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Based on a novel by Manabu Manjome, Princess Toyotomi is a story where three threads of story comes together to form one grand and somewhat unusual story.
The first thread is about the Toyotomi clan that ruled Japan before the Tokugawa (who became the Shogun of Japan) clan took over Japan. It was believed that Toyotomi clan was killed to the last one, but it turns out that Hideyori's son Kunimatsu who was believed to been executed escaped the fall of Osaka castle. His heir, and the people of Osaka covertly formed an independent country called Osaka state. They have their own parliament building underground the city of Osaka. In this movie, people of Osaka covertly lead a double life for 400 years, on one hand acting like a citizen of Japan, but in reality believed themselves to be a sovereign country of their own. Premise was this happened from the hatred of people of Osaka against Tokugawa that ruled them with iron fist, as opposed to Toyotomi who has style and culture. Every generation of men of Osaka when they become 14 years old gets to visit the underground parliament accommodated by his father.
The second thread is in modern day Japan. Toyotomi's princess is still alive in Osaka as a regular school girl named Chako Hashiba (Luka Sawaki) . Hashiba is the surname of Toyotomi clan, and Chako is a name taken from Cha Cha who was the mother of Hideyori. She has a classmate Daisuke Sanada (Yuuki Morinaga) who likes to cross dress with school uniform. His father Koichi (Kiichi Nakai), is one of the body guard protecting princess Toyotomi. He runs an okonomiyaki restaurant named "Taikou". Sanada was one of the samurai warlord that was loyal to Toyotomi.
The third thread is about three Japanese government officials who comes to audit OJO (the modern "official" organization name of Osaka state). Last audit was done 35 years ago. Their lead manager Matsudaira also has his roots in Osaka. Matsudaira also is the surname of Tokugawa Shogunate's clan. has two subordinates Tadako Torii (Haruka Ayase), and Asahi Gaynesbool (Masaki Okada). Tadako saw many white cross at the slope of Mt. Fuji when she was a child. Matsudaira ends up seeing the same thing on his way back to Tokyo. Arrival of these three in Osaka triggers the rise of people of Osaka state. People of Osaka rises using a gourd as the signal for assembly.
Manjome's novels has a streak of fantasy mixed with reality, and ancient history of Japan. This story is no exception. The fantasy part goes deep into the "unusual" or "surreal" and in this story the entire city of Osaka has a conspiracy of being its own country. Love of Osaka citizen for its own country almost starts a revolt, but Matsudaira takes a bold action. He also discovers the true meaning of what transpired between him and his father when he was a young man. The story supposedly takes place between Monday to Saturday, and each day is delimited by a title during the movie.
Saff that created Manjome's other novel "Shika Otoko Anioyoshi" into a TV mini-series moved on to make this movie.
This is one of the best movie to come out of Japan recently. The production, and acting are superb, and story as it is with all Manjome's novels is very original. It may take few sittings to really appreciate what's going on, but this movie is highly recommended for all Asian movie fans.
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