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Sugata Sanshiro's Satori / Kurosawa's Censored Satori

Sugata Sanshiro's Satori / Kurosawa's Censored Satori

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Published by Walter Klinger
Sugata Sanshiro 姿三四郎tells the story of a young man studying judo in Meiji Japan (1868-1912). The 1942 novel by Tomita Tsuneo富田常雄 (1904-1967) led to a film the following year by Kurosawa Akira 黒澤明 (1910-1998) in his directorial debut. Kurosawa also directed a sequel, Zoku Sugata Sanshiro 続姿三四郎 (Sugata Sanshiro Continued). Tomita expanded the tale in several more prequels and sequels, which over the decades have been turned into 6 feature films, 5 television dramas, 2 animation films, and 4 manga comic books. The story is appealing from several perspectives. Besides gripping martial arts competition and combat scenes, it provides interesting insights into Japanese religion; in particular, Sanshiro has a satori or “enlightenment” experience. The variations of the novels and films as they appeared in wartime and postwar also reveal changes in social values: a number of phrases with militaristic connotations have been cut or have been replaced with more innocuous phrases.
Published in Academic Reports of The University Center for Intercultural Education, The University of Shiga Prefecture, No. 11. Hikone, Japan. December 2006, pp 33-52.
A version without Japanese glosses was published as "Kurosawa's Censored Satori" Asian Cinema 17 NO.2, Fall/Winter 2006, pp. 124-145.
Sugata Sanshiro 姿三四郎tells the story of a young man studying judo in Meiji Japan (1868-1912). The 1942 novel by Tomita Tsuneo富田常雄 (1904-1967) led to a film the following year by Kurosawa Akira 黒澤明 (1910-1998) in his directorial debut. Kurosawa also directed a sequel, Zoku Sugata Sanshiro 続姿三四郎 (Sugata Sanshiro Continued). Tomita expanded the tale in several more prequels and sequels, which over the decades have been turned into 6 feature films, 5 television dramas, 2 animation films, and 4 manga comic books. The story is appealing from several perspectives. Besides gripping martial arts competition and combat scenes, it provides interesting insights into Japanese religion; in particular, Sanshiro has a satori or “enlightenment” experience. The variations of the novels and films as they appeared in wartime and postwar also reveal changes in social values: a number of phrases with militaristic connotations have been cut or have been replaced with more innocuous phrases.
Published in Academic Reports of The University Center for Intercultural Education, The University of Shiga Prefecture, No. 11. Hikone, Japan. December 2006, pp 33-52.
A version without Japanese glosses was published as "Kurosawa's Censored Satori" Asian Cinema 17 NO.2, Fall/Winter 2006, pp. 124-145.

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Published by: Walter Klinger on Jan 27, 2009
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05/10/2014

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Sugata Sanshiro\u2019s Satori
Walter KLINGER
Sugata Sanshiro\u59ff\u4e09 \u56db\u90cetells the story of a young man studying judo in Meiji Japan

(1868-1912). The 1942 novel by Tomita Tsuneo\u5bcc\u7530\u5e38\u96c4 (1904-1967) led to a film the following year by Kurosawa Akira\u9ed2 \u6fa4 \u660e (1910-1998) in his directorial debut. Kurosawa also directed a sequel, Zoku Sugata Sanshiro\u7d9a \u59ff \u4e09 \u56db \u90ce (Sugata Sanshiro Continued). Tomita expanded the tale in several more prequels and sequels, which over the decades have been turned into 6 feature films, 5 television dramas, 2 animation films, and 4 manga comic books.1

The story is appealing from several perspectives. Besides gripping martial arts competition and combat scenes, it provides interesting insights into Japanese religion; in particular, Sanshiro has asatori or \u201cenlightenment\u201d experience. The variations of the novels and films as they appeared in wartime and postwar also reveal changes in social values: a number of phrases with militaristic connotations have been cut or have been replaced with more innocuous phrases. We will investigate these two topics in this essay.

