian National Army, and flooding the financial system of the Chinese Nationalist government with forged currency. See Stephen C. Mercado, The Shadow Warriors of Nakano: A History of the Imperial Japanese Army’s Elite Intelligence School (Dulles, VA: Potomac Books, 2002); Hatakeyama Kiyoyuki, Rikugun Nakano Gakkō, 6 vols. (Tokyo: Banchō Shobō, 1974); and Katō Masao, Rikugun Nakano Gakkō no zenbō (Tokyo: Tendensha, 1998). Dai’ei made a series of five films on the Nakano School from 1966 to 1968, with Ichikawa Raizō in the leading role. 361. Kōka was also known as “Kōga,” a city in the southeastern part of present-day Shiga Prefecture and one of the best-known sites of ninjutsu in Japan. 362. Kirigakure Saizō, a pupil of Momochi Sandayū and one of the ten famous retainers serving Sanada Nobushige (more popularly known as Sanada Yukimura), a warrior active from the Azuchi-Momoyama to the early Edo period. 363. Literally meaning “A Land Mutilated,” this was the title of Ishikawa Tatsuzō’s story about the megalomaniacal excesses of an ambitious Japanese entrepreneur in the early 1960s. With a screenplay by Shindō Kaneto, the film’s fine cast includes Yamamura Sō, Wakao Ayako, Takahashi Kōji, Funakoshi Eiji, and Tōno Eijirō. 364. Fujiwara Yoshie (1898–1976) was a prominent tenor born of a Scottish father and a Japanese mother. He studied in Italy in 1920 before launching his singing career in Europe and the United States. After working within the operatic movement initiated by the famed composer Yamada Kōsaku, he established the Fujiwara Operatic Troupe in 1934 and continued to make significant contributions to the development of operatic singing in Japan.

365. The Kawamata Dam is situated in the northern part of Tochigi Prefecture. 366. The Japan Lawyers Association for Freedom (JLAF) was formed in 1921 by such prominent lawyers as Fuse Tatsuji and Yamazaki Kesaya in support of human rights and labor-farmer groups during the March 15 Incident of 1928 and other events involving instances of political suppression. It continued to be active in the postwar period in legal battles against the abuse of state power and big industry by offering legal defense, for instance, to those accused in the Mitaka and Matsukawa incidents. With a membership of nineteen hundred lawyers in 2010, the association is closely connected politically with the JCP. See Jiyū Hōsōdan, ed., Kempō hanretsu o tsukuru (Tokyo: Nihon Hyōronsha, 1998). 367. Kaikō Ken (also known as Kaikō Takeshi, 1930–89), winner of the Akutagawa Prize for his short story “Hadaka no ōsama” in 1958, went on to produce such notable works as Nippon sanmon opera (1959), “Kagayakeru yami” (1968), and “Tama kudakeru” (1979). Inspired by his work in Vietnam during the Vietnam War and his activities within the Citizen’s League for Peace in Vietnam (Beheiren), some of his wide-ranging nonfictional works include Betonamu senki (1965), Jōzetsu no shisō (1966), and Hansen no ronri: Zenkoku shūdan Nichibei hansen kōen kiroku which he edited with such prominent figures as Oda Makoto and Tsurumi Shunsuke in 1967. See Special Edition “Kaikō Ken: Jidai seishin no metafā,” Kokubungaku: Kaishaku to kyōzai no kenkyū 27, no. 15 (1982). 368. The final version of the film is 117 minutes long. 369. For the film, Yamamoto won the Sixteenth Blue Ribbon Director’s Prize (along with his work Shōnin no isu) and the Japan Films Reporters’ Prize. The film was rated fourth on Kinema Junpō’s Best Ten Films list of 1965. 370. Kaikō’s novel was published in 1962 by Mainichi Shimbunsha before its release in a pocketsized edition by Kadokawa Bunko in 1972. The owner of an electric appliance shop was usually referred to at the time as a “radio shop merchant” (rajioshō). 371. Kitabayashi Tanie (1911–2010) was an award-winning former stage actress who appeared in Yamamoto’s Taiyō no nai machi, Ningen no kabe, Matsukawa Jiken, and Nippon dorobō monogatari. She continued to act in some of Yamamoto’s films after 1965, including Karei-naru ichizoku (1974) and Ā Nomugi Tōge (1979). Ichikawa Fusae (1893–1981) was a well-known activist on a wide array of women’s issues both before and after the war and a long-term member of the Upper House of the Japanese Diet. The former Japanese prime minister Kan Naoto was a former staff member in Ichikawa’s election campaign. Ichikawa’s writings are collected in Ichikawa Fusae shū, 8 vols. (Tokyo: Nihon Tosho Sentā, 1994). Setouchi Jakuchō (also known as Setouchi Harumi, 1922–) was a native of the city of Tokushima, a Tendai Sect nun since 1973, and an acclaimed novelist known for her writings in connection with The Tale of Genji, including its translation into modern Japanese. She was also the author of such notable works as Tamura Toshiko (1960), Natsu no owari (1962), Tōi koe (1968), and Hana ni toe (1992). Her writings are collected in Setouchi Harumi sakuhinshū, 8 vols. (Tokyo: Chikuma Shobō, 1972–73). She also coauthored Kyōfu no saiban: Tokushima rajioshō satsujin jiken with Fuji Shigeko in 1971. 372. Matsumoto Seichō (1909–92) wrote haunting mysteries, captivating detective thrillers, historical novels, and nonfiction works after he was over forty years of age, and yet his stunningly prolific and wideranging compositions in several genres, many tenaciously probing the underbelly of Japanese society and politics, achieved a distinction virtually unmatched by his contemporaries to this day. After winning the 1953 Akutagawa Prize with Aru Kokura nikki den, he quickly consolidated his stature with Kikumakura (1953), Ishi no hone (1955), Kao (1957), Ten to sen, Me no kabe (both 1957), and Tōbō (1967). His interest in modern and contemporary Japanese history was demonstrated by impressive works such as Nihon no kuroi kiri (1960), and Shōwa-shi hakkutsu (1964–71), whereas a work like Kemono no michi (1962–63) combines his interest in character study and politics set against a background of greed, sexual escapade, and murder. His other memorable works include Kuroi gashū (1958–60), Zero no shōten (1958), and Suna no utsuwa (1960–61). Aochi Shin (1909–84), a journalist who served as a one-term editor of Sekai hyōron, was particularly known for his many struggles on behalf of those wrongly accused of criminal acts. He was the author of Enzai no kyōfu (Tokyo: Mainichi Shimbunsha, 1969) and Ma no jikan: Mutsu no enzai jiken (Tokyo: Chikuma Shobō, 1976) and coeditor, with Wada Haruki, of Nikkan rentai no shisō to kōdō (Tokyo: Gendai Hyōronsha, 1977). 373. The Tokushima District Court agreed to a retrial on December 13, 1980. On July 9, 1985, in the same

court, Fuji Shigeko was pronounced not guilty. It was reportedly the first case in Japan in which the defendant was given a retrial after her death. See Akiyama Kenzō, Saibankan wa naze ayamaru no ka (Tokyo: Iwanami Shoten, 2002). The author was a Tokushima District Court judge who participated in the decision to grant Fuji a retrial. 374. Serialized in the Asahi Shimbun in 1964–65, the narrative of Hyōten by the then unknown Christian writer Miura Ayako unfolds around an extraordinary tragedy in the life of Yōko (Yasuda Michiyo in Yamamoto’s film), the adopted daughter of the Tsujiguchi family, and her rocky relationship with her abusive stepmother Natsue (Wakao Ayako). The story was repeatedly adapted for Japanese television and created an international craze after it was translated into Chinese and dramatized on television in Taiwan. It was also a hit in Korea, where it was put on the screen twice, in 1967 and 1981, before its appearance as a TV drama in 2004–5. 375. Yamasaki Toyoko’s famous novel was first serialized in the Sundē Mainichi from September 1963 to June 1965, followed by a sequel from July 1967 to June 1968. After Yamamoto’s cinematic adaptation, the novel was dramatized at least four times on Japanese television from 1967 to 2003, with Satō Kei, Tamiya Jirō, Murakami Hiroaki, and Karasawa Toshiaki playing the leading role of Zaizen Gorō on separate occasions. Yamasaki Toyoko (1924–2013), one of the most distinguished socially and politically engaged novelists in postwar Japan, rose to fame with her Bonchi (1959) before publishing a series of extraordinarily ambitious and memorable works, including Shiroi kyotō, Karei-naru ichizoku (1970–72), Fumō chitai (1973–78), Daichi no ko (1987–91), and Shizumanu taiyō (1995). Even more than the works of Ishikawa Tatsuzō, Yamasaki Toyoko’s novels provided the original sources for many of Yamamoto’s most acclaimed films after the mid-1960s, as will be discussed below. 376. St. Luke’s Hospital is in Tokyo’s Chūō Ward. 377. In Yamamoto’s film, based on Yamasaki’s novel but not its sequel, the site where most of the action takes place is the hospital affiliated with “Naniwa University,” a barely disguised reference to Osaka University. Some details in the film’s narrative do not follow Yamasaki’s original story. Its cast includes Tamiya Jirō playing Zaizen Gorō, a young, talented, and ambitious surgeon obsessed with power and fame within a feudalistic medical hierarchy; Tamura Takahiro; Tōno Eijirō; Ishiyama Kenjirō; and, last but not least, Takizawa Osamu. 378. Yamamoto’s film, available now on DVD, was recognized as the best film of the year on Kinema Junpō’s Ten Best list for 1966. It also won the Grand Prize at the Mainichi Film Festival and the Blue Ribbon Prize. 379. These were Karei-naru ichizoku and Fumō chitai, both of which are discussed below. 380. Erodakushon is short for “erotic productions.” 381. The Japan Art Theater Guild, or ATG, was a film studio active from the early 1960s to the 1980s. It aspired to make and distribute art films, an initiative supported early in its development by a large, young urban audience seeking high-quality films in a tumultuous age of antiwar agitation and broad student movements. Centered around Shinjuku and Tokyo’s university district of Ochanomizu, directors such as Ōshima Nagisa and Hani Susumu began to make their appearance, turning out works such as Shinjuku dorobō nikki (1969) and Hatsukoi jigoku-hen (1968), respectively. Mishima Yukio famously directed, wrote, and acted in a short piece, Yūkoku, in 1965. In its later stages, the movement produced more popularly entertaining films, notably Morita Yoshimitsu’s Kazoku gēmu (1983). See Satō Tadao, ATG eiga o yomu: Rokujūnendai ni hajimatta meisaku ākaibu (Tokyo: Firumu-āto Sha, 1991). 382. On Tachibana Yūten, see chapter 4, note #4. 383. The original text describes the North Vietnamese film as a jidō eiga, meaning a film about children or juveniles. 384. Kim Dong (Kimu Don in Japanese, 1963) was directed by Non Ichdat and Vy Pham Tu with a screenplay by To Hoai and music by Do Minh. Le Tanh Phong plays Kim Dong, a fifteen-year-old boy fighting with the guerrillas against the French colonizers in Indochina’s war of liberation in 1943. It was the first Vietnamese film to be screened in Japan. 385. The names of the three parts under the collective title Sensō to ningen were Unmei no jokyoku, Ai to kanashimi no sanga, and Kanketsu-hen. The DVD version of the film, albeit without English subtitles, is available through 386. Fengtian (Hōten in Japanese) was the largest city in Manchuria and is the present-day city of

