Period Films and Historicity on gthe Birth of a Nationh: From The Twilight Samurai to The Hidden Blade

Takafusa HATORI

1. Introduction

@@Contemporary film fans, filmmakers, and film critics are aware that two period films --The Twilight Samurai (Tasogare Seibei, Yamada Yoji, 2002) [1] and The Hidden Blade (Kakushi Ken Oni no Tsume, Yamada Yoji, 2004) [2] -- have many things in common. The members of the shooting crew are almost the same; there are several actors who play similar characters in both; both diegeses are set in the Unasaka domain, an imaginary fief in the northeastern region of Japan . Both films narrate a process in which a lower-ranking samurai is involved in a power game and carries out an assassination ordered by his superiors; both films display a relationship between that lower-ranking samurai and the woman he loves. This article does not intend to deny such similarity between the two films, which many contemporary writers have already pointed out. Rather, here we have two objects; one is to identify an important difference that contemporary discourses have failed to identify, and the other is to consider, from a meta-discursive position, why contemporary discourses have failed to identify that difference.
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The key difference derives from how these two films represent the last days of the Tokugawa shogunate (hereafter abbreviated as LTS except in citations): the days just before the restoration of Imperial rule (1867), which is the historical backdrop for the two films. In the long history of Japanese period films, LTS has always been one of the most prominent themes. This is because consumers of LTS period films, especially those created in the early Showa era (1926-1989), tended to find in those LTS films a number of sharable gimages.h Here we borrow cinema scholar Ryu Bumpeifs definition of gimages,h defined as a complex of onscreen representations as well as gthe reception, discourses, and ideologies of spectators,h all motivated by our imagination. [3] The powerful gimagesh in play here are how Japan , as a modern nation, had been founded. As historian Narita Ryuichi has pointed out, the Japanese of that era felt both content with -- and fear of -- the modernization that had taken place over the decades following the Meiji Restoration. This influenced their idea of gwhat the Meiji Restoration and the process following it were at all.h [4] In such a situation, the Japanese shared a historical imagination that interpreted the onscreen images of LTS displayed in many period films as a representation of gthe birth of a nationh in which they lived. This in turn led to the creation of a concept: gimages of LTS as history.h Although the period films that followed also inherited this set of gimagesh -- subject to revision, of course, by a younger generation of filmmakers -- it is impossible for this article to trace the whole process in detail. Here we intend to consider the difference between The Twilight Samurai, whose gimages of LTS as historyh do not get warm reception from contemporary audiences, and The Hidden Blade, which suggests an entirely new gimages of LTSh: that of utopia. We hope that the analysis will also demonstrate the relationship between cinema and the modern nation.

2. gImages of LTSh in the Early Showa Era

@@Here we will focus on gimages of LTSh formed around the period films of the early Showa era. Our analysis is organized in three steps. The first step is to examine the remarks and essays of filmmakers to order the relationship between the preceding gimagesh and their own gimages of LTSh (2-1). The next step is to analyze their film texts to see how onscreen images represented LTS (2-2). The last step is to examine discourses in advertisement and film reviews to see how they transformed onscreen images into conceptualized gimages of LTSh (2-3). The three steps will make it possible to reconstruct, from several perspectives, the gimages of LTSh of that era as a whole.

