Sword Fighting Men, Will Chambara Movies be Hip in 2010, Japan Society Thinks So

Can't get enough of Sword Fighting Men, starting in December 2009 and running until May 2010, the Japan Society in New York is featuring The Double Edged Sword: The Chambara Films of Shintaro Katsu & Raizo Ichikawa as part of their Monthly Film series.

The series opened on December 11 with Samurai Vendetta: A Chronicle of Pale Cherry Blossoms.

The Japan Society tells us why Chambara movies will be hip in 2010 and the films to be shown in the coming month:

"With the centennial of director Akira Kurosawa’s birth coming up, 2010 will certainly be the year of sword fighting films (chambara)! While Kurosawa will always remain the "Emperor", two actors dominated postwar Japanese genre cinema: Daiei Studios’ cult stars Shintaro Katsu (1931-1997) and Raizo Ichikawa (1931-1969).

Two actors, two styles, apparently poles apart yet actually complementary: earthy Katsu was the affable anti-idol rogue, unpredictable on- and off-screen, while ethereal, coolly enigmatic Ichikawa was considered the “James Dean of Japan”. Beyond their differences, both stars instilled in their roles a poisonous poetry and existential angst that lifted their art into genre-transcending territory."

Next film to be shown on Friday, January 22 (2010) at 7:30 PM is Zatoichi, the Fugitive (1963, image below, © Kadokawa Pictures, Inc.)


Double Edge Sword is curated by Chris D. author of Outlaw Masters of Japanese Film (cover below).


I did not make the connection until I started digging with the Chris D (Chris DesJardins) of X and Flesh Eaters punk fame.

Scott Foutz wrote a detailed review (on SaruDama, 2008) of Outlaw Masters.

Eager to learn more about the Chambara film genre, visit Chambara a fan site.

Getting the adrenaline flowing for Tokyo Thursdays # 118

Previously: Reading Keitai Novels or Virtual Toilet Flushing, Mobile Phone Uses in Japan

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