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Tonari no Yae-chan / Our Neighbor, Miss Yae

Shimazu Yasujiro - Tonari no Yae-chan / Our Neighbor, Miss Yae

That sock gets a heck of a lot of attention

Director: Shimazu Yasujiro
Writers: Shimazu Yasujiro
Date: 1934

Genre: Drama, Shomin-geki
Description: Neighbors, friendship, young love, divorce

Cast: Aizome Yumeko, Obinata Den, Isono Akio, Iida Chouko, Okada Yoshiko, Katsuragi Ayako, Iwata Yukichi, Mizushima Ryotaro

Crew of note:

Runtime: 76 mins.
Color: Black and White
Trivia: Two famous directors acted as assistants on this film, Toyoda Shiro and Yoshimura Kozaburo.

Two families live in rural or suburban Japan, somewhere in the Kansai region probably. The two families are quite close to each other; the two fathers are drinking buddies, the children are friends, and the mothers happily look out for the other family’s well being. One day, Kyouko, Yae-chan’s sister, comes home after leaving her husband whom she is unhappy with. Her arrival suddenly stresses the once peaceful pair of homes; the father becomes unhappy, the mother worried, the sister envious of her relationship with Keitaro.

Before seeing this movie, I thought Yae-chan would be an old hag living alone, throwing cats at passersby and drinking tea from a flower pot. Then people would find out she’s not actually a crackhead and the neighbors learn to love her. Then she dies and people remember her fondly, and not as the crazy lady with a mysteriously unending supply of cat ammo. I have absolutely NO idea why my brain made up this story, though I’d like to categorically deny childhood trauma and repressed memories. This was my second Shimazu film by the way.

Thankfully Tonari no Yae-chan is neither as absurd nor as depressing as my made-up-movie. In fact, it’s actually quite delightful. Sure, there’s the conflict created by the arrival of Kyouko, one that is sufficiently complex and complicated. The scenes with Kyouko are a little melodramatic, actually, but despite the fact that I’m not a fan of sappy melodrama, these moments didn’t really hurt that much.

What I enjoyed most about this film were the pointless everyday encounters between Yae-chan and Keitaro. There is something very natural, very modern about how they talk to each other, or actually, how they flirt with each other. Not only is it hilarious, it’s also quite unique, as I don’t remember any other film from the 30s with such a non-judgmental, care-free and modern picture of youth getting their flirt on. Really.

Shimazu Yasujiro - Tonari no Yae-chan / Our Neighbor, Miss Yae (1934)

Proof: Getting their flirt on

I was not pleased, however, with Yae-chan’s parents’ decision (spoilers*) at the end, though Shimazu pulls this back a little by isolating this decision to the two old people. Yae-chan’s far too lively, far too hopeful, indeed far too important for them to drag along. Some might consider it a little naive, how the movie ends just as it begins with the youngsters playing, but I’d like to think it’s more a result of an enthusiastic, positive outlook. And it’s during the best parts of the film, unencumbered by drama or farce, simply letting the neighbors be neighbors and live their normal happy lives, that Shimazu shines.

The movie has some flaws. Ok, there are quite a bit of flaws, but it doesn’t dampen how enjoyable some of the best scenes are. I would have been more pleased if the film had continued showing the growing fondness between Keitaro and Yae-chan without having to insert Kyouko (the inevitable conflict), as their conversations and exchanges are some of the most relaxed and realistic from this age. Still, this is a fine film despite all my complaints, one that fans of old Japanese movies should certainly see.

things to take note of
The relationship and exchanges between Yae-chan and Keitaro
Yae-chan’s pretty cute

Aizome Yumeko in Tonari no Yae-chan

This cap kinda reminds me of Juri-chan's 'Okaaaaasaaan' moment from Swing Girls for some reason, which is awesome you know

best moment
Socks those dirty dirty socks

Tonari no Yae-chan / Our Neighbor, Miss Yae

Disclaimer: film does not include foot fetish scene

why you should watch this
Shimazu, though pretty unknown in the west I think, is considered one of the early masters of Japanese cinema, particularly the shomin-geki, movies about middle-class Japanese homes.

rating: 8.1

Plot: C+
Cast: B
Cinematography: B
Music: C+
Entertainment: B

similar movies, maybe:
I’ve so far only seen one other Shimazu, Kon’yaku samba-garasu (1937), so maybe that one. It’s pretty good.

