Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Short masterpieces of Japanese literature make their way to the screen

by Chris MaGee

We've seen quite a few classic Japanese novels get adapted to the screen over the years. From as far back as Shirô Toyoda's 1957 adaptation of Nobel Prize-winner Yasunari Kawabata's "Snow Country" all the way up to this year's critical and awards darling "Villion's Wife" directed by Kichitaro Negishi and based on the novel by Osamu Dazai classic Japanese literature has been used as inspiration for great films, but short fiction has sometimes had a tougher go making its way to the screen. That's about to change with a new six-part series coming to Japanese TV in the spring.

TBS is currently prepping a series of adaptations of short stories by some of the most respected names in Japanese literature under the title "Bungo: Nihon Bungaku Cinema" that will first air on the network in the spring of 2010 and then be screened in Japanese theatres in the summer.

Amongst the works being adapted are Ryunosuke Akutagawa's "Majutsu" directed by Kazuyoshi Kumakiri (Kichiku: Banquet of the Beasts, Non-ko), two Osamu Dazai stories "Ougon Fuukei" directed by Yuichi Abe (The Prince of Tennis) and "Good-Bye" directed by Tetsuo Shinohara (Karaoke Terror), Junichiro Tanizaki's "Fumiko no Ashi" (above) directed by Akira Hashimoto, assitant director on Yosuke Nakagawa's "Cobalt Blue", Motojiro Kajii's "Lemon" directed by Keisuke Yoshida (Cafe Isobe), and Ogai Mori's "Takasebune" directed by Shin Togashi "Tetsujin-28).

You can check out more on "Bungo: Nihon Bungaku Cinema" including galleries of stills from each film at the official site set up by TBS here. Thanks to Tokyograph for the news on this.

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