Presented by the Council on East Asian Studies at Yale University, the Film Studies Program at Yale University, and the Japan Society of Boston
MONDAY, MAY 10, 2004
LUNCH PROVIDED - please contact 203.432.3428 or email@example.com to REGISTER for this event.
Information and Resources on
Compiled by Aaron Gerow, Assistant Professor, Film Studies and East Asian Languages and Literatures, Yale University
Shinoda Masahiro was born in Gifu Prefecture on March 9, 1931. While both his mother and his father’s families had been prominent in the region, they had fallen on hard times. Shinoda excelled at track and field and, when he entered Waseda University’s Faculty of Literature in 1949, represented the university in the famous Tokyo-Hakone ekiden. With a love of the arts, especially the literature of Izumi Kyoka, Shinoda studied Edo-era theater, and intended to continue his research at graduate school. But when his mother died, he decided, having married Shiraishi Kazuko (who later came to fame as a poet), to look for work and successfully passed the assistant director’s examination at Shochiku in 1953. Oshima Nagisa entered Shochiku one year later, and Yoshida Kiju the year after that. He began by working under Hara Kenkichi and Tanaka Noboru and was given a chance to direct a film based on a popular song, but he declined the offer to direct a work in 1961 based on his own award-winning script, One-Way Ticket for Love.
The film’s lack of success pushed him back into the ranks of assistant directors until he made Dry Lake, a film which put him into the core of the “new wave” of directors at Shochiku, alongside Oshima and Yoshida, who were challenging the established Japanese cinema with new characters, stories, and cinema stylistics. Dry Lake and Pale Flower (1964) both used empty and alienated characters to evoke the frustration and pessimism of the post-Anpo generation, but a film like Pale Flower was considered so “anti-social” that the studio refused to release it for eight months. With Assassination (1964), his first period film, Shinoda was able to pursue some of his ideas on Edo aesthetics in film. Like many of his other New Wave contemporaries, Shinoda eventually left Shochiku in 1966 to form his own independent production company, Hyogensha. It was around this time that he also divorced Shiraishi to marry the actress Iwashita Shima, who would become a staple in his films.
His ideas on Edo theater were most fully expressed in Double Suicide (1967), a critically lauded film based on a Chikamatsu play that explores the implications of theatricality in film, especially in relation the social role of theater in the Edo era. He was selected to direct the commemorative documentary of the 1972 Sapporo Olympics, but his subsequent films increasingly turned to either the historical or mythical past. Himiko dealt with Japanese pre-history, Demon Pond was an adaptation of Izumi Kyoka’s fantastic Meiji-era story, Gonza the Spearman was a return to Chikamatsu, and Sharaku fulfilled Frankie Sakai’s ambition, first formulated in the early 1960s with the director Kawashima Yuzo, of bringing the Edo floating world to the screen. But starting with MacArthur’s Children, continuing with Childhood Days and Setouchi Moonlight Serenade, and culminating with Spy Sorge, Shinoda has increasingly turned to representing Japan’s wartime and immediate postwar experience. He has stated that Spy Sorge is the culmination of his ideas on this modern history, and that it will be his last film.
In Spy Sorge, director Shinoda Masahiro takes on one of Japan’s most infamous spy incidents. During World War II, a spy ring organized by Richard Sorge, a handsome and debonair employee of the German embassy in Tokyo, passed on crucial Japanese government and military secrets to the Soviets, ones that would have profound impact on the outcome of the war. He was caught and executed in November 1944, but only at a point when he could brazenly declare, “There are no more secrets in Japan left to steal!” His main Japanese collaborator, Ozaki Hotsumi, became material for movies, in particular Kurosawa Akira’s postwar masterpiece No Regrets for Our Youth (Waga seishun ni kui nashi, 1946). Ten years in the planning, Spy Sorge wields a multi-national cast featuring Ian Glen and Motoki Masahiro, locations in Berlin and Shangai, as well as expert computer graphics to recreate the historical context and convey the immense scope of the incident. Spy Sorge is Shinoda Masahiro’s epic interpretation of modern international history.
Bibliography on Shinoda Masahiro Available in the Yale Library
BOOKS ON THE SORGE INCIDENT
Johnson, Chalmers A. Instance of Ttreason: Ozaki Hotsumi and the Sorge Spy Ring. Stanford, Calif.: Stanford University Press, 1964.
Prange, Gordon William. Target Tokyo: The Story of the Sorge Spy Ring. New York: McGraw-Hill, c 1984.
Whymant, Robert. Stalin's Spy: Richard Sorge and the Tokyo Espionage Ring. London; New York: I.B. Tauris, 1996.
Willoughby, Charles Andrew. Shanghai Conspiracy: The Sorge Spy Ring, Moscow, Shanghai, Tokyo, San Francisco, New York. New York: Dutton, 1952.
BOOKS ON OR BY SHINODA MASAHIRO
Bock, Audie. Japanese Film Directors. New York: Kodansha International, 1978.
Desser, David. Eros Plus Massacre: An Introduction to the Japanese New Wave Cinema. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, c1988.
Mellen, Joan. Voices from the Japanese Cinema. New York: Liveright, 1975.
Quandt, James (ed. and introd.). Shohei Imamura. Toronto International Film Festival Group, Toronto, ON. (Erlich Essay on Imamura and Shinoda.)
