“Hero,” premieres on Monday, April 6, at 7:35 p.m.
Kohei Kuryu is a young public prosecutor in Tokyo. Kohei is unlike a typical prosecutor. He refuses to wear a suit and tie, opting for casual clothing. He is a former juvenile delinquent who dropped out of high school and was falsely accused of a felony. He was cleared because a public prosecutor took the time to uncover the facts.
This drove him to take his high school equivalency test, study for the bar exam and pass with flying colors. He possesses quick instincts and a kind of cleverness that only someone raised on the streets could have. Kohei’s instincts and determination make him well suited as an investigator and advocate.
In 2001, “Hero” achieved the highest Japanese TV drama ratings record in 25 years. The average audience share over the entire series was 34 percent. This original series was followed up with a special in 2006 and the “Hero 2” series in 2014. Fully subtitled in English.
“Kujikenaide (Don’t Lose Heart),” premieres on Friday, April 10, at 7:35 p.m.
Depicts the life of best-selling Japanese poet Toyo Shibata. Toyo Shibata first began writing poems at the age of 92 and published “Kujikenaide” (Don’t Lose Heart) in 2009, which sold over two million copies.
Toyo was encouraged to write poetry by her son Kenichi. She starts to write about her life — suffering from poverty when she was little, hardship during service and happy days with her husband. Gradually her poems engage people’s hearts and minds. Fully subtitled in English.
“Ghost Writer,” premieres on Wednesday, April 15, at 7:35 p.m.
Risa Tono is a bestselling author who is regarded as extremely gifted in her creativity and ability to write. Although she has already achieved the fame and status in her career, the overwhelming feeling of being stuck resides deep down inside her and she feels surrounded by fear.
Yuki, on the other hand, left her hometown and moved to Tokyo to pursue her dream of becoming a writer. Although Yuki has amazing talent with limitless potential, she hasn’t been able to make her writing debut just yet. She was about to finally give up on her dream and get married to her boyfriend back home.
One day, by chance, Yuki gets offered a position as Risa’s assistant and accepts the job offer. This decision brings about a major turning point in the lives of these two female writers. Fully subtitled in English.
“Kurage no Okurimono,” premieres on Friday, April 17, at 7:35 p.m.
At one point, the Kamo Aquarium garnered very little interest and almost faced closing down.
However, the aquarium director thought to generate interest by collecting rare jellyfish species from around the globe. Miraculously, with the addition of the unrivaled collection, the Kamo Aquarium’s dire future was quickly turned around. This documentary is seen through the eyes of the director of the Kamo Aquarium and shows how these rare jellyfish species not only saved the aquarium from the brink of closing, but also how they helped catapult the aquarium’s popularity so that it is now a world renowned establishment. Fully subtitled in English.
“Ouroboros – Kono Ai Koso Seigi,” premieres on Friday, April 24, at 7:35 p.m.
“Ouroboros” is an ancient symbol that depicts a snake eating its own tail — meaning infinity. Based on a popular comic, a clumsy detective and a cool gang stand up to true evil.
Ikuo and Tatsuya grew up in a children’s orphanage together. When their favorite teacher Yuko is murdered, a policeman wearing a gold watch covers up the incident. Ikuo and Tatsuya promise each other to avenge their teacher someday. Twenty years later, Ikuo is a detective in Shinjuku second police station investigating various cases with elite detective Mizuki, while smart and handsome Tatsuya has become one of the top members of a yakuza group. Fully subtitled in English.
NGN 3 MOVIE CHANNEL (Digital Ch. 679)
Premiere titles air on Friday. Movies are shown at various times. Check your digital on-screen guide for movie schedules, using either the GUIDE or INFO buttons (up to one week ahead). Or call NGN, Mon.-Fri. from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. at 538-1966 for inquiries or to request an e-mail of NGN 3 programming information. All movies are in Japanese language with full English subtitles.
PREMIERE TITLES OF THE MONTH
April 3: “Abashiri Bangaichi Hokkai-hen (Prison Walls of Abashiri 4),” 1965 action film, 1 hour and 31 minutes.
Directed by Teruo Ishii. Starring Ken Takakura and Kanjuro Arashi.
A gripping tale of friendship set against the backdrop of Hokkaido. Shinichi sets out to earn a few honest dollars with which to bail a friend out of jail.
