Today on Uncanny Japan, I read you “Mimi-nashi Hoichi“, or “Hoichi The Earless,” arguably Mr. Hearn’s most well-known story. The bizarre supernatural tale of Hoichi the Earless (from Kwaidan) is given a surreal spin in a new interpretation by three innovative artists from Japan. Ghost Stories) is a 1965 horror anthology film produced by Ninjin Club and distributed by Toho.The film is based on stories from author Lafcadio Hearn's collections of Japanese folklore stories, namely Kwaidan: Stories and Studies of Strange Things.It was released to Japanese theaters on January 6, 1965 and to American theaters on July 15 of the same year. The second wife is furious when she realizes that the swordsman not only married her to obtain her family's wealth, but also still longs for his old life in Kyoto with his ex-wife. The two happily exchange wonderful stories about the past and the future until the swordsman falls asleep. He did not ask any more questions; but he privately instructed the men-servants of the temple to keep watch upon Hoichi’s movements, and to follow him in case that he should again leave the temple after dark. The narrator turns out to be Hoichi (Katsuo Nakamura), a blind biwa player who is lured away nightly by the spirits of the vanquished Heike clan to perform the tale of their anguish. Evidently he had walked very fast,–a strange thing, considering his blindness; for the road was in a bad condition. Earless Hoichi: A Japanese Ghost Story. His story is well known in Japan, and the best-known English translation first appeared in the book Kwaidan: Stories and Studies of Strange Things by Lafcadio Hearn. A 1964 film directed by Masaki Kobayashi, based on the Japanese ghost stories collected and translated by Lafcadio Hearn. The longest of the four stories is Hoichi the Earless – and Earless isn’t a typo with a missing F. Hoichi is a gifted young biwa player who specialises in singing songs of ancient battles. O-Tei. [1] Kwaidan was re-released theatrically in Japan on November 29, 1982 in Japan as part of Toho's 50th anniversary. Change ), You are commenting using your Facebook account. Then, for long minutes,–during which Hoichi felt his whole body shake to the beating of his heart,–there was dead silence. After having taken his place upon it, and tuned his instrument, the voice of a woman–whom he divined to be the Rojo, or matron in charge of the female service–addressed him, saying,–, “It is now required that the history of the Heike be recited, to the accompaniment of the biwa.”, Now the entire recital would have required a time of many nights: therefore Hoichi ventured a question:–, “As the whole of the story is not soon told, what portion is it augustly desired that I now recite?”, “Recite the story of the battle at Dan-no-ura,–for the pity of it is the most deep.”. They would rise about ships passing in the night, and try to sink them; and at all times they would watch for swimmers, to pull them down. "In a Cup of Tea" (茶碗の中, Chawan no Naka) is adapted from Hearn's Kottō: Being Japanese Curios, with Sundry Cobwebs (1902). I trusted my acolyte to do that part of the work; and it was very, very wrong of me not to have made sure that he had done it!… Well, the matter cannot now be helped;–we can only try to heal your hurts as soon as possible… Cheer up, friend!–the danger is now well over. Hoichi says he will play to console the sorrowful spirits and allow them to rest. The colourful sets, striking cinematography, inclusion of mixed media, and great performances all aid in enhancing these tales. Midnight passed; and the priest did not appear. "The Black hair" (黒髪, Kurokami) was adapted from "The Reconciliation", which appeared in Hearn's collection Shadowings (1900). After dark the priest and the acolyte went away; and Hoichi seated himself on the verandah, according to the instructions given him. Somebody crossed the garden, advanced to the verandah, and halted directly in front of him–but it was not the priest. The heavy footfalls receded along the verandah,–descended into the garden,–passed out to the roadway,–ceased. “The Woman of the Snow,” (Yuki-Onna) and “Hoichi the Earless” (Mimi-Nashi-Hoichi) come from Kwaidan, the book. I have brought Hoichi.” Then came sounds of feet hurrying, and screens sliding, and rain-doors opening, and voices of womeni n converse. I chose to read some stories from Kwaidan