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A crippled kabuki player is taken into a strolling company of itinerant actors. An influential publisher notices his honest, bold drawings, and nurtures him despite persecution and betrayal... See full summary »


Masahiro Shinoda
14 wins & 5 nominations. See more awards »


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Credited cast:
Hiroyuki Sanada ... Tonbo
Furankî Sakai ... Tsutaya
Shima Iwashita ... Troupe Leader
Tsurutarô Kataoka Tsurutarô Kataoka ... Goro
Shirô Sano ... Utamaro
Riona Hazuki Riona Hazuki ... Hanasato
Toshiya Nagasawa Toshiya Nagasawa ... Tetsuzo (the future Hokusai)
Yasosuke Bando Yasosuke Bando ... Matsudaira Sadanobu
Tomijuro Nakamura Tomijuro Nakamura ... Gosei
Naoko Kato Naoko Kato ... Ohuji
Masumi Miyazaki Masumi Miyazaki ... Gohi
Chôichirô Kawarasaki Chôichirô Kawarasaki ... Santo Kyoden
Naomasa Musaka Naomasa Musaka ... Manager Yohei
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Eisuke Sasai Eisuke Sasai ... Tomisaburo Segawa
Naoto Takenaka


A crippled kabuki player is taken into a strolling company of itinerant actors. An influential publisher notices his honest, bold drawings, and nurtures him despite persecution and betrayal. The film explores the eternal relationship between artist and producer, and describes the emanicipation of a man who refuses to let himself become the plaything of power and money. Written by L.H. Wong <as9401k56@ntuvax.ntu.ac.sg>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

jidai geki | art | based on novel | See All (3) »







Release Date:

4 February 1995 (Japan) See more »

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User Reviews

Transformation of art in Edo-era Japan
23 November 2004 | by liquorsSee all my reviews

This film features a revolutionary artist named Sharaku in Edo-era Japan. Because the artist hasn't been identified by historians and we are not sure who he was, this historical film is based on a imaginary story like several Jack the Ripper films.

According to this film, the artist was born as a child of single parent who earned the living by painting with colored sand on street. He lost his single mother at the age of 6 and joined an acting&#12288;troupe through his late mother's lover to grow up. He was talented not only with&#12288;acrobatics on the stage but with painting. One day he happened to be employed as a contracted painter by a large capitalist-publisher. The publisher employed such an amateur because he searched for novel in order to recover the popularity of his own Kabuki company and Sharaku had it. Sharaku created amazingly realistic paintings which then Japanese public with dogmatic values can never create or accept.

Probably, the producers of this film wanted to tell Sharaku's realistic art was unexpected enlightenment in Japanese art and indirectly its society of late 18th century. In one scene, Rouju (I don't know how to translate this word, 'senior council member' would be good) Matsudaira tells us that Samurai's governance might be obsolete and might not fit the growing mercantile society. And in another scene, the artist refused to paint persons he never saw, but the people around him never found his refusal reasonable. These 2 scenes reflects the film's historical and social view, especially the latter depicts then Japanese public's fixed artistic values that supported the old Eastern idea that art should imitate art itself, not reality.

This film in the end implies that Sharaku's art was passed on to Hokusai's.

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