more Hara Setsuko

Dick Stegewerns dick.stegewerns at
Sun Apr 24 02:48:04 EDT 2011

 Dear all,

 For those of you who cannot get enough of glimpses of the young Hara 
 Setsuko, the May edition of Shincho 45 treats us to a DVD with the 
 oldest remaining moving images of the actress. These come to us through 
 the kind service of Osaka Planet Plus One's Yasui-san in the form of 25 
 or so minutes of 'Tamashii wo Nagero', the 1935 Nikkatsu Tamagawa film 
 directed by Taguchi Satoshi (most known for his warfilm 'Shogun to Sanbo 
 to Hei' and his later documentary work) and Hara's third film. I am 
 afraid the quality of the remaining middle part of the film is not 
 terribly good, but this part does feature the 15 year-old Hara in school 
 uniform, swimsuit and yukata, which seems to be the biggest selling 
 point of both the film and this issue of Shincho 1945. The film itself 
 is hardly more than a mass product. It is the regular story of a rural 
 highschool team making it to Koshien through many hardships, although it 
 involves some extraordinary elements such as the team's pitcher (Hara 
 features as his younger sister) being assaulted by the rival team and 
 eventually dying of his injuries. It is also interesting to see that in 
 this 'Fifteen Years War' wartime production the American-imported sports 
 of baseball is characterised as a true spiritual 'way' (baseball-do) on 
 the same level as Japan's various martial arts (budo) and that fun is 
 being made of a stubborn retired officer. However most important is that 
 the film, in sharp contrast to the more realistic 'Seimei no Kan' 
 (Uchida Tomu, 1936) presented as a supplement to the March issue of 
 Shincho 45, features various close-up shots of the young actress. If 
 your definition of paradise is that the ball you have thrown is returned 
 to you by a young, smiling Hara Setsuko in yukata, this film was made 
 for you. Otherwise I would invest your time and money on more worthy 

 By the way, the same publishing house treats the readers of its main 
 literary magazine Shincho to a CD of the 1962 radio play of Tanizaki 
 Junichiro's 'Futen Rojin Nikki', featuring the writer himself in the 
 leading main role. Plenty indirect connections to film, so I guess it is 
 OK to mention. One only wonders if nowadays magazines only can be sold 
 by adding DVDs or CDs.


 Dick Stegewerns

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