2-1 The gimages of the grandfatherh
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In period films about LTS created in the early Showa era, several pieces directed by Ito Daisuke such as A Chivalrous Sword (Issatsu Tasho Ken, 1929) and Rise and Fall of the Shinsengumi (Kobo Shinsengumi, 1930) are among the most reputable. In remarking on his own gimages of LTS,h Ito often referred to his grandfather. In discussing A Chivalrous Sword in 1954 he mentioned that, gIn this story, the hero is also a hatamoto [a rank of samurai] who is reluctant to join the Shogitai [a troop on the Tokugawa side which was defeated in the Battle of Ueno (1868)]. Because my own grandfather died [with the members of] the Shogitai, I undoubtedly had a vague curiosity about the Tokugawa side. I was especially interested in this era, so the themes of my pieces tended to deal with the last days of the Tokugawa shogunate.h [5] Concerning Rise and Fall of the Shinsengumi, he made the following remark in 1938: gIn those days [of creating Rise and Fall of the Shinsengumi], I was in favor of Hijikata [Toshizo, the vice captain of the Shinsengumi]. c [M]y grandfather joined the Shogitai and holed up in Ueno, and then he died c. Such things may have significant influences on my partiality to Hijikata. c This [the character of Hijikata] whetted my desire for creation greatly.h [6] As these remarks suggest, a significant part of Itofs gimages of LTSh were formed with reference to his grandfather.
@@Makino Masahiro, also one of the most important makers of period films, had much in common with Ito Daisuke. Throughout his career, Makino constantly referred to the achievements of his grandfather, Fujino Itsuki, who commanded the Yamagunitai, a band of imperial loyalists in the Meiji Restoration. In a round-table talk carried by Kinema Jumpo in 1940, for example, he disclosed his plan to film the activities of his grandfather at the time of the Meiji Restoration. [7] This plan, presumably, was never realized; however, we can see that he did not lose his interest in the Yamagunitai inasmuch as he devoted a significant part of his autobiography to his grandfather and the Yamagunitai. [8] Such discourse demonstrates that the existence of Makinofs grandfather formed the core of his gimages of LTS.h
@@As the above evidence suggests, the existence of grandfathers played a central role in the gimages of the LTSh of the filmmakers in the early Showa era. Here, we should remember that those grandfathers were a ghistorical realityh at the time of the Meiji Restoration. The grealityh consists of what cinema scholar Nakamura Hideyuki defined as gdiscourses in a broad sense: a variety of discourses ranging from daily conversations to media, science, and the other fictional pieces.h [9] Viewed in such a way, the signified of ggrandfatherh in the discourses of Ito and Makino was a conceptualized gimages of grandfather,h itself a formation of representation and discourse. At the same time, however, this gimages of grandfatherh is firmly located in the flow of the history, supported by the concepts of blood relationship and generation (that is to say, gMy grandfather is my fatherfs father; if my grandfather does not exist, I myself cannot exist. As a result, my grandfather surely existed in the flow of the history.h). Thus, gimages of LTSh possessed by filmmakers in the early Showa era, formed around gimages of grandfather,h were also historical for them. In short, these filmmakers shared gimages of LTS as history.h

2-2 Reference to gthe presenth in the epilogue
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As examined in 2-1, gimages of LTSh of the filmmakers in the early Showa era consisted of gimages of grandfatherh which, for them, assumed a historical character. In 2-2, we will concentrate on the ways in which texts of period films, motivated by such gimages of LTS as historyh of the filmmakers, came to represent LTS.
@@Many period films in the early Showa era representing LTS shared a common device for concluding their narratives: the insertion of the epilogue depicting Japan after the Meiji Restoration. A typical example can be found in The Principle of Reverence for the Emperor and the Elimination of Foreigners (Sonno Joi, Ikeda Tomiyasu, 1927). [10] Its climax was the famous assassination of key statesman and Tokugawa partisan Ii Naosuke (played by Okochi Denjiro). After the episode concluded, images of the national flag and a well-developed port appeared, on which the following title was superimposed: gAchievements of many sacrifices and precious bloody tears will endure forever. Ahh, we are struck with the changing times.h According to a contemporary review, this epilogue depicted ga cityscape that had undergone the [Meiji] Restoration.h [11] In the case of Rise and Fall of the Shinsengumi, it is possible to assume through its screenplay that the climatic sequence showing the execution of Shinsengumi leader Kondo Isami (again, Okochi Denjiro) was followed by a title that stated gIsamifs grave exists in Mitaka-mura, Osawa, Bushuh together with a shot (or shots) of his grave. [12] In addition, Sakamoto Ryoma (Edamasa Yoshiro, 1928) [13] also concluded its narrative by a shot of a grave of Sakamoto Ryoma (Bando Tsumasaburo) -- one of the great heroes of LTS -- which followed a sequence showing his assassination. Though the current version of the film does not contain it, we might speculate that in the original version there was some sort of title explaining the contribution of Sakamoto to the Meiji Restoration before the shot of the grave.
@@What is the significance of these epilogues inserted into period films representing LTS? These epilogues functioned as frames encapsulating the main part of each film text, which are the sequences of LTS. In other words, these films shared the frame-story structure, attempting to represent LTS from the position in which the Meiji Restoration, or more particularly, the birth of modern Japan , had been realized. As historical theory in recent years suggests, gehistoryf itself is also a narrative,h [14] and these period films which represented one point in history (LTS) from another point (after the Meiji Restoration) become narrative films describing that history. Seen in such a way, however, the frame-story structure is an ambiguous device which can generate opposite meanings of the whole text depending on the context in which it is received. As cinema scholar Kato Mikiro has pointed out, [15] if the framing diegesis is the grealh one for the spectators, they also feel the reality of the main part of the text that is narrativised from the position in the frame, and then they can identify themselves with the characters in that main part. On the other hand, if the framing diegesis consists of images that are not realistic, the text will become self-referential; the audiences will no longer identify themselves with the characters in the main part which will appear extremely fictional.
@@Keeping in mind this effect of the frame-story structure, it is reasonable to imagine that the epilogues of these period films in the early Showa era made the sequences of LTS realistic for contemporary spectators. As quoted above, the title in Rise and Fall of the Shinsengumi was written in the present tense. This example directly suggests that the epilogue of the film described gthe presenth at the time of its release, so that LTS were positioned as gthe past.h The superimposed title in The Principle of Reverence for the Emperor and the Elimination of Foreigners also indicates a similar arrangement of time, that is positioning the epilogue as gthe presenth and the sequences of LTS as gthe past,h by the phrase gchanging times.h As a result, the spectators of the early Showa era kept feeling reality for the sequences of LTS, which was narrativised from the position of the realistic epilogue of Japan in which they live (gthe presenth).