this week. However, despite his new wealthy status, the swordsman's second marriage proves to be unhappy. According to legend, Hoichi was a blind minstrel (or biwa hoshi) with amazing gifts for the biwa (a loquat-shaped Japanese lute). "Kwaidan (怪談 Kaidan?, literally "ghost stories") is a 1964 Japanese anthology horror film directed by Masaki Kobayashi. Kwaidan -- (Movie Clip) Hoichi, the Earless Singer Hoichi (Katsuo Nakamura) is painted with holy scripture by priests hoping to protect him from ghosts in "Hoichi, The Earless," the third segment in the horror anthology Kwaidan, 1965. Features "Black Hair", "The Woman in the Snow", "Hoichi the Earless" and "In a Cup of Tea". Hearn’s book in its entirety can be read here for free. It was in order to appease those dead that the Buddhist temple, Amidaji, was built at Akamagaseki. The spelling "kwaidan" for "ghost story" is deliberately old-fashioned; the current romanization would be "kaidan." Hoichi playing for his mysterious audience in a scene from the 1964 movie Kwaidan. By this time you must be aware that you have not been visiting any house whatever, but have been passing your nights in the cemetery, among the tombs of the Heike;–and it was before the memorial-tomb of Antoku Tenno that our people to-night found you, sitting in the rain. Image source:https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/736x/78/1f/a3/781fa3dbee8f842c0f01e53694075c14.jpg. More than seven hundred years ago, at Dan-no-ura, in the Straits of Shimonoseki, was fought the last battle of the long contest between the Heike, or Taira clan, and the Genji, or Minamoto clan. If you stir, or make any noise, you will be torn asunder. And behind him, and about him, and everywhere above the tombs, the fires of the dead were burning, like candles. The head monk paints Hoichi's body with prayer verses to protect him, but unfortunately overlooks Hoichi's ears. A collection of four Japanese folk tales with supernatural themes. According to legend, Hoichi was a blind minstrel (or biwa hoshi) with amazing gifts for the biwa (a loquat-shaped Japanese lute). ( Log Out /  [citation needed]. It was released to Japanese theaters on January 6, 1965 and to American theaters on July 15 of the same year. Toho's Cannes Film Festival Prize Winner. Mimi-Nashi-Hoichi. Visitation of the Warrior 3. He wished to view the scene of the battle of Dan-no-ura; and to-day he visited that place. One night, Minokichi gives Yuki a set of sandals he has made. The priest tell Hoichi he is in great danger and that this was a vast illusion from the spirit of the dead. You will never again be troubled by those visitors.”, With the aid of a good doctor, Hoichi soon recovered from his injuries. I read The Story of Mimi-Hashi-Hoichi, Diplomacy, Of a Mirror and a Bell, Jikininki,Mujina, and Rokura-Kubi. In The black hair, a poor young samurai leaves his first wife to marry a rich woman. The Ghosts Call for Hoichi 6. One night, Hoichi leaves in a storm and his friends follow him and discover he has been going to a graveyard and reciting the Tale of Heike to the court of the dead Emperor. At the outset of his career, Hoichi was very poor; but he found a good friend to help him. AKA: Hoichi the Earless Kwaidan, Kaidan, Ghost Stories, Ghost Story, Kwaidan , Ghost Stories. SYNOPSIS. [6], In Japan the film won Yoko Mizuki the Kinema Junpo award for Best Screenplay. Image source: uponobservingthis.wordpress.com, “Although we had been assured that you were a very skillful player upon the biwa, and without an equal in recitative, we did not know that any one could be so skillful as you have proved yourself to-night. The hand that guided was iron; and the clank of the warrior’s stride proved him fully armed,–probably some palace-guard on duty. Director Masaki Kobayashi wonderfully directs these unsettling stories. HOICHI THE EARLESS Hoichi is a young blind singer/storyteller who’s relating of a saga of warring clans so impresses a ghost emperor that he’s repeatedly summoned to perform for him, a demand which takes a toll on Hoichi’s own spirit. The longest of the four stories is Hoichi the Earless – and Earless isn’t a typo with a missing F. Hoichi is a gifted young biwa player who specialises in singing songs of ancient battles. He reconciles with his ex-wife, who refuses to let him punish himself. As a matter of fact, I have tickets to go see a performance of … THE STORY OF MIMI-NASHI-HOICHI. [1] The Japanese general release for Kwaidan began on February 27, 1965. They traversed a space of garden, and halted again before some entrance; and the retainer cried in a loud voice, “Within there! The retainer led him to the verandah at the rear of the temple, and there bade him farewell. [11], On review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes, Kwaidan holds an approval rating of 88%, based on 24 reviews, and an average rating of 7.4/10. If you do exactly as I tell you, the danger will pass, and you will have nothing more to fear.”