Produced by Matsuda Film Productions in
Ranked in 5th Place for Nontheatrical Films Selected by Japan Film Pen
Club for FY1988
Tsumasaburo no Shogai (Bantsuma: The Life of Tsumasaburo Bando)
Picture Co., Ltd.
||Friends of Silent
||Japan Film Library
Commentary: The Great Kanto Earthquake hit on 1 September 1923.
After the great damage caused by this disaster, Japanese old traditional
culture gave way to new trends. The era of popular culture began, such
as novels on swordfights gained popularity. In the film industry, Bando
Tsumasaburo became an actor representing the new style of jidaigeki
(period film), replacing Onoe Matsunosuke's time which is referred to
as kyugeki, the old style of jidaigeki.
Bando Tsumasaburo, birth name Tamura Denkichi, was born on 13 December
1901. Jisshi Elementary School in Nihombashi he attended happened to stand
next to the former site of Denma-cho Prison where a lot of the loyal supporters
of the Emperor, which he frequently played in his films, were deeply involved
After graduating from elementary school, Bantsuma became an apprentice
and studied under a kabuki actor Kataoka Nizaemon, starting his career
as an actor, but moved to small theaters in Asakusa in no time. He found
his own troupe but failed and joined Makino Tojiin Studio in Kyoto. He
builds a glorious career there. In this film introduced are works by Bantsuma
in his earlier years, as well as statements by poet Adachi Kenichi and
the former president of Iwate Broadcast Co., Ltd. Ota Toshiho, depicting
how much Bantsuma thrilled the young boy and girl fans at the time.
In 1925, Bantsuma established his own agency. Together with excerpts from
the works produced by his agency, this film includes interviews with actresses
Mori Shizuko and Tamaki Utako, who co-starred with Bantsuma at the time,
uncovering "Bantsuma as a person" as they knew him. It also includes comments
together with actual demonstrations by the renowned swordplay coach Kuze
Ryu, who served as a stand-in for Bantsuma, on how swordfight scenes had
evolved with Bantsuma.
In 1931, Bantsuma continued producing films at a studio he built in Yatsu,
Chiba Prefecture. However, this was his low period in his career. Then
in 1937, Bantsuma moved to Nikkatsu.
The following year, Bantsuma co-starred with Kataoka Chiezo in Nikkatsu's
all-star film Chushingura. The sequence of Oishi Kuranosuke, the role
Bantsuma played, traveling to Azuma has been included in this film at
some length. Director Inagaki Hiroshi's films introduced following the
sequence from Chushingura depicts how Bantsuma perfected his acting skills,
and shows highlight scenes from Muhomatsu no Issho (The Life of
Matsu the Untamed), where Bantsuma presented a reserved character with
great depth. After the Second World War, Bantsuma reached one of his heights
in Oushou. Director Ito Daisuke shares with us the real significance about
Bantsuma's performance in this film.
This film includes a valuable private film recorded by Bantsuma's first
son Takahiro, which shows the private life of Bantsuma in his later years.
Tamura Takahiro shares that Bantsuma was a family man, and that Katsu
Kokichi that Bantsuma played in his posthumous work Abare-jishi
best resembled his true nature.
On 7 July 1953, Bantsuma died of cerebral hemorrhage while filming Abare-jishi.
A beautiful grave has been build for him in Nisonin, Kyoto where Bantsuma
rests in peace.
In addition to this film being a biography of Bantsuma's life, it is also
a collection of highlight scenes from his films. However, this film could
also be said to present an aspect of how Japanese cinema history developed
from the end of Taisho period to the post-war period. By following Bantsuma's
footsteps, we learn that it overlaps with the path of growth Japanese
cinema has taken. The agony Bantsuma suffered was directly the agony Japan
experienced as it put itself in the middle of the hideous war. This film
allows viewers to have a glimpse of the history and values of a country
by learning about one of its greatest film stars.
Includes excerpts from the following films:
Goketsu Jiraiya (The Gallant Jiraiya)
(1921, Director: Makino Shozo, Starring: Onoe Matsunosuke)
Tsukigata Hanpeita (Hanpeita, Master Swordsman)
(1925, Director: Kinugasa Teinosuke, Starring: Sawada Shojiro)
(1928, Director: Ishiyama Minoru, Starring: Ichikawa Momonosuke)
Kageboshi (A Shadowy Character)
(1925, Director: Futagawa Buntaro, Starring: Bando Tsumasaburo)
(1923, Director: Numata Koroku, Starring: Ichikawa Hataya)
Gyakuryu (Backward Current)
(1924, Director: Buntaro Futagawa, Starring: Tsumasaburo Bando)
(1925, Director: Buntaro Futagawa, Starring: Tsumasaburo Bando)
Ranto no Chimata (Street Brawl)
(1926, Director: Yasuda Kempo, Starring: Bando Tsumasaburo)
(1928, Director: Edamasa Yoshiro, Starring: Bando Tsumasaburo)
Shinpan Ooka Seidan (New Story of Ooka the Statesman)
(1928, Director: Ito Daisuke, Starring: Okochi Denjiro)
(1928, Director: Yamaguchi Teppei, Starring: Arashi Kanjuro)
Hatamoto Taikutsu Otoko (The Idle Vassal)
(1930, Director: Furumi Takuji, Starring: Ichikawa Utaemon)
(1933, Director: Fuyushima Taizo, Starring: Hayashi Chojiro)
(1932, Director: Itami Mansaku, Starring: Kataoka Chiezo)
(1935, Director: Ito Daisuke, Starring: Bando Tsumasaburo)
(1938, Director: Makino Masahiro, Ikeda Tomiyasu, Starring: Bando Tsumasaburo)
Muhomatsu no Issho (The Life of Matsu the Untamed)
(1943, Director: Inagaki Hiroshi, Starring: Bando Tsumasaburo)
(1948, Director: Ito Daisuke, Starring: Bando Tsumasaburo)
(1953, Director: Osone Tatsuo, Starring: Bando Tsumasaburo)
Jigoku no Mushi (Hell Worms)
(1979, Director: Yamada Tatsuo, Starring: Tamura Takahiro)
Officially invited to be screened at the Berlin International Film Festival,
the Sao Paulo International Film Festival, the London International Film
Festival, and the Mumbai International Film Festival for Documentary,
Short and Animation Films.