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Yoda, Yoshikata

YODA, Yoshikata


Writer. Nationality: Japanese. Born: Kyoto City, 1909. Education: Attended Kyoto Second Commercial High School. Career: 1927–29—worked for Sumitomo Bank, Kyoto: left after being arrested for political activities; 1930—joined Nikkatsu's Kyoto Studio to study screenwriting: first film as writer, A Port without a Sea, 1931; 1936—first of many films for Kenji Mizoguchi: wrote for him until 1955; taught screenwriting, Osaka Art College. Awards: Several Japanese film prizes.


Films as Writer:

1931

Umi no nai minato (A Port without a Sea) (Murata); Shiroi ane (White Elder Sister) (Murata—2 parts)

1932

Kyouba to nyoubou (Horse-Race and Wife) (Tokunaga); Youki no seidayo (It's Because of Good Weather) (Takehisa); Tokaku omna to iu mono wa (Women Tend to . . .) (Kurata); Minato no jojoushi (Lyric of a Port) (Saegusa)

1933

Haha yo ko yo (Mother and Child) (Taguchi); Seishun no koro (Time of Youth) (Kurata); Bokura no otouto (Our Younger Brother) (Kumagai and Sunohara)

1934

Judo senshu no koi (Love of a Judo Player) (Chiba); Yume no naka no ojousan (Young Lady in a Dream) (Ohtani); Gurentai no uta (Gangster's Song) (Taguchi)

1936

Naniwa ereji (Osaka Elegy) (Mizoguchi); Gion no shimai (Sisters of the Gion) (Mizoguchi); Adauchi hizakurige (Walking Trip of Revenge) (Mori)

1937

Otsuru junreika (Otsuru's Pilgrim Song) (Oshimoto); Samurai ondo (Samurai Song) (Kimura); Aienkyo (The Straits of Love and Hate) (Mizoguchi)

1938

Ishin no uta (The Song of Restoration) (Inuzuka); Tenryu shibuki (Splash of Tenryu) (Iwata); Aa furusato (Ah, My Home Town) (Mizoguchi); Aija no musume (Daughter of Asia) (Tanaka and Numamani); Ninjutsu Sekigahara Sarutobi Sasuke (Ninja Sasuke Sarutobi of Sekigahara) (Mori); Akatsuki no hatakaze (Flag Wind of Dawn) (Hoshi)

1939

Kyouenroku (Record of Manhood and Eros) (Tanaka and Suyama); Oise mairi (Pilgrimage to Ise) (Mori); Bunbuku chagama (Badger's Tea Pot) (Mokudou); Zangiku monogatari (The Story of the Last Chrysanthemums) (Mizoguchi); Tsukiyo garasu (Crow on a Moonlit Night) (Inoue—2 parts); Umi o yuku bushi (The Warrior Who Crosses the Sea) (Inoue); Ukiyo kouji (Alley of the World) (Makino)

1940

Hataoka junsa (Policeman Hataoka) (Ushihara); Naniwa onna (Osaka Woman) (Mizoguchi); Harekodose (Formal Kimono) (Ushihara)

1941

Geidou ichidai otoko (The Life of an Actor) (Mizoguchi); Meoto daiko (A Couple's Drum) (Mori); Musume tabigeinen (Troubador Girl) (Mokudou); Iga Kottou gunryu (Iga Kottou Military Style) (Nishina)

1941–42

Genroku chushingura (The Loyal 47 Ronin) (Mizoguchi—2 parts)

1942

Ninin sugata (Two Together) (Ohba)

1943

Kikuchi senbonyari (Kikuchi's Thousand Spears) (Ikeda and Shirai)

1944

Takadanobaba (Matsuda—2 parts); Kodachi o tsukau onna (A Woman Using a Small Sword) (Marune)

1945

Hanamuko Taiheiki (Bridegroom's Taiheiki) (Marune); Sennichimae fukin (Around Sennichimae) (Makino)

1946

Tobira o hiraku onna (Woman Opening a Door) (Kimura); Utamaro o meguru gonin no onna (Utamaro and His Five Women) (Mizoguchi)

1947

Tenka no goikenban o Ikensuru otoko (The Adviser of the World's Adviser) (Kimura); Moderu to wakatono (The Model and the Young Lord) (Takeno); Joyu Sumako no koi (The Love of Sumako the Actress) (Mizoguchi)