* According to Jacoby’s “A Critical Handbook of Japanese Film Directors”, Yae-chan’s parents’ decision to move to Korea is a not-so-subtle endorsment of Japanese imperialism. I was weirded out by the choice of moving to Korea, so maybe this is true, though I’d like to think it isn’t.

Daisatsujin orochi / The Betrayal

Daisatsujin orochi / The Betrayal (1966)

Raizo looks pissed, which is never good news for bad guys

Director: Tanaka Tokuzo
Writers: Hoshikawa Seiji
Date: 1966

Genre: Jidaigeki, Chambara
Description: Samurai life sucks, corrupt officials, traitors and backstabbers, a hard life

Cast: Ichikawa Raizo, Yuchigusa Kaoru, Fujimura Shiho, Nakaya Ichiro, Naito Taketoshi

Crew of note: Music by Ifukube Akira

Runtime: 88 mins.
Color: Black and White
Trivia: This is a remake of Futagawa Buntaro’s “Orochi” originally starring Bando Tsumasaburo back in 1925.

A samurai enters the Minazuki clan’s school of Issaka Yaichiro to challenge the master to a fight, but he is currently away. Kobuse Takuma (Raizo) receives him, and the samurai, from the Iwashiro Clan, calls him into a duel. Kobuse refuses, and the samurai leaves. On his way home, however, he is followed by two members of the Minazuki clan and is slayed from behind.* His clan discovers his murder, and calls for the perpetrator to be arrested and punished, whoever he may be. A Minazuki clan official, Kobuse’s soon to be father-in-law, proposes a solution/cover-up: Kobuse should take the blame and disappear for a year while he tries to iron things out. Obviously, this doesn’t work out.

Dude, being a samurai sucks balls. I think there have been enough movies to prove this point. For some reason, movies about how samurai life was terrible seem to be of higher quality, of greater interest, indeed, are usually better than movies about cool and badass samurai. I’m looking at you Ogami Itto (you’re still cool though).

Daisatsujin orochi is a remake of one of the original movies with that premise, the similarly named Orochi** from 1925. The stories are pretty similar (though not exactly the same especially the ending), but seeing both is by no means redundant. In fact, seeing the two versions is probably more enjoyable than seeing just one.

So see it. Daisatsujin orochi isn’t a very famous film, and that’s unfortunate. It has a good story, great acting, beautiful black and white cinematography (using a lot of somewhat unconventional shots, maybe you’ll notice), and music by Ifukube (which means it’ll be great, you know). A good movie, until about an hour or so. I’m just too lazy to explain. Then BAM! Raizo draws his sword and the inevitable final showdown begins. And, it’s pretty amazing.

The climax of the film is one of the most detailed, well planned and well executed ones I have ever seen. The integration of a variety of props (a water well and bucket, ladders, wooden boards, carts, ropes, different kinds of weapons), the use of superb still shots (the one where Raizo moves under a wooden railing, watch for it), Raizo’s swordfighting worthy of Bantsuma’s legendary status, etc are all pretty awesome. Long drawn-out fights usually tend to become redundant after a while, especially when the hero seems to never tire, but here, after wave upon wave of assailants, Raizo deteriorates, starting on his feet and eventually rolling around in the dirt. He becomes thirsty, his hair disheveled, his hand tense and uncooperative, his body exhausted and his face in agony. It’s not only a fight, it is a transformation, an epiphany for Kobuse.