Shenyang. 387. The party organ of the Liberal Democratic Party, Jiyū Shimpō was established in November 1955. The name was changed to Jiyū Minshu in January 1999. 388. Yao Wenyuan (1931–2005) was a former Shanghai literary critic. Arrested in October 1976, he was given a twenty-year prison sentence in 1981 but was released in 1996. 389. The novel was serialized in Shūkan Shinchō from March 1970 to October 1972 before Shinchōsha published it in three volumes in 1973. Yamamoto’s film was released in 1974. 390. The Ōbayashi Group (Ōbayashi-gumi) is a construction company founded in 1892 and one of the largest in Japan, with overseas operations in Southeast Asia, Australia, and Hawaii. The main character in One Splendid Family is Manpyō Daisuke, the president of Hanshin Bank and head of the Manpyō clan played memorably by the character actor Saburi Shin. 391. Daisuke’s wife was played by Tsukioka Yumeji and the mistress by Kyō Machiko. 392. The composer Satō Masaru (1928–99) famously worked with such celebrated directors as Kurosawa Akira, Gosha Hideo, Yamamoto Satsuo, and Okamoto Kihachi and made indelible contributions to the success of postwar Japanese cinema. His vividly imaginative work for Kurosawa’s satire Yōjimbō in 1961 was nominated for an Academy Award for original musical score. He was the composer for such films as Kurosawa’s Tenkoku to jigoku (1963) and Akahige (1965); Gosha’s Goyōkin (1969) and Hitokiri (1969); and Yamamoto’s Sensō to ningen (1970–73), Karei-naru ichizoku (1974), Kinkanshoku (1975), and Fumō chitai (1976). Older popular song fans will likely remember Satō as the composer of the spirited melody “Wakamono-tachi” (1966). On his collaboration with Yamamoto, see Ōzawa Tokuichirō’s interview with Satō (September 4, 1992) in Tokyo in Sensō to ningen, ed. Nikkatsu Kabushikigaisha (N.p., n.d.), 60–61. See also the film critic Masutō Tatsuya’s commentary on Satō’s music in the same volume, 78–79. 393. Kuzuryū Dam was a large-scale project involving the construction of a 128-meter-high and 355meter-long dam for hydroelectric power generation and flood control on the upper Kuzuryū River (reincarnated as Fukuryūgawa in the film) in southeastern Fukui Prefecture. During the bidding for the project in the primary construction area, Kajima Construction Corporation (Kajima Kensetsu) defeated four other competitors by submitting the highest, and the only accepted, bid, leading to speculations about Kajima’s stealthy political contributions to Prime Minister Ikeda Hayato and collusion between the government and construction companies. Diet member Tanaka Shōji’s inquiries into the affair during the Finance Committee’s deliberations in the Lower House brought the case to public attention. The strange deaths of one of Ikeda’s cabinet secretaries and a reporter who had testified before the committee added a further dark cloud of mystery to the case. See “Kuzuryūgawa Damu oshoku jiken” on; and Kuroda Kiyoshi and Ōtani Akihiro, Kenryoku hanzai (Tokyo: Junpōsha, 2000). 394. Nakadai Tatsuya gave an impressive performance as chief cabinet secretary Hoshino Yasuo, a role said to have been modeled on Kurogane Yasumi, the chief cabinet secretary for Prime Minister Ikeda Hayato. In the film, Hoshino is the mastermind behind the collusion between government and business interests, an astute manipulator of human egos and their weaknesses as he operates ever so deftly in a chillingly corrupt political landscape. 395. The 99-minute documentary was narrated by Yamamoto Kei with music score by Sakata Kōichi. 396. Serialized in the Sandē Mainichi from 1973 to 1978 and published in four volumes by Shinchōsha in 1978, Yamasaki’s novel was translated into English by James T. Araki as The Barren Zone (Honolulu: University of Hawai’i Press, 1985). The film Yamamoto made in 1976 was based on the earlier portion of the novel, with Nakadai Tatsuya in the leading role as Lieutenant Colonel Iki Tadashi, a major figure involved in the controversy over Japan’s war plane procurement. Yamasaki’s work has been dramatized on television twice, a 1979 version starring Hira Mikijirō and a 2009 Fuji Television version starring Karasawa Toshiaki. As far as Japan was concerned—the affair also affected West Germany, Italy, and the Netherlands—the war plane procurement scandal involved the American aircraft manufacturer Lockheed, the Japanese trading company Marubeni, Japan’s finance minister Satō Eisaku, and other prominent government and business leaders. Lockheed’s lobbying efforts resulted in the sale of its F-104 to the Japanese Air Self-Defense Force instead of an earlier favorite, the Grumman F112 Super Tiger (reincarnated in Yamamoto’s film as the Super Dragon). In due course, in an effort to

sell its Tristar L-1011s, Lockheed reportedly paid a total of 2.4 billion yen in bribes to various parties, including Prime Minister Tanaka Kakuei, All Nippon Airlines officials, and the right-wing operative Kodama Yoshio. The arrest of Tanaka in July 1976 was followed by a guilty verdict in October 1983 and a four-year prison term, even though he managed to stay out of prison until his death in 1993. 397. Yamamoto’s text refers only to “the protagonist.” For the sake of clarity and to avoid verbosity, I will use his name, Iki Tadashi, instead. Having begun as a retail kimono store in 1858, Itō Chū Shōji Kabushikigaisha, formerly known as C. Itoh, is one of the five largest transnational general trading companies in Japan today. Operating businesses in textiles, machinery, chemicals, food, and so on in countries such as China and the United States, the company is outranked only by Mitsubishi Shōji and Mitsu Bussan. Sejima Ryūzō (1911–2007) became president (kaichō) of Itō Chū Shōji in 1978, turning it from a textile trading company into a general trading corporation. 398. Iki’s daughter was played by Akiyoshi Kumiko. 399. Yamamoto’s text here refers to hearings held by the Senate Subcommittee on Foreign Relations, chaired by Senator Frank Church in February 1976, when Lockheed’s vice-chairman, Archibald C. Kotchian, testified that the company had paid huge amounts of bribes to foreign government officials, including Japan’s. 400. Genda Minoru (1904–89) graduated from the Japan’s Naval College in 1937 before becoming a member of the general staff of the First Naval Fleet in 1941 and participating in the strategic planning of the attack on Pearl Harbor and the battle at Midway. After becoming a colonel in 1944, he entered the Japan Air Self-Defense Force after the war and later served as its chief of staff from 1959 to 1962. He also served as a member of the Upper House of the Diet from 1962 to 1986. 401. The Tempō period dates from 1830 to 1844. Inspired by the Ming dynasty novel Shui Hu Zhuan (Water Margin, attributed to Shi Nai’an), which was widely read in premodern Japan, the Edo period parody Tempō suikoden centers around the exploits of the chivalrous and virtuous hero (kyōkaku) Sasagawa Shigezō and his battles with Iioka Sukegorō along the River Tone in the Shimofusa area, the northern part of present-day Chiba Prefecture. Yamamoto’s 1976 film, on the other hand, focuses on the activities of a late Edo agrarian innovator, Ōhara Yūgaku (note 56). The film has an attractive cast, including Hira Mikijirō, Asaoka Ruriko, Ōtake Shinobu, and Kayama Yoshiko. 402. Sometimes compared to the contemporary thinker Ninomiya Takanori (Sontoku, 1787–1856), the late Edo peasant leader and visionary pioneer Ōhara Yūgaku (1797–1858) devoted his mature career to the betterment of peasant life by introducing new farming techniques, encouraging the virtues of frugality, campaigning against gambling, and promoting children’s education. He was known for the establishment of Kaishinrō, a center for peasant education. See Naramoto Tatsuya and Nakai Nobuhiko, Nihon shisō taikei, vol. 52, Ninomiya Takanori Ōhara Yūgaku (Tokyo: Iwanami Shoten, 1973); and Kimura Motoi, ed., Ōhara Yūgaku to sono shūhen (Tokyo: Yagi Shoten, 1981). 403. Kobayashi Kyūzō (1935–2006) had worked as an assistant director and screenwriter for Shōchiku in the early 1960s and reportedly was interested in directing the film himself, only to withdraw when told that Yamamoto had been selected. The meaning of the title as it relates to the original novel is puzzling, although in the film it is used as a code name for the coup d’état contrived and executed by members of the Japan’s Self-Defense Forces headed by a former officer, Fujisaki Akimasa, a role played by Watase Tsunehiko. The film also comes with a German title: Der kaiser ist nicht am August. 404. Abbreviated as Naichō, Naikaku Chōsashitsu was established in 1952. Often seen as Japan’s equivalent to the American Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), the office—renamed Naikaku Jōhō Chōsashitsu in 1986—is Japan’s primary intelligence-gathering agency and reports directly to the prime minister. In Yamamoto’s film, Takahashi Etsushi plays the role of the head of the agency who is ordered by the prime minister to suppress the coup.. 405. Saburi Shin plays Ōhata Gōzō, a former two-term prime minister and an influential figure behind the coup. Toward the end of the film, he spends his last moments in bed with his mistress, a bar madam played by Taichi Kiwako, and dies after having unknowingly consumed poisoned wine sent by a political rival. 406. Arafune Seijūrō (1907–80) was a Liberal Democratic Party politician who resigned in 1966 under fire as minister of transportation in the first Satō Eisaku cabinet before becoming chief of the Office for Administrative Management (Gyōsei Kanrichō) in the Miki Takeo and the Fukuda Takeo cabinets in