The novels and manga have never been published in English. The most readily
available film version for English audiences is Kurosawa\u2019s 1943 film.2
As the movie opens,
Sanshiro is looking for Monma\u9580\u99ac\u2019s jujitsu\u67d4\u8853 (\u201cflexibility techniques\u201d) school; he wants
1F il ms: 1943 (Toho. Kurosawa. Opened March 1943), 1945 (Toho. Kurosawa. 82min. Opened May 1945),

1954 (\u5c11\u5e74\u59ff\u4e09\u56db\u90ceYoung Sugata Sanshiro. Toei. Director: Kobayashi Tsuneo\u5c0f\u6797\u6052\u592b. 2 parts 56min + 66min), 1956 (Toei. Dir: Tanaka Shigeo\u7530\u4e2d\u91cd\u96c4. 2 parts), 1965 (Toho. Dir: Uchikawa Sei\u2019ichiro\u5185\u5ddd\u6e05\u4e00\u90ce. 159min), 1977 (Toho. Dir: Okamoto Kihachi\u5ca1\u672c\u559c\u516b. 124min). TV Series: 1958 (JNN/CBC. 3 parts), 1962 (NHK. 4 half-hour episodes), 1963 (Fuji. Dir: Watanabe Kunio\u6e21\u8fba\u90a6\u7537), 1970 (NTV. Dir: Watanabe Kunio\u6e21\u8fba\u90a6\u7537. 26 45min episodes; also released as 71min film by Shochiku), 1978 (NTV. Dir: Yamamoto Michiyo\u5c71\u672c\u8fea\u592b\u3001 Tsuchiya Tougoro\u571f\u5c4b\u7d71\u543e\u90ce. 26 45min episodes.).An i me: 1981 (Fuji. 72min.), 1987 (NTV. 3 half-hour episodes. Available on USA release VHS with English subtitles.).M a ng a : Motomiya Hiroshi (1989). Monkey Punch (same as 1981 anime). Chiba Tetsuya\u3061\u3070\u3066\u3064\u3084 (same as 1987 anime). Minamoto Tarou (2002).

2First released in the USA in 1974 (Galbraith 2002:45), available with English subtitles on unrestored 79

minute VHS. Remastered and partly restored on 91min Japanese DVD; this version is available with English subtitles on Region 4 (Australia & New Zealand) DVD. A 79min Hong Kong DVD, apparently unlicensed and with very poor quality picture, also has English subtitles, but they are quite awful \u2013 judo, jujitsu, andka ra te are translated aska ra te or kung fu, though never asju d o. Kurosawa\u2019s Zoku Sugata Sanshiro has also been restored on Japanese DVD; that film was first released in the USA in 1987 (Galbraith 2002:667). The only available English subtitled version is a Hong Kong DVD with inferior subtitles and audio-visual.

2
Walter KLINGER

to join. He finds that they,sake swilling ruffians the lot of them, are planning to waylay Yano Shogoro\u77e2\u91ce\u6b63\u4e94\u90ce, who has denigrated jujitsu by changing the name to \u201cjudo\u201d\u67d4 \u9053 (\u201cThe Way of Flexibility\u201d) and has opened his own school just to make money; they want him dead. Sanshiro is told to come along to watch the fight. Yano effortlessly flips all his attackers into the river, impressing Sanshiro, who pulls him home in a rickshaw and becomes his pupil, ordeshi\u5f1f \u5b50.

The fictional Yano is modeled after the real-life Kano Jigoro\u5609\u7d0d\u6cbb\u4e94\u90ce
(1860-1938).3

Kano was one of the great Meiji reformers who strove to fulfill the slogan at this time of Japan\u2019s opening,\u548c \u9b42 \u6d0b\u624dwakon yousai, \u201cAccept Western practical knowledge, but keep the Japanese spirit.\u201d He provided rational explanations by applying scientific principles of dynamics and physiology to techniques of a martial art which until this time had been learned largely from direct observation and experience (Inoue 1998:165). Kano explained that judo had a spirit, or philosophy of life:

What I teach is not technique (jujutsu) but a \u201cway\u201d (Judo) \u2026 The principle of a \u201cway\u201d is that it is applicable to other aspects of a person\u2019s life. The true meaning of Judo is the study and practice of mind and body. It is, at the same time, the model for daily life and work (Carr 1993).

