Kon Ichikawa’s directorial debut. A puppet version of a well-known kabuki play, which was confiscated by occupying US forces for being excessively traditional.
Born on November 20, 1915, in Ujiyamada, Mie Prefecture, Ichikawa first gained western recognition during the 1950s and 60s with several bleak films, particularly two acclaimed antiwar films, The Burmese Harp and Fires on the Plain.
Ichikawa began his career as a cartoonist, and collaborated with his wife, screenwriter Natto WADA, until 1965. His films are generally regarded as dark and bleak, interspersed with sparks of humanity, and he often intertwines comedy and tragedy within the same story. He also has a flair for technical expertise, irony, detachment, and a drive for realism across all genres. After Akira KUROSAWA’s departure, no other Japanese director has come close to Ichikawa’s level of recognition, the power of his films, and commercial success.
Ichikawa passed away on February 13, 2008. At age 91 (2006), he was still active as a director, completing a feature-length film, The Inugamis, and directing one segment of the Japanese fantasy, Ten Nights of Dream… read more
Ichikawa's long and sporadically brilliant career as a director began with this animated puppet movie which was deemed to be unacceptable by the occupying US forces and seized. It was presumed lost for several years but thankfully it survived when, sadly, so many other films didn't in the immediate post-war years. Ichikawa's skills as a director are apparent with his camera movement and editing techniques. A charmer.