2-3 Returning to gimages of LTS as historyh
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In this section, we have considered what sort of preceding gimagesh motivated the creation of LTS period films in the early Showa era, and how these film texts represented LTS. For our final step, we will emphasize how these texts were interpreted by contemporary discourses, such as advertisements and film reviews. That is, we will examine gthe models for interpretationh of these texts presented to contemporary spectators.
@@First, through analyzing discourses in advertisement, the selling points of the LTS period films in the early Showa era will be revealed. Among the films referred to in this section, the poster advertising The Principle of Reverence for the Emperor introduced the film as gthe great history of the founding of the nation.h [16] In the case of Sakamoto Ryoma, one catch line in an advertisement declared that gThis very piece, which films the trouble-ridden life of Sakamoto Ryoma, a hero of the last days of the Tokugawa shogunate, is a reminder of the vivid images of the Restoration for us.h [17] In addition, if we pay attention to essays by filmmakers, we can find a similar flavor in them. A maker of mainly period films, Shiba Seika, for example, contributed to Kinema Jumpo an essay on his work, Eto Shimpei (1928), in which he criticized earlier plays on the same theme as contrary to the reality, and introduced his own film as a vehicle that gaims to bequeath the authentic history.h [18] Such examples demonstrate that the discourses in advertisement in the early Showa era intended to identify the onscreen images of LTS with gimages of LTS as history.h In doing so, the advertisement aimed to appeal to the contemporary spectators who asked the question: gwhat the Meiji Restoration and the process following it were at all.h [19]
@@In writing about period films mentioned above, contemporary film critics also emphasized the concept of historicity. Concerning The Principle of Reverence for the Emperor, film critic Kitagawa Fuyuhiko noted: gwhat is worthy of admiration is that c a critical perspective of the history of civilization functions in this film.h [20] This passage, by reading historicity into onscreen images of The Principle of Reverence for the Emperor, underlined the claims by advertisers that the onscreen images were the equivalent of gthe images of LTS as history.h Such a cooperative relationship between discourses in advertisement and film reviews, of course, did not always function. In the case of Eto Shimpei, for example, film critic Uchida Kimio mentioned that gI would rather be shown the confused world of those days [of the Meiji Restoration] in vivid images, by inserting Sanjo Sanetomi [a statesman siding with the restoration forces] and by activating Saigo Takamori [another restorationinst].h [21] This passage indicates the gap between gimages of LTS as historyh in the mind of Uchida and the onscreen images in Eto Shimpei. At the same time, however, it also reinforced gimages of LTS as historyh by claiming the plausibility of the historical imagination regarding Sanjo Sanetomi or Saigo Takamori, who would be represented in many period films in those days, as icons of gimages of LTS as history.h
@@In understanding the function of the discourses in advertisement and film reviews, it is helpful to invoke Walter Benjaminfs gThe Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction.h Benjamin noted that gfree-floating contemplation is not appropriateh for photography, whose gexhibition valueh had begun to conquer its gcult value.h Then, for the person who gfeels challenged by them [photographs] in a new way,h he claimed, gcaptions have become obligatoryh to suggest gdirectivesh to decide meanings of photography, albeit gright ones or wrong ones, no matter.h [22] If it is clear that cinema is also based on mechanical reproduction, the discourses in advertisement and film reviews, which we have seen in this section, should be regarded as a sort of gcaptions.h As we have argued, in the early Showa era, the onscreen images of LTS had historical reality through the frame-story structure. At the same time, however, the frame-story structure is an ambiguous device which carries potential that the fictionality of the main part of the story becomes exposed. In other words, LTS as history, which was represented from the perspective of gthe presenth (the early Showa era) in the epilogue, can be reinterpreted as LTS as narrative that is arbitrarily described from the same perspective. To prevent such a reverse of signification, the discourses in advertisement, in cooperation with those of film reviews, suggested gdirectivesh that identified the onscreen images of LTS with gimages of LTS as historyh and tried to meet the needs of contemporary audiences seeking the answer to the question: gwhat the Meiji Restoration and the process following it were at all.h [23] Through these steps, in the early Showa era the conceptualization of onscreen LTS images into gimages of LTS as historyh became fixed.

