by Chris MaGee
In July we reported on a monumental retrospective of the films of chanbara and ninja movie superstar Raizo Ichikawa. To mark the 40th anniversary of Ichikawa's untimely death at age 37 the Botsugo 40 nen tokubetsu kikaku dai raizou sai, or "The great 40 year Raizo death memorial festival" assembled 100 of the stars films for his fans. Makes you want to book yourself a ticket to Tokyo, doesn't it?
Well, if you're bank account is a bit light then you may want to try and scrape together airfare (or bus fare) down to New York City where the Japan Society has organized their own retrospective of Ichikawa's films, and Shintaro Katsu's to boot, titled "The Double-Edged Swords: The Chanbara Films of Shintaro Katsu & Raizo Ichikawa".
Curated by author, film expert, and Japanese pop culture pundit Chris D, "Double-Edged Swords" the retrospective brings together five Ichikawa films, "Samurai Vendetta: A Chronicle of Pale Cherry Blossoms", "Destiny's Son", "Scar Yosaburo" (above), "Nemuri Kyoshiro at Bay: The Sword of Seduction" and "The Lone Stalker, a.k.a. Lone Wolf Isazo", and four Katsu films, "Zatoichi: The Fugitive", "Zatoichi on the Road: Fighting Journey", "New Tale of Zatoichi", and "The Devil's Temple", all from the two actors time at Daiei Studios during the 1960's.
The retrospective kicks off on December 11th with "Samurai Vendetta" and will continue straight through until May of 2010. To get more details on "The Double-Edged Swords: The Chambara Films of Shintaro Katsu & Raizo Ichikawa" check out the Japan Society's website here. Thanks to Wildgrounds for this very good news.