1976 and 1977–78, respectively. 407. Yamamoto Shigemi (1917–98) was born into a farming family in Nagano Prefecture and became an auditor at the Department of Philosophy at Waseda University after turning thirty. His nonfiction work Ā Nomugi Tōge: Aru seishi jokō aishi (Tokyo: Asahi Shimbunsha, 1968) was extraordinarily popular, selling some 2.5 million copies.

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Index agricultural cooperatives, 178, 180, 232. See also farmers Akahata (Red Flag), x, 2n8, 7n30, 11n44, 99n16, 151n8, 182n54, 194–95, 234, 245–46n76 Akama Katsumi, 189 Akiyoshi Kumiko, 41, 48, 229n52 All Japan Congress of Industrial Unions (Sanbetsu Kaigi), 132, 132n5 All Japan Metal Rollers, 213 All Japan Metal Union, 213 Amakasu Masahiko, 107–8, 107n27, 122, 122n7 Andō Tsuguo, 60 Annular Eclipse (Kinkanshoku), ix, xviii; cast, 40, 157n13, 226, 226n48; characters, 40, 45, 48, 226; commercial success, 3, 40–41, 227; distribution, 232; filming, 226–27; narrative, 40; novel, 226; opening image, 40 Anpo. See US-Japan Security Treaty Aochi Shin, 207, 207–8n26 Arafune Seijūrō, 236, 236n60 Arishima Takeo, 8, 8n36, 63, 135n11 Asahi Shimbun, x, 141, 142, 183, 208, 236 Asanuma Inejirō, 2n8, 187, 187n61 Asaoka Ruriko, 35, 38, 232n55 Ashida Shinsuke, 35, 38 Association for Cinematic Art (Eiga Geijutsu Kyōkai), 140 Association for New Plays (Shinkōgeki Kyōkai), 68–71 ATG (Art Theater Guild) movement, 212, 212n35 atomic bombs, 6n23, 20n73, 28n96, 94, 130, 154n10 The August without the Emperor (Kōtei no inai hachigatsu), xviii; cast, 48–49n144, 233n57, 234n58, 235, 235n59, 236; characters, 48; filming, 234–35, 238; novel, 233–34; political context, 3, 48, 48–49n144, 235–36; preview, 236; reactions, 235, 236; sets, 234; title, 233n57 Auto Town (Asshiitachi no machi), xix, 242–43, 243n69 Avalanche (Nadare), xvi

The Barren Zone (FumЕЌ chitai), xviii; cast, 41; characters, 45, 48, 228–29; corruption theme, 1n4, 41, 228, 230–31; criticism, 230–31; filming, 227–30; political message, 13n53, 48, 48n143 Battle without Arms (Buki-naki tatakai), xiv, xvi, 2n8, 7, 9, 29, 44, 183, 185–88, 186n60 A Beautiful Start (Uruwashiki shuppatsu), xv, 12, 101 Cabinet Investigative Office (Naikaku chЕЌsashitsu), 234, 234n58 capitalism, 32, 39, 44, 48, 200–201 Central Film Studio (ChЕ«ЕЌ Eiga-sha). See Independent Film Studio Central Union of Agricultural Cooperatives (NЕЌkyЕЌ ChЕ«ЕЌkai), 232 Chaplin, Charlie, 10, 64, 64–65n15, 65, 73 Chekhov, Anton, The Cherry Orchard, 85 Chiba Sachiko, 85, 86–88, 88n9 Chiba ShЕ«saku, 100, 100n19, 101 Chii Takeo, 7, 36n114, 38, 53n1, 218 China: Cultural Revolution, 222, 241; founding of PRC, 19-20; internment of Japanese soldiers, 126–28, 129; Nationalist army, 126; reaction to Men and War, 221–22; visits to, 190–91, 241; Yellow River, 121. See also Men and War; Second Sino-Japanese War Chukhrai, Grigori, 241, 241n67 Clair, RenГ©, 73 Cold War. See Korean War; Red Purge Page 250 →Communist Party. See Japanese Communist Party Communist Youth League, 76, 77 Constitution, Japanese, 16, 43, 48n143, 135 corruption, 1, 226, 226n47, 227–28n50, 227–29, 230–31. See also Annular Eclipse Czechoslovakia, Karlovy Vary Film Festival, 25, 162–64, 164n21 Dai’ei: actors, 194–95, 194n4; bankruptcy, 30n102, 212, 225; distribution by, 141–42, 232; five-studio agreement, 24, 24n84, 30n102; Nagata as head, 30, 30n102, 194; in wartime, 110; Yamamoto’s films, 31, 32, 47, 194–201, 206–12, 225–27, 232–33, 241–43, 245 Dan Ikuma, 21, 155n11 The Decoy (Otori), 174–76 Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, film industry, 105. See also Korea The Devil’s Gluttony (Akuma no hЕЌshoku), 15, 49, 245, 245–46n76 Diet: corruption inquiries, 226n47; emergency legislation, 235–36; JCP members, 19, 150, 150n4, 151

documentary films: xiv, on The Fighting Soldiers, 13, 103; on Prokino, 75n24; on Vietnam, 33, 214; on Matsukawa Incident, 189–90; North Vietnamese, 214; Soviet, 73; on United Vietnam, 227; in wartime, 102–3, 120; on Yamamoto, 6 Douglas Aircraft Company, 229, 230 Edge of the Sun (Hi no hate), xvi, 25, 159 Eisenstein, Sergei, 9, 73, 73n18, 165n23 Ekk, Nikolai, 9, 72 Exuberance (Rakuten), 62, 63 The Fake Detective (Nise keiji), xvii, 211 Family Diary (Katei nikki and sequel), xv, 99–100 Fanck, Arnold, 105, 105n23 farmers: cooperatives, 178, 180, 232; films depicting lives, 27–28, 176–78, 180; films financed by, 27, 176–78, 180; films shown to, 180, 181, 183. See also Labor-Farmer Party; Song of the Cart-Pullers Farm Girls (Nyūbō o idaku musume tachi), xvi, 191, 191n67 February 26 Incident (1936), 3, 35 film industry: cinemas controlled by studios, 23, 158–59; double-feature screenings, 167–68; five-studio agreement, 24, 24n84, 30n102; labor unions, 132–34, 136–39, 141, 142; major studios, 23–24, 30, 158–59, 167–68, 193; in 1950s and 1960s, 171–72, 193; under US occupation, 131–32, 136, 139–40; workers, 231. See also Red Purge film interpreters (katsuben), 61, 61n8 Film Law (Eiga-hō), 13, 101–2, 102n21 Film Review (Kinema Junpō), 16, 21, 81–82, 81–82n2 films: American, 10, 11, 64–65, 73, 94, 222; antiwar, 1n2, 15–16, 33–39, 49, 72n16, 136, 245–46; censorship, 103, 107, 136; French, 73; interest in, 72–74; left-leaning, 75n24; melodramas, 11, 96, 96n8; national policy, 12, 13n52, 102, 102n21, 107, 109–12; propaganda, 4, 102, 109; regulations, 101–2, 107; seen in childhood, 61, 64–65, 74; silent, 82–83; Soviet, 9, 72–73, 165, 166n25, 241, 241n67; talkies, 83–84, 93; war films vs. combat films, 222; in wartime, 109. See also documentary films; independent films; Yamamoto Satsuo, filmmaking career First Waseda Higher School, 65, 67–68 Flag Society (Hata no Kai), 133, 133n7 Floating Weeds Diary (Ukikusa nikki), xvi, 6–7, 24n85, 27, 168–69 Freezing Point (Hyōten), xvii, 208–9 Fuji Shigeko, 32, 206–8, 208n27 Fujita Sekiji, 72, 97