April 10: “Hana to Yato no Mure (The Bandits),” 1962 jidaigeki, 1 hour and 29 minutes.
Directed by Shigehiro Ozawa. Starring Hiroki Matsukata and Chiezo Kataoka.
Friendship between an ambitious young thief and an artist during the Warring States period.
April 17: “Koudo 7000 Meters (Four Hours of Terror),” 1983 action film, 1 hour and 16 minutes.
Directed by Tsuneo Kobayashi. Starring Ken Takakura.
The captain saves passengers from a brutal murderer on a plane after four hours of terror.
April 24: “Onna Hissatsuken (Sister Street Fighter),” 1975 action film, 1 hour and 26 minutes.
Directed by Kazuhiko Yamaguchi. Starring Etsuko Shiomi and Shinichi Chiba.
When Lee Long, a martial-arts champion and undercover drug agent, goes missing during an investigation, his sister, a fierce martial art warrior named Tina is called in to continue the investigation in his place. She gets the help of Lee’s martial-arts school, including the powerful Sonny, for the inevitable battle-royale with the drug gang, which includes masters of many different ‘schools’ of fighting.
NGN3 MOVIE OF THE MONTH
“Hajimari no Michi (Dawn of a Filmmaker: The Keisuke Kinoshita Story),” 2013 drama, 1 hour and 36 minutes.
Directed by Keiichi Hara. Starring Ryo Kase and Yuko Tanaka.
Based on the life of prolific movie director Keisuke Kinoshita, “Hajimari no Michi” covers various unknown parts of his life.
As a young man, Keisuke carried his mother on a handcart across a mountain. He grew up as a hot-blooded young man and was monitored by the military. He then joined Shochiku Company to eventually become a movie director.
NGN3 COMMUNITY FAVORITE
“Hengen Murasaki Zukin (The Mysterious Purple Hood),” 1963 jidaigeki,
1 hour and 28 minutes.
Directed by Eiichi Kudo. Starring Ryutaro Otomo, Satomi Oka and Shingo Yamashiro.
A man in the mysterious purple hood saves the lives of townspeople in Edo.
NGN3 Movies (in alphabetical order)
“Beranme Geisha Makaritoru (The Prickly Mouthed Geisha, Part 4),” 1961 drama, 1 hour and 17 minutes.
Directed by Eiichi Koishi. Starring Hibari Misora and Ken Takakura.
A comedy of a high-spirited geisha, Koharu, who is at risk of being trapped in a conspiracy to take over a lucrative diamond mine business.
“Choeki Sankyodai (Brothers Serving Time),” 1969 action film, 1 hour and 36 minutes.
Starring Bunta Sugawara and Ken Takakura.
While imprisoned, Tatsu encounters Danshi, a man who is a big honcho in the prison pecking order. After initial conflict they become sworn brothers. Tatsu and the sworn brothers he acquires weren’t really gangsters before their prison time, just ruffians. Prison, however, introduces them to plenty of gangland characters and three years later, they’re out of prison and enmeshed in the yakuza world.
“Daibosatsu Touge Dai-Ichibu (Sword in the Moonlight),” 1957 samurai film, 1 hour and 59 minutes.
Directed by Tomu Uchida. Starring Chiezo Kataoka, Kinnosuke Nakamura and Ryunosuke Tsukigata.
Following the life of a master swordsman, Ryunosuke, whose ruthless ways and merciless killings leave behind an unsettled past which eventually catches up to him.
“Edokko Hada (Edo Purebred),” 1961 jidaigeki, 1 hour and 26 minutes.
Directed by Masahiro Makino. Starring Hashizo Okawa, Yataro Kurokawa and Hiroko Sakuramachi.
A story of friendship between two rival firefighters, Kichigoro and Jirokichi.
“Fuefuki Doji Dai-nibu Yojutsu no Tosou (Clan Revival 2),” 1954 action film/jidaigeki, 44 minutes.
Directed by Ryo Hagiwara. Starring Ryunosuke Tsukigata, Chiyonosuke Azuma and Kinnosuke Nakamura.
The adventures of two brothers, Hagimaru and Kikumaru, continue. Evil sorcerer Kojiro attempts to rid of Kikumaru, who uses his flute to fight against Kojiro’s magical power.
“Fuefuki Doji Kanketsuhen Mangetsujo no Gaika (Clan Revival 3),” 1954 action film/ jidaigeki, 55 minutes.
