Taki no shiraito (1933) - full transcript

Taki no Shiraito is a very independent young woman with a famous water juggling act in a travelling carnival troupe. She falls in love with an orphaned carriage driver Kinya Murakoshi, and pledges to put him through law school in Tokyo. She always encloses money in her letters to him, until one hard winter there is no work to be found.

Kenji Mizoguch Revealed

Director Kenji Mizoguchi is a key figure
who can't be overlooked in the word's film history,

He was a wel esteemed director
who produced such works as

Ugetsu Monogatari (Ugetsu) and
Sansho-dayu (Sansho the Bailiff)

in the 1 950s, which is considered to be
the golden era of Japanese cinema.

However, these are two of
his last few works in his later years,

He started his career
as a director in the 1 920s.

Drector Kenji Mzoguchi
He started his career
as a director in the 1 920s.

Drector Kenji Mzoguchi

Taki no Shiraito (The Water Magcian)
you just saw was created in 1 933,

around which time Kenji Mizoguchi established
an essential position in Japanese cinema,

Also to be noted is that this is a silent flm,

The film was created during the tail end of
the Japanese silent flm period,

while the general trend in filmmaking
around the world

had drastically shifted to creating talke films.

It is most unfortunate that

many Japanese masterpiece flms
have been ost over time

as Japanese sient films were
far from being properly stored.

Fortunatey, however,
although not in ts complete form,

Taki no Shiraito stil remains with us today.

It is said to be Mizoguchi's representatve work
during the sient film period,

We are very lucky.

We can see in this film Taki no Shiraito that

his style had already been
establshed in the early 1 930s,

Taki no Shiraito

Taki no Shiraito
The story which the film Taki no Shiraito
was based on was

Taki no Shiraito

Taki no Shiraito
extremey famous and widely known at the time,

Taki no Shiraito

Taki no Shiraito
It was written by Kyoka lzum who was
a very popuar writer then,

Taki no Shiraito

Taki no Shiraito
It was one of his major works,

Kyoka lzumi wrote

a number of wel-plotted novels which are
stil read today, but is also known for

his extraordnary talent with scripts for plays
considered to be of the Shimpa style,

You may be wondering about this
Shimpa style,

Shimpa-style plays featured
contemporary dramas,

but where its method of expressions
and acting styles were

strongly influenced by kabuki performance,

Kabuki is a traditional performng art,
so t was referred to as Kyuha,

or the old schoo style,

Contemporary dramas weren't
performed in kabuki,

The old performng stye that had been
establshed and remained made it rather

difficult for modern practices
and lives to be featured,

That is why Shimpa, the new school style,
had been established

as a new form, new style of performing art,

However, compared to modern day plays,
even the Shimpa-style plays included

poses and movements typical of kabuki,

They included many scenes where
the actors beautifuly posed.

They made breathtaking poses

as if they were a part of
beautiful, eye-grabbing paintngs.

That was the style.
This was the influence of kabuki,

Only a few theatrical troupes stil practice
this Shimpa style

as it is considered old-fashioned today,

However, t was

the stye that represented the Japanese
performing arts durng the Meij perod,

There is a common theme in
most of the Shimpa-stye pays.

Taki no Shiraito s such a typical example,

Taki no Shiraito

Taki no Shiraito
The woman, the main character,

Taki no Shiraito

Taki no Shiraito
suffers beyond imagination for her man,

Taki no Shiraito

Taki no Shiraito
And for that man,

Taki no Shiraito

Taki no Shiraito
she devotes her ife and energy to him,

Taki no Shiraito

Taki no Shiraito
The man on the other hand.,,

Taki no Shiraito

Taki no Shiraito
succeeds in life,
but is eft with a deep sense of guit,

Taki no Shiraito

Taki no Shiraito
This is the basc plotine of
the Shimpa-style plays,

Taki no Shiraito

Taki no Shiraito
At the same time, this was indeed

Taki no Shiraito

Taki no Shiraito
a reality durng the Meij perod,
when moderniation began in Japan,

As Japanese society started to modernize
under the infuence of the West,

its driving force was the idea that
anyone who studied hard and

graduated from a good school wil be
employed and lead a successful life.