Fujiwara Yoshie, 200–201, 200n18 Fukuda Toyoto, 206 Funaki Shigenobu, 67, 67n1, 72, 77 Funaki Yoshie, 67 Furukawa Roppa, 107, 107n25, 131 gangsters, 141–47, 160, 233. See also Town of Violence Gei’ensha, 223, 227 Genda Minoru, 230–31, 231n54 Gide, AndrГ©, La Symphonie pastorale, 12, 96–97 Girl in the Gossip (Uwasa no musume), 86–87 Gogol, Nikolai, 170 Gomikawa Junpei: career, 16n62; Men and War (SensЕЌ to ningen), 15–16, 34, 34n110, 38, 47n140, 216; Ningen no jЕЌken, 16n62, 34, 34n110; Special Police and, 37 Gosho Heinosuke: career, 83–84n5; films, 54n3, 83–84n5, 134, 170n33; labor union, 134; TЕЌhЕЌ labor strikes and, 138n17, 139; Yamamoto and, 11, 83–84 GotЕЌ Toshio, 7, 21, 229, 230, 239 Page 251 →The Great White Tower (Shiroi kyotЕЌ), ix, xvii, 1n4, 3, 32, 209–11, 211nn31–32 Griffith, D. W., 73 Group Seven, 79 HaiyЕ«za, 168 Hakamada Satomi, 98–99, 98n14, n15 Hanabusa Yuriko, 11, 105 Hanai Ranko, 105, 133n7 Hara Setsuko: films, 8–9n37, 12, 81n1, 90n12, 94, 96, 105–6, 112n31; Hata no kai, 133n7; Yamamoto and, 114, 117 Hara Yasumi, 26, 142n23 Hattori HanzЕЌ, 198, 198n13 Hattori Kei, 238 Hayashi FubЕЌ, 100, 100n18 Hayashi Fusao, 74–75, 74–75n22, 76 Hayashi Hikaru, 28, 182n54, 184n56

Hidaka Sumiko, 26 Hidari Sachiko, 28, 169n31, 181–82, 181n53 Hidari Tokie, 28n97, 182 Hiiro Tomoe, 213 Hijikata Yoshi, 71, 71n14 Himeda Masahisa, 35, 47, 220 Hiroshima: atomic bomb, 94, 130, 154n10; films on, 20, 20–21n73, 154, 154n10, 164, 183 Hirotsu Kazuo, 151n7, 188n63 Hisaita Eijirō, 71, 71n12 Ho Chi Minh, 216 Honjō Incident, 141, 142, 147–48 Horiguchi Daigaku, 96, 96n10 Hosokawa Chikako, 86, 186n60 Huabei Film Company, 120, 121–22 The Human Wall (Ningen no kabe), xvi, 7, 27, 29, 183–84, 184n56 Ichikawa Fusae, 207, 207n25, 208, 239 Ichikawa Kon, 25, 41n128, 147n27, 177n48, 179n49 Ichikawa Raizō, 31, 63n12, 194–95, 194n4, 196–99 Ichikawa Sadanji II, 68, 68n5 Ide Masato, 49 Idemitsu Kōsan, 88, 88n10 Ieki Miyoji: xiv, career, 17, 30; films, 7n26, 24–25, 159, 168; Half Brothers (Ibo kyōdai), 164n21, 176 If Indeed One Loves (Ai sureba koso), xvi, 27, 167 Igawa Hisashi, 47 Ikebe Ryō, 1n2, 16, 72n16, 135, 142n23 Ikeda Hayato, ix, 40, 226nn47–48 Ikeuchi Yoshitoyo. See Itami Mansaku Imai Genji, Siberia’s Song (Shiberia no uta), 231 Imai Tadashi: And Live We Must (Dokkoi ikiteru), 19, 20, 149–51, 150n5; assistant directors, 94n4; career, 30; films, 1n2, 6, 7n26, 134–35, 168, 169, 169n31, 175n45, 244, 244n72; If Indeed One Loves (Ai sureba koso),

xvi, 27, 167; labor union, 134; New Star Film Company, 18, 149; political purge, 17; TЕЌhЕЌ labor strikes and, 54n3, 138n17; wartime films, 12; The Yamabiko School (Yamabiko gakkЕЌ), 20, 20n73, 154, 154n10 imperialism, 14, 15–16, 34, 36, 47, 216 independent films in Japan: actors, 157; association, 140; distribution, 23–25, 26–27, 141–42, 167–68, 176, 180, 183; financing, 29, 141, 150, 176–77, 178, 180, 183, 212–13; Japan Art Theater Guild, 32–33, 212; obstacles, 23–25, 158–59, 167; political context, 17–18, 19; pornography, 212. See also New Star Film Company; North Star Trading Company Independent Film Studio/Central Film Studio (Dokuritsu Eiga-sha/ChЕ«ЕЌ Eiga-sha), 26–27, 159, 167, 168, 176 Ishihara Kanji, 35 Ishihara YЕ«jirЕЌ, 35 Ishikawa Goemon, 31, 195, 197, 197n11, 198, 199 Ishikawa Takuboku, 137, 137n15 Ishikawa TatsuzЕЌ: Annular Eclipse (Kinkanshoku), 3, 40, 45, 48, 226; career, 184n55; The Human Wall (Ningen no kabe), 29, 183, 184; The Tycoon (Kizudarake no sanga), 31, 200, 201 Itagaki SeishirЕЌ, 35 Itami JЕ«zЕЌ, 62 Itami Mansaku, 8, 8–9n37, 62, 105, 105n23 ItЕЌ Daisuke, xiii, 63, 63nn12–13, 79–80 ItЕЌ TakerЕЌ: in documentary, 6n25; films produced, 29, 132n6, 244; New Star Film Company, 18, 149; shaved ice business, 140–41; TЕЌhЕЌ labor strikes and, 132, 132n6, 138n17, 139; Yamamoto and, 194 ItЕЌ YЕ«nosuke, 197, 197n10 Itochu Corporation, 228, 228n51 Itoya Toshio, 190n66 It’s Paradise When One Sings (Utaeba tengoku), xv, 106–7 Iwano Masataka, 245 Iwasaki Akira, 4n16, 13, 21, 23n81, 28–29, 75n24, 138n17, 150, 150n4, 155n11 Iwashita Shunsaku, The Life of Wild Matsu (MuhЕЌmatsu no isshЕЌ), 110, 110n30 Page 252 →Izu Hajime, 16, 18, 135 Izumi KyЕЌka, 57, 57n2 Japan Art Theater Guild, 32–33, 212, 212n35 Japanese Air Self-Defense Force, 227–28n50, 230–31, 231n54

Japanese army: barracks, 156–57, 158; conscription, 113–14; February 26 Incident (1936), 3, 35; fighter planes and pilots, 109; infantry, 118–19; Intelligence Bureau, 110; in Philippines, 25; physical abuse, 14, 21–23, 37–38, 116–17, 118, 154–55, 157; physical examinations, 113, 114; Press Corps, 117–18, 119–25, 126–28; propaganda films, 109–12; Yamamoto’s return to Japan from China, 126–28, 129; Sakura Regiment, 14n54, 21, 114–15, 156–57, 158; Yamamoto’s experiences in China, 4–5, 13–15, 21–23, 43, 108, 113–28. See also Japanese Self-Defense Forces; Second Sino-Japanese War; The Vacuum Zone Japanese Communist Party (JCP): arrests of members, 79n27, 80; Diet members, 19, 150, 150n4, 151; influence on Yamamoto, 42, 48–49; members, 54n3, 62, 79–80, 98n14, 147; newspaper, 151n8, 194–95, 234, 245–46n76; Red Purge, 17, 19–20, 31, 43, 151–52, 151n8, 195; Sugō Incident, 174–76, 176n46; suppression, 152, 186, 186n58; suspected spies in, 98–99, 98n15; Tōhō labor strikes and, 54n3; Yamamoto’s membership, 4, 15, 43, 54n3, 136, 229 Japanese military: Air Self-Defense Force, 227–28n50, 230–31, 231n54; militarization, 74; navy, 231n54, 244; war plane procurement scandal, 41, 227–28n50, 227–29, 230. See also Japanese army Japanese Self-Defense Forces, 3, 196, 235–36, 245 Japan Foundation, 7 Japan Lawyers Association for Freedom (Jiyū Hōsōdan), 202–3, 203n20 Japan Proletarian Cultural Alliance, 91, 91n13 Japan Proletarian Film League (Prokino), 75–76, 75n24 Japan Socialist Party, 2n8, 179n49, 187, 187n61 Japan Teachers Union. See Nikkyōso JCP. See Japanese Communist Party Jō Kenzaburō (Wakayama Tomisaburō), 196–97, 196–97n9 kabuki theater: actors, 68, 172–74, 172n40, 194–95, 196–97; conventions, 69–70, 70n9; films about troupes, 168–69; performances, 64; playwrights, 168n27. See also Zenshin-za Kagawa Kyōko, 29, 39, 172, 184n56 Kaikō Ken: career, 203n21; Labyrinth at the Corner (Katasumi no meiro), 206, 208; The Witness’ Chair (Shōnin no isu), 32; witness-thief and, 203–4 Kamei Fumio: arrest, 103; collaboration with, 2, 135; documentaries, 13, 102–3; films, 6, 7n26, 12, 13, 54n3, 102n22, 133n8; labor union, 134; New Star Film Company, 149; political purge, 17, 139; shaved ice business, 140–41; Tōhō labor strikes and, 54n3, 138n17, 139, 139n19. See also War and Peace Kanasu Takashi, 82 Karlovy Vary Film Festival, 25, 162–64, 164n21 Kasugai Hideo, 76, 77 Katagiri Naoki: career, 162n18; United Vietnam (Tonnyatto Betonamu), 227; extras strike, 161–62; Yamamoto Satsuo the Film Director (Eiga-kantoku Yamamoto Satsuo), 6 Katakura Teru, Water from Hakone (Hakone yōsui), 152