Warrior vs Snake painting

My computer refuses to make screencaps or I'm just very very lazy

A majority of chambara fans (especially those who love samurai for their “exoticism”) probably just watch for the slicing-and-dicing, and really don’t care about the nuances of culture and history. This is a film that can be appreciated by that lot, and also by those who have a more serious, more academic interest in samurai life on film. How this isn’t as famous as some other chambara from the 60s is beyond me, because this is clearly one of the best. Maybe even Raizo’s best performance.

things to take note of
Amazing climax
Similarities with Orochi (1925)
The realism and detail of the climax, and Raizo’s acting
The importance of pride (Denshichiro’s resolution)
Some amazing shots in there too
Ifukube’s subtle but brilliant score

best moment
The climactic super-fight obviously

why you should watch this
A great remake of a classic chambara
I lost count of how many people Raizo ends up killing
These “samurai life sucks dude” movies are always interesting

rating: 8.7

Plot: B
Cast: B+
Cinematography: A
Music: B+
Entertainment: A

similar movies, maybe:
Orochi (1925), obviously.
Other “samurai life sucks dude” movies such as Harakiri, Joi-uchi: Hairyo tsuma shimatsu, etc.

* It is deemed cowardly to attack a samurai from behind or without his knowledge. This is pretty much the reason why in most one-vs-many battles the assailants behind the lone samurai are simply standing around. Without properly engaging and acknowledging each other in combat, it’s considered plain murder and not a duel or a legitimate fight. So, you know, they aren’t standing around coz they’re idiots. They’re actually following bushido.

** Since I’m unlikely to write a whole review for Orochi (it’s included in a feature about classic chambara though), I’ll squeeze in a little trivia here. The title sort of doesn’t make sense (orochi means snake or serpent) without an explanation. Originally, the title of the film was supposed to be something like “Outlaw” or “Rebel”, but Japanese censors refused to allow an anti-government, anti-establishment outlaw to be considered a hero. Futagawa decided to give the film its name to describe how Bantsuma moves (slithering and sliding) like a snake, and how even in death a serpent still looks pretty menacing. This is according to renowned film historian Sato Tadao, so I’m not pulling this outta my ass. Also, I’m the one who added this trivia on imdb.

Another installment of this feature. 5 movies that aren’t that popular or well known, but still very enjoyable. Have fun?

Okita Sôji (1974)

I refuse to call him Soshi, which sounds like a cross between a slushy and sushi.

Okita Sôji (1974)
Director: Deme Masanobu
Cast: Kusaraki Masao, Takahashi Yukihiro, Komatsu Hosei, Takahashi Koji, Oki Masanobu, etc

Who doesn’t know Okita Soji? This story basically follows Soji from his humble beginnings as a country samurai all the way up to the Shinsengumi’s rise and fall. In only 90 minutes. So it’s sort of a visual history review for Okita Soji 101.

The Good Stuff:
– One of the funnier and more laid back version of the Shinsengumi story
– A decent summary of Okita Soji’s life, if you’re interested

The Best Stuff:
– For some reason, Kusakari looks like the most authentic Okita Soji I’ve seen.

Tange Sazen and the Pot Worth a Million Ryo / Ken fu! Hyakumanryo no tsubo (1982)

Nakadai's patented sleazy look, which he maybe should have used more often

Tange Sazen and the Pot Worth a Million Ryo / Ken fu! Hyakumanryo no tsubo (1982)
Director: Gosha Hideo
Cast: Nakadai Tatsuya, Natsuyagi Isao, Nishimura Ko, Matsuo Kayo, Masako Natsume, Sakurai Minoru, Ikkaku Kazano, Watabe Tsutomu

Sazen is a retainer for the Yagyu clan. One day, his boss tells him he must get rid of a known spy, who turns out to be his best friend and rival for a girl’s love. He accepts the mission, but he hesitates though, and duly gets his arm chopped off. After dispatching of the traitor, the Yagyu appear to get rid of the only witness, Sazen himself. He is able to escape, losing an eye in the process, and disappears. Years later, the Yagyu are ordered by court officials hoping to seize their land to do repairs for a large temple which would effectively bankrupt them. Luckily, they have the Million Ryo pot. They set out to retrieve it, only to be discovered by rival ninjas. This leads to a battle in the forest where, lo and behold, they bump into a one armed, one eyed samurai living in the middle of the forest in a tent named Tange Sazen. He is able to get hold of the Pot, and, well, lots of fights, intrigue, and theft ensue.

