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Archive for May 21st, 2013

vlcsnap-2012-04-17-07h48m11s228

by Allan Fish

(Japan 1951 123m) not on DVD

Aka. Genji Monogatari

Be happy

p  Masaichi Nagata  d  Kozaburo Yoshimura  w  Kaneto Shindo  book  Murasaki Shikibu  ph  Kohei Sugiyama  m  Akira Ifukube  art  Hiroshi Mizutani

Kazuo Hasegawa (Prince Genji Hikaru), Machiko Kyo (Lady Awaji), Michiyo Kogure (Lady Fujitsubo), Nobuko Otowa (Lady Murasaki), Mitsuko Mito Lady Aoi), Denjiro Okochi (The Harima Priest), Yuji Hori (Yoshinari), Chieko Soma (Lady Kiritsuba), Chieko Higashiyama (Concubine Kokiden), Eitaro Shindo (Minister of the Right), Ichiro Sugai (Minister of the Left), Sakae Ozawa (Emperor), Yuriko Hanabusa (Kuritsubo’s mother), Osamu Takizawa (Kiritsubo gomon), Kentaro Horima (Kashira), Yumiko Hasegawa (Oborozukiyo no kimi),

It’s hard to over-estimate the importance of Murasaki Shikibu’s book in Japanese culture.  It’s often seen as the first Japanese novel, indeed pretty much the world’s first novel.  It was written in the early 11th century, in which time Shikibu lived and worked as a lady in waiting at court.  Its story is one known by everyone in Japan from their childhood, but is virtually unknown to most westerners.

Set in the Heian period (the same period it was written in), Lady Kiritsuba is the favourite mistress of the then Emperor, but falls foul of the machinations of the bitter old favourite Kokiden.  The Emperor is forced to give her up and, though she gives him a son, Genji Hikaru, he’s superfluous to needs when Kokiden is preparing her son to succeed as crown prince.  Kiritsuba dies when Genji is a boy but when he’s grown to manhood the Emperor invites him to court as a minister, but still Kokiden will not bear to have him around.  Genji falls in love with a young girl, Fujitsubo, only to find that she’s destined to become the latest wife to his father.  Unable to be with her, he takes solace in the love of two other women; Murasaki, who loves him deeply, and the frivolous Awaji, who also flirts with her former beau, Yoshinari.  (more…)

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