|Rhapsody in August|
|Directed by||Akira Kurosawa|
|Screenplay by||Akira Kurosawa|
|Based on||Nabe no naka|
by Kiyoko Murata
|Produced by||Hisao Kurosawa|
|Music by||Shin’ichirō Ikebe|
|Distributed by||Shochiku Films Ltd.|
|Languages||Japanese and English|
|Box office||¥820 million(Japan rentals) |
Rhapsody in August (八月の狂詩曲, Hachigatsu no rapusodī (Hachigatsu no kyōshikyoku)) is a 1991 Japanese film by Akira Kurosawa based on the novel Nabe no naka by Kiyoko Murata. The story centers on an elderly hibakusha, who lost her husband in the 1945 atomic bombing of Nagasaki, caring for her four grandchildren over the summer. She learns of a long-lost brother, Suzujiro, living in Hawaii who wants her to visit him before he dies. American film star Richard Gere appears as Suzujiro's son Clark. The film was selected as the Japanese entry for the Best Foreign Language Film at the 64th Academy Awards, but was not accepted as a nominee.
Rhapsody in August is one of only three sole-directed Kurosawa movies to feature a female lead, and the first in nearly half a century. The others are The Most Beautiful (1944) and No Regrets for Our Youth (1946). However, Kurosawa also directed most of the female-led Uma (1941), on which he was credited as assistant director.
Rhapsody in August is a tale of three generations in a post-war Japanese family and their responses to the atomic bombing of Japan. Kane is an elderly woman, now suffering the consequences of older age and diminishing memory, whose husband was killed in the atomic bombing of Nagasaki. Kane has two children who are both married and both of whom grew up in postwar Japan. She also has a brother now living in Hawaii whose son Clark (played by Richard Gere) has grown up in America. Finally, there are Kane's four grandchildren, who were born after the Japanese economic miracle who have come to visit her at the family country home near Nagasaki in Kyushu.
Kane's grandchildren are visiting her at her rural home on Kyūshū one summer while their parents visit Kane's brother in Hawaii. The grandchildren have been charged with the task by their parents of convincing their grandmother to visit her brother in Hawaii. The grandchildren take a day off to visit the urban environment of Nagasaki. While in Nagasaki the children visit the spot where their grandfather was killed in 1945 and become aware, at a personal level, of some of the emotional consequences of the atomic bombing for the first time in their lives. They slowly come to have more respect for their grandmother and also grow to question the morality of the United States for deciding to use atomic weapons against Japan.
In the meantime they receive a telegram from their American cousins, who turn out to be rich and offer their parents a job managing their pineapple fields in Hawaii. Matters are complicated when Kane writes to Hawaii telling her American relatives about the death of her husband at Nagasaki. Her own two children, who have now returned from Hawaii to visit her, feel that this action will be viewed by their now Americanized relatives in Hawaii as hostile and a source of friction. Clark, who is Kane's nephew, then travels to Japan to be with Kane for the memorial service of her husband's death at Nagasaki. Kane reconciles with Clark over the bombing.
Clark is much moved by the events he sees in the Nagasaki community at the time of the memorial events surrounding the deaths which are annually remembered following the bombing of Nagasaki. Especially significant to Clark is the viewing of a Buddhist ceremony where the local community of Nagasaki meets to remember those who had died when the bomb was dropped. Suddenly, Clark receives a telegram telling him that his father, Kane's brother, has died in Hawaii and he is forced to return there for his father's funeral.
Kane's mental health and memory begin to falter. Her recollections of her lost spouse have never been fully reconciled within her own memory of her lost loved one. She begins to show signs of odd behavior in laying out her husband's old clothing as if her husband might suddenly reappear and need them to put on. When a storm is brewing, her mental health seems to confuse the storm for an air raid warning of another atomic bomb attack and she seeks to protect her visiting grandchildren by employing folk remedies, which confuse her children and especially her grandchildren. As the storm later intensifies again, Kane becomes more disoriented and mistakenly confuses the storm for the atmospheric disturbance caused by the bombing of Nagasaki which she witnessed visually from a safe distance when her husband was killed many years ago. In her disoriented state, Kane decides that she must save her husband, still alive in her memory, from the impending atomic blast. With all her remaining strength, she takes her small umbrella to battle the storm on foot on the way to warn her husband in Nagasaki of the mortal threat still fresh in her mind of the atomic blast which she cannot forget.