KatЕЌ Tai, 243, 243n69 KatЕЌ Yoshi, 23n80, 155n11, Katsura Michiko, 26, 166n24 Kawaguchi MatsutarЕЌ, 100 Kawarazaki ChЕЌjЕ«rЕЌ, 20, 149n2, 150n5, 152n9 Kawasaki Tamotsu, 165, 165n22, 167 Kawatake Mokuami, 168, 168n29 Kawazoe ShirЕЌ, 72, 77 Kido ShirЕЌ, 83 Kim Dong, 33, 214, 214n38 Kim Il-sung, 105 Kimura Isao, 20n73, 21, 150n5, 154n10, 155n11, 157 Kinoshita Junji: plays, 172n41; Scarlet Battle Coat (Akai jinbaori), 172–73; Yamamoto and, 174 Kinoshita Keisuke, 4, 33n108, 41n128, 170n33, 177–78, 177n48, 179nn49–50 Kinugasa Teinosuke, 13n52, 54n3, 65, 133, 133n9, 134, 135 Kiritachi Noboru, 11, 93n2 Kishida KyЕЌko, 35 Kishi Hatae, 16, 18, 19n71, 26, 46, 135, 137, 142n23, 150n5 Kishi Teruko, 28 Kitabayashi Tanie, 184n56, 207, 207n25 KitaЕЌji Kinya, 35, 35n113, 36, 39, 47n140, 218 Kiyama Hiroshi, 70 Kobayashi Chigusa, 173, 188, 239–40 Page 253 →Kobayashi IchizЕЌ, 140, 140n20 Kobayashi KyЕ«zЕЌ: The August without the Emperor (KЕЌtei no inai hachigatsu), 233–34; career, 233n57 Kobayashi Masaki, 3, 4, 16n62, 34, 41n128, 86n8, 177n48 Kobayashi Masako, 150, 150n4 Kobayashi Setsuo, xix, 31, 40, 42 Kobayashi Takiji, 10, 25, 35, 43, 71, 71n15, 82, 94n4, 186n58

Kodama Yoshio, 227–28n50 Kojima Yoshifumi, 161–62, 162n18, 213 Kon Hidemi, 96, 96n11 Korea: film industry, 103, 104; under Japanese rule, 47, 103–4; ninjas, 198; North Korean films, 105; Yamamoto’s visit, 103–4 Korean War, 20, 105, 135–36, 152 Kosaka Tetsuto, 152 Kubo Kazuo, 25, 187 Kubo Sakae, 69–70, 69n8, 70n10 Kumagai Hisatora, 106 Kunikida Torao, 76 Kurahara Korehito, 35, 69n7, 91nn13–14 Kurihara Komaki, 35, 36n114, 38, 218, 244n72 Kurogane Yasumi, 226n48 Kurosawa Akira: films, 30n102, 54n3, 94n3, 133n8, 134, 177n48, 197n10, 224n46; international recognition, 4n16, 6, 177n48; labor union, 134; screenplays, 109; Tōhō labor strikes and, 140 Kusuda Kiyoshi, 137, 138n17, 139, 152 Kuzuryū Dam, ix, 226, 226n47 Kyō Machiko, 39, 39n123, 40, 224n45 Labor-Farmer Party, 2, 44, 185–86, 185n57, 186nn58–59 labor strikes: in 1960, 185; by film extras, 161–62; Yamaichi, 243–44, 243–44n71. See also Tōhō labor strikes Labor Union for Japanese Films and Theater. See Nichieien Labor Union for Transportation Workers, 184–85 labor unions: assistance with films, 213–14; extras from, 186–87, 213; in film industry, 132; films about, 159–64, 168–69, 212–14; films financed by, 29, 154n10, 183–85; in postwar period, 132, 135–36, 136n13, 151; teachers’, 29, 154n10, 183–84 Labyrinth (Meiro), 15, 38n121, 49, 245–46, 246n77 Liberal Democratic Party, 29, 221, 226, 230 Lockheed Corporation, 227–28n50, 229, 230, 230n53 Lubitsch, Ernst, 10, 73n19, 83n5 MacArthur, Douglas, 135–36, 136n13, 151n8. See also Occupation forces

Madam with a Ribbon (Ribon o musubu fujin), xv, 12, 101 Maeda Minoru, 26n89, 28, 134, 156, 162 Mainichi Film Competition, 41–42 Manchuria: films set in, 49; Harbin, 108; Japanese atrocities, 49; Japanese defeat, 122; Japanese immigrants, 106–7, 108–9; Japanese oil companies, 88n10; Japanese rule, 107n26; Kwantung Army, 34, 35, 49, 107n26, 108, 228; war in, 4–5, 35; Yamamoto’s visit, 5n20, 107–9 Manchurian Film Association (Man’ei), 5n20, 26n89, 107–8, 107n26, 122, 129n2, 150n4 Manchurian Incident, 34–35 Mano Shigeo, 224 March 15 Incident (1928), 34, 34–35n112, 186, 186n58, 187, 217 Maruyama Sadao, 86 Maruyama Seiji, 106, 144–45, 146 Marx, Karl, 1n1, 9, 10, 71 Marxism, 43 Masaki Hiroshi, 175 Masaoka Shiki, 60 Masuda KentarЕЌ, 33–34, 214, 215 Matsui Minoru, 90 Matsukawa Incident, 19, 151, 151n7, 188–91, 189n64, 202–5 The Matsukawa Incident (Matsukawa jiken), xvi, 3n12, 183, 188–91, 190n66 Matsumoto SeichЕЌ, 207, 207–8n26 Matsuyama, 58, 60–61 Matsuyama Middle School, 8, 61, 62–63 Matsuyama ZenzЕЌ, 179, 179n50 Matsuzaka Keiko, 49 Mayama Miho, The Story of the Ichikawa BagorЕЌ Troupe (Ichikawa BagorЕЌ ichiza tenmatsuki), 168 Mayama Seika, 95n6, 168, 168n27 Meguro YЕ«ki, 39 Men and War: [A Trilogy] (SensЕЌ to ningen [sanbusaku]), xviii; battle scenes, 218–21; cast, 35, 37, 37n116, 157n13, 217–18; characters, 35–37, 38–39, 44, 44n133, 217–18; as epic, 3; filming, 37, 37n115, 217–21; historical background, 34–36, 37–38; importance, 34; length, 34; motivation, 15–16, 216, 221; Page 254 →narrative, 34–35; original plans, 38, 216–17; part 1, Fate’s Overture (Unmei no

jokyoku), xviii, 216–17; part 2, A Land of Love and Sorrow (Ai to kanashimi no sanga), xviii, 47, 218; part 3, The Conclusive Chapter (Kanketsu-hen), xviii, 38–39, 128, 218–19; political message, 47; reactions, 221–23; shortcomings, 37 Meyerhold, Karl, 68 Mifune Toshirō, 18, 110n30, 137 Mihara Junko, 42 Mikuni Rentarō: Annular Eclipse, 40, 40n124, 45; The August without the Emperor, 48–49n144; career, 24n85, 179n49; in documentary, 6n25; films, 110n30, 181n53; Men and War, 35, 37n116; Nomugi Pass, 53n1; Song of the Cart-Pullers, 24n85, 28, 179, 180, 181, 182, 182n54; Story of a Japanese Thief, 190n65, 204, 205; television appearance, 7n26 military. See Japanese military; Occupation forces Mimura Akira, 94, 94n3 Mingei, 237 Minobe Tatsukichi, 35 Mishima Masao, 86, 86n8, 142n23, 170n35 Mitaka Incident, 19, 151, 151n7, 175n45, 203n20 Miura Ayako, Freezing Point (Hyōten), 208, 209n28 Miyaguchi Seiji, 26 Miyako Tokuko, 160, 162, 179, 188, 203, 238n63 Miyoshi Jūrō, 68, 68n4 Mizoguchi Kenji, 4n16, 89 Mizuki Yōko, 92n15 Mochimaru Kanji, 237–38, 238n63 Mochizuki Yūko, 28, 179, 179n49, 181, 182 Modern Film Association (Kindai Eiga Kyōkai), 18, 149 montage theory, 9, 73, 166 Mori Iwao, 90, 94, 103, 110 Morikawa Tokihisa, 241 Morimura Seiichi, The Devil’s Gluttony (Akuma no hōshoku), 15, 49, 245, 245–46n76 Mother’s Song (Haha no kyoku and sequel), xv, 11–12, 94–96, 105–6, 130 Murayama Tomoyoshi: A Band of Assassins (Shinobi no mono), 31, 194–95, 194n5, 199; career, 69n7; novels, 90–91, 91n14; plays, 69; The Responsibility of Kissing (Seppun no sekinin), 11, 90; Yamamoto and, 11, 69,

