Shirasagi samisen (White Heron Samisen)

“Horror of horrors! Such a thing should happen in a good samurai family! Wakasama loves not only the samisen but the owner of the samisen! A commoner and daughter of a (former) convicted pirate at that! Father demands seppuku, but uncle decides to send him to his own fief to root out corruption in the police. Thus, disguised as ‘Shirasagi' Gentaro, a wandering minstrel, our hero sets off to do his duty and to win the right to marry his sweetheart.

“Shirasagi Samisen is a perfect example of the standard period fare of the 1930s - as opposed to the chambara (or ‘slice-em-ups') with which American audiences are more familiar. (The difference is best represented by the styles of Kurosawa's Yojimbo and Sanjuro.) The popular (or pulp) classics of the '20s and '30s were modelled pretty much on the romantic-historical-adventure novels of the West (shades of Sabatini!) and the films based on them (for instance, a good part of Kinugasa's pre-war work with Hasegawa) have very little to do with the Japanese dramatic-narrative tradition or archetypal hero models on which that narrative tradition is based. Though out of fashion with post-war youth, these films remained great favorites with the older generation and, for awhile, they and remakes of them represented a good portion of post-war period film production.”

This page may by only partially complete.