The Good Stuff:
– Nakadai’s make up is hilarious
– Lots of fights!
– One of the darker portrayals of Tange Sazen, and Nakadai is soooo sleazy it’s hilarious

The Best Stuff:
– Nakadai’s stance, movement and sword style (it’s interesting to see how his sword styles always adapt to his character)
– Nakadai vs Natsuyagi (a favorite chambara regular of mine)

Amakusa shiro tokisada / The Rebel (1962)

The people in the back are carrying sticks and pitchforks. Not a spoiler (if you know your history): they obviously lose.

Amakusa shiro tokisada / The Rebel (1962)
Director: Oshima Nagisa
Cast: Okawa Hashizo, Otomo Ryutaro, Oka Satomu, Mikuni Rentaro, Chiaki Minoru, , Sato Kei, etc.

1637, the Tokugawa bans Christianity and other outside religions as part of their “fuck off foreigners” policy. To ensure that no one dares accept this foreign influence, the shogunate and its underlings go all out to force Japanese Christians to give up their faith (or die, which seems to always be the solution). Shiro Tokisada (from Amakusa, duh) is a Christian leader in the Shimabara area, where a local lord is taxing farmers and peasants heavily, and openly persecutes the Christians. Some of the peasants are fed up with the local government, and look to Shiro for leadership. Conflicts of conscience, political maneuvering, infighting and espionage make the whole deal complicated, until finally, revolution.

The Good Stuff:
– A nice history lesson (I guess) about the Shimabara rebellion
– Not many sword fights, but there is a big battle
– An intelligent and down to earth portrayal of the man some considered a god
– It’s pretty arty, you know, coz it’s Oshima

The Best Stuff:
– The complicated conclusion
– Very well paced and with a plot that does justice to the real story

Ken ki / Sword Devil (1965)

Not shown: The large dog, aka Hanpei's dad???

Ken ki / Sword Devil (1965)
Director: Misumi Kenji
Cast: Ichikawa Raizo, Sugata Michiko, Sato Kei, Date Saburo, etc.

Raizo stars as Hanpei, the child of one of the clans’ mistresses, and whose father is suspected to be a large dog. Seriously. Because of his mysterious and less than ideal origin, he is treated as an outcast and freak by everyone around him, except Osaki who finds his sincerity and humility refreshing. If there’s one thing Hanpei is good at though, it’s flowers (seriously, planting flowers), and he’s hired by the clan to make the castle look pretty, especially with the internal strife caused by their lord’s growing insanity. One day, he meets an expert Iaido swordsman, who teaches him his craft, and is soon hired by Kanbei to weed out traitors and assassins plotting against their clan.

The Good Stuff:
– Decent one-vs-many fight
– Raizo in his most uncool, loser-y and strange role
– A hilarious premise for the character?

The Best Stuff:
– Raizo really does look and act like a “dog child”
– Flash (DC Comics), but with a sword??

Moeyo ken / Blazing Sword (1966)

Either this is his Flying Attack or he's mad at the ceiling

Moeyo ken / Blazing Sword (1966)
Director: Ichimura Hirokazu
Cast: Kurizuka Asahi, Wazaki Shunya, Uchida Ryohei

Another Shinsengumi movie. This time, we follow Hijikata. If you’re already at the level of watching these less known jidaigeki and chambara, I’m sure you’re already pretty aware of Hijikata’s life? No? Ok I suggest you do some research because I’m too lazy to give a history lesson. This is supposed to be one of the most accurate movies about the Shinsengumi. History lessons galore in this installment it seems.

