Masaatsu Naito of Yunagaya Domain receives an order to perform Sankin-kotai within five days; however, the time needed to visit Edo for Masaatsu is eight days. He also learns he received the order because a high ranking government official wants the gold mine. Masaatsu begins an unexpected operation to complete Sankin-kotai in the required time.
“Gonin no Abaremono (Five Ronin),” 1963 jidaigeki, 1 hour and 27 minutes.
Directed by Shigehiro Ozawa. Starring Chiezo Kataoka and Kotaro Satomi.
The story of five easygoing Yakuza who come together to save the lives of young innocent girl, Oichi, from an evil vassal.
“Hanakago Douchu (Flowers on the Road),” 1961 samurai film, 1 hour and 25 minutes.
Directed by Kudo Eiichi. Starring Misora Hibari, Azuma Chiyonosuke and Oka Satomi.
Yae and Kiku, daughters of drapers in Edo, must travel to Kyoto in place of their sickly fathers to attend to some businesses affairs. On their way to Kyoto, the two ladies are ambushed by a group of bandits. However a good Samaritan named Santaro comes to their rescue. Santaro is aiding a young samurai named Sanshiro who is on an official mission to deliver a message to a noble in Kyoto. When Yae and Kiku discover that a gang of assassins is after Sanshiro, they decide to help Sanshiro to complete his mission.
“Hatamoto Taiktsu Otoko Nazo no Nanbandaiko (The Acrobats of Death),” 1959 jidaigeki, 1 hour and 28 minutes.
Directed by Yasushi Sasaki. Starring Utaemon Ichikawa, Yoshiko Sakuma and Kinya Kitaoji.
Saotome, a sword master and guard of the Shogunate, pursues the mystery of a deadly aerial weapon that is responsible for the multiple deaths in town.
“Hizakura Daimyo (The Hectic Lord),” 1958 jidaigeki, 1 hour and 22 minutes.
Directed by Tai Kato. Starring Hashizo Okawa and Keiko Okawa.
A lord and princess elope to escape forced marriages.
“Kage no Gundan Hattori Hanzo (Shadow Warriors),” 1980 samurai/action film, 2 hours and 14 minutes.
Directed by Eiichi Kudo. Starring Tsunehiko Watase and Teruhiko Saigo.
The death of the Shogun Iemitsu sparks a struggle for power amongst Japan’s ruling families. One group led by Matsudaira Izu has, with the help of a Koga ninja named Shirobei, kidnapped Iemitsu’s successor Ietsuna. Another group led by Hoshina Masayuki enlists the rival Iga ninja clan to rescue Ietsuna and restore him to power. Political rivals and opposing ninja clans go head to head in this movie, which was spun off from a popular television series.
“Kaibyo Noroi no Numa (Bakeneko: A Vengeful Spirit),” 1968 horror/samurai film, 1 hour and 27 minutes.
Directed by Yoshihiro Ishikawa. Starring Ryohei Uchida, Kotaro Satomi and Kyoko Mikage.
Nabeshima Naoshige murders his lord, Ryuzoji Takafusa, seeking to gain power and steal his Lord’s wife. To avoid her fate, Lady Takafusa drowns herself along with her cat in a nearby marsh. A decade later, Naoshige’s efforts to steal another woman trigger a curse on him when she also commits suicide at the same marsh — forcing him to suffer the consequences of his past actions.
“Kiryuin Hanako no Shogai (Onimasa),” 1982 drama, 2 hours and 26 minutes.
Directed by Hideo Gosha. Starring Tatsuya Nakadai and Shima Iwashita.
Set in the 1920s, gang boss Onimasa of the Kiryuin Family accepts a young girl, Matsue, as payment for a debt, whom he then adopts. This story opens when Onimasa’s real daughter Hanako has just died, leading to Matsue’s telling the family’s story in flashback form. A decades long duel with Boss Suenaga is kicked off when after the disputed outcome of a brutal dogfight between vicious mastiffs, Suenaga, who lost kills the winner’s dog and threatens Onimasa.
“Kogarashi Monjiro Kakawari Gozansen (Secret of Monjiro’s Birth),” 1972 jidaigeki, 1 hour and 30 minutes.
Directed by Sadao Nakajima. Starring Bunta Sugawara and Etsuko Ichihara.
Secrets surrounding Monjiro’s birth are revealed.
“Kuro no Tozoku (Black Thief),” 1964 jidaigeki, 1 hour and 35 minutes.
Directed by Umetsugu Inoue. Starring Hashizo Okawa and Ryutaro Otomo.
Organized thieves battle against the Shogun’s ruthless ruling in attempt to get back their land.
“Little Forest: Fuyu/Haru (Little Forest: Winter/Spring),” 2015 drama,
Directed by Junichi Mori. Starring Ai Hashimoto and Takahiro Miura.