@@In this section, we have undertaken three stages of analysis of gimages of LTSh formed around the early Showa period films. Here, we have revealed a process of constructing gimages of LTS as historyh; first, filmmakers created period films of LTS based on their gimages of LTS as historyh; such films had the frame-story structure, which represented LTS as gthe pasth from the position of gthe presenth; and finally, the onscreen images of these films were, again, incorporated into gimages of LTS as historyh by the discourses in advertisement and film reviews. Only after analyzing each film texts and discourses in detail can we make any conclusion about the influences of such gimages of LTS as historyh on the contemporaries who asked gwhat the Meiji Restoration and the process following it were at all.h [24] One thing this article can claim at this point is that the film texts often represented in their epilogues such images as the national flag or the graves of heroes in the myth of the founding of modern Japan , which could function as symbols of national unity. In other words, these film texts were permeated by an ideology that suggested national unity motivated by the shared history of LTS.

3. From The Twilight Samurai to The Hidden Blade

@@As we have seen in the preceding section, the period film of the early Showa era representing LTS contributed to form gimages of LTS as history,h by which contemporaries could imagine how the birth of modern Japan was. It is instructive to compare these gimagesh with those operative at the beginning of the 21st century, or gthe present,h for such gimagesh are now being shattered. This section will trace the process of shattering through an examination of two recent period films, The Twilight Samurai and The Hidden Blade.