90–92 Nagahama Fujio, 70 Nagata Masaichi: career, 194n2; as Dai’ei head, 30, 30n102, 194; Yamamoto’s films and, 31, 194–95, 197, 198–99, 200, 201, 206, 207 Nagata Tetsuzan, 35 Nagatsuka Takashi, 29 Nakadai Tatsuya: Annular Eclipse, ix, 40, 48, 157n13, 226, 226n48; The Barren Zone, 41, 227n50; films, 6n24, 169, 169n30, 191n67; on Naruse, 92n15; One Splendid Family, 39; television appearance, 6, 7n26; Yamamoto and, 24n85 Nakamura Kankurō (Kanzaburō XVIII), 35n113, 174, 174n44 Nakamura Kanzaburō XVII, 172–74, 172n40 Nakamura Kusatao, 8n35, 9, 9n39, 61, 62 Nakamura Meiko, 105 Nakatani Ichirō, 44 Nakayama Wataru, 177–78 Namikii Kōzō, 70 Nanbara Kōji, 176 Naraoka Tomoko, 3n15, 20–21n73, 154n10, 206 Naruse Mikio: actors and, 91–92, 92n15; apprenticeship with, 11, 81–83, 84–90; career, 81n1, 90, 90n12; Chiba Sachiko and, 86–88, 88n9; childhood, 90; films, 81–85, 131, 133n8; labor union, 134; Tōhō labor strikes and, 140; Yamamoto and, 10, 88–90, 93, 95 National Farmers Film Association. See Zennōei National Mobilization Law (Kokka Sōdōin-hō), 102 national policy films (kokusaku eiga), 12, 13n52, 102, 102n21, 107, 109–12 Natsume Sōseki, 93n2 The New Earth (Atarashiki tsuchi), 105, 105n23 New Liberal Press (Jiyū Shimpō), 221 New Star Film Company (Shinsei Eigasha): establishment, 18, 149, 152; films produced, 19, 21, 149–51, 152–58, 167; financial problems, 26, 154, 167; merger with North Star, 19, 151; staff, 160 “new-style play” (shinpa-geki), 94–95, 94–95n6 The New Tange Sazen: The Chapter of the Two-Armed Swordsman (Shinpen Tange Sazen: Sōshu-hen), xv, 12, 100–101

New York Times, 1, 3 Nichieien (Nihon Eiga Engeki RЕЌdЕЌ Kumiai; Labor Union for Japanese Films and Theater), 132, 132n6, 141, 142, 148. See also TЕЌhЕЌ labor strikes Nichigeki Theater, 95 Nihonyanagi Hiroshi, 26 Page 255 →Nikkatsu Uzumaki Studio, 24n84, 37, 38, 79, 86, 159, 167, 216. See also Men and War NikkyЕЌso (Japan Teachers Union), 29, 154n10, 183–84 Ninja: A Band of Assassins (Shinobi no mono), xvii, 3n14, 31, 194–97 Ninja: A Band of Assassins—A Sequel (Zoku Shinobi no mono), xvii, 3n14, 31, 197–98 ninjas: interest in, 197–99; ninjutsu, 196, 198 Nishiguchi Katsumi, Yamasen, 184–85, 185n57 Nishimura KЕЌ: career, 157n13; in documentary, 6n25; films, 23n80, 39, 48, 157, 157n13, 161, 190n66; other actors and, 181, 182n54 Nitani Hideaki, 35, 39 Nogami Yaeko, Labyrinth (Meiro), 15, 38n121, 49, 245–46, 246n77 Noma Hiroshi: The Vacuum Zone (ShinkЕ« chitai), 14, 21–22, 115n2, 154, 155–56, 155n11; wartime experiences, 155n12 Nomugi Pass, 237n62, 239 Nomugi Pass (ДЂ Nomugi TЕЌge), xviii, 3n13, 41–42, 53, 53n1, 224–25, 236–41, 242 Nomugi Pass: A New Chapter (ДЂ Nomugi TЕЌge), xix, 42, 243–44 Nomura Hiromasa, Aizen-katsura, 11 Nomura HЕЌtei, 81 North Korean films, 105. See also Korea North Star Trading Company (Hokusei ShЕЌji), 18, 19, 20–21, 24–25, 149, 150–51, 154, 158–59 North Vietnamese films: documentaries, 214; Kim Dong, 33, 214, 214n38. See also Vietnam Numazaki Isao, 133, 133n8 ЕЊba Hideo, And What Is Your Name? (Kimi no na wa?), 11 Occupation forces: film of destruction from atomic bombs, 94; hiding from, 131; Japanese film industry and, 131–32, 139–40; lawyers, 148; policies, 19; suppression of labor movement, 132n5, 135–36, 136n13, 151; TЕЌhЕЌ labor strikes and, 17, 22n79, 53–54n2, 139 Oda Nobunaga, 194n5, 196nn7–8, 197, 198 ЕЊhara YЕ«gaku, 232–33, 232n56

Ōizumi Kenzō, 98, 98n15 Okada Eiji, 1n2, 20n73, 25, 154n10, 244n72 Okada Yoshiko, 165, 165n22, 166–67 Oka Jōji, 11, 109–10n28 Ōkawa Hiroshi, 205–6 Ōkōchi Denjirō, 12, 16, 63n12, 89n11, 100n18, 101, 133 Ōkuma Toshio, 68–69 Ōmura Einosuke, 84 One Splendid Family (Karei-naru ichizoku), xviii, 3, 39–40, 39nn122–23, 48, 223–25 Osanai Kaoru, 63–64, 63n13, 68n5, 69n8, 71n14 Ōsawa Yutaka, 207 Ōsugi Sakae, 107, 122 Ōtake Shinobu, 41, 53n1, 232n55, 238 Ōtani Takejirō, 168, 172, 174, 201 Ozawa Eitarō, 41, 48, 169 Ozawa Kōji, 189, 190n66 Ozawa Shōichi, 24n85, 169 Ozu Yasujirō, 4n16, 10, 81, 89, 106, 165n22, 170n33 Pacific War: atomic bombs, 28n96, 94, 130, 154n10; filmmaking during, 109–10; films on, 25, 244–45; Japanese navy, 231n54; novels set during, 245–46; in Philippines, 25; surrender, 125–26. See also Japanese army pacifism, 15–16, 43, 136 The Pastoral Symphony (Den’en kōkyōgaku), xv, 12, 96–97, 96n9 PCL. See Photo Chemical Laboratories Peace Preservation Law (Jian Ijihō): arrests of violators, 62, 77–78n25, 98n14, 103, 155n12, 186n58; passage, 185; revision, 34–35n112, 79n27, 185n57, 186 peasants. See farmers The Pen Does Not Lie: Town of Violence (Pen itsuwarazu: Bōryoku no machi). See Town of Violence The Peony Lantern (Botan dōrō), xvii, 211 Photo Chemical Laboratories (PCL): actors, 86; establishment, 83n4, 84; Yamamoto as apprentice, 11, 83, 84–92

Picture-Perfect Group (Madoka gurЕ«pu), 170, 170n33 police: harassment from, 153, 154; SugЕЌ Incident, 174–76, 176n46; TЕЌhЕЌ labor strikes and, 17, 138–39; Yamamoto’s detention, 11, 77–78. See also Special Higher Police Prague, Karlovy Vary Film Festival, 25, 162–64, 164n21 Progressive Troupe. See Zenshin-za Prokino (Nihon Puroretaria Eiga DЕЌmei; Japan Proletarian Film League), 75–76, 75n24, 150n4 Pudovkin, Vsevelod, 9, 72, 73, 165, 165n23 Red Flag. See Akahata Red Purge, 17, 19–20, 31, 43, 151–52, 151n8, 195 Red Water (Akai mizu), xvii, 199 Page 256 →right-wingers: assassinations by, 2n8, 186-87; in film industry, 194, 244–45; as threat, 187–88; threats from, 236; Yamamoto criticized by, 53–54; youth, 236 Rising Storm over Hakone (Hakone FЕ«unroku), xvi, 4, 20, 44, 152–54, 152n9 rural life. See farmers; Song of the Cart-Pullers Saburi Shin, 39, 48–49n144, 170n33, 224n44, 235, 235n59 Sada Keiji, 170, 170n33, 170n35 SaitЕЌ Shigeo, 207 Sakuma Yoshiko, 35, 190n65 Salvation Hunters (Sternberg), 10, 64–65, 64–65n15 Sano ShЕ«ji, 170, 170n33 Sasaki Keisuke, 81 SatЕЌ Eisaku, 227n50 SatЕЌ IchirЕЌ, 223 SatЕЌ Masaru, 35, 39–40, 42, 47, 48–49n144, 224–25, 224–25n46 SatЕЌ Tadao, 7n27, 21, 29n99, 54n3, Sawachi Hisae, 37, 37–38n118 Sayuri Productions, 237 Scarlet Battle Coat (Akai jinbaori), xvi, 172–74 Searing Wind (NeppЕ«), xv, 12, 110–12, 112n31, 121, 133n8 Second Sino-Japanese War: beginning, 35; end, 125–26; films set during, 35–39, 135; Japanese atrocities, 14–15, 49, 124, 127, 216; Luoyang battle, 122–25; tensions in Harbin, 108; Yamamoto’s experiences,

