Branded to Kill is a 1967Japaneseyakuza film directed by Seijun Suzuki and starring Joe Shishido, Koji Nanbara, Annu Mari and Mariko Ogawa. It was a low budget, production line number for the Nikkatsu Company. The story follows Goro Hanada in his life as a contract killer. He falls in love with a woman named Misako, who recruits him for a seemingly impossible mission. When the mission fails, he becomes hunted by the phantom Number One Killer, whose methods threaten his sanity as much as his life. The studio was unhappy with the original script and called in Suzuki to rewrite and direct it at the last minute. Suzuki came up with many of his ideas the night before or on the set while filming, and welcomed ideas from his collaborators. He gave the film a satirical, anarchic and visually eclectic bent which the studio had previously warned him away from. After its release Suzuki was fired for making "movies that make no sense and no money". Suzuki successfully sued Nikkatsu with support from student groups, like-minded filmmakers and the general public and caused a major controversy through the Japanese film industry. Suzuki was blacklisted and did not make another feature film for 10 years but became a counterculture hero. The film drew a strong following which expanded overseas in the 1980s and has established itself as a cult classic. Film critics and enthusiasts now regard it as an absurdistmasterpiece. It has been cited as an influence by filmmakers such as Jim Jarmusch, John Woo, Chan-wook Park and Quentin Tarantino. Thirty-four years after Branded to Kill, Suzuki filmed Pistol Opera (2001) with Nikkatsu, a loose sequel to the former. The company has also hosted two major retrospectives spotlighting his career. (Full article...)
A registration card for Louis Wijnhamer (1904–1975), an ethnic Dutch humanitarian who was captured soon after the Empire of Japan occupied the Dutch East Indies in March 1942. Prior to the occupation, many ethnic Europeans had refused to leave, expecting the Japanese occupation government to keep a Dutch administration in place. When Japanese troops took control of government infrastructure and services such as ports and postal services, 100,000 European (and some Chinese) civilians were interned in prisoner-of-war camps where the death rates were between 13 and 30 per cent. Wijnhamer was interned in a series of camps throughout Southeast Asia and, after the surrender of Japan, returned to what was now Indonesia, where he lived until his death.
Ema are small wooden plaques on which Shinto worshipers write their prayers or wishes. They are then left hanging up at a shrine where the kami (spirits or gods) can read them. These ema were placed at Meiji Shrine.
Banknotes: Empire of Japan. Reproduction: National Numismatic Collection, National Museum of American History at the Smithsonian Institution
The Japanese-issued Netherlands Indies gulden was the currency issued by the Japanese Empire when it occupied the Dutch East Indies during World War II. Following the Dutch capitulation in March 1942, the Japanese closed all banks, seized assets and currency, and assumed control of the economy in the territory. They began issuing military banknotes, as had previously been done in other occupied territories. These were printed in Japan, but retained the name of the pre-war currency and replaced the Dutch gulden at par. From 1943 the military banknotes were replaced by identical bank-issued notes printed within the territory, and the currency was renamed the roepiah from 1944. The currency was replaced by the Indonesian rupiah in 1946, one year after the Japanese surrender and the country's independence.
This note, denominated half gulden, is part of the 1942 series.
Geisha (芸者) are traditional Japanese artist-entertainers. Geisha were very common in the 18th and 19th centuries, and are still in existence today, although their numbers are dwindling.
The geisha tradition evolved from the taikomochi or hōkan, similar to court jesters. Geisha were traditionally trained from young childhood although modern geisha begin their training, which remains extremely long and difficult, at much older age.
Before the outbreak of World War I, German naval ships were located in the Pacific; Tsingtao developed into a major seaport while the surrounding Kiautschou Bay area was leased to Germany since 1898. During the war, Japanese and British Allied troops besieged the port in 1914 before capturing it from the German and Austro-Hungarian Central Powers, occupying the city and the surrounding region. It served as a base for the exploitation of the natural resources of Shandong province and northern China, and a "New City District" was established to furnish the Japanese colonists with commercial sections and living quarters. Tsingtao eventually reverted to Chinese rule by 1922.
The Japanese government-issued dollar was a form of currency issued between 1942 and 1945 for use within the territories of Singapore, Malaya, North Borneo, Sarawak and Brunei, under occupation by Imperial Japan during World War II. The currency, informally referred to as "banana money", was released solely in the form of banknotes, as metals were considered essential to the war effort. The languages used on the notes were reduced to English and Japanese. Each note bears a different obverse and reverse design, but all have a similar layout, and were marked with stamped block letters that begin with "M" for "Malaya". This 1944 ten-dollar Japanese-issued banknote, depicting guava and coconut trees flanked by banana and pineapple plants on the obverse, and a seascape on the reverse, is part of the National Numismatic Collection at the Smithsonian Institution.
The siege of Osaka was a series of battles undertaken by the Japanese Tokugawa shogunate against the Toyotomi clan, and ending in the clan's dissolution. Divided into two stages (the winter campaign and the summer campaign), and lasting from 1614 to 1615, the siege put an end to the last major armed opposition to the shogunate's establishment. This eight-metre-long (26 ft) painting, titled The Summer Battle of Osaka Castle and executed on a Japanese folding screen, illustrates Osaka Castle under siege, and was commissioned by the daimyoKuroda Nagamasa, who took a team of painters with him to the battlefield to record the event. The painting depicts 5071 people and 21 generals, and is held in the collection of Osaka Castle.
Yamaguchi Prefecture is a prefecture of Japan located in the Chūgoku region on Honshūisland. The capital is the city of Yamaguchi located in the center of the Prefecture. The largest city, by contrast, is Shimonoseki. Yamaguchi Prefecture was formerly divided into Nagato and Suō provinces. It was ruled by the Mōri clan domain during the Sengoku period. After Commodore Matthew Perry's opening of Japan, clans from Nagato (also called Chōshū) played a key role in the fall of the Tokugawashogunate and the new imperial government. One of the prefecture's major attractions is the famous Kintai Bridge in the town of Iwakuni. This five arced wooden structure is considered a symbol of Western Honshū. The area on the banks of the Nishiki river close to the bridge is considered among the best places in Japan for Hanami, when groups of family and friends gather in early April to view Cherry Blossoms. Thirteen cities lie within the prefecture's boundaries, including the capital Yamaguchi and Shimonoseki, the prefecture's largest city. There are also four districts comprising seven towns.
Image 2Mount Aso 4 pyroclastic flow and the spread of Aso 4 tephra (90,000 to 85,000 years ago). The pyroclastic flow reached almost the whole area of Kyushu, and volcanic ash was deposited of 15 cm in a wide area from Kyushu to southern Hokkaido. (from Geography of Japan)
Image 30Minamoto no Yoritomo was the founder of the Kamakura shogunate in 1192. This was the first military government in which the shogun with the samurai were the de facto rulers of Japan. (from History of Japan)
Image 42Relief map of the land and the seabed of Japan. It shows the surface and underwater terrain of the Japanese archipelago. (from Geography of Japan)
Image 43The Kuril Islands with Russian names. Borders of Shimoda Treaty (1855) and Treaty of St. Petersburg (1875) shown in red. Currently all islands northeast of Hokkaido are administered by Russia. (from Geography of Japan)