ART TREASURES IN JAPANESE MOVIES: “STILL WALKING” BY HIROKAZU KORE-EDA

June 12, 2011 at 2:43 am | Posted in Art, Asia, Film, History, Japan | Leave a comment

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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.

Plot

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.

Cast

Reception

In a Chicago Sun-Times review, Roger Ebert gave Still Walking four stars (out of four). Ebert’s review argues that director Kore-eda is an heir of Yasujiro Ozu.[1]

References

  1. 1.                              Ebert, Roger (26 August 2009). “Still Walking”. Chicago Sun-Times. Retrieved 13 November 2010.

Takamatsuzuka Tomb

The Takamatsuzuka Tomb (高松塚古墳 Takamatsuzuka Kofun) or “Tall Pine Tree Ancient Burial Mound” in Japanese is an ancient circular tomb in Asuka village, Nara prefecture, Japan.

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. 1.     Prince Osakabe (? – 705), a son of Emperor Temmu
  2. 2.     Prince Yuge (? – 699), also a son of Emperor Temmu
  3. 3.     Prince Takechi (654? – 696), also a son of Emperor Temmu, general of Jinshin War, Daijō Daijin
  4. 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. 5.     Kudara no Konikishi Zenko (617-700), a son of the last king of Baekje, one of the Three Kingdoms of Korea.

[1][2]

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.

Unlike the Kitora Tomb, also in Asuka, removing pieces of the Takamatsuzuka wall plaster and reinforcing them for conservation appears difficult because the plaster has numerous tiny cracks.

Directed by Hirokazu Koreeda

Written by Hirokazu Koreeda

Starring Hiroshi Abe Yui Natsukawa

You Music by Gontiti

Cinematography Yutaka Yamasaki

Editing by Hirokazu Koreeda

Release date(s)

June 28, 2008 (Japan)
August 28, 2009 (USA)

Running time 114 minutes

Country Japan

Language Japanese

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