The character of Sanshiro is loosely based on the life of Saigo Shiro\u897f\u90f7\u56db\u90ce (1866-1923), who, unlike in the novel where the student finds the teacher, was already highly proficient in jujitsu before Kano recruited him for his school in 1882, when he was 16 years old and Kano 22. Saigo\u2019s 1886 victory in a highly publicized competition using his trademark yama arashi\u5c71\u5d50 technique over a larger jujitsu opponent helped establish judo as the superior hand to hand fighting style. Judo subsequently enjoyed a great boom, being used in police training programs and in the Naval Academy (Toyota 1985), and, in 1911, along with kendo, compulsory for all middle-school students (Carr 1993).

In most of the fictional versions, Yano is much older than Sanshiro, perhaps so that he can be more readily identified as a master/teacher in the story plot. In the next scene in Kurosawa\u2019s film, Yano guides, or from another point of view, pushes or goads Sanshiro into

3Kano\u2019s grandfather was as a ke brewer in Shiga Prefecture; the brewer\u2019s association helped finance Kano\u2019s

judo school, the Kodokan\u8b1b \u9053\u9928, \u201cinstitution for studying the way,\u201d which is the most widespread style of judo in the world. Kano \u201cseized every opportunity to publicize, justify, and promote judo\u201d (Inoue 1998:168), giving lectures and writing essays. In 1909 he became the first Asian member of the International Olympic Committee and later campaigned for Tokyo\u2019s winning bid to host the 1940 Olympics (and Sapporo the Winter Olympics), where judo was to be included as a demonstration event for the first time (Adams 1970).S an sh iro novelist Tomita\u2019s father, Tsunejiro\u5e38\u6b21\u90ce, was ad esh i of Kano. Another pupil was Yamashita Yoshiaki \u5c71\u4e0b\u7fa9\u97f6, who taught judo to President Theodore Roosevelt in 1904 (Svinth 2000).

Sugata Sanshiro\u2019s Satori
3
learning an important life lesson.
Sugata is brawling in the streets; perhaps he just showing off his skill or perhaps he is
being taunted --the reason is unclear. Yano is writing at his desk at the judo school, ordoj o
\u9053\u5834, at times contemplatively looking out at a lotus pond.4

Sanshiro comes into the room looking ashamed. Yano smiles a little and asks, \u201cHow was it? Must have felt good throwing your weight around.\u201d5

Sanshiro says, \u201cI have no excuse.\u201d6

Yano says, \u201cI would have liked to have seen the way you move your body. You\u2019re strong. You\u2019ve really become very strong. Your ability is probably better than mine now. However, Sanshiro, your judo and my judo are heads and tails (literally, Heaven and Earth) apart. Do you notice that? You don\u2019t know the Way of Humanity. Teaching judo to a man who does not know the Way of Humanity is just like giving a knife to a madman.\u201d7

Sanshiro protests, \u201cSensei, I know the Way of Humanity.\u201d8
Yano snaps, \u201cBullshit! (literally, You lie!) You live without reason or purpose. Is it
the Way of Humanity to go raving around madly? The Way of Humanity is\u2026\u201d9

At this point in the film, there is a small but noticeable lack of continuity in the action. The camera is looking at Yano\u2019s face, but Yano\u2019s head jumps suddenly, exactly as if there is a missing piece of film. Following the scenario text of the film (Kinema Junpo 1971), the film, as it played in 1943, apparently continued with\u5fe0 \u5b5d\u306e\u9053\u3060chuukou no michi

da \u201cthe path of loyalty to one\u2019s lord and devotion to one\u2019s parents.\u201d This phrase is missing
in the postwar versions of Kurosawa\u2019s film, and doesn\u2019t appear in any other film version.
Chuukou is a conflation of two Confucian\u5112\u5b66 virtues\u7f8e\u5fb3. Confucius says, \u201cFilial
4A pond with turtles andko i carp seems to be as desirable for Japanese homeowner sensibilities as a spacious,

closely-trimmed lawn is for American ones. The movie doesn\u2019t explain what Yano is writing, but the real-life Kano taught English and was principal atGa ku sh u in Peer\u2019s School\u5b66\u7fd2\u9662, the exclusive school of the nobility and well-to-do. Thed o jo is in a Zen temple; the historical Kano\u2019s firstd o jo also was in a Zen temple, Eishoji\u6c38