3-1 gImages of LTSh around The Twilight Samurai
@@The Twilight Samurai retains gimages of LTS as history,h which were formed in the period films of the early Showa era. Three links can be found between them. First, The Twilight Samurai director Yamada Yoji often refers to his grandfather when he explains his gimages of LTS.h His version is as follows: gMy grandfather was born around the end of the Edo era in Kyushu . c The story that I heard from my grandfather when I was little has been lodged peculiarly in my mind.h Then, making reference to the experiences of the Seinan War (1877) as related by his grandfather, he continues, gIn this way, I picked up a bit of the scent of the last days of the Tokugawa shogunate myself. Thus, it is not all that distant an era. It is an era we can reach if we stretch out our hands. Let us believe it. That is what I constantly told my staff.h [25] This remark demonstrates that the core of Yamadafs gimages of LTSh in creating The Twilight Samurai is, like Ito Daisuke and Makino Masahiro in the early Showa era, based on the preceding gimages of grandfather.h Of course, it is evident that Yamadafs gimages of grandfatherh are less realistic than those of Ito and Makino. One of the proofs is a fact that Yamada also refers to Apocalypse Now (Francis Ford Coppola, 1979/2001), which is patently unrelated to LTS, as another one of his preceding gimages,h [26] then shattering the unity of gimages of LTS as historyh (that is, the historical reality of the gimages of LTSh is violated by juxtaposing them with onscreen images drawn from a completely different historical context, the Vietnam War [1960-1975]). At the same time, however, it is also clear that Yamada attempts to attach historicity to gimages of LTS as historyh through his reference to blood relationship and generation. That is, when he created The Twilight Samurai, Yamada had gimages of LTS as history,h which are similar to those of Ito Daisuke and Makino Masahiro, with reference to the preceding gimages of grandfather.h
@@Second, concerning the manner in which LTS are represented, The Twilight Samurai observes the convention established in early Showa period films. That is, the epilogue in that film is a sequence representing Japan after the Meiji Restoration (according to Yamada Yoji, it is gthe third or fourth year of Showah [27]). This epilogue is similar to that of Sakamoto Ryoma or Rise and Fall of the Shinsengumi, depicting the grave of its hero Iguchi Seibei (Sanada Hiroyuki), with his daughter Ito (Kishi Keiko) paying her respects before it. She occupies the position of narrator, controlling the unfolding of the whole text through a voice-over. In other words, this film text is, like those in the early Showa era, a narrative film describing the history of LTS from the position of a character in a frame story where the birth of modern Japan has become an accomplished fact. Here, however, the significance of the frame-story structure becomes clearly unstable. If The Twilight Samurai was released in the early Showa era, this frame-story structure would enhance the reality of the onscreen images of LTS, which occupied the main part of this film text. However, for the spectators at the beginning of the 21st century, when this film is released, the epilogue is not the representation of gthe presenth but gthe past.h As a result, in cases when consumers feel affinity to the epilogue as gthe past,h they might vaguely feel historical reality of the LTS as gthe pluperfect,h but if they focus on the distance between gthe presenth and gthe past,h they cannot feel the reality of LTS, which is distanciated from gthe present.h Here, we will limit ourselves to pointing out that the convention of representing LTS established in the early Showa era is repeated by The Twilight Samurai in a manneristic form; we will return to this point later.
@@The last step here concerns how The Twilight Samurai is interpreted by contemporary discourses in advertisement and film reviews. The discourses intend, as did those in early Showa era, to reinforce a historical imagination that identifies the onscreen images of The Twilight Samurai with gimages of LTS as history.h According to the pamphlet that accompanies the film, one of its selling points is the effort of gthoroughly researching clothes, lifestyles, manner of speaking, and food, and then depicting the lives of people in a single day as carefully as possible.h [28] In this case, however, the gimages of LTS as historyh could not be completely convincing from the beginning, because, as film critic Sato Tadao has pointed out in regard to the romantic part of the plot, gIn fact, it is questionable that a woman [the heroine of the film, Iinuma Tomoe (Miyazawa Rie)] c could leave home and move into that of another man [Iguchi Seibei] so freely in the feudal age.h [29] However, Sato sews up the wound of gthe images of LTS as historyh that he himself had identified. That is, he continues on after the passage quoted above as follows: gIn that regard, however, I would like to acknowledge the authorsf elaborate efforts c. Without such devices, samurai in period films cannot transcend the limits of kabuki easily.h [30] Here Sato seems to be making an apology for Yamadafs creative attempts to realize a new kind of period film, which is free from the constraints imposed by history. In so doing, Sato makes it possible for the onscreen images of The Twilight Samurai to form a sharable unity of gimages of LTS.h They are no longer historical (we will return to this point later); but it is clear that gimages of LTSh are established via discourses in advertisement and film reviews, although they are a distorted repeat of those in the early Showa era.