4–5, 13–15, 21–23, 43, 108, 115–28. See also China; Men and War Sejima Ryūzō, 228, 228n51 Sekigawa Hideo: background, 97; career, 30, 152; films, 24, 54n3, 97n13, 165n22; Hiroshima, 7n26, 97n13, 159, 183; Tōhō labor strikes and, 138; Yamamoto and, 97, 152 Setouchi Jakuchō, 207, 207n25 The Shadow Army (Kage no guntai), 234 Shibuya Minoru, 82, 179n50 Shigematsu Tsurunosuke: arrest and imprisonment, 80, 97, 98–99; JCP membership, 9n38, 62, 79–80; painting, 62, 79, 99; political activism, 99; suicide, 9n38, 12, 43n131, 62, 97–100; Yamamoto and, 8–9, 43, 61–63, 72, 79–80, 97 Shikanai Nobutaka, 72, 72n16 Shimada Seijirō, This World (Chijō), 67, 67n2 Shimazu Yasujirō, 10, 81, 83n5, 129, 129n2, 170n33, 177n48 Shimomoto Tsutomu, 21, 44, 155n11, 157, 186n60 Shimoyama Incident, 19, 151, 151n7 Shin Kinzō, 70, 70n11, 162n19 Shindō Kaneto: Children of Hiroshima (Genbaku no ko), 20, 20–21n73, 154, 154n10, 164; films, 6, 18–19n70, 149n1; Modern Film Association, 18, 149; screenplays, 31, 67n2, 189 shingeki theater: actors, 10, 22, 67, 70, 78, 86, 95, 157; suppression, 72; Yamamoto’s interest in, 10; Yamamoto’s participation, 68–71, 78 Shinobu Setsuko, 83 Shin-Tōhō (New Tōhō) studio: distribution of independent films, 27, 180, 183; establishment, 16, 133, 133n7, 134; films, 134, 136, 140; five-studio agreement, 24, 24n84, 30n102; production decrease, 193 Shōchiku: actors, 86, 170, 179; art department, 234; distribution by, 170; films, 65; films paired with independent productions, 167–68; five-studio agreement, 24, 24n84, 30n102; in wartime, 110; Yamamoto and, 5n20, 201, 233–34; Yamamoto as apprentice, 11, 80, 81–84; Yamamoto’s films, 49, 245–46 Sino-Japanese War. See Second Sino-Japanese War The Sisters’ Agreement (Shimai no yakusoku), xv, 12, 105 Slave Factory (Dorei kōjō), xvii, 212–14 Societies for the Preservation of Culture, 18, 149 Society for the Preservation of Renowned Independent Films (Dokuritsu Puro Meiga Hozonkai), 6–7 Society for the Protection of Matsukawa (Matsukawa o Mamoru-kai), 188, 190 Solntseva, Yuliya Ippolitovna, 166, 166n25

Song of the Cart-Pullers (Niguruma no uta), xvi; awards, 214; cast, 24n85, 28, 28n97, 179, 181–82, 182n54; characters, 28n96, 44, 45; depiction of rural life, 28–29, 29n99, 178, 180; distribution, 180; filming, 180, 181–82; financing, 27, 176–78, 180, 232; imagery, 28; narrative, 178; recognition, 7; screenings for farmers, 180, 181, 183; screenplay, 179; theme, 2 Soviet Union: film directors, 9, 166n25, 241, 241n67; film festivals, 104–5, 211; filming in, 219–21; films, 72–73, 165; German invasion, 108, 111; Japanese in, 165, 165n22, 166–67; montage theory, 9, 73, 166; Red Army, 219, 220; Siberian internment camps, 41, 228, 230, 231; visit, 164–67 Page 257 →Special Higher Police, 11, 71n15, 77, 77–78n25, 95–96, 98n15, 198 The Spy (Supai), xvii, 206 Stella Dallas, 11, 94, 94n5 Sternberg, Josef von, Salvation Hunters, 10, 64–65, 64–65n15 Stone, Oliver, 5 Story of a Japanese Thief (Nippon dorobЕЌ monogatari), xvii, 190, 190n65, 202–6, 206n23 A Story of Tokyo’s Labor Negotiations (Tokyo sЕЌgidan monogatari), 212 Streets without the Sun (TaiyЕЌ no nai machi), xvi; cast, 26; characters, 45; filming, 25–26, 26n89, 159–62; foreign showings, 162–64, 166; music, 46; novel, 2, 25, 25n88, 159, 166; recognition, 6, 25 Sugawara Kenji, 169, 170n35 Sugimoto RyЕЌkichi, 71, 71nn12–13, 165n22 Sugimura Haruko, 90n12, 213 Sugiura Mimpei: career, 169–70n32; hometown, 170n34; Red Water (Akai mizu), 199; The Story of Typhoon Number Thirteen (TaifЕ« jЕ«sangЕЌ shimatsuki), 169, 170–71 SugЕЌ Incident, 174–76, 176n46 Susukida Kenji, 26 Suzuki Mizuho, 36 Tachibana YЕ«ten: as assistant director, 160–61; career, 94n4; films, 160, 160n15; Give Back My Humanity (Ningen o kaese), 94, 160, 161n17; Open Ditch School (Dobugawa gakkyЕ«), 214; on Yamamoto, 46 Takada Minoru, 96 Takahashi Etsushi, 36n114, 38, 40, 44, 234n58 Takahashi Hideki, 35, 218 Takaiwa Hajime, 173, 195, 204 Takamine Hideko, 12, 81n1, 90n12, 92n15, 93n2, 110n30, 133n7, 179, 179n50 Takeda Atsushi: China visit, 241; at Dai’ei, 225, 241–42; as director, 213; documentary on Matsukawa, 189–90; family, 188; Okinawa, 214; witness-thief and, 204; on Yamamoto, 45–46; Yamamoto and, 49, 154

Taketani Mitsuo, 179, 179n51 Takizawa Eisuke, 134 Takizawa Osamu, 10, 20–21n73, 35, 38, 44n133, 48–49n144, 70n10, 71n12, 86, 147n27, 154n10, 179n49, 200, 211 Tamiya Jirō, 30n102, 39, 209n29, 211, 211n31 Tamura Taijirō, 120, 120n4 Tamura Takahiro, 35, 37n116, 211, 211n31 Tanaka Chikao, 96 Tanaka Kakuei, 227–28n50 Tanaka Kinuyo, 81n1, 82, 90n11, 162n19, 170n33 Tanaka Shōji, 226n47 Taniguchi Senkichi, 1n2, 72, 72n16, 77, 84, 94n3 Tasaka Kei, 40 Ten-Foot Movement, 94 The Tengu Gang (Tengutō), xviii, 199, 211–12, 216 The Tempō Outlaws of the Marsh (Tempō Suikoden Ōhara Yūgaku), xviii, 232–33, 232n55 textile workers, 238–39, 240–41, 243–44 The Town (Machi), xv, 12, 101 theater: student play, 75, 76; troupes, 29, 68. See also kabuki theater; shingeki theater Todaka Kiminori, 175–76, 176n46 Tōei studio, 24, 167, 204–6, 244–45 Tōhō Films: distribution by, 227; five-studio agreement, 24, 24n84, 30n102; formation, 11, 83n4, 94; Gei’ensha, 223, 227; Nichigeki Theater, 95; in postwar period, 131–32, 134–37, 140; rivalry with ShinTōhō, 134, 135, 136; theaters, 130; in wartime, 12, 110; Yamamoto’s films, 4, 11–12, 16, 135–37, 223, 244 Tōhō labor strikes: background, 131–32, 136–37; grievances, 132; impact, 17–18, 140; leaders, 132, 132n6, 139, 139n19; participants, 54n3, 137, 138n17, 244; right-wingers on, 53–54; second, 132–34; third, 16–17, 53–54nn2–3, 137–40; timeframe, 53–54nn2–3 Tōjō Hideki, 35, 245 Tokuma Yasuyoshi, 225 Tokunaga Sunao, Streets without the Sun (Taiyō no nai machi), 2, 25, 25n88, 159, 166 Tomono Yoemon, 152, 152n9