Directed by Ryo Hagiwara. Starring Ryunosuke Tsukigata, Chiyonosuke Azuma and Kinnosuke Nakamura.
The final episode of the adventures of two brothers, Hagimaru and Kikumaru. Hagimaru escapes from the curse of the Scull Mask while Kikumaru continues his fight against the evil Kojiro.
“Hana no Ran (The Rage of Love),” 1988 drama, 2 hours and 19 minutes.
Directed by Kinji Fukasaku. Starring Sayuri Yoshinaga, Yusaku Matsuda, Morio Kazama and Ken Ogata.
A poignant story of Akiko, a housewife who becomes a famous poet, and her struggles to pursue love, art and social reform in the Taisho era.
“Hibotan Bakuto Nidaime Shumei (The Valiant Red Peony 4),” 1969 drama,
1 hour and 26 minutes.
Directed by Shigehiro Ozawa. Starring Junko Fuji and Ken Takakura.
Oryu, a gambler in training, fights to protect her family’s construction business in Kumamoto.
“Hoero Tekken (Roaring Fire),” 1981 action film, 1 hour and 35 minutes.
Directed by Suzuki Norifumi. Starring Hiroyuki Sanada and Etsuko Shihomi.
Joji learns a dark secret from his dying father, that he learns he has a twin brother and a sister. He travels to find his brother and finds he has been murdered in mysterious circumstances. While staying with his sister he overhears his uncle’s plans to find a 130-carat diamond (named the Queen of Sheba) and soon learns he may be behind other sinister schemes.
“Jigoku no Soko wo Buchiyabure (Rascals! Go to Hell),” 1961 action film,
1 hour and 33 minutes.
Directed by Yasushi Sasaki. Starring Chiezo Kataoka and Shinjiro Ebara.
A boss of underworld helps the police crush an evil gang.
“Karajishi Kabushikigaisha (A Madcap Corporation),” 1983 action film,
1 hour and 43 minutes.
Directed by Nakao Sone. Starring Yasushi Yokoyama and Tetsuro Tanba.
“Kiri no Minato no Akai Hana (Love at the Fogged Harbor),” 1962 drama,
1 hour and 34 minutes.
Directed by Shinji Yamamura. Starring Koji Tsuruta and Kyoko Kagawa.
A bittersweet love story between yakuza Hiroshi and a married woman Reiko.
“Kizudarake no Jinsei (A Scarred Life),” 1971 drama, 1 hour and 37 minutes.
Directed by Shigehiro Ozawa. Starring Koji Tsuruta and Tomisaburo
A story about yakuza members Tetsuo and Seiji, who are torn between duty and sentiment.
“Koi Yamabiko (Love Echo),” 1959 jidaigeki, 1 hour and 33 minutes.
Directed by Masahiro Makino. Starring Hashizo Okawa, Keiko Okawa and Satomi Oka.
Kogenta, prince of the secluded Ina Clan, marries a beautiful outsider named Oshina. When he later learns that Oshina’s father lost his life protecting the family heirloom, a shamisen called “Yamabiko,” from a greedy thief, he vows to avenge his death.
“Nintama Rantaro (Ninja Kids),” 2011 comedy, 1 hour and 40 minutes.
Directed by Takashi Miike. Starring Seishiro Kato and Hiroki Matsukata.
A family-oriented comedy film directed by Takashi Miike about the adventures of Rantaro and other ninja apprentices at an elite ninjutsu academy. Rantaro comes from a family of bad ninjas and has been sent off to Ninja school to break the streak of unsuccessful ninjas in the family. During the summer, they are challenged by a group of rival ninjas, which culminates in a race to ring a bell on top of a mountain.
“Ooka Seidan Yurei Hachijuhachiya (Magistrate O’oka’s Legends),” 1958 jidaigeki, 1 hour and 28 minutes.
Directed by Kiyoshi Saeki. Starring Ryutaro Otomo and Keiko Okawa.
A hotshot investigator solves a series of gruesome murders in this exciting and dark classic.
“Ooku ~Eien~ (The Castle of Crossed Destinies),” 2012 jidaigeki drama,
2 hours and 4 minutes.
Directed by Fuminori Kaneko. Starring Masato Sakai and Miho Kanno.
