Goyokin


2h 4m 1969

Brief Synopsis

A young samurai returns to his province. On his way he encounters a small fishing village in the aftermath of a massacre. He sets out to take revenge.

Film Details

Release Date
Jan 1969
Premiere Information
Los Angeles showing: Sep 1969
Production Company
Fuji Telecasting Co.; Tokyo Eiga Co.
Distribution Company
Toho International, Inc.
Country
Japan

Technical Specs

Duration
2h 4m
Sound
Mono
Color
Color (Eastmancolor)
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
2.35 : 1

Synopsis

In 1831 Magobei, a samurai, discovers that his brother-in-law, Rokugo, has stolen a shipload of the shogunate's gold in order to pay an oppressive tax levied by the government. Furthermore, Rokugo was forced to slaughter a village of defenseless fishermen who witnessed the theft of the bullion, thus violating the samurai code of honor. Magobei denounces his brother-in-law for sacrificing his honor for gold, and Rokugo responds by expelling him from the clan. Magobei returns to the devastated village and joins forces with a shogunate spy searching for the pirates who stole the gold. On the next moonless night, Magobei and the spy watch Rokugo misplace seashore warning lights in an attempt to wreck a shogunate ship. Magobei and Rokugo engage in a sword fight, and Rokugo is defeated.

Film Details

Release Date
Jan 1969
Premiere Information
Los Angeles showing: Sep 1969
Production Company
Fuji Telecasting Co.; Tokyo Eiga Co.
Distribution Company
Toho International, Inc.
Country
Japan

Technical Specs

Duration
2h 4m
Sound
Mono
Color
Color (Eastmancolor)
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
2.35 : 1

Articles

Goyokin - GOYOKIN - One of the Great Samurai Films of the '60s from Hideo Gosha on DVD


A samurai film with political sensibilities straight out of the radicalized 1960s, Goyokin forms something of a loose trilogy for skilled but not exceptional director Hideo Gosha along with his Sword of the Beast and his debut, Three Outlaw Samurai.

Here the story follows that familiar protagonist, the lone rebel samurai – in this case Magobei Wakisaka (Tatsuya Nakadai), who abandoned his esteemed position as a swordsman with the Sabai clan after abuses to the local fishermen residents disturbed his conscience. An encounter with a lower-class refugee, Oriha (Rurkio Asaoka), alerts him to the mass pillaging and abductions of villages by his brother-in-law and former clan colleague, Rukogo (You Only Live Twice's Tetsuro Tamba). With another samurai waiting in the wings as well, Magobei bides his time and plots the downfall of those who thrive on the misfortunes of the common people.

A solid representation of samurai programmers from the period, Goyokin is anchored by both a flawless lead performance by Nakadai and a strong sense of icy atmosphere from Gosha; in terms of setting and ambiance, the closest cinematic comparison might be the western The Great Silence or the slightly later McCabe and Mrs. Miller. The violence level is still contained to a few brief outbursts here and there, with a showstopper finale offering one of the decade's best samurai showdowns (albeit one that only plays to full strength with the potent emotional buildup before it).

Filmed in 1969, the film arrived just as Japanese cinema would undergo a sea change to the modernized '70s Japanese cinema packed with more graphic yakuza films and outrageous imagery in the Lone Wolf and Cub series. As with many samurai films (and westerns), money plays a pivotal role in the film as the lives of entire townships are bartered over their weight in gold (a meaning carried over to the title itself, which refers to the gold treasure behind the entire plot).

While Gosha is most widely represented on DVD by Criterion's edition of Sword of the Beast, this presentation from Media Blasters offers a welcome albeit imperfect presentation of a film long ignored on western shores. The scope transfer looks fine, with generally satisfying black levels indicating a different transfer than the old, pale one done for Japanese home video. The film still looks its age at times and detail gets soft in some shots, but it's generally pleasing. However, many fans have griped about the optional English subtitle translation, which simplifies and often skims right over some passages of dialogue and introduces numerous anachronisms which contradict the period mood. Not speaking Japanese, it's impossible to attest to the overall accuracy of the translation though something obviously seems to be amiss. Sound quality is fine if a bit bland, though that dynamite music score still comes through loud and clear. The trailer is the only extra unless one also counts the usual handful of other Media Blasters promos.

For more information about Goyokin, visit the Tokyo Shock section of The Media Blasters web site.

by Nathaniel Thompson
Goyokin - Goyokin - One Of The Great Samurai Films Of The '60S From Hideo Gosha On Dvd

Goyokin - GOYOKIN - One of the Great Samurai Films of the '60s from Hideo Gosha on DVD

A samurai film with political sensibilities straight out of the radicalized 1960s, Goyokin forms something of a loose trilogy for skilled but not exceptional director Hideo Gosha along with his Sword of the Beast and his debut, Three Outlaw Samurai. Here the story follows that familiar protagonist, the lone rebel samurai – in this case Magobei Wakisaka (Tatsuya Nakadai), who abandoned his esteemed position as a swordsman with the Sabai clan after abuses to the local fishermen residents disturbed his conscience. An encounter with a lower-class refugee, Oriha (Rurkio Asaoka), alerts him to the mass pillaging and abductions of villages by his brother-in-law and former clan colleague, Rukogo (You Only Live Twice's Tetsuro Tamba). With another samurai waiting in the wings as well, Magobei bides his time and plots the downfall of those who thrive on the misfortunes of the common people. A solid representation of samurai programmers from the period, Goyokin is anchored by both a flawless lead performance by Nakadai and a strong sense of icy atmosphere from Gosha; in terms of setting and ambiance, the closest cinematic comparison might be the western The Great Silence or the slightly later McCabe and Mrs. Miller. The violence level is still contained to a few brief outbursts here and there, with a showstopper finale offering one of the decade's best samurai showdowns (albeit one that only plays to full strength with the potent emotional buildup before it). Filmed in 1969, the film arrived just as Japanese cinema would undergo a sea change to the modernized '70s Japanese cinema packed with more graphic yakuza films and outrageous imagery in the Lone Wolf and Cub series. As with many samurai films (and westerns), money plays a pivotal role in the film as the lives of entire townships are bartered over their weight in gold (a meaning carried over to the title itself, which refers to the gold treasure behind the entire plot). While Gosha is most widely represented on DVD by Criterion's edition of Sword of the Beast, this presentation from Media Blasters offers a welcome albeit imperfect presentation of a film long ignored on western shores. The scope transfer looks fine, with generally satisfying black levels indicating a different transfer than the old, pale one done for Japanese home video. The film still looks its age at times and detail gets soft in some shots, but it's generally pleasing. However, many fans have griped about the optional English subtitle translation, which simplifies and often skims right over some passages of dialogue and introduces numerous anachronisms which contradict the period mood. Not speaking Japanese, it's impossible to attest to the overall accuracy of the translation though something obviously seems to be amiss. Sound quality is fine if a bit bland, though that dynamite music score still comes through loud and clear. The trailer is the only extra unless one also counts the usual handful of other Media Blasters promos. For more information about Goyokin, visit the Tokyo Shock section of The Media Blasters web site. by Nathaniel Thompson

Quotes

Trivia

This is the first Japanese feature film in Panavision.

Notes

Released in Japan in May 1969.

Miscellaneous Notes

Released in United States 1996

Released in United States 1996 (Shown in Los Angeles (American Cinematheque) as part of program "Days of Snow & Blood: The Films of Hideo Gosha" June 21 - July 13, 1996.)