. But at last, finding that his conduct had really alarmed and angered the good priest, he decided to abandon his reserve; and he related everything that had happened from the time of first visit of the samurai. "[8] The review concluded that the Kwaidan was a film "whose details stay on in the mind long after one has seen it. This story comes from “Kwaidan”, a classic collection of Japanese ghost stories written by Lafcadio Hearn in 1904. Hoichi's ears are visible to the samurai as they forgot to write the text on his ears. Hoichi is a young blind musician who plays the biwa. The spelling "kwaidan" for "ghost story" is deliberately old-fashioned; the current romanization would be "kaidan." But when at last he came to tell the fate of the fair and helpless,–the piteous perishing of the women and children,–and the death-leap of Nii-no-Ama, with the imperial infant in her arms,–then all the listeners uttered together one long, long shuddering cry of anguish; and thereafter they wept and wailed so loudly and so wildly that the blind man was frightened by the violence and grief that he had made. The film won the Special Jury Prize at the 1965 Cannes Film Festival,[2] and received an Academy Award nomination for Best Foreign Language Film.[3]. To begin with, all of the episodes eschew the usual O. Henry "twist" endings and deliberately telegraph their punches, case in point being "Hoichi the Earless", which gives away its climax with its very title! The narrator turns out to be Hoichi (Katsuo Nakamura), a blind biwa player who is lured away nightly by the spirits of the vanquished Heike clan to perform the tale of their anguish. The Cutting of Ears 10. KWAIDAN is ghost story anthology that adapts four Japanese folk tales (The Black Hair, The Woman of the Snow, Hoichi the Earless, In a Cup of Tea). Sekinai runs to tell the other attendants, but they laugh and tell him he is seeing things. Do not get frightened; and do not think of calling for help–because no help could save you. Spectral Performance 8. The film is based on stories from author Lafcadio Hearn's collections of Japanese folklore stories, namely Kwaidan: Stories and Studies of Strange Things. On the very next night, Hoichi was seen to leave the temple; and the servants immediately lighted their lanterns, and followed after him. “Hoichi, my poor friend, you are now in great danger! HOICHI THE EARLESS Hoichi is a young blind singer/storyteller who’s relating of a saga of warring clans so impresses a ghost emperor that he’s repeatedly summoned to perform for him, a demand which takes a toll on Hoichi’s own spirit. Minokichi offers to let her spend the night at his house with his mother. “Hoichi!” the deep voice called. It is then that Yuki reveals herself to be the Yuki-onna and a snowstorm comes over the home. Hoichi the Earless: from 'Kwaidan' Ghost Story The bizarre supernatural tale of Hoichi the Earless (from Kwaidan) is given a surreal spin in a new interpretation by three innovative artists from Japan. A deep voice called the blind man’s name–abruptly and unceremoniously, in the manner of a samurai summoning an inferior:–, “Hai!” [Japanese word for “yes”] answered the blind man, frightened by the menace in the voice,–“I am blind!