Yōji Yamada (山田 洋次, Yamada Yōji?, born September 13, 1931 in Toyonaka City, Osaka, Japan) is a Japanese film director best known for his Otoko wa Tsurai yo series of films.
He was born in Osaka. But because of the work of his father, who was an engineer for the South Manchuria Railway, from the age of 2 he was brought up in Manchuria. Following the end of World War II, he came back to Japan and subsequently he lived in Yamagata Prefecture.
After receiving his degree from Tokyo University in 1954, he entered Shochiku and worked under Yoshitaro Nomura as a scriptwriter or as an assistant director.
He has won many awards throughout his lengthy career and is well-respected in Japan and by critics throughout the world. He wrote his first screenplay in 1958, and directed his first movie in 1961. Yamada continues to make movies to this day.
He is a guest professor of Ritsumeikan University. —wikipedia
I respect the fact that Yamada is trying to say something about the way Japanese have always, and still do to an extent, view their women as commodities rather than human beings deserving of a good life, but that pill is hard to swallow when even the movie's hero has slaves at his beck and call.
I thought this was the weakest of Yamada's samurai trilogy by a long shot. The protagonist, Muenezo(?), chooses to risk his honor as a samurai warrior in order to save females victimized by the unfair marriage system, but is never penalized for any of it and one can't help but feel as though these "brave" acts of liberation were a little too easy.