3-2 Shattering gimages of LTS as historyh
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As argued in 3-2, The Twilight Samurai retains gimages of LTS as history,h which was originally formed around the period films of the early Showa era. However, the film also shows how such gimages of LTS as historyh have been shattered in the eyes of general audiences and film critics. Here we will reflect on this development in detail.
@@As the above-quoted passage of Sato Tadao indicates, gimages of LTS as historyh are beyond the reach of film critics at the beginning of the 21st century. He can develop an argument on the basis of a binary opposition between period films and kabuki, but he fails to display sensitivity to the difference between general period films, whose diegeses are set in an alternative time to gthe present,h and The Twilight Samurai, which represents LTS as gthe pluperfecth point rooted in the flow of Japanese history. An essay by Yoshimura Hideo for the pamphlet of the film is a similar example. In this essay, Yoshimura associates a variety of films with The Twilight Samurai such as The Bridges of Madison County (Clint Eastwood, 1995) and There Was a Father (Ozu Yasujiro, 1943), identifying them as gfilmic memories embedded [in The Twilight Samurai],h [31] but he fails to mention any films representing LTS. Such discourses indicate that the present film critics no longer share a cinema-historical imagination that distinguishes the period films representing LTS from other period films or films in general. At the same time, it also demonstrates that the historical imagination that conceptualized onscreen images of LTS into gimages of LTS as historyh has become obsolete at the beginning of the 21st century, when we are no longer interested in gwhat the Meiji Restoration and the process following it were at all.h [32]
@@Keeping in mind the contemporary environment in which gimages of LTS as historyh have been shattered, it becomes possible to see the cinema-historical significance of the criticism of The Twilight Samurai. The criticism is g[posted on] bulletin boards on the internet and the like, especially by young people, that the last scene of visiting the grave is unnecessary.h [33] However, as we have argued, the epilogue of the film plays a normative role, transforming the onscreen images of LTS into gimages of LTS as history.h As a result, we must interpret the above criticism as a sign of a paradigm shift among contemporary spectators watching The Twilight Samurai. That is, the criticism is the evidence that the spectators of a younger generation do not share the historical imagination that enables them to identify the onscreen images of LTS, which are represented as gthe pluperfecth by the epilogue, with gimages of LTS as history.h Instead, they receive the epilogue of The Twilight Samurai as a barrier that keeps them from identifying directly with the characters in LTS, which is an alternative time to gthe present.h In our gpresent,h nearly four years after the release of the film, it is impossible to cover all of the discourses on the internet. However, the paradigm shift in the film reviews, which suggests that the historical imagination once transforming onscreen images of LTS into gimages of LTS as historyh has ceased to function, will support the validity of our conclusion.

3-3 gImages of LTSh around The Hidden Blade
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The criticism of the epilogue in The Twilight Samurai by younger spectators has apparently been influential enough to change the conventions for representing LTS in period films; testimony can be found in one interview, where Yamada Yoji himself expresses his interest in the criticism. [34] In fact, his next (and the newest) film that followed The Twilight Samurai, The Hidden Blade, does not have any epilogue representing Japan after the Meiji Restoration. Regarding the filmfs voice-over, it is unclear if its speaker -- the hero of the film, Katagiri Munezo (Nagase Masatoshi) -- had experienced the Meiji Restoration or not. Thus the position of the narrator in the flow of Japanese history remains ambiguous. It indicates the following fact: LTS, which is positioned in the flow of Japanese history as gthe pluperfecth in The Twilight Samurai, is now represented as an alternative time to gthe presenth by The Hidden Blade. That is, the film does not describe history. Needless to say, gimages of LTSh surrounding the film are no longer historical.
@@Before closing this section, it is important to see what gimages of LTSh around The Hidden Blade are. Perhaps they could be describes as gimages of LTS as utopia.h The catch line of the film, gIn the last days of the Tokugawa shogunate, there was a samurai living with love,h [35] is a telling example. Concerning the catch line, we cannot find any discourse that criticizes the contradiction between the historical backdrop of LTS and the romantic part of the plot, which was, as seen in 3-1, pointed out by Sato Tadao at the release of The Twilight Samurai. In other words, gimages of LTSh and gimages of loveh (as Anthony Giddens has mentioned, [36] these two gimagesh cannot coexist because there was no concept of love in Japan in LTS) are fused into a single gimage.h This fact demonstrates that, at the beginning of the 21st century, gimages of LTSh have been transformed from those as history into those as utopia. Here we borrow the ideas of utopia by Iwao Ryutaro on the basis of Gilles Lapougefs argument, which defines it as what longs for gdeparture from ehistory.fh [37] If this gimages of utopiah motivates an imagination that gconstantly reforms the presenth and dreams a somewhere beyond our reach, [38] it is reasonable that The Hidden Blade, which intends to provide sharable gimages of an alternativeh for contemporaries who feel gfearcdim, eerinessh in their daily lives, [39] eliminates the historicity from its gimages of LTSh and suggests such utopian gimages.h The period films representing LTS in the early Showa era described gthe pasth to provide the contemporary spectators with gimages of LTS as history,h which actuated gimages of ethe presentfh in those days (early Showa). Now, at the beginning of the 21st century, they have changes into utopian gimages,h which are supposed to offer gimages of an alternativeh to the confusing gpresent.h