Rhapsody in August received mixed reviews on its release in 1991.
Some critics made much of the fact that the film centered on the film's depiction of the atomic bombing as a war crime while omitting details of Japanese war crimes in the Pacific War. When Rhapsody premiered at the 1991 Cannes Film Festival,one journalist even cried out at a press conference, "Why was the bomb dropped in the first place?" At the Tokyo Film Festival, critics of Japanese militarism said Kurosawa had ignored the historical facts leading up to the bomb. Japanese cultural critic Inuhiko Yomota commented:
"Many critics, myself included, thought Kurosawa chauvinistic in his portrayal of the Japanese as victims of the war, while ignoring the brutal actions of the Japanese and whitewashing them with cheap humanist sentiment."
Kurosawa's response was that wars are between governments, not people, and denied any anti-American agenda.
Chicago Reader film critic Jonathan Rosenbaum praised the film as "a beautiful reminder from octogenarian Akira Kurosawa that he's still the master...The pastoral mood and performances of this film are both reminiscent of late John Ford, and Kurosawa's mise en scene and editing have seldom been more poetically apt."
The Japanese title (八月の狂詩曲 Hachigatsu no rapusodī) is also known as Hachigatsu no kyōshikyoku."八月" means August, and "狂詩曲" means rhapsody. Both are Japanese kanji words. "狂詩曲" is usually pronounced "kyōshikyoku." When this film released in Japan, 1991, Kurosawa added furigana "ラプソディー rapusodī" to the word "狂詩曲" contrary to the standard usage of Japanese. So the correct romanization of the official Japanese title is Hachigatsu no rapusodī. But, often, the Japanese title has been cited without the furigana in various media. This is the reason why the misreading Hachigatsu no kyōshikyoku has become more widely known than the correct pronunciation.
Rashomon is a 1950 Jidaigeki psychological thriller/crime film directed and written by Akira Kurosawa, working in close collaboration with cinematographer Kazuo Miyagawa. Starring Toshiro Mifune, Machiko Kyō, Masayuki Mori, and Takashi Shimura as various people who describe how a samurai was murdered in a forest, the plot and characters are based upon Ryunosuke Akutagawa’s short story "In a Grove", with the title and framing story being based on "Rashōmon", another short story by Akutagawa. Every element is largely identical, from the murdered samurai speaking through a Shinto psychic to the bandit in the forest, the monk, the assault of the wife and the dishonest retelling of the events in which everyone shows his or her ideal self by lying.
Hibakusha is a word of Japanese origin generally designating the people affected by the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki at the end of World War II.
Takashi Nagai was a Catholic physician specializing in radiology, an author, and a survivor of the atomic bombing of Nagasaki. His subsequent life of prayer and service earned him the affectionate title "saint of Urakami".
Yōko Yaguchi was a Japanese actress, and the wife of Japanese filmmaker Akira Kurosawa for 39 years. She had two children with Kurosawa: a son named Hisao and a daughter named Kazuko. Upon her death in 1985, she was survived by her husband, two children and four grandchildren, three from son Hisao's marriage to Hiroko Hayashi and one from daughter Kazuko Kurosawa.
Fumio Hayasaka was a Japanese composer of classical music and film scores.
The United States detonated two atomic bombs over the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki on 6 and 9 August 1945, respectively. The two bombings killed between 129,000 and 226,000 people, most of whom were civilians, and remain the only use of nuclear weapons in armed conflict.
White Light/Black Rain: The Destruction of Hiroshima and Nagasaki is an HBO documentary film directed and produced by Steven Okazaki. It was released on August 6, 2007, on HBO, marking the 62nd anniversary of the first atomic bombing. The film features interviews with fourteen Japanese survivors and four Americans involved in the 1945 atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
Children of Hiroshima is a 1952 Japanese drama film directed by Kaneto Shindō. It was entered into the 1953 Cannes Film Festival.
