Post War Japan

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Slim and Gabby
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Post War Japan

Postby Slim and Gabby » Mon Feb 16, 2009 2:34 pm

Gabby and I have become fascinated with Post War Japan, in that, they are “more western than westernersâ€￾. Apart from Kyu Sakamoto, it’s proving difficult to find Japanese music from that period; does anyone have any online sources for Japanese Oldies?
Some of the non-dubbed films we’ve enjoyed are:

Good Morning: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0053134/

Giants and Toys: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0051834/

Crazed Fruit: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0160440/

We’ve watched a lot from director Yasujiro Ozu, but apart from Good Morning they tend to be way too dry, and extremely redundant. We also love most of the sci-fi from that period, but prefer the bad dubbing ala Peter Fernandez, aka the voice of Speed Racer. Any suggestions?
Pen-gu-ins is pracatically chickinz, and I hates to see chickinz cry so much, I has to put’em outta ther mizzery!

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esl
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Post war Japan

Postby esl » Fri Feb 27, 2009 4:35 pm

Hi, I have been lurking for a little while and your post caused me finally to join. I too am fascinated with Post War Japan. That time is usually referred to in Japan as the Showa era(although technically that era started before the war and ended in 1989 most people use it to refer to the late 40's through to the sixties).

For me it is more personal as I was born in Japan in 1963 (father was in the Air Force) We moved to Phoenix when I was about 5, but we used to visit Japan frequently. As of 4 months ago I now live in Japan again in Yokohama and love it.

I am a big fan of Japanese cinema from the post war era. What is frequently called the "Second golden age" of Japanese films. Did you know that on average more films were produced in Japan than in the US during the mid 50's? I have all three of the films you mention and just love Good Morning and Giants and Toys. We lived off base in a housing area similar to the one depicted in Good Morning, probably why that film has a special place for me. Sadly so few Japanese films from that time are available with english subtitles. If you have not already seen them I would suggest these three films all recently available in the US with english subtitles.

Akira Kurosawa: High and Low. Its a suspense/police drama from 1964 and features some action on the just introduced bullet train.

Mikio Naruse: When a Woman Ascends the Stairs. About a Ginza bar hostess. Its from 1960 and stars the lovely Hideko Takamine. There are some great post war period sets of Ginza bars throughout this film.

Kenji Mizoguchi: Streets of Shame (Akasen Chitai). A 1955 story of a brothel full of women whose dreams and aspirations are constantly shattered by the socioeconomic realities surrounding them. Set in Tokyo’s Red Light District (the literal translation of the Japanese title).

I agree with your statement that they are “more western than westernersâ€￾. Their country destroyed they could pretty much start from scratch and emulated the culture of their occupiers. This was especially true of the young who did not know the pre-war time.

Regardring music from the time. I know I could get some in stores here in Japan but I do not know of any site that focuses on that musical time period. One very very popular singer from that time was Hibari Misora. Her style may not be what you are looking for. Its called Enka and mixes more traditional elements of Japanese music with western features and instruments.

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Slim and Gabby
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Postby Slim and Gabby » Sat Feb 28, 2009 5:45 pm

Welcome aboard! Usually when we post something like this, there's a big sucking sound, perhaps we're too obtuse for most?!?!?!? We just saw the Burmese Harp, um, speechless here, um, um, WOW! I know, it's not about MCM stuff, but, holy-cow, I have to say it's one of my favorite movies now, even if the minor actors were bad, it's such an amazing film; have you seen it?
Are you a fan of Space Giants (Ambassador Magma); to say this is a strange TV show would be an understatement, boy that theme song will stick in your head for way longer than it should! We found Ultraman barely adequate, the stories were horrible, where as The Space Giants were charming. We LOVE to see all the weird old stuff; some of those cars I'd die for. I'd give my left, "you know what" for one of these:

http://www.birfield.com/~morgan/images/ ... r-1-md.jpg

If I'm not mistaken, it's what the Lugo Men, the bad guys in The Space Giants used, especially since it sprouted wings and flew, ughughughugh!
I'd love one of these too, any of them:

http://www.hondarenaissance.com/projects.htm

We'd love to see more Japanese films, but as you pointed out, most don't have subtitles, and good dubbing is nearly imposable, so we like the bad dubs.
We live in a culturally repressed area of California, so most people only imagine sushi as the ONLY Japanese food period, not to mention they think it's all raw-fish, SIGH!!!!!!!!!!!!!
So what did your father do, can I ask? I LOVE Cold War stuff but can't find ANYONE to engage me on the subject here. We just watched some vintage short films on what to do in case of nuclear war, fallout shelters, etc.; there's something very fascinating and the same time quite disturbing about the subject.
Oh, and thanks much for the recommendations, we'll see what we can do to see/hear them.
Slim
Pen-gu-ins is pracatically chickinz, and I hates to see chickinz cry so much, I has to put’em outta ther mizzery!

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Roger Thornhill
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Postby Roger Thornhill » Thu Mar 19, 2009 12:34 pm

I agree w/ ESL on Kurosawa. I think you will find lots to like in his non-Samurai films (not that you won't find lots to like in his Samurai films).

One thing you can get w/ decent English subtitles is the Battles without Honor and Humanity, directed by Kinji Fukasaku. This series of Yakuza films are in beautifully garish color, feature an interestingly dynamic post-war Japan, have ridiculous dialogue and are a lot of fun.