@@This section has reflected on gimages of LTSh at the beginning of the 21st century through analyzing two period films: The Twilight Samurai and The Hidden Blade. In the process of analysis, we have revealed that gimages of LTS as history,h which are identified in the preceding section, continues to be in evidence in The Twilight Samurai; however, those gimagesh are disregarded by the young spectators of the film, and The Hidden Blade suggests another gimages of LTSh: that of utopia. In the early Showa era, each epilogues of the period films, which constituted the core of gimages of LTS as history,h contained a shot (or shots) of the national flag or the graves of heroes in the myth of the founding of modern Japan, which could be interpreted as symbols of national unity. On the other hand, onscreen images of mountains appearing at the end of The Hidden Blade seem to function as a barrier encapsulating its utopian diegesis, which is essentially filled with ga desire for a close-in place.h [40] As a result, the ideology that permeates The Hidden Blade is not a desire to unify the nation, but rather that to retreat into a segmented world.

4. Conclusions

@@This article has endeavored to identify a key difference in representations of LTS in two recent period films, The Twilight Samurai and The Hidden Blade (objective one), and consider why contemporary discourses have failed to point out the difference from a meta-discursive position (objective two). Concerning objective one, we have identified the difference by concluding that gimages of LTSh in The Twilight Samurai is (or could be) historical, and as such an inheritance of the period films in the early Showa era; on the other hand, gimages of LTS as utopiah are formed around The Hidden Blade. With an understanding of that shift, we move to objective two. The meaningful differences do emerge when we take into account the normative gimages of LTS as historyh around the period films in the early Showa era. However, for contemporary spectators of The Twilight Samurai, only gimages of LTS as utopiah are recognizable; gimages of LTS as historyh are beyond the reach of their imagination. In other words, there is no difference, from the beginning, between the two films from the perspective of the contemporary audiences. Rather, they might be seen as positively imagining a new gimages of LTS,h which obviate the very premise of difference. From now on, how will gimages of LTSh develop? Will those utopian gimagesh become dominant? In this question, we eagerly await the next period film of Yamada Yoji, Honor of Samurai (Bushi no Ichibun, scheduled for release in December 2006).


Notes
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In this article, most of the works cited are published only in Japanese. I am responsible for all the translations into English, except the English titles of the following films, which are translated in Nakajima Sadao and others ed., Kyoto Shinemappu: Eiga Roman Kiko (Kyoto: Jimbun Shoin, 1994): Issatsu Tasho Ken and Kobo Shinsengumi. Concerning publication information of videos and DVDs cited, see notes written at the first reference to their titles in this article.