1948

Yamaneko rei jou (Miss Wildcat) (Mori); Yogoreta hanazono (Spoiled Garden) (Kosaka); Yoru no onnatachi (Women of the Night) (Mizoguchi); Gonin no mokugekisha (Five Witnesses) (Matsuda); Busou keikantai (Armed Police Force) (Ohsone)

1949

Waga koi wa moenu (My Love Burns) (Mizoguchi); Watashi no na wa joufu (My Name Is Mistress) (Mori)

1949–50

Hebihme douchuh (The Travels of Princess Snake) (Kimura and Marune—2 parts)

1950

Haruka narishi haha no kuni (Mother's Country Is Far) (Ito); Aru fujinkai no kokuhaku (Confessions of Gynecologist) (Mori); Sengoku dawara (Rice Packages) (Makino); Fukkatsu (Resurrection) (Nobuchi); Minami no bara (Roses of the South) (Mori); Yuki Fujin ezu (A Picture of Madame Yuki) (Mizoguchi); Shimau-boshi (Sister Stars) (Nobuchi)

1951

Oboro kago (Sedan Chair in the Mist) (Ito); Otsuya goroshi (Murder of Otsuya) (Makino); Shunen (Spring Grudge) (Kosugi); Oyu-sama (Miss Oyu) (Mizoguchi); Musashino Fujin (Lady Musashino) (Mizoguchi); Aizen-bashi (Bridge of Love) (Nobuchi); Oh-Edo gonon otoko (Five Men of Great Edo) (Ito)

1952

Saikaku ichidai onna (The Life of Oharu) (Mizoguchi); Taki no shiraito (Water Magician; The White Thread of the Waterfall) (Nobuchi); Koikaze gojusan-tsugi (53 Stations of the Wind of Love) (Nakagawa)

1953

Kettou gofun-mar (Five Minutes to the Duel) (Adachi); Ugetsu monogatari (Ugetsu; Tales of a Pale and Mysterious Moon after the Rain) (Mizoguchi); Gion bayashi (Gion Festival Music) (Mizoguchi)

1954

Sansho dayu (Sansho the Bailiff) (Mizoguchi); Chushingura (47 Loyal Ronin) (Ohsone); Uwawa no onna (The Woman of the Rumor) (Mizoguchi); Chikamatsu monogatari (A Story from Chikamatsu) (Mizoguchi)

1955

Toujin Okichi (The Foreigner's Okichi) (Wakasugi); Yoidore bayashi (Drunken Music) (Takiuchi); Maiko sanjushi (The Three Musketeers of the Apprentice Geishas) (Amano); Tojuro no koi (The Love of Tojuro) (Mori); Yokihi (The Princess Yang Kwei-Fei) (Mizoguchi); Shin Heike monogatari (New Tale of the Taira Clan) (Mizoguchi)

1956

Tanuki (Badger) (Hagiyama); Zangiku monogatari (The Story of the Last Chrysanthemums) (Shima); Chichiko-daka (Father-Son Falcons) (Matsuda); Ninjutsu senshuken jiai (Title Match of Magic) (Yasuda); Gion no shimai (Sisters of Gion) (Nomura); Kiri no oto (Sound of Fog) (Shimizu); Haha shirayuki (Mother's White Snow) (Yasuda)

1957

Abarenbou kaido (Wild Main Line) (Uchida); Osaka monogatari (An Osaka Story) (Yoshimura); Adauchi Suzenjinobaba (Revenge of Suzenjinobaba) (Makino); Ibo koudai (Step-Brothers) (Ieki)

1959

Niguruma no uta (The Song of the Cart) (Yamamoto); Aijou dudou (Immobile Love) (Saeki); Chiyoda-jo enjo (Chiyoda Castle on Fire) (Yasuda); Todoke haha no uta (Reach, Mother's Song) (Fukuda); Kakureta ninkimono (Secret Popular Character) (Sakai)

1960

Abarenbou taishou (Wild Boss) (Kimura); Hana no Yoshiwara hyakunin-giri (One Hundred Killings of Flowery Yoshiwara) (Uchida); Buki naki tatakai (Battle without Weapons) (Yamamoto)

1961

Harekodose (Formal Kimono) (Yasuda); Kodachi o tsukau onna (A Woman Using a Small Sword) (Ikehiro); Shin akumyo (New Bad Names) (Mori and Tanaka—2 parts); Akumyo (Bad Names) (Tanaka—2 parts)