\u660c\u5bfa, in Taito-ku Shitaya-Kita-Inari-cho 5-1 \u53f0\u6771\u533a\u4e0b\u8c37\u5317\u7a32\u8377\u753a\uff15\u4e01\u76ee\uff11\u756a,but they stayed there for less than a
year because the judo practice was damaging the floor boards. Yano then built a separate dojo, but as students
increased, they moved to ever larger premises.

5\u3069 \u3046 \u3060 \u3002 \u601d \u3044 \u304d \u308a \u6295 \u3052 \u3066 \u304d \u3082 \u3061 \u3088 \u304b \u3063 \u305f \u308d \u3046 \u3002Dou da. Omoikiri nagete kimochi yokattarou.
6\u7533 \u3057 \u8a33 \u3042 \u308a \u307e \u305b \u3093 \u3002Moushiwake arimasen.
7\u79c1\u3082\u304a\u524d\u306e\u50cd\u304d\u304c\u898b\u305f\u304b\u3063\u305f\u3002\u5f37\u3044\u3002\u307e\u3063\u305f\u304f\u5f37\u304f\u306a\u3063\u305f\u3002\u304a\u524d\u306e\u5b9f\u529b\u306f\u4eca\u3084\u79c1\u306e\u4e0a\u304b\u3082\u3057\u308c\u3093\u3002\u3057\u304b\u3057\u306a\u59ff\u3001

\u304a\u524d\u306e\u67d4\u9053\u3068\u79c1\u306e\u67d4\u9053\u3068\u306f\u5929\u5730\u306e\u9694\u305f\u308a\u304c\u3042\u308b\u3002\u6c17\u304c\u3064\u304f\u304b\u3002\u304a\u524d\u306f\u4eba\u9593\u306e\u9053\u3092\u77e5\u3089\u3093\u3002\u4eba\u9593\u306e\u9053\u3092\u3057\u3089\u306c\u8005\u306b
\u67d4\u9053\u3092\u6559\u3048\u308b\u306e\u306f\u3001\u3053\u308c\u306f\u6c17\u9055\u3044\u306b\u5203\u7269\u3092\u6301\u305f\u305b\u308b\u306e\u306b\u7b49\u3057\u3044\u3002Watashi mo omae no hataraki ga mitakatta.

Tsuyoi. Mattaku tsuyokunatta. Omae no jitsuryoku wa imaya watashi no ue kamoshiren. Shikashi na, Sanshiro, omae no jitsuryoku wa watashi no ue kamoshirenu. Tada, omae no judo to watakushi no judo to wa tenchi no hedatari ga aru. Ki ga tsuku ka? Omae wa ningen no michi wo shiran. Ningen no michi wo shiranu mono ni judo wo oshieru wa kichigai ni hamono wo motaseru noni hitoshii.

8\u5148 \u751f \u3001 \u4eba \u9593 \u306e \u9053 \u306f \u77e5 \u3063 \u3066 \u304a \u308a \u307e \u3059\u3002Sensei, ningen no michi wa shittorimasu.
9\u5618\u3092\u8a00\u3048\u3063\u3002\u7406\u6027\u3082\u306a\u304f\u3002\u76ee\u7684\u3082\u306a\u304f\u3002\u72c2\u3044\u56de\u308b\u306e\u304c\u4eba\u9593\u306e\u9053\u304b\u3002\u4eba\u9593\u306e\u9053\u3068\u306f\u2026 Uso wo ie! Risei mo naku,
mokuteki mo naku. Kuruimawaru no ga ningen no michi ka? Ningen no michi to wa\u2026

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