The truth was that it only appied to men,

So if there was a samurai famiy that had
gone out of power,

they'd want the son to go to
a good school and succeed

so that their family may once agan rise
in the socal ladder,

This was the desire of the ruined ruling cass
in the old Japan,

In order to achieve this, the whole family,
especaly the women,

had to work hard,

Back in the old days, there weren't

that many choices of work for women,

Other than working in factories,

it was common for women to become a geisha,

Women working for their families and

feeding them with her pay as a gesha
was so typical back then.

Putting the men in the famiy through school
depended on her pay as well.

In fact, Kenji Mizoguchi himself led such a ife.

He came from a family that lost its fortune,

After graduating from primary school,

he never had a rea job
but went from one job to another,

He then joned the film industry
when he was about 20,

Until then, he spent his adolescence
with the support of his older sister

who had become a geisha,

The film is based on his rea life's story,

Taki no Shiraito

Taki no Shiraito
A wonderfu woman sacrifices
everythng she has for her love

Taki no Shiraito

Taki no Shiraito
to allow him to study and

Taki no Shiraito

Taki no Shiraito
for him to succeed in life,

Taki no Shiraito

Taki no Shiraito
She gives up everything,

Taki no Shiraito

Taki no Shiraito
She offers him money and
an opportunity for his education,

Taki no Shiraito

Taki no Shiraito
but in the process gets invoved in a crime
and s brought to court,

Taki no Shiraito

Taki no Shiraito
The prosecutor of her trial turns out to be

Taki no Shiraito

Taki no Shiraito
the young man who she had
provided school tution,

Taki no Shiraito

It is a common storyine in melodramas,

Considered rather old-fashioned nowadays,
but they happened during the Meji period,

The story may be a little exaggerated
with extraordinary coincidences,

but it isn't a far-fetched storyline that was
specifically written for a melodrama,

It was a common scenario in real Iife back then.

The story's hghight is what knd and
what degree of sense of guilt the man feels

when he meets the woman again,

I believe this aspect was depcted based on
Kenji Mizoguchi's own experience,

The film finely ilustrates such sentiments.

Takako lrie
The woman here is a water artist named
Taki no Shirato,

Takako lrie

Takako lrie
When I was a child, water arts were
still performed a lot across Japan,

Takako lrie

Takako lrie
Also to be noted is

Takako lrie

Takako lrie
Takako lrie, the actress who played
the role of ths water artist Taki no Shiraito,

Takako lrie

Takako lrie
Whie she actualy was this film's producer,

Takako lrie

she was the most popular fim star at the time,

She came from a nobe family,

It is true that she gained her fame
partialy because

she was a girl from a noble famiy
who became a film actress,

But she was also known as the top beauty
in Japanese cinema in her days,

She had this gracefulness

whch troubes the peope
when watching her striving so hard,

That is the kind of woman

men want to give up all for and
do everything in ther power for her,

But in the film, the man is
far from devoting himself to the woman,

Instead he ends up in a position where
he makes her sacrfice herself for him,

Ths depicts the typical relatonship
between men and women widely accepted

during the Meiji period where men succeeded
by using women as steppingstones,

In this film, however, Mzoguchi

keenly poses the queston of whether
such practice shoud be accepted,

In the film, there is a man
who the woman financially supports,

Young Kinya,

Tokhiko Okada

Tokhiko Okada
This role was played by the film star
most popular in Japan at the tme,

Tokhiko Okada

Tokhiko Okada
A young and handsome man,

Tokhiko Okada

Tokhiko Okada
What was so specia about hm was that

Tokhiko Okada

Tokhiko Okada
he had the gift with more westernized gestures.