Criterion can really be a boon for you here, as they've released a lot of stuff. Have you checked out Midnight Eye? They run a really detailed website/online magazine w/ really informed, detailed pieces (http://www.midnighteye.com/).

Will write more later.

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Roger Thornhill
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Postby Roger Thornhill » Sun Apr 12, 2009 2:45 pm

Two blog entries that may be of interest:

http://cinebeats.blogsome.com/2009/04/09/342/

http://cinebeats.blogsome.com/2009/03/2 ... u-matsuda/

She regularly writes about Japanese movies from the post-war years so a little searching might pay dividends.

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Roger Thornhill
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Postby Roger Thornhill » Mon May 18, 2009 10:39 am

Slim and Gabby, Criterion has heard your questions and has responded with a very tasty boxed set--Nikkatsu Noir. Criterion's new Eclipse line is really shaping up to be an interesting line. I have the AKI KAURISMÄKI’S PROLETARIAT TRILOGY set and I really like it.


http://jfilmpowwow.blogspot.com/2009/05 ... eases.html

http://www.criterion.com/library/dvd/ec ... ine_number

From the Criterion/Eclipse website:

"COLLECTOR'S SET INCLUDES
I AM WAITING
KOREYOSHI KURAHARA, 1957

In Koreyoshi Kurahara’s directorial debut, rebel matinee idol Yujiro Ishihara stars as a former boxer working as a restaurant manager, who saves a beautiful, suicidal club hostess (Mie Kitahara) trying to escape the clutches of her gangster employer.

RUSTY KNIFE
TOSHIO MASUDA, 1958

In Toshio Masuda’s smash Rusty Knife, Yujiro Ishihara and fellow top Nikkatsu star Akira Kobayashi play former hoodlums trying to leave behind a life of crime, but their past comes back to haunt them when the authorities seek them out as murder witnesses.

TAKE AIM AT THE POLICE VAN
SEIJUN SUZUKI, 1960

At the beginning of Seijun Suzuki’s taut and twisty whodunit, a prison truck is attacked and a convict inside is murdered. The penitentiary warden on duty, Daijiro (Michitaro Mizushima), is accused of negligence and suspended, only to take it upon himself to track down the killers.

CRUEL GUN STORY
TAKUMI FURUKAWA, 1964

Fresh out of the slammer, Togawa (Branded to Kill’s Joe Shishido) has no chance to go straight because he is immediately coerced by a wealthy mob boss into organizing the heist of an armored car carrying racetrack receipts.

A COLT IS MY PASSPORT
TAKASHI NOMURA, 1967

One of Japanese cinema’s supreme emulations of American noir, Takashi Nomura’s A Colt Is My Passport is a down-and-dirty but gorgeously photographed yakuza film starring Joe Shishido as a hard-boiled hit man caught between rival gangs."
"And darkness, as darkness does, fell."

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Slim and Gabby
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Postby Slim and Gabby » Mon May 18, 2009 11:02 am

Thanks Rog, I'll have to see if Netflix has them! Gabby just got a job with a Japanese company, so we've decided to learn some Japanese; I know enough to embarrass myself from watching Shogun a dozen times!
Slim
Pen-gu-ins is pracatically chickinz, and I hates to see chickinz cry so much, I has to put’em outta ther mizzery!

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Roger Thornhill
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Postby Roger Thornhill » Sun Jul 05, 2009 6:35 am

Great post on Inframan, a classic of postwar Japanese nuttiness. Great costumes, amazing colours and "Huh?" storytelling. Mostly pics so scroll and enjoy.

http://monstermoviemusic.blogspot.com/2 ... -1975.html
"And darkness, as darkness does, fell."

VMacek
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Postby VMacek » Sun Jul 05, 2009 2:22 pm


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esl
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Crazed Fruit

Postby esl » Sun Jul 05, 2009 4:37 pm


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Slim and Gabby
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Postby Slim and Gabby » Sun Jul 05, 2009 8:58 pm

I'd love to get a hold of the score to this film, simply amazing! I'm surprised more music people aren't familiar with it; I've never heard a slide guitar sound so ominous and twisted (shiver!) Being big Space Giants (Maguma taishi) fans, we recognized Masumi Okada right off, Gabby refers to him as dream-boat, as he was an extraordinarily good looking guy.
Slim
Pen-gu-ins is pracatically chickinz, and I hates to see chickinz cry so much, I has to put’em outta ther mizzery!

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Slim and Gabby
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Postby Slim and Gabby » Wed Jul 08, 2009 10:45 am

Just watched "Invasion of the Neptune Men", AGAIN, last night; golly I love that movie, that and "Prince of Space"
Image

Image

Apart from the obvious, there's a lot to like about these films, namely all the gratuitous MCM stuff. If you want to see mid century eye candy, check these films out, and have a laugh while you get some cool ideas for your MCM house/apartment: I'm inspired now and I'm thinking of doing an old style world map for a wall in my house, you know like you'd see at an airport?
Slim
Pen-gu-ins is pracatically chickinz, and I hates to see chickinz cry so much, I has to put’em outta ther mizzery!

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Slim and Gabby
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Postby Slim and Gabby » Mon Jul 27, 2009 9:37 pm

I found some swell music, kinda fun stuff:

http://robcarl.home.att.net/wsb/html/vi ... html-.html

Slim
Pen-gu-ins is pracatically chickinz, and I hates to see chickinz cry so much, I has to put’em outta ther mizzery!


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