Tone Harue, 158 TЕЌno EijirЕЌ, 20n73, 32, 154n10, 169, 169n30, 186n60, 200n17, 211n31 Tosaka Jun, 35 Town of Violence (BЕЌryoku no machi), xvi; cast, 142n23, 165n22; commercial success, 18, 142, 148, 149; filming, 20, 142–48; financing and distribution, 141–42; narrative, 141; recognition, 6, 142n23; theme, 18; title, 142 Toyoda ShirЕЌ, 134 Toyoko Film, 152 Tretyakov, Sergei: Gas Masks, 68, 68n6; Roar China!, 68, 68n3 Tsukiji Little Theatre: actors, 78, 86, 86n8; associated troupes, 68; establishment, 63n13, 71n14; performances, 65, 67, 69–71; set designer, 82; Yamamoto and, 10, 43 Tsukioka Yumeji, 39 Page 258 →Tsuruta KЕЌji, 25 Tsushima Keiko, 169, 244n72 Tsutsumi Masako, 86, 91 Turin, Victor, 73, 73n17 The Tycoon (Kizudarake no sanga), xvii, 1n4, 31–32, 200–201, 200n17 Typhoon Furor (TaifЕ« sЕЌdЕЌki), xvi, 169–71 Uchida Tomu, 28–29, 79, 179n49, 181n53, 237 Ueki Teruo, 204 Uemura Yasuji, 83n4, 84, 84n6 Umezaki Haruo, 25 unions. See labor unions United States: consulate, 229; films, 10, 11, 64–65, 73, 94, 222; Lockheed Corporation, 227–28n50, 229, 230, 230n53; Yamamoto’s visits, 229–30. See also Korean War; Occupation forces; Vietnam War US-Japan Security Treaty (Anpo), 48, 185, 187, 228–29 United Vietnam, (Tonnyatto Betonamu), xviii, 9, 227 Uno JЕ«kichi: career, 70n10, 78, 86; as director, 162, 162n19; films, ix, 20–21n73, 29, 70n10, 142n23, 184n56, 185, 190n66; military service, 114–15; Yamamoto and, xiv, 10, 70, 114–15, 162, 237 Ushihara Kiyohiko, 10, 65 Utako’s Story (Konna onna ni dare ga shita), xv, 18 The Vacuum Zone (ShinkЕ« chitai), xvi; antiwar theme, 23n81; cast, 23n80, 157, 158; characters, 45; depiction of

military brutality, 1n3, 22–23, 23n80, 155–56, 157; distribution, 154; filming, 14n54, 21, 22–23, 156–57, 158; impact on independent filmmaking, 23; narrative, 154–55; novel, 14n55, 21–22, 154; reactions, 157–58; recognition, 6, 23n80 Vidor, King, Stella Dallas, 11, 94, 94n5 Vietnam: Tonnyatto Betonamu, xviii, 9, 227; North Vietnamese films, 33, 214, 214n38; Yamamoto’s visits, 15–16, 214–15, 216, 227 Vietnam (Betonamu), xvii, 33–34, 214–16 Vietnam War, 33–34, 214–16, 227 Wakao Ayako, 32, 200n17, 209n28 Wakayama Tomisaburō. See Jō Kenzaburō War and Peace (Sensō to heiwa), xv, 1, 1n2, 15, 16, 54n3, 135–36 war plane procurement scandal, 41, 227–28n50, 227–29, 230 Waseda University, 1, 1n1, 11, 58, 71–72, 76, 77 Watanabe Kunio, 13n52, 100, 100n20, 101, 133 Watanabe Tetsuzō, 136–37, 137n14 Watase Tsunehiko, 48, 48–49n144, 233n57, 236 Wellman, William A., 73, 73n20 White Birch School (Shirakaba-ha), 8, 8n36, 62 The Wings of Triumph (Tsubasa no gaika), xv, 12, 109, 109–10n28 With Father in the Breeze (Soyo kaze chichi to tomoni), xv, 103 The Witness’ Chair (Shōnin no isu), xvii, 3, 3n15, 32, 206–8 Wolf, Friedrich, 69–70, 69n7 women: farmers, 27, 176–78, 180; textile workers, 238–39, 240–41, 243–44 World War II: German invasion of Soviet Union, 108, 111. See also Pacific War Xi’an Incident, 35 Yachigusa Kaoru, 41, 72n16 Yamada Isuzu, 12, 16, 90n12, 133, 133n7, 152n9 Yamada Nobuo, 39, 41, 45, 228, 237, 238 Yamada Yōji, 6n25, 41n128, 158, 158n14, 241 Yamagata Yūsaku: screenplays, 22, 154, 169, 185, 189; Tōhō labor strikes and, 22n79, 138n17, 139

Yamagishi Toyokichi, 177, 236–37 Yamaichi Labor Strike, 243–44, 243–44n71 Yamamoto Gaku (nephew), 36n114, 38, 40n126, 58, 218 Yamamoto Gennosuke (father), 8, 57–60, 63, 77, 117–18 Yamamoto Isoroku, 244 Yamamoto KajirЕЌ, 93n1, 134, 140 Yamamoto Katsumi (brother), 58–60, 61, 63–64, 78, 129–31 Yamamoto Kei (nephew), 35, 48, 48n142, 58, 191n67, 218, 220, 236 Yamamoto Kenkichi (brother), 58–59, 61, 63, 64, 78, 130, 238 Yamamoto Nobu (mother), 8, 58, 59, 61, 77, 78, 130 Yamamoto Productions, 168, 169–70, 179, 183, 188, 203, 206 Yamamoto Satsuo: birth, 8, 58; childhood, 8–10, 58–65; children, 100, 131; Communist Party membership, 4, 15, 43, 54n3, 136, 229; conscription, 112, 113, 114; death, 49, 247; detention, 11, 77–78; education, 1n1, 8, 11, 61, 64, 65, 67–68, 71–72, 77; family, 8, 57–60, Page 259 →63–64, 78, 129–31; friends, 8–9, 10, 70, 72, 82, 97, 103–4, 120; health, 42, 113; house, 134; interest in theater, 10, 67–71, 72, 78; obituary, 1–2, 3; painting, 8, 8n35, 62; political views, 4, 10, 30, 42–44, 45, 48–49, 71–72, 95; student activism, 1n1, 11, 58, 74–77; wartime experiences in China, 4–5, 13–15, 21–23, 43, 108, 113–28; wife, 72, 115, 130, 131 Yamamoto Satsuo, filmmaking career: achievements, 1–4; antiwar films, 15–16, 23n81, 33–39, 49, 136, 245–46; apprenticeship as assistant director, 11, 78–80, 81–92; in Army Press Corps, 120–25; assistant directors, 45–46, 94, 97, 154, 160–61, 162n18, 173; challenging authority theme, 208, 209, 211; character studies, 48; commercial successes, 3, 18, 31–32, 40–41, 95, 100, 148, 158, 197, 208–9, 225, 227; creative vision, 43–47, 49n145; Dai’ei films, 31, 32, 47, 194–201, 206–12, 225–27, 232–33, 241–43, 245; early films, 11–12, 93–97, 99–101; filmography, awards, and recognition, xv–xix; foreign views of, 4–5; independent films, 4n17, 17–18, 20–23, 24, 27–30, 141–48, 152–58, 159–64, 168–91, 212–14; influences, 9–10, 72–73, 88–90, 93; international awards and festivals, 7, 25, 162–64, 211, 214; legacy, 6–7; national policy films, 12, 13n52, 109–12; period films, 194–98; political influences, 42–44, 48–49, 193–94, 195–96; political purge, 17, 43, 139–40; political themes, 4n17, 48; in postwar period, 132–34; retrospectives, 7; student film, 75–76; themes, 2–3; at TЕЌhЕЌ Films, 4, 11–12, 16, 135–37, 223, 244; unfinished films, 15, 49, 245–46. See also TЕЌhЕЌ labor strikes; and individual titles Yamamoto Satsuo the Film Director (Eiga-kantoku Yamamoto Satsuo), 6 Yamamoto Sen (nephew), 7, 58 Yamamoto Senji, 2, 2n8, 29, 44, 184–87, 185n57 Yamamoto Shigemi, Nomugi Pass (ДЂ Nomugi TЕЌge), 41, 237, 237n61 Yamamoto Shun (son), 243n69 Yamamoto Yasue, 172n41, 174

Yamamoto Yōko, 39, 39n123 Yamamoto Yoshie (wife), 24n85, 72, 115, 130, 131 Yamamura Sō, 25, 31–32, 159, 200, 201 Yamanaka Sadao, 89, 89n11, 94n3, 100n18, 149–50n2 Yamanouchi Hisashi, 244 Yamasaki Toyoko: The Barren Zone (Fumō chitai), 41, 225, 227, 227n50, 230, 231; career, 209n29; The Great White Tower (Shiroi kyotō), ix, 209, 209n29, 211; One Splendid Family (Karei-naru ichizoku), 39, 223, 224, 225; television appearances, 7n26, 46; on Yamamoto, 46, 230 Yamashiro Tomoe, Song of the Cart-Pullers (Niguruma no uta), 177–78, 177n48, 179 Yamazaki Sadato, 207 Yano Sen, 176 Yao Wenyuan, 222, 222n42 Yasumi Toshio, 13n52, 85, 135, 135n11, 168, 169 Yawata Steel Works (Yawata Seitetsujo), 110–12, 110n29 Yoda Yoshimasa, 179 Yokoo Yoshirō, 35, 217 Yoshihara Kōichirō, 234 Yoshimura Kōzaburō: films, 18–19n70, 67n2, 149n1, 159; If Indeed One Loves (Ai sureba koso), xvi, 27, 167; Modern Film Association, 18, 149 Yoshinaga Sayuri, 6n25, 35, 46n137, 48–49n144, 237 Yoshiya Nobuko: Family Diary (Katei nikki), 99–100; Mother’s Song (Haha no kyoku), 94; works, 93n1; Young Lady (Ojōsan), 11, 93 Young Lady (Ojōsan), xv, 11, 93–94 Yukawa Hideki, 145, 145n24, 179n51 Zatoichi the Outlaw (Zatōichi rōyaburi), xvii, 3n14, 211 Zennōei (Zenkoku Nōson Eiga Kyōkai; National Farmers Film Association), 177, 180, 191, 236–37 Zenshin-za (Progressive Troupe), 19, 20, 68, 149, 149–50n2, 150, 152, 154, 168 Zenshōren (Zenkoku Shōkōdantai Rengōkai), 241–42, 242n68, 243 Zhang Xueliang, 35 Zhang Zuolin, 34, 35, 217