1962

Fukeizu (Women's Origin) (Misumi); Aru Osaka no onna (Ayako) (Sugawa); Koi ya koinasuna koi (Love, Not Loving Love) (Uchida)

1963

Daisan no akumyo (The Third Bad Name) (Tanaka); Bushidou zankku monogatari (Cruel Story of the Samurai Code) (Imai); Akumyo hatoba (The Port of Bad Names) (Mori); Akumyo ichiba (The Market of Bad Names) (Mori); Jokei kazoku (Family of Women) (Misumi)

1965

Chouchou Yuji no meoto zenzai (The Nice Couple, Chouchou and Yuni) (Makino); Akumyo niwaka (Suddenly Bad Names) (Tanaka); Akumyo muteki (Invincible Bad Names) (Tanaka)

1966

Akumyo zakura (Bad Names' Cherry Blossoms) (Tanaka)

1967

Akumyo ichidai (Lives of Bad Names) (Yasuda); Namida-Gawa (The River of Tears) (Misumi)

1968

Akumyo juhachi-ban (Bad Names' Best Trick) (Mori); Botab dourou (Peony Lantern) (Yamamoto)

1969

Nemuri Kyoshiro no manji-giri (Kyoshiro Nemuri's Swastika-Slash) (Ikehiro)

1974

Akumyo nawabari arashi (Bad Names' Breaking of Territories) (Masumura)

1978

Ogin sama (Miss Ogin) (Kumai)

1979

Tenpyo no iraka (Slates of the Tenpyo Period) (Kumai)

1989

Sen no rikyu (Death of a Teamaster) (Kumai)


948

Publications


On YODA: articles—

Martin, Marcel, "Recontre avec Yoshikata Yoda," in Image et Son, October 1982.

* * *

The screenwriter Yoshikata Yoda is best known for his long-time association with the director Kenji Mizoguchi. Their collaboration began with Osaka Elegy and lasted for two decades, until the director's death. This 1936 film made history with its effective use of the Osaka dialect. Critics hailed this device as the force behind "Mizoguchi realism" which flourished in the new medium of talking films. It is fundamental to the harshly authentic portrayal of the strong-willed heroine who tries to exploit men using her youth and beauty, but in the end is herself exploited, betrayed, and rejected by her family and her lovers alike. Mizoguchi told the writer Yoda to adapt the plot from a short story in a magazine, and then demanded that he rewrite the script more than 20 times, so that it would best express the character's tenacious scheming to survive. Thoroughly trained by this difficult task, Yoda emerged as one of the most promising young screenplay writers, and became indispensable to the work of the master director.

Yoda's next screenplay for Mizoguchi was Sisters of the Gion, which emphasizes the contrasts between two sisters who are lower-class geisha. One is traditional, the other modern, but both end up betrayed by men and enslaved by what they must do to earn money. The director, who always insisted those involved in his projects do first-hand research on their subjects, demanded that the writer become fully acquainted with the world of the geisha. Yoda carried out this task by sitting in the kitchen of a geisha house in his native Kyoto, taking notes on everything. He conveyed his experiences through the story and characterizations of this film, which was another great success due to its realistic unsentimentality and avoidance of an easy solution to the heroines' problems.

Mizoguchi and Yoda are most highly acclaimed for their portrayals of lower-class women in feudal and capitalist societies. Their men are usually weak and cannot be depended on either materially or psychologically. Therefore, it is the heroines who are forced not only to be financially independent but also to help their selfish and foolishly ambitious men. Often forced into prostitution to do so, they are exploited by men and by the social system, but retain both their inner strength and their gentleness despite all. Mizoguchi and Yoda tried to expose the injustices of the system, with mercy for none except for the women themselves. The director and writer conveyed this almost Buddhist image of gracious women with profound reverence, in characters such as Otoku in The Story of the Last Chrysanthemums and Miyaki in Ugetsu.

Yoda continued to work prolifically after Mizoguchi's death, producing a number of excellent screenplays for other directors. His deep sympathy for those exploited by society has been well expressed in the films of leftist directors such as Satsuo Yamamoto, Tadashi Imai, and Miyoji Teki. His talent for writing high-quality entertainment-oriented scripts is evident in the 12 scripts he has written for the enormously popular Bad Name action-comedy series featuring Shintaro Katsu of Zatoichi fame. Yoda has also written many period films, historical epics, and adaptations of literary works.

—Kyoko Hirano

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