The Good Stuff:
– One of the more human version of Hijikata, though not a goofball like Kitano’s in Gohatto
– For some reason, I really love Uchida Ryohei (one of my absolute favorite chambara regulars)

The Best Stuff:
– The brutality, which obviously is more realistic than other, shinier, more dramatic Shinsengumi movies.
– Hijikata likes slashing at legs, for some reason

Jidaigeki is a huge genre. It’s the Japanese genre film, and from the beginning of their cinema all the way up to the 70s, made up a significant portion of movie releases in the country. Everyone knows about Shichinin no samurai and Seppuku, and a lot of people already know about Goyokin and Inagaki Hiroshi’s epics. But there are still tons of treasures to be found, and well, I consider it my personal mission to try and see every jidaigeki and chambara still extant and available. Crazy, yes. Fun, definitely.

Here are five for your enjoyment:

Sengoku gunto-den / Saga of the Vagabonds (1959)

Possibly the worst samurai movie poster I have ever seen

Sengoku gunto-den / Saga of the Vagabonds (1959)
Director: Sugie Toshio
Cast: Mifune Toshiro, Tsuruta Koji, Tsukasa Yoko, Uehara Misa, Chiaki Minoru, Hirata Akihiko, Shimura Takashi

Mifune plays Rokuro, a famous thief/outlaw out to make a buck. He meets Jibu (Chiaki), a local bandit leader and his men when they hear about a shipment of gold being escorted by Lord Taro to an influential warlord. They join forces to make with the gold, but Rokuro outwits Jibu and steals the gold himself. Taro, disgraced by the loss of his cargo, sets out to recover it, but his scheming brother (and his adviser) blackmails him and casts him as the perpetrator. Serendipitously, Rokuro and Taro meet in a bar one day, and Rokuro, inspired by Taro’s good and honorable nature, vows to help him return the gold that he had stolen and right the wrongs caused by his theft.

The Good Stuff:
– Chiaki Minoru as a horny and always outwitted bandit leader
– Robin-Hood-esque hero in Taro and Rokuro
– Kurosawa Akira co-wrote the script
– Mifune being very Mifune

The Best Stuff:
– Somewhat long for a jidaigeki at two hours, but with a long and eventful plot, lots of important characters and a pretty good conflict, is always exciting and fun.

O-Edo shichininshu / Seven from Edo (1958)

A Tokugawa era high school yearbook?

O-Edo shichininshu / Seven from Edo (1958)
Director: Sadatsugu Matsuda
Cast: Ichikawa Utaemon, Azuma Chiyonosuke, Okawa Hashizo, Fushimi Sentaro, Otomo Ryutaro, Satomi Kotaro, cameo by Shimura Takashi

Utaemon stars as Katsukawa, a low ranking samurai famous for his righteousness and penchant for butting into other people’s business. When he discovers that one of his superiors, Lord Tatewaki, is trying to unscrupulously gain more territory, he calls on his loyal comrades to to help him reveal the plot and stop it.

The Good Stuff:
– Every website with a summary uses the exact same summary for some reason. Actually this is kinda irrelevant?
– The eponymous seven are all unique and distinguishable characters

The Best Stuff:
– Utaemon being all hero-y as usual!

Yoi-dore musoken / Drunken Sword (1962)

Actually, Rodney Dangerfield sounds like a pretty badass name (see comment below)

Yoi-dore musoken / Drunken Sword (1962)
Director: Sawashima Tadashi
Cast: Ichikawa Utaemon, Satomi Kotaro, Konoe Jushiro, Azuma Chiyonosuke, Sakuramachi Hiroko, Okochi Denjiro

Tetsunosuke (Ichikawa) is a doctor-samurai who also owns a fencing school (weird?). Actually, he’s also somewhat of a crackpot doctor, who charges almost nothing for consultations and home remedies. This starts to piss off the other local doctors, who conspire with rotten yakuza who have also had run-ins with Tetsunosuke in hopes of getting rid of him. Obviously, this being an Ichikawa Utaemon film, he’s just too smart and too good to be beat.

