Japanese musicals

Michael Raine mjraine
Wed Nov 23 04:25:52 EST 2005

My colleague Roger Garcia of the Udine Far East Film festival is curating a
section for next year's edition on Asian musicals, primarily from the 1950s
and 1960s. I'm helping him with Japan by screening the films of the usual
suspects (Takamine Mieko, Takamine Hideko, Misora Hibari, Kayama Yuzo, The
Crazy Cats, Frankie Sakai, Ishihara Yujiro, etc.), but I'm wondering if
there are any good books or articles out there, in Japanese or English, I
should be mining. There is plenty of writing on music in Japanese films, but
I'm more interested in the musical genre per se, or rather the local
interpretation of it.
Mark Schilling
schill at gol.com

Sounds like a great program. I'm sure there's a market for a DVD series too.

I expect you've looked at the Utaeba tengoku books already. I found Gosanke
kayo eiga no ogon jidai by Fujii Hidetada interesting. I haven't seen it but
I saw a recent songbook online - Natsukashi no Showa kayo eiga: Nikkatsu
hen.  It comes with a karaoke CD and lyrics!

It would be a shame to miss Oshidori utagassen and Enoken operettas like
Enoken no seishun suikoden, but if you limit it to the fifties and sixties I
hope you find space for Hibari's Shichi henge tanuki goten and Janken
musume, as well as Toho films like Kimi mo shusse ga dekiru. It's 'Nabe
pro's 50th anniversary this year -- perhaps Yume de aimasho or something
with The Peanuts? What about some interesting outliers such as Kuroki
Kazuo's 'documentary' Koi no hitsuji ga umi ippai? Abe Kobo and other
modernists were interested in theorizing the space and time of the musical
in the same period.  

Out of interest: what do you think makes a film a musical in Japan? 


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