–I cannot know who calls!”, “There is nothing to fear,” the stranger exclaimed, speaking more gently. The colourful sets, striking cinematography, inclusion of mixed media, and great performances all aid in enhancing these tales. The retainer who to-night conducted you will be sent for you… There is another matter about which I have been ordered to inform you. But he perceived Hoichi sitting there, in the attitude of meditation–with the blood still oozing from his wounds. ( Log Out /  A spectral samurai appears and tells him that his lord wishes to have a performance at his house. Source: http://www.toshidama-japanese-prints.com. We get a long, Kabuki-style drama that shows us that long ago, two great clans fought a sea battle. But the ghosts are draining away his life, and the monks set out to protect him by writing a holy mantra over his body to make him invisible to the ghosts. As a professional biwa-hoshi he became famous chiefly by his recitations of the history of the Heike and the Genji; and it is said that when he sang the song of the battle of Dan-no-ura “even the goblins [kijin] could not refrain from tears.”. Despite being perturbed, he drinks the cup. A cemetery also was made close by, near the beach; and within it were set up monuments inscribed with the names of the drowned emperor and of his great vassals; and Buddhist services were regularly performed there, on behalf of the spirits of them. With Rentarô Mikuni, Michiyo Aratama, Misako Watanabe, Kenjirô Ishiyama. You will be called. Kwaidan ist ein Horrorfilm aus dem Jahr 1964 von Masaki Kobayashi mit Rentarô Mikuni, Michiyo Aratama und Misako Watanabe. The Great Battle 2. Toho's Cannes Film Festival Prize Winner. Hoichi the Earless: from 'Kwaidan' Ghost Story. In the middle of the following night the samurai again came for him, and led him to the august assembly, where he gave another recitation with the same success that had attended his previous performance. The surrounding area is said to have been haunted for the last 700 years. Director Masaki Kobayashi wonderfully directs these unsettling stories. This is the character from the first story. Kwaidan’s third story is its longest and its best-known. Many noble persons went to Akamagaseki to hear him recite; and large presents of money were given to him,–so that he became a wealthy man… But from the time of his adventure, he was known only by the appellation of Mimi-nashi-Hoichi: “Hoichi-the-Earless.”, Pingback: Here’s a Spooky Japanese Story For Ya: ‘Hoichi the Earless’ – Dark Matters. And that sea and shore have been haunted for … Hoichi loses his ears by meddling with ancient spirits and becomes known by the name Mimi-Nashi-Hoichi. Kwaidan (怪談, Kaidan, literally "ghost stories") is a 1965 Japanese anthology horror film directed by Masaki Kobayashi. The story is called Mimi-Nashi-Hoichi which means Hoichi the Earless. As he is traveling incognito, [6] he commands that no mention of these things be made… You are now free to go back to your temple.”. After a few years, the swordsman returns to find his home, and his wife, largely unchanged. O-Tei is a woman from the story The story of O-Tei. The samurai re-appears on the next night to take Hoichi and affirms that he has not told anyone. [1] It was released in the United States on July 15, 1965 where it was distributed by Continental Distributing. They believe the spirits will now leave him alone. Kwaidan (怪談, Kaidan) is a 1964 Japanese horror film based on a Lafcadio Hearn novel and directed by Masaki Kobayashi. from Floyd Webb Plus . Presently the samurai halted; and Hoichi became aware that they had arrived at a large gateway;–and he wondered, for he could not remember any large gate in that part of the town, except the main gate of the Amidaji. Kwaidan was filmed almost entirely on massive sets constructed in a converted airplane hangar – as no Japanese studio was big enough to satisfy Kobayashi’s vision for his work. The priest of the Amidaji was fond of poetry and music; and he often invited Hoichi to the temple, to play and recite. But, before I go, it will be necessary to protect your body by writing holy texts upon it.”, Before sundown the priest and his acolyte stripped Hoichi: then, with their writing-brushes, they traced upon his breast and back, head and face and neck, limbs and hands and feet,–even upon the soles of his feet, and upon all parts of his body,–the text of the holy sutra called Hannya-Shin-Kyo. Then, from the roadway, he heard the steps coming. The older women in the town are in awe over Yuki maintaining her youth even after having three children. Realising that continued performances will be fatal to Hoichi, the priests of his temple decide to take action. He was particularly good at performing the Tale of the Heike, an epic describing the fall of Emperor Antoku, who is buried at Amidaji Temple. 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