Tokhiko Okada

Tokhiko Okada
Around the same time as this fim,

Tokhiko Okada

Tokhiko Okada
he often payed such roles as
a good-humored, funny student

Tokhiko Okada

Tokhiko Okada
in a number of Drector Yasujiro Ozu's fims
in a more modern setting.

Tokhiko Okada

Tokhiko Okada
Tokhiko Okada was a great star of his time,

Tokhiko Okada

Tokhiko Okada
This said, the film Taki no Shiraito
was a melodrama

This said, the film Taki no Shiraito
was a melodrama

by the best looking coupe in
Japanese cinema at the tme

whch closely refected
the true nature of Japanese socety.

The detailed depction of the course of a couple
being carried away to meet their destiny

adds great depth to the film and
hints at us about the masterpiece works of

Kenji Mizoguch in his later years,

This fim is a tragic story,

Taki no Shiraito

Taki no Shiraito
The man now as a prosecutor

Taki no Shiraito

Taki no Shiraito
faces the woman who is his lover and
who he owes his ife to,

Taki no Shiraito

Taki no Shiraito
He s now in a position where
he must sentence her as guilty,

Taki no Shiraito

Taki no Shiraito
However, the man himself later
commits suicide out of guilt.

The story ends in what could be considered
a double suicide.

The beauty of double suicide is frequently
featured in Japan's traditional pays,

I believe that this film shares a similar

or the same kind of beauty in ts work.

Tokyo Koshinkyoku

Tokyo Koshinkyoku
The other fim is
Tokyo Koshinkyoku (T okyo March),

Tokyo Koshinkyoku

Tokyo Koshinkyoku
Although only partially,
the film has survived over the years,

Tokyo Koshinkyoku

Tokyo Koshinkyoku
It can't be watched as a compete work
as only parts of the flm stil remain today,

Tokyo Koshinkyoku

Tokyo Koshinkyoku
However, I still think it is very fortunate that

Tokyo Koshinkyoku

Tokyo Koshinkyoku
we have a silent flm work by Mizoguchi,
even ony partially.

The film is starred by Shizue Natsukawa,
another top film actress of the time,

Takako lrie who played
the lead role in Taki no Shiraito

was one of the best classic beauties,

Shizue Natsukawa
In contrast, Shzue Natsukawa was
a new type of film star

Shizue Natsukawa

Shizue Natsukawa
of the younger generation,

Shizue Natsukawa

Shizue Natsukawa
A group that emerged from
a new wave of modernization,

Shizue Natsukawa

Shizue Natsukawa
A new type indeed,

Shizue Natsukawa

She was very intelligent and cute,

She was also energetc and
acted without hesitation,

Kenji Mizoguch himsef grew up
in a feudal time

and was taught feudal ideologies,

But because of such a feudal society,

he was abe to have

the life he wanted,

Hs older sister became a geisha and
paid his tuition,

She was the one

who supported hm,

She was the one who watched over him.

He grew up in such an environment,
but he thought that was wrong,

It was wrong for men to succeed
at the cost of women.

I believe that was Kenji Mizoguchi's
ifeong theme,

So the sense of guit toward women
reappears through Mizoguchi's films.

Tokyo Koshinkyoku

Tokyo Koshinkyoku
With such a mindset, Mizoguchi tred to
depict a new type of woman

Tokyo Koshinkyoku

Tokyo Koshinkyoku
as Japan was starting to modernize,

as Japan was starting to modernize,

There's no doubt that

modernization, feudaism and tradtion
co-existed inside Mizoguchi.

As he was taught feudal views while growng up,

its blessing can be seen in Taki no Shiraito,
as wel as in his later work Ugetsu Monogatari.

Depicted n these films are

the beauty of kabuki and noh
which developed during feuda times,

Nevertheless, Mizoguchi himself
sought modernization.

I believe his nner struggle

can be wel seen n these two works,