Shinada, Yukichi. Kantoku no iru fukei. Tokyo: Nihon Ato Shiata Girudo: Hatsubai Toho Shuppan Jigyoshitsu, 1986.
Shinoda, Masahiro. Watashi ga ikita futatsu no "Nihon." Tokyo: Gogatsu Shobo, 2003.
Shinoda, Masahiro. Kakenukeru fukei. Tokyo: Soryusha, 1980.
Shinoda Masahiro; Yoshida Yoshishige. Tokyo: Kinema Junposha, 1971.
ARTICLES ON SHINODA IN ENGLISH
Cornyetz, N. Gazing Disinterestedly: Politicized Poetics in Double Suicide. Differences v. 12 no. 3 (Fall 2001) p. 101-27.
de Bary, Brett. "Not Another Double Suicide: Gender, National
Identity, and Repetition in Shinoda Masahiro's Shinjuten no Amijima," Iris
16 (Spring 1993): 49-56.
Dialogue on film: Masahiro Shinoda [interview with filmography]. American Film v. 10 (May 1985) p. 10-13.
McDonald, Keiko. Short Story into Action: Shinoda's Mahihime (Die Tenzerin, 1989). Post Script Vol XV nr 3 (Summer 1996); p 29-43
McDonald, Keiko I. Giri, ninjo and fatalism in "Double Suicide". Film Criticism Vol V nr 3 (Spring 1981); p 1-11.
Russell, Catherine. 'Overcoming Modernity': Gender and the
Pathos of History in Japanese Film Melodrama. Camera Obscura nr 35
(May 1995); p 130-157
Silberman, Robert. Masahiro Shinoda, Hiromi Go, and the Performing Self. Wide Angle Vol X nr 2 (1988); p 24-31.
Silberman, R. Gonza the Spearman. Film Quarterly v. 41 (Winter 1987/1988) p. 55-9.
Silberman, Robert; Hirano, Kyoko. MacArthur's Children. Cineaste
Vol XIV nr 3 (1986); p 50-52.
FILMOGRAPHY FOR SHINODA MASAHIRO
Spy Sorge (2003)
Fukuro no shiro (1999)
... aka Owls' Castle (1999) (USA)
Setouchi munraito serenade
... aka Moonlight Serenade (1997) (USA)
... aka Setouchi Moonlight Serenade (1997)
Shonen jidai (1990)
... aka Childhood Days (1990)
... aka Takeshi: Childhood Days (1990) (USA: festival title)
... aka Dancer, The (1989)
... aka Tänzerin, Die (1989) (West Germany)
Yari no gonza (1986)
... aka Gonza the Spearman (1986)
Allusion: Tenshodan (1985)
Setouchi shonen yakyu dan
... aka MacArthur's Children (1984)
... aka Akuryo Island (1981)
... aka Demon Pond (1979)
... aka Dragon Princess (1979)
Hanare Goze Orin (1977)
... aka Ballad of Orin (1977) (USA)
... aka Banished (1977) (USA)
... aka Banished Orin (1977) (USA)
... aka Melody in Gray (1977)
Sakura no mori no mankai no shita (1975)
... aka Under the Blossoming Cherry Trees (1975) (USA)
... aka Under the Cherry Blossoms (1975)
Kaseki no mori (1973)
... aka Petrified Forest, The (1973)
Sapporo Orinpikku (1972)
... aka Saporro Winter Olympic Games (1972)
... aka Sapporo Winter Olympics (1972)
... aka Silence (1971) (International: English title)
... aka Outlaws (1970)
... aka Scandalous Adventures of Buraikan, The (1970)
Shinju ten no amijima (1969)
... aka Double Suicide (1969)
... aka Clouds at Sunset (1967) (USA)
Shokei no shima (1966)
... aka Captive's Island (1966) (USA)
... aka Punishment Island (1966)
Ibun sarutobi sasuke (1965)
... aka Samurai Spy (1965)
Utsukushisa to kanashimi to
... aka With Beauty and Sorrow (1965) (UK)
... aka Assassin, The (1964)
... aka Assassination, The (1964)
Kawaita hana (1964)
... aka Pale Flower (1964)
Yama no sanka: Moyuru wakamonotachi
… aka Glory on the Summit (1962)
Namida o shishi no tategami ni
... aka Tears on the Lion's Mane (1962)
Waga koi to tabiji (1961)
… aka Our Marriage (1961)
Shamisen to otobai (1961)
… aka Shamisen and Motorcycle (1961)
Yuhi ni akai ore no kao (1961)
... aka My Face Red in the Sunset (1961)
Kawaita mizuumi (1960)
... aka Dry Lake (1960)
... aka Youth in Fury (1960)
Koi no katamichi kippu (1960)
... aka One-Way Ticket for Love (1960)
A filmography of Shinoda’s works in Japanese is available at http://www.jmdb.ne.jp/person/p0160070.htm
FILMS BY SHINODA AVAILBLE AT THE YALE UNIVERSITY FILM STUDIES CENTER (53 WALL STREET) http://www.yale.edu/filmstudy/
ANSATSU (in Japanese with no subtitles) (Widescreen)
DOUBLE SUICIDE (Subtitled)
GONZA THE SPEARMAN (Subtitled)
OWL’S CASTLE (Fukuro no shiro) (Subtitled) (Region 2)
PALE FLOWER (Kawaita hana) (Subtitled) (Widescreen)
SPY SORGE (Supai Zoruge) (Subtitled) (Widescreen) (Region 2)