ART TREASURES IN JAPANESE MOVIES: “STILL WALKING” BY HIROKAZU KORE-EDAJune 12, 2011 at 2:43 am | Posted in Art, Asia, Film, History, Japan | Leave a comment
One of the topics discussed casually in the Japanese movie, “Still Walking” is the status and condition of the art treasures of the Takamats-zuka Tomb and “Asuka Beauty,” one of the murals.
Still Walking (歩いても 歩いても Aruitemo aruitemo) is a 2008 Japanese film directed by Hirokazu Kore-eda. The film is a portrait of a family over roughly 24 hours as they commemorate the death of one member.
The Yokoyama family are briefly reunited to commemorate the death of the eldest son, Junpei, who drowned accidentally 12 years ago. His retired doctor father Kyohei and mother Toshiko are joined by surviving son Ryota, daughter Chinami and their respective families. The family share nostalgia, humour, sadness and tension as memories are shared and ceremonies performed.
- Hiroshi Abe as Ryota Yokoyama
- Yui Natsukawa as Yukari Yokoyama
- You as Chinami Kataoka
- Kazuya Takahashi as Nobuo Kataoka
- Shohei Tanaka as Atsushi Yokoyama
- Yoshio Harada as Kyohei Yokoyama
- Kirin Kiki as Toshiko Yokoyama
- Susumu Terajima as Sushi deliverer
The tomb is thought to have been built at some time between the end of the 7th century and the beginning of the 8th century. It was accidentally discovered by a local farmer in the 1960s.
The mound of the tomb was built of alternating layers of clay and sand. It is about 16 meters in diameter and 5 meters high. Digging yielded a burial chamber with painted fresco wall paintings of courtiers in Goguryeo-style garb. The paintings are in full color with red, blue, gold, and silver foil representing four male followers and four abigails together with the Azure Dragon, Black Tortoise, White Tiger, and Vermilion Bird groups of stars. The paintings are designated as a national treasure of Japan.
For whom the tomb was built is unknown, but the decorations suggest it is for a member of the Japanese royal family or a high-ranking nobleman. Candidates include:
- 1. Prince Osakabe (? – 705), a son of Emperor Temmu
- 2. Prince Yuge (? – 699), also a son of Emperor Temmu
- 3. Prince Takechi (654? – 696), also a son of Emperor Temmu, general of Jinshin War, Daijō Daijin
- 4. Isonokami Ason Maro (640 – 717), a descendant of Mononobe clan and in charge of Fujiwara-kyo after the capital was moved to Heijo-kyo
- 5. Kudara no Konikishi Zenko (617-700), a son of the last king of Baekje, one of the Three Kingdoms of Korea.
The Cultural Affairs Agency of Japan is considering taking apart the stone chamber and reassembling it elsewhere to prevent further deterioration to its wall paintings. A painting called Asuka Bijin, or “beautiful women”, is one of the murals in the tomb facing deterioration. The unusual preservation method is being considered because the tomb’s current situation makes it impossible to prevent further damage and stop the spread of mold.
Directed by Hirokazu Koreeda
Written by Hirokazu Koreeda
Cinematography Yutaka Yamasaki
Editing by Hirokazu Koreeda
June 28, 2008 (Japan)
August 28, 2009 (USA)
Running time 114 minutes