[1] Tasogare Seibei, Shochiku, 2003, DVD.
[2] Kakushi Ken Oni no Tsume, Shochiku, 2005, DVD.
[3] Ryu Bumpei, Eiga no Naka no Shanhai: Hyosho to shite no Toshi, Josei, Puropaganda ( Tokyo : Keio Gijuku Daigaku Shuppankai, 2004), vii.
[4] Narita Ryuichi, gRekishih ha Ikani Katarareruka: 1930 Nendai gKokumin no Monogatarih Hihan ( Tokyo : Nippon Hoso Shuppan Kyokai, 2001), 20.
[5] Ito Daisuke, gJisaku wo Kataru,h Kinema Jumpo, 1 July 1954 , 80.
[6] Ito Daisuke, gShinsengumi Shiken,h Shinario Kenkyu, no. 5 (1938): 135.
[7] gJidaigeki ha Yokunaru: Jidaigeki Kyosho Zadankai,h Kinema Jumpo, 1 July 1940 , 83.
[8] Makino Masahiro, Eiga Tosei: Chi no Maki (Tokyo: Heibonsha, 1977), 458-467.
[9] Nakamura Hideyuki, gHariuddo Eiga heno Nyusu no Shinnyu: Sumisu Miyako he Yuku to Shimin Ken ni okeru Medhia to Merodorama,h in Eiga no Seijigaku, ed. Hase Masato and Nakamura Hideyuki ( Tokyo : Seikyusha, 2003), 122.
[10] Sonno Joi, Nikkatsu, no data for the year of release, video.
[11] Kitagawa Fuyuhiko, review of Sonno Joi, Kinema Jumpo, 21 October 1927 , 69.
[12] Ito Daisuke, gKobo Shinsengumi,h Shinario Kenkyu, no. 5 (1938): 40.
[13] gSakamoto Ryoma,h in Maboroshi no Katsudo Daishashin, no. 4, Puranetto Eiga Shiryo Toshoshitsu, no data for the year of release, video.
[14] Narita, 11.
[15] Kato Mikiro, Eiga no Ryobun: Eizo to Onkyo no Poieshisu ( Tokyo : Firumu Atosha, 2002), 249-251.
[16] Misono Kyohei, Katsuben Jidai (Tokyo: Iwanami Shoten, 1990), no page number.
[17] Sakamoto Ryoma, advertisement, Kinema Jumpo, 21 May 1928 , 58-59.
[18] Shiba Seika, gEto Shimpei Seisaku ni Atatte Jijo Jibaku no Ben,h Kinema Jumpo, 21 June 1927 , 40-41
[19] Narita, 20.
[20] Kitagawa.
[21] Uchida Kimio, review of Eto Shimpei, Kinema Jumpo, 11 July 1928 , 81.
[22] Walter Benjamin, gThe work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction,h in Illuminations, ed. Hannah Arendt, trans. Harry Zorn (London: Pimlico, 1999), 219-220.
[23] Narita, 20.
[24] Ibid.
[25] gYamada Yoji Kantoku, Jisaku wo Kataru,h Shine Furonto 27, no. 9 (2002): 18-19.
[26] Ibid., 21.
[27] gTasogare Seibei: Riariti no Tsuikyu,h in the bonus disk for Tasogare Seibei, Shochiku, 2003, DVD.
[28] gKaisetsu,h in Tasogare Seibei, pamphlet (Shochiku, 2002), 6.
[29] Sato Tadao, gTasogare Seibei no Koto,h Shinario 59, no. 1 (2003): 19.
[30] Ibid.
[31] Yoshimura Hideo, gTasogare Seibei Shiron: Aruiha Yamada Yoji no eBoken,fh in Tasogare Seibei, pamphlet (Shochiku, 2002), 35.
[32] Narita, 20.
[33] gTasogare Seibei: Riariti no Tsuikyu.h
[34] Ibid.
[35] Kakushi Ken Oni no Tsume, pamphlet (Shochiku, 2004), the inside of the front cover.
[36] Anthony Giddens, Sociology, 3rd ed. (Cambridge: Polity Press, 1997), 2.
[37] Iwao Ryutaro, gYutopia Monogatari to Robinson Monogatari: Genkei to Henkeih in Isekai, Yutopia, Monogatari, ed. Iguchi Masatoshi and Iwao Ryutaro ( Fukuoka : Kyushu Daigaku Shuppankai, 2001), 53.
[38] Ibid., 57.
[39] Yamada Yoji, interview, Kakushi Ken Oni no Tsume, pamphlet (Shochiku, 2004), 12.
[40] Iwao, 63.

Acknowledgements

@@This article is a much-revised version of one part of my thesis presented to the faculty of the International Christian University for the baccalaureate degree in 2005. I wish to thank my academic adviser in ICU, Professor Richard Wilson, for his instruction and native checks on my senior thesis and this article.