The Good Stuff:
– There’s actually a lesson in here too, which we learn along with his assistant
– Doctors plotting with yakuza against another doctor. I don’t think this has ever happened before?

The Best Stuff:
– Utaemon in latter years, especially in comedic roles, reminds me of a samurai version of Rodney Dangerfield. This makes absolutely no sense at all.
– Lots of action, and with no one to help him, Utaemon usually has to take on multiple enemies

Kaii Utsunomiya tsuritenjo / The Ceiling at Utsunomiya (1956)

Dear Cover Model,
Looking creepy =/= good spy technique

Kaii Utsunomiya tsuritenjo / The Ceiling at Utsunomiya (1956)
Director: Nakagawa Nobuo
Cast: Ogasawara Hiroshi, Tamba Tetsuro, Tsukushi Akemi, Egawa Ureo, Mishima Masao, Numata Yoichi, Sugiyama Hirotaro

Tokugawa Iemitsu is in power, but certain daimyo on the side of Tadanaga want him dead so that his younger brother can ascend to Shogun. Iemitsu is currently on his way to Toshogu Shrine in Nikko (a beautiful place that everyone should go to), and of course, a foul plot is afoot. In order to reach Nikko, Iemitsu must pass through utsunomiya, and Chamberlain Kawamura and his daimyo are plotting to assassinate the shogun. Here they are constructing a lavish castle, and conscript local artisans and carpenters to do the job. It looks like everything’s going according to plan, but Ryutaro, a shogunate spy sent to check on affairs in Utsunomiya, gets wind of the plot (after getting tangled up in his own affairs). Now he must figure out what the plan really is, how the Utsunomiya will do it, and how he can stop it.

The Good Stuff:
– Lots of interesting an unconventional (for chambara anyway) plot twists
– The first time Nakagawa introduces something ghostly, I think?
– A hilarious palanquin chase
– Interesting history lesson

The Best Stuff:
– Amazing! messy final battle inside the castle

Hakuoki / Samurai Vendetta (1959)

Based on this cover, the girl should be at most 4'2. She's not; did the postermaker think having a tiny love interest is more exciting?

Hakuoki / Samurai Vendetta (1959)
Director: Mori Kazuo
Cast: Ichikawa Raizo, Katsu Shintaro, Maki Chitose, Kagawa Ryosuke, etc.

Yasubei (Katsu) bumps into an official of the Asano clan while stumbling on his way to a fight between his fencing school and its rival. Tange (Ichikawa) witnesses the fight (it turns out some of his clansmen are involved), but decides not to intervene, impressed with Yasubei’s skill and character. In order to settle the matter, the two schools decide to each expell their best student, Yasubei because of his involvement, and Tange because of his passivity. They continue to meet in strange circumstances–for a young woman, during an avenging, etc.–and become friends, but eventually, they join the opposing factions involved in the 47 Ronin tale, Yasubei with Asano and Tange with Kira. Love triangles, rumors, avengings, and swordfights ensue.

The Good Stuff:
– Script was written by Ito Daisuke
– Katsushin and Raizo together again
– Semi-accurate historical account of Nakayama Yasubei, member of the famous 47 Ronin

The Best Stuff:
– Raizo with one arm and a bum leg takes on a bunch of avenging samurai
– Great story and character interaction between Katsu and Raizo

Ten Women, One From Each Decade (1920-2009), Who I’d Totally Go Out With


Looking for chick pictures using google image search at work: not a good idea!

I like girls. This is pretty obvious. And despite the fact that Japanese and Chinese cultures are seen by many as being very patriarchal and… uh, un-feminist, there have actually been a lot of amazing women on screen in their films. So here are 10 of my favorites, one from each decade from the 20s to the 2000s.

Well, actually that’s just 9 decades, but I chose two for the 2000s, just to make it a good number ok? Stop complaining.

PS. Some of the pics not from the movie. Google image search did not make my life easy.

