THE HIDDEN BLADE
- 隠し剣 鬼の爪
- Original Title
- Kakushi Ken, Oni no Tsume
- Production Year
- Running Time
- Yoji YAMADA(山田洋次)
- NAGASE, Masatoshi ("Mystery Train")
MATSU, Takako("April Story")
- From the creators of the award-winning 'The Twilight Samurai' Director Yoji Yamada Turns Again to the Work of Shuhei Fujisawa for his Second Period Drama
In 2002 "The Twilight Samurai", the 77th film by 'Tora-san' director Yoji Yamada, took Japan by storm. A resounding commercial success, and sweeping almost all the film awards possible, including the Japan Academy Awards in 12 categories and the most prestigious "Kinema Junpo" Awards. It was also chosen in competition at the 53rd Berlin International Film Festival, won Golden Maile for Best Feature Film at the 23rd Hawaii International Film Festival, and has been nominated for the 76th Academy Award as Best Foreign Language Film of the Year.
"The Twilight Samurai" was adapted from stories by Shuhei Fujisawa, whose long string of best-sellers established him as Japan's foremost writer of historical fiction. His stories of everyday life, conflicts, joys and sorrows, of the samurai swordsmen, in a setting of great natural beauty evoke a powerful nostalgia, and present this vanished world with a seamlessness that had always been thought impossible to film until Yamada chose one for his first period drama of his long and distinguished career. "The Twilight Samurai", the story of a low-ranked samurai at the end of Japan's feudal era, who finds through his family qualities of consideration, courage and pride - which is widely considered to have vanished from modern Japan - struck a chord with audiences all over the country.
Now, two years later, Yamada again takes up the challenge of filming a Shuhei Fujisawa tale in what he calls 'a period drama unlike any that's ever been made before.' Combining stories of "Oni no Tsume (The Devil's Claw)", from Fujisawa's "Kakushi Ken (Hidden Sword)" series of unconventional 'swordfighter' tales, with "Yuki Akari (The Gleam of the Snow)", a story of forbidden love, "Kakushi Ken - Oni No Tsume" is set once again in the fictional Unasaka clan, in the Shonai area (northern part of Japan), along the beautiful Japan Sea coast. At the turn around of the Japanese history where the unstoppable western culture came in and on the verge of a dizzying period of social change, its hero finds that the instruction he has received in an esoteric and closely guarded technique of swordsmanship embroils him in a violent and fateful series of events, overlaying his deepening love for a lower-caste woman who has come into his house as a maid.
In the role of this samurai, Munezo Katagiri, is Masatoshi Nagase, whose eccentrically individual acting style has brought him to the attention of directors both in Japan and abroad, including Jim Jarmusch for "Mystery Train", His love interest, Kie, is played by Takako Matsu, known for her work in film ("April Story"), TV, and stage. A powerful cast of stalwarts in supporting roles, many known for their work in previous Yoji Yamada films, includes Hidetaka Yoshioka, Yukiyoshi Ozawa, Tomoko Tabata, Reiko Takashima, Kunie Tanaka, Chieko Baisho, Min Tanaka, Nenji Kobayashi and Ken Ogata.
The production will reunite many of the staff of "The Twilight Samurai", with Director Yamada again sharing credit with Yoshitaka Asama on the script, cinematography by Mutsuo Naganuma. Gen Nakaoka will light the work of art director Mitsuo Degawa, while Kazuko Kurosawa will design the costumes. Music will be provided by the legendary Isao Tomita.