The Overseas Hibakusha Case, SCOJ 2005 No.1977, was a landmark case of the Supreme Court of Japan. The Court found that the government's refusal to provide health-care benefits to hibakusha living abroad was illegal. The plaintiffs were 40 South Koreans who were exposed to radiation in the 1945 U.S. atomic bombing of Hiroshima. It was the first time the Court declared a government order illegal and upheld a ruling mandating the payment of damages.
This is a list of cultural products made about the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. It includes literature, film, music and other art forms.
Tsutomu Yamaguchi was a Japanese marine engineer and a survivor of both the Hiroshima and Nagasaki atomic bombings during World War II. Although at least 70 people are known to have been affected by both bombings, he is the only person to have been officially recognized by the government of Japan as surviving both explosions.
The Bells of Nagasaki is a 1949 book by Takashi Nagai. It vividly describes his experiences as a survivor of the atomic bombing of Nagasaki. It was translated into English by William Johnston. The title refers to the bells of Urakami Cathedral, of which Nagai writes:
No More Hiroshima is a 1984 National Film Board of Canada documentary about two survivors of the 1945 atomic bomb attack on Hiroshima, who are among a small group of Japanese who risk ostracism in their country by identifying themselves as hibakusha: survivors of the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The 26-minute documentary by Martin Duckworth follows the survivors on their mission to New York City as part of the Japanese peace movement at the second United Nations Special Session on Disarmament held in June, 1982. This 26 minute film received the Genie Award for Best Short Documentary at the 7th Genie Awards.
Barbara Leonard Reynolds, was an American author who became a Quaker, peace activist and educator.
The films of Japanese director Akira Kurosawa have had a far-reaching impact on cinema and how it is produced, both within Japan and internationally. As a result of his influence, Kurosawa's work, as well as his personal character, have been subject to a number of negative criticisms. These criticisms are points of heated debate among those who study Kurosawa's work, and scores of pieces have been written both advocating for these criticisms and defending against them.
Hitomi Kamanaka is a Japanese documentary filmmaker known particularly for her films on nuclear power and radiation.
Death March to the Parallel World Rhapsody is a Japanese light novel series written by Hiro Ainana. It began serialization online in 2013 on the user-generated novel publishing website Shōsetsuka ni Narō until it was acquired by Fujimi Shobo. The first volume of the Light Novel was published in March 2014. A manga adaptation by Ayamegumu ran in Age Premium until the magazine ceased publication, and was then transferred to Monthly Dragon Age. Both the light novels and the manga adaptation have been licensed for publication in North America by Yen Press. An anime television series adaptation by Silver Link and Connect aired from January 11 to March 29, 2018.
Setsuko Thurlow, born Setsuko Nakamura, is a Japanese–Canadian nuclear disarmament campaigner and Hibakusha who survived the atomic bombing of Hiroshima on 6 August 1945. She is mostly known throughout the world for being a leading figure of the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear weapons (ICAN) and to have given the acceptance speech for its reception of the 2017 Nobel peace prize.
Tanaka Terumi is a Japanese anti-nuclear and anti-war activist and former professor. He is a hibakusha, a survivor of the atomic bombing of Nagasaki, and is the secretary general of Nihon Hidankyo, a Japan-wide organisation of atomic and hydrogen bomb sufferers. He lives in Niiza, Saitama.
The legacy of filmmaking technique left by Akira Kurosawa for subsequent generations of filmmakers has been diverse and of international influence. The legacy of influence has ranged from working methods, influence on style, and selection and adaptation of themes in cinema. Kurosawa's working method was oriented toward extensive involvement with numerous aspects of film production. He was also an effective screenwriter who would work in close contact with his writers very early in the production cycle to ensure high quality in the scripts which would be used for his films.
In 1991 the industry's top overseas earner, at $9 million, was "Rhapsody in August" the 29th feature film by 82-year-old Akira Kurosawa.