Ying Ying from Xixiang ji / Romance of the Western Chamber (1927)
Why I Like Her: She’s a legendary beauty?
What’s So Special About Her: Actually, this was a coin toss; I’ve only ever seen 20 movies from the 20’s.
Why It Might Not Work Out: Between a brush-wielding scholar and a bandit, there might be too much competition.
Why She’d Like Me: I am neither a nerd nor a stinky unbathed ruffian.
Potential for Long Term Relationship: 1/10 – Not a good start. My self-imposed one-per-decade limit was probably not a good idea?

Xixiang ji / Romance of the Western Chamber (1927)

I'm not a big fan of the 20's apparently

Ruan Lingyu as The Goddess in Shen nü / The Goddess (1934)
Why I Like Her: She loves kids and will do anything to make sure they get a good future.
What’s So Special About Her: She’s a strong independent woman when women were still sold in the Men’s Accessories Department.
Why It Might Not Work Out: She probably already hates guys, and I doubt I’d be able to convince her otherwise.
Why She’d Like Me: I’d treat her like a goddess. Yeah that’s the best I could come up with.
Potential for Long Term Relationship: 3/10 – She hates guys, and the cultural differences of 70 years is probably too much.

Ruan Lingyu in Shen nü / The Goddess (1934)

Reused photo because I'm lazy

Takamine Hideko as Hideko in Hideko no shasho-san / Hideko the Bus Conductress (1941)
Why I Like Her: She’s got an innocent charm and a lovely smile.
What’s So Special About Her: She’s got the makings of a great business-woman, so I might be able to fulfill my life-long dream of becoming a “houseband”.
Why It Might Not Work Out: I find some of Hideko’s later roles very annoying, so if she turns out that way I’d probably dump her eventually.
Why She’d Like Me: I love to travel and I wouldn’t mind spending long hours on a bus with her talking about everything.
Potential for Long Term Relationship: 6/10 – I don’t want to live in a small town, but humble, sincere and beautiful country girls like her are hard to find nowadays.

Takamine Hideko in Hideko no shasho-san / Hideko the Bus Conductress (1941)

Not from the movie, because I just found out Hideko was 17 during Hideko the Bus Conductress. Oops?

Awashima Chikage as Masako in Soshun / Early Spring (1956)
Why I Like Her: She’s a loyal wife who’ll stick by you through thick and thin, but she wants to be appreciated too.
What’s So Special About Her: I can rest assured that even through a rough patch (career-wise, personal life, or temporary insanity), she’s gonna support me.
Why It Might Not Work Out: I might treat her like dirt knowing she’ll be loyal to me anyway. Treat her like dirt and she’ll stick to you like mud? Probably not.
Why She’d Like Me: Actually, I’m a nice guy, so I’d treat her a lot better than Shoji.
Potential for Long Term Relationship: 4/10 – Actually, this should work out. Except she already has a husband. Drat.

Awashima Chikage in Soshun / Early Spring (1956)

Not shown: Unappreciative husband

Aratama Michiyo as Michiko in Ningen no joken / The Human Condition (number 3 was released in 1961)
Why I Like Her: I don’t think many actresses from the 50s-60s can compare with how absolutely lovely Michiyo is.
What’s So Special About Her: She pretty much knows exactly what it means to love.
Why It Might Not Work Out: Even though Kaji’s already dead, I doubt I could make her forget about him.
Why She’d Like Me: I’m not dead, I’m not going off to war, and I’ll spare her from more heartbreak.
Potential for Long Term Relationship: 7/10 – I’m sure she’ll forget about Kaji eventually. After that I’ll just have to turn the flirt on.