Ichiko continues to live self-sufficiently, taking advantage of local seasonal ingredients for the meals she prepares for herself. The film depicts both the blessings and harshness of nature as Ichiko continues surviving on her own through the changing seasons and concludes as she embraces the limitations of the winter season and the ultimate triumph of spring.
“Meiji Kyokakuden Sandaime Shumei (Codes of Meiji),” 1965 action film, 1 hour and 29 minutes.
Directed by Yasuo Huruhata. Starring Koji Tsuruta and Junko Fuji.
Third generation yakuza boss faces conflicts of tradition and modernity in Osaka.
“Murasaki Zukin (The Purple Hooded Man),” 1958 jidaigeki, 1 hour and 28 minutes.
Directed by Hideaki Onishi. Starring Chiezo Kataoka, Kotaro Satomi, Ryunosuke Tsukigata and Satomi Oka.
Kataoka Chiezo stars as Murasaki Zuki, a mysterious hero of the people who helps those in need. Now under the rule of the evil Tanuma, the people look to Murasaki Zukin more than ever, to confront and punish those who bring misfortune upon the commoners. Will he be able to single-handedly restore peace to the land?
“Nihon no Don Kanketsu-hen (Japan’s Don Emerges),” 1978 action film,
2 hours and 11 minutes.
Directed by Sadao Nakajima. Starring Toshiro Mifune and Chiezo Kataoka.
Doublecrosses and backstabbings take place while the biggest yakuza bosses battle for the title of “Godfather of Japan” between eastern and western families. A violent story with an all-star cast — a must see!
“Ninkyo Kashi no Ishimatsu (Ishimatsu the Yakuza: Something’s Fishy),” 1967 drama, 1 hour and 49 minutes.
Directed by Noribumi Suzuki. Starring Saburo Kitajima and Hideo Murata.
Matsukichi, a worker at a fish market, tries to settle the business between the two competitors on his turf.
“Otoko wa Tsuraiyo Funto-hen (Tora-san the Good Samaritan),”
1971 comedy/drama, 1 hour and 32 minutes.
Directed by Yoji Yamada. Starring Kiyoshi Atsumi and Chieko Baisho.
Seventh installment of the series of “Tora-san.” Tora-san returns to his hometown and is reconciled with his mother, who has left him behind since he was born. He then starts his life as a wanderer again, and meets Hanako, an innocent but unintelligent girl who works in a textile mill. Tora-san intends to help her back to her hometown, but Hanako ends up working in the dumpling shop of Tora-san’s uncle.
“Rokugatsudo no Sanshimai (Three Sisters),” 2013 drama, 1 hour and
Directed by Kiyoshi Sasabe. Starring Kazue Fukiishi and Yo Yoshida.
The family run Toraya sweet shop is in financial straits; meanwhile, all three daughters in the family are out of luck with love and struggling with problems in their private lives, too. Second-eldest daughter Namie has recently returned home from Tokyo after a failed marriage and is waiting for the divorce papers to come through. When her accountant husband Toru follows her to win her back, it seems that he might just be the missing link that can help save the family — in more ways than one.
“Sabaku wo Wataru Taiyo (The Sand City in Manchuria),” 1960 drama,
1 hour and 35 minutes.
Directed by Kiyoshi Sasaki. Starring Koji Tsuruta, Ken Takakura and Yoshiko Sakuma.
When the plague threatens a small town in Manchuria, a young doctor finds himself struggling to save the lives of his townspeople.
“Seizoroi Kanhasshu (Keepers of Order),” 1962 jidaigeki, 1 hour and
Directed by Yasushi Sasaki. Starring Chiezo Kataoka and Kinya Kotaoji.
While fighting against evil officials, Chuji and his family become the primary target of gangs in Nikko.
“Shin Gokudo no Onnatachi Horetara Jigoku (Yakuza Ladies Revisited: Love is Hell),” 1994 drama, 1 hour and 45 minutes.
Directed by Yasuo Furuhata. Starring Shima Iwashita and Shinji Yamashita.
The seventh movie of the series “Yakuza Ladies” focuses on a wife of a small Osaka family. She risks her life to protect her husband’s family and its members against much larger, more established organizations.
“Soretsu Shinsengumi Bakumatsu no Doran (The Shogun’s Guard: Valor in Turbulence),” 1960 jidaigeki, 1 hour and 42 minutes.
Directed by Yasushi Sasaki. Starring Chiezo Kataoka, Ryutaro Otomo, Tomisaburo Wakayama, Kotaro Satomi, Hashizo Okawa and Shinobu Chihara.
The famous story of Shinsengumi, a military force that guarded the Shogun at the end of the Edo Period.
“Tekka Daimyo (Lord of Steel Heart),” 1961 samurai film, 1 hour and
Directed by Kokichi Uchide. Starring Utaemon Ichikawa and Jushiro Konoe.
The feisty lord Matabe falls into a trap planned by the evil Sanzaemon, who, in a twist of fate, is an elder to Matabe’s childhood friend Lord Nagamasa.