In light of the fact

I watch so many J-films

a change is needed


Of course, I don`t mean to say I ONLY watch Japanese films.  Not at all. I try to mix it up a bit – both in library loans, dvd rentals (yep some of us still do that) and what I buy.  But this haiku comment is mostly because of the neighbours over in South Korea (I confess I have not seen many South Korean films).  An article in an on-line newspaper from Japan about the success of a recent film in Korea which celebrates a Korean naval victory over Japan has prompted this particular post.  This victory was a few centuries ago now but it seems it has stirred up patriotic sentiment in South Korea recently.   Anyway, one of the commenters (and boy do pro-Japan commenters, not necessarily Japanese, get bees in their bonnets!!) mentioned another film from a few years back called Brotherhood (the name in Korean, using roman script, is Taegukgi).   I had forgotten about it until I found it by chance in my library again (libraries are great, no matter how small, but again the staff in this particular library could try to be a bit friendly!!).

I have not watched many Korean films, especially anything that relates to the  the Korean war (Letters from Iwo Jima about the battle for Iwo Jima in WWII, however much I like it, was a film made from the Japanese point of view but directed by an American director, Eastwood!!).   I saw a really sweet film a couple of years about a little boy who is sent to a remote village for the summer to live with his grandmother.    I can`t remember the name of it right now but it was an absolutely lovely film.  If anyone knows it, pray tell!! I`ve also watched Old Boy.   There`s apparently an American remake of that in the pipeline. I can`t imagine it.

By the way, one certain on-line newspaper in Japan only lets you read articles once you sign up and then you only get so many articles a month.  I have not signed up to this nonsense so I`ve been getting messages on-screen saying `You have reached your limit as a non-registered user (blah blah blah)`.   It really puts me off reading that paper which is otherwise really good and has very good articles about learning Japanese (as well as other good articles on other topics) and so I usually just go over to the newspaper I mention above which is not AS good so they should realize it is not really good for business to be doing this.   Let people read your news free people!!  One of my national newspapers used to do this as well and it`s a really good newspaper so it really annoyed me and even disappointed me when I saw this as I was living abroad at the time and it was the only way to read this newspaper (and because I did not expect them to do something like that).  Luckily, they stopped this.

Anyway, off to watch that film now.   It looks really good.

Add comment August 20, 2014 KorubettosHaiku

Gohatto – love and lust among Samurai

There was a young man 

who appealed to so many

but the one he sought

did not fancy him or guys at all!!   Wow, isn`t being fancied by everyone but the one you want such a hard cross to bear?? :D

Well, as I said I would, I have watched Gohatto (1999, Oshima) and it is an eye-opener of a film and recommended for those who are interested in seeing a different side to samurai.    The young samurai, Kano, is the object of much lust from other samurai, including one, Tashiro, played by Tadanobu Asano (is there any kind of role he hasn`t played?) who is his introduction to samurai lovin` and his (self-proclaimed) main squeeze in this.   It seems samurai would do anything to keep their man!!

Beat Takeshi is in this as well as one of the senior men in the militia training school where all this action takes place.    Of course, in Zatoichi, it is insinuated by Takeshi that many samurai `leaned that way` as the favored expression goes in Gohatto.

There`s a bit of a twist which I may have spoiled in my opening haiku (sorry about that) which almost sounds like a Limerick from the first line, only for the lack of two words (don`t worry only one poetry form in this blog folks though Limericks could be fun*)  so you`ll just have to watch it and see.  I must say the men in charge were quite laid back about it but I suppose they understood that that would happen among a large group of men together all the time and pointing swords at each other on a daily basis (and at night too it seems chuckle chuckle).  Of course, the top boss fancied Kano himself so …


* Ah hell, I`ll give it a lash. To be a Limerick, there has to be another two words (at least) to the first line which has to rhyme with the 2nd and 5th line while the 3rd and 4th lines also rhyme with each other.


There was a young man in Kyoto

whose surname men knew to be Kano

This hot guy he sought

gave it not a thought

And actually gays made him loco!!


Loco as in angry mad, not mad mad, but I just could not think of another word ending in O without repeating Kano or Kyoto and it adds the humorous note to it as a Limerick is poetry of humour after all.

Add comment August 15, 2014 KorubettosHaiku

50,000 deaths – masaka!!

Fifty thousand deaths

this man suffered … over a

long career in film


Oh yes, there`s another expression I should add to my Great Expressions page – masaka!! No way!!  Anyhow, congratulations to 71-year old Seizo Fukamoto,  dying since the 1960s in kirareyaku roles i.e. samurai roles where the person has to die a horrific death.    Maybe not just samurai just roles where he has to die horrendously.  A film has finally been made with him as lead actor to honour this fact and he won a prize for it (and the film itself won best film) at a film festival in Canada just recently.    The film is called Uzumasa Limelight and is about an actor who has to take on a student to take over in that kind of role (kirareyaku) from him eventually.

He was Silent Samurai in The Last Samurai back in 2003 (he gets shot in that but it`s not very horrendous from what I remember) but also plays yakuza roles and other roles.




