Spring Awakens (was: Hideko the Bus Conductor)

Maria Jose Gonzalez tkarsavina at yahoo.com
Tue Mar 1 10:34:47 EST 2011

I haven't seen "Uma" either,just two photographs in the wonderful book on Takamine that appeared March last year:http://www.amazon.co.jp/高峰秀子-斎藤明美/dp/4873763266I am not surprised about censorship relative to sake.Sake comes from rice and it is obvious it would be scarce at the beginning and then very difficult to come by due to shortage.The goverment decided to act (despite the fact that sake was one of the most important sources of revenue) and most rice had to be used as food.I think some laws were enacted to this effect and it was the sake factories in Manchuria that started experimenting and adding more alcohol and glucose to an otherwise pure drink in order to use less rice.Who knows what war time sake tasted like!Another important point is that up until the war,homebrew sake was quite extended,much to the state's displeasure since it was NOT taxable.The war provided the perfect opportunity to prohibit it although of course it could
 be found in the black market...(To this day,this law has not been changed and homebrew sake is no more).I find it odd that Kurosawa wouldn't be aware of this sake situation since shortages must have already been widespread,leading to the laws promulgated in 1942.He shouldn't have needed any explanation about why the censors didn't want to see sake in the film.What just a year before was a normal scene-going to the shop/or somebody's house to fetch sake had turned into a national issue,so more than the past being inserted into the present,is it the present refusing to adapt to the new political and economical order?A defense of sake for the people?We would have to watch the film in any case.By the way,Takamine and Kurosawa has a little romance during the filming of "Uma" that was leaked to the media.On learning about it,Takamine's mother expressed her most firm opposition and ordered her daughter to break up the relation immediately.This is thus the only
 Takamine-Kurosawa collaboration.

--- On Tue, 1/3/11, Roger Macy <macyroger at yahoo.co.uk> wrote:

From: Roger Macy <macyroger at yahoo.co.uk>
Subject: Re: Spring Awakens (was: Hideko the Bus Conductor)
To: KineJapan at lists.acs.ohio-state.edu
Date: Tuesday, 1 March, 2011, 7:30 PM


So, if soft drinks were in such short supply, what of sake 
- given that there was, in any case general disapproval of frivolity and booze 
I'm thinking of Kurosawa and his account of censorship of 
Uma, in the chapter called 'Congenital Defects', p111 in my english 
paperback edition.  K reports that he got into stubborn, stand-off with the 
military censor who demanded the cutting of  an elaborately shot scene 
because Takamine buys a bottle of booze for her family in the daytime.  K 
says he was particularly mad because the censor wouldn't explain himself. 
 Presumably the scene is lost (and I haven't seen the film).  But if 
drinks were in short supply, is it possible that the underlying battle is 
whether the censors thought they saw the past being inserted into the present 
?  OK, this is a stretch ...

  ----- Original Message ----- 
  Maria Jose 
  To: KineJapan at lists.acs.ohio-state.edu 
  Sent: Monday, February 28, 2011 5:53 
  Subject: Re: Spring Awakens (was: Hideko 
  the Bus Conductor)

      I totally agree with film being an invocation of a near 
        past.It made me think that many Japanese viewers express feeling a sense 
        of nostalgia on seeing the boss drinking "ramune",
        He does so quite freely,again so perfectly evocative of a true 
        Japanese summer,pouring it on ice.
        However,one can consider that such a drink would have been somehow 
        scarce during war time and indeed searching some ramune history,during 
        the Sino-Japanese war of 1937 production fell drastically due to the 
        lack of sugar,aromatic ingredients and carbonic gas.
        In 1941,a great number of people working in ramune factories were 
        drafted,production fell and many factories were destroyed.By the end of 
        the war,there were only 468 factories left,producing just a mere 1% 
        compared to production figures in Taisho year 15.
        It seems very unrealistic that in such a remote-looking area as 
        appears in the film,this drink is so easy to buy,even for the 

--- On Tue, 1/3/11, Maria Jose Gonzalez 
        <tkarsavina at yahoo.com> wrote:

          Maria Jose Gonzalez <tkarsavina at yahoo.com>
Subject: Re: 
          Spring Awakens (was: Hideko the Bus Conductor)
          KineJapan at lists.acs.ohio-state.edu
Date: Tuesday, 1 March, 2011, 
          1:44 AM

              Just months before that same year,another "bus" 
                film by Hiroshi Shimizu,"Akatsuki no Gassho" had been released 
                and Naruse was of course very much aware of the comparisons that 
                would arise.
This film deals with yet another conductress and 
                again contains no traces of a country at war (apparently it was 
                filmed in Akita Prefecture which suggests films were moving away 
                from the capital area to avoid it).


--- On Tue, 1/3/11, Michael Kerpan 
                <mekerpan at verizon.net> wrote:

                  Michael Kerpan <mekerpan at verizon.net>
Subject: Spring 
                  Awakens (was: Hideko the Bus Conductor)
                  "KineJapan at lists.acs.ohio-state.edu" 
                  <KineJapan at lists.acs.ohio-state.edu>
Date: Tuesday, 1 
                  March, 2011, 1:12 AM

                  > This has the feel of a story of the near past, 
                  only pretending to be in the present.
                  This is true of one Naruse's early post-war 
                  films.  I get a feeling that this could as easily have 
                  been set around 1930 as around the latter 1940s. (This is 
                  another of my top 1940s Naruse films). ;~}


-------------- next part --------------
An HTML attachment was scrubbed...
URL: http://mailman.yale.edu/pipermail/kinejapan/attachments/20110301/96ea77be/attachment.html 

More information about the KineJapan mailing list