The Lady Shogun rules the land in the wake of a devastating plague that has drastically reduced the male population during the late 1600’s. Gender roles are reversed with political leadership firmly in female hands, now served by prettified and solicitous male concubines to cater to their whims while tasked with siring the next generation of Edo elites. While the Shogun has ostensibly forsaken love to fulfill her role undistracted, 3,000 men compete for her favor and affections. One, however, is determined to stand above the rest to further his own ambitions. Can each stay the course they’ve so carefully adhered to until now, or will real feelings get in the way of political power moves and socially-ascribed destinies?
“Otorijo no Hanayome (Lord Takes a Bride),” 1957 jidaigeki, 1 hour and 26 minutes.
Directed by Sadatsugu Matsuda. Starring Ryutaro Otomo, Kunio Kaga, Hitomi Nakahara and Yumiko Hasegawa.
Young lord Gentaro takes a journey to Edo in search of his future wife.
“Sanada Fuunroku (Sasuke and His Comedians),” 1963 jidaigeki, 1 hour and 41 minutes.
Directed by Tai Kato. Starring Kinnosuke Nakamura and Misako Watanabe.
Musical comedy adventures of the famed Sanada soldiers.
“Seburi Monogatari (The Seburi Story),” 1985 drama, 2 hours and 5 minutes.
Directed by Sadao Nakajima. Starring Kenichi Hagiwara, Yumiko Fujita and Takashi Naito.
An illustration of the struggles of mountain nomads living isolated from society.
“Sengo Saidai no Toba (The Biggest Gamble),” 1969 action film, 1 hour and 47 minutes.
Directed by Kosaku Yamashita. Starring Koji Tsuruta and Ken Takakura.
Gang underlings rebel against a despised new boss.
“Shura Hakkou (Devastation),” 1958 jidaigeki, 1 hour and 33 minutes.
Directed by Yasushi Sasaki. Starring Utaemon Ichikawa and Ryunosuke Tsukigata.
To restore his honor, a samurai pursues robbers who break into a treasury.
“Tenka no Igagoe Akatsuki no Kessen (Sanguine Battle),” 1959 jidaigeki,
1 hour and 32 minutes.
Directed by Sadatsugu Matsuda. Starring Utaemon Ichikawa, Taro Otomo, Hashizo Okawa and Kotaro Satomi.
A story of revenge between two samurai families on the Igagoe Road. Features an all-star cast.
“Tsuri Baka Nisshi 6 (Free and Easy 6),” 1993 comedy, 1 hour and 35 minutes.
Directed by Tomio Kuriyama. Starring Toshiyuki Nishida and Rentaro Mikuni.
The sixth film in the “Tsuribaka Nisshi” series. Su-san must give a lecture in far-off Iwate, which serves as another excuse for the company president and Hama-chan to go fishing. Once there, however, Hama-chan is mistaken for the company president and Su-san for his chauffeur! But Su-san is delighted at the mix-up: he gets to go fishing with a beautiful woman working at a local inn.
“Yagyu Bugeichou Yozakura Hiken (The Yagyu Military Art),” 1961 samurai/action film, 1 hour and 20 minutes.
Directed by Masahiko Izawa. Starring Kotaro Satomi, Konoe Juushiro, Hanazono Hiromi and Ryuji Kita.
When the Yagyu clan falls victim to rival Kasumi spies, Yagyu Jubei is called to action to protect them. But in performing his duty, he, himself, becomes the target of those who wish to destroy his clan.
“Yakuza no Hakaba Kuchinashi no Hana (Yakuza Graveyard),” 1976 action film, 1 hour and 36 minutes.
Directed by Kinji Fukasaku. Starring Tetsuya Watari and Tatsuo Umemiya.
A police investigator cracks down on yakuza business, but once he realizes the police are in negotiations with certain factions, he sides with his own syndicate of choice. A definite must-see for Fukasaku and yakuza fans.
“Youkame no Semi (Rebirth),” 2011 drama, 2 hours and 27 minutes.
Directed by Izuru Narushima. Starring Mao Inoue and Hiromi Nagasaku.
Kiwako has an affair with a married man. Kiwako is unable to conceive, so when her lover’s wife gives birth to a daughter, she kidnaps the baby and takes off. Kiwako raises the child as her own for four years until she is arrested. The child named Erina is then returned to her birth parents, but grows up resenting them. She decides to retrace the steps of her early life and goes to Shodoshima where she lived with Kiwako as a child. Erina discovers a shocking truth and is forced to make a decision.