Add comment August 12, 2014 KorubettosHaiku


Another classic

to talk about from the film 

world how great is that

Kagemusha (1980, Akira Kurosawa) is a tale of a man who has to impersonate a Lord though he is only a petty criminal.  The Lord`s brother finds him by accident and recommends him to the Lord, as his brother can only impersonate him to a certain extent.  Then the Lord dies from battle wounds and the impersonator and the Lord`s brother and his inner circle have to let on for three years that this man is the real thing.  While his enemies have their doubts, they cannot prove it.    Great story really.   Interesting but not unusual that the child in the film proves to be perceptive but luckily for everyone involved he is convinced he is wrong.    The lead actor who plays the impersonator and the Lord he is impersonating is also the Lord and father of the three sons in Ran, another Akira Kurosawa classic.   I really liked Kagemusha for the fact it had some humor in it.  But Ran is of course great as well.   I found this gem in another library I am member of, which is a surprise (What would be a better surprise would be if the staff decided to smile a bit or were somewhat friendly).   Has anyone heard of having to pay a membership fee for a city or town library?  I don`t think I have ever had to pay a library fee until I joined this one.  Anyway, it is a small thing to put up with when you find good films like this.

Carrying on from the Oshima film I watched a few days ago, I plan to watch another of his from 1999, Gohatto, if I can find it somewhere.

Add comment August 11, 2014 KorubettosHaiku

Pop POWS, Commanders

Great acting from a

comedian, two pop

stars and Tom Conti


I say that because I came across the headline for an article while dossing around on the internet lately about why musicians should not try to act.  The article would have listed some examples but I was not interested enough to read it as the picture for the article showed a pop star I think is over-rated and over-exposed and it put me off reading the article.   And i read some real silly stuff on the net when I`m bored.

I am hoping they did not pick David Bowie for this list as that would be really sad.  He was excellent along with Ryuichi Sakamoto in Merry Christmas Mr Lawrence (or Merry Christmas on the Battlefield, 戦場のメーリクリスマス as the title was in Japan).  So glad I came across it.   I had no idea either that it is said to be the film that put Takeshi Kitano`s name on the international map back in 1983.  His was an interesting character also.


As I said yesterday I had never seen David Bowie in a film before this (though I had heard of The Man who fell to Earth, I had never watched it) and I thought he was such an unusual choice to play a British soldier but that is perhaps why he was picked.  He`s not your usual `stiff upper lip three cheers for the Empire` kind of bloke.   Although Ryuichi Sakamoto said (in the interview in the extras bit of the dvd) he thought he was bad at his part (Yonoi) and was glad not to have been offered another chance to act later, he was fantastic as well.  He composes music, especially for films.  I did not know he was also in The Last Emperor as I`ve never watched it (just read the book which is very good) but he composed the soundtrack to both films as well as acting in them.  His Yonoi was scarily brilliant. Such an intensely handsome face too, not to undermine his acting efforts but yeah very handsome and of course given the homo-erotic feelings he had for Celliers, he kind of had to have strong masculine features to counteract David Bowie`s more fragile look.    It looked though at times like Sakamoto had some kind of eyeliner on which was more David Bowie`s look I would have thought and would have been at odds with the masculine face.  Oh well, his face later on when Celliers does what he does (just because it looks like I`m wearing eyeliner doesn`t mean you can do that!!) shows he probably would not have been putting on any eye-liner!!  Tom Conti was fantastic as the Mr Lawrence of the title and to me as  a Japanese student, his Japanese sounded so convincing and I was slightly jealous when he said (in the interview in the extras part of the dvd) that he only learned the dialogue the day or night before every scene he had to speak Japanese in. He must be a genius even if he did have a linguistic expert on set to drill it in to his head as he said himself.    Anyway, great film.


The boy who played Cellier`s little brother (in the scenes from Cellier`s youth) was almost like a throwback to the Von Trapp family with his angelic looks and ability to sing.  Other people may also have been thinking `who put one of the Von Trapp kids in this film!!??`  It makes little sense of course cos german(/austrian) POWs would not have been POWS of the Japanese as they were allies but anyway I just thought it was coincidental given that The SoM is also set in WWII times.  Here`s a side-dish of trivia relating to the Sound of Music and a neighbour of Japan.  When The Sound of Music was released in the South Korea of that era (The SoM was released in 1959, the Korean war would have been over by then so I assume it is South Korea as they would have allowed foreign films, unlike North Korea), all the music was cut out of it.   I mean what`s the point.   It could not really be called The Sound of Music if there was NO music.  Hilarious.  In North Korea, who knows what they would have done if it had been released which is unlikely.   Going back to the WC again this summer you might remember hearing that the leader of North Korea had convinced his people that their nation was in it and had progressed beyond the first round.  NK back in 1959 might have dubbed over the singers` voices with the North Korean leader`s voice.   Yeah I think that`s most likely.  His voice doing all the voices even the women and children.   Like Russians do when they do those voice-overs on foreign films.  The same voice does everyone.  It`s funny to watch.

Add comment August 8, 2014 KorubettosHaiku

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