Aratama Michiyo in Ningen no joken III / The Human Condition III (1961)

The fact that I couldn't find a good picture of Michiyo without Nakadai Tatsuya is probably a sign

Fuji Junko as Tsuruji in Junko intai kinen eiga: Kanto hizakura ikka / The Red Cherry Blossom Family (1972)
Why I Like Her: She’s a powerful woman who knows how to take control.
What’s So Special About Her: She’s got a bunch of yakuza dudes following her command, which is always good for fights and football games.
Why It Might Not Work Out: Getting mixed up with the yakuza is tough, and if I ever get in trouble, she’d probably need to save my ass. Not very manly, nor very attractive.
Why She’d Like Me: Maybe she’s into artsy sensitive guys. Otherwise, uh, probably not.
Potential for Long Term Relationship: 6/10 – I could learn to get tough, but she’s probably already too tough for any man to handle. I didn’t even choose her Red Peony Gambler version.

Junko Fuji in one of the Red Peony Gambler movies

Red Peony Gambler Version: She could still kill you in her beauty sleep

Joey Wang as Hsiao Tsing in Sien nui yau wan / A Chinese Ghost Story (1987)
Why I Like Her: She’s cute. And she does magic. I’m sure that’d be useful for something.
What’s So Special About Her: She seduces men for a living, so I assume she’s pretty freaky.
Why It Might Not Work Out: She isn’t exactly human, so I’m not sure if that’ll work, you know.. logistically.
Why She’d Like Me: Actually, she probably wouldn’t, since I hate scary places like creepy forests and I’m afraid of the dark.
Potential for Long Term Relationship: 0/10 – No chance in hell, so I’m not sure why she’s on this list.

Joey Wang in Sien nui yau wan / A Chinese Ghost Story (1987)

Probably not her seductive look

Faye Wong as Faye in Chung Hing sam lam / Chungking Express (1995)

Why I Like Her: She’s silly.
What’s So Special About Her: She’s silly!
Why It Might Not Work Out: Actually, I can’t think of anything here except that we might eventually run out of crazy ideas to entertain ourselves with.
Why She’d Like Me: I have the ability to match her adorable-ness and craziness. Yes, really.
Potential for Long Term Relationship: 9/10 – She’s adorable, and she’s the first celebrity I ever grew a crush on, and so far there have only been 2.

Faye Wong in Chung Hing sam lam / Chungking Express (1995)

Faye being adorably silly

Miyazaki Aoi in Shonen Merikensack (2008) – I haven’t actually seen this one yet?
Why I Like Her: Dude, just look at that poster.
What’s So Special About Her: There is something very precious, very fragile about her beauty that I find amazing.
Why It Might Not Work Out: If her character turns out to be like the one from Nana (2005). Ew.
Why She’d Like Me: The movie’s about punk rock, supposedly, and no one’s cooler than me when it comes to music.
Potential for Long Term Relationship: 8/10 – Actually I’d wanted to say Kozue from Eureka / Sad Vacation, but I’d rather a happy Aoi with Kozue’s strong, complex interior. I wonder what that’d be like.

Miyazaki Aoi in Shonen Merikensack (2008)

Face tattoos and brass knuckles will never again be this cute

Ueno Juri as Aoi in Niji no megami / Rainbow Song (2006) or actually, just Juri-chan
Why I Like Her: She’s an aspiring director who loves movies, film (the medium), and photography ( ❤ kodachrome).
What’s So Special About Her: Everything? You might find me weird if I elaborate.
Why It Might Not Work Out: She dies at the start of the movie.. but if I can get to replace Tomoya (that fucking idiot) it wouldn’t happen at all. Now all I need is a time machine or something.
Why She’d Like Me: We have similar interests and personalities, and my perfect intuition (trust me I’m always right about these things) tells me so. I’d also try really really hard?
Potential for Long Term Relationship: 9.9/10 – I’d give her a 10 but my girlfriend might kill me. This is assuming I have a time machine.

Ueno Juri in Niji no megami / Rainbow Song (2006)

Time spent writing this article: 17:10.
Time spent looking at Juri-chan pics: 1:05:00.

Well this one’s pretty obvious, right? I’d picspam but then I’d spend another 5 hours looking at Juri-chan pictures and get fired from work.



June 2009