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Sanshiro Sugata: The jujitsu teachers daughter

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    Ugetsu

    I’m a little puzzled about the subplot early in the film about the daughter of the jujitsu teacher. We first see her when she tries to persuade her father not to go and attack the Judo master. The subtitles of my Madman DVD say he says something like ‘don’t be foolish’, but I think he says just ‘Baka!’ with quite a nasty tone.

    We next see her after Sanshiro kills him in the fight. The camera holds long on her face, frozen in what seems like hatred for Sanshiro.

    We later see her again, as she approaches the school. She is intercepted by two of the pupils who suspect her, who then realise she has a knife (presumably to avenge herself on Sanshiro), and she is disarmed.

    Unless I’ve missed something (I haven’t had time to look at the film in closer detail yet), this seems a curiously anti-climactic end to what looks to be set up as quite a major sub-plot (one that interestingly seems to foresee the Mantis in Red Beard). She is briefly shown in one of the ‘deleted’ scenes in the extras to the DVD.

    It all seems curiously open ended. She doesn’t even get to threaten Sanshiro at all. I wonder if there was a more detailed subplot here which was excised as the film was cut? It all seems quite uncharacteristic for a Kurosawa film. Anyone with any ideas as to what her role is in the film and why she just seems to be written out after she is caught with the knife – or did I miss something?

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    Vili Maunula

    This has bothered me, too. I think that she is purposely paired with Sayo, Sugata’s later love interest who is also the daughter of an opponent, and it is therefore suggested that the early episode with the jujitsu master has made Sugata doubly nervous about the fight with Sayo’s father.

    Although Sugata has had his enlightening revelation in the pond, his process of learning is far from over, and his preparation for the fight with Sayo’s father is another similar test towards understanding. With the jujitsu master, he had fought only with his body, and in the process overdone it, killing his opponent. With Sayo’s father he is forced to fight also with his mind, so as to reach an outcome that sees him victorious, but still capable of courting the opponent’s daughter.

    The interesting thing about the fight with Sayo’s father, especially for a supposed propaganda film, is that Sugata does not want to fight here, and that he later reconciles with his opponent. Before the fight, Sugata sees Sayo praying for her father, and it is through that scene that his opponent is suddenly humanised to him — this is something that I would have thought is the last thing a wartime propaganda film should be doing.

    So, I think that the jujitsu teacher’s daughter is a doppelgänger of sorts for Sayo. Her horrified face is burned to Sugata’s mind as vividly as it is burned to ours, and the outcome of that particular incident teaches him to try and handle the situation with Sayo’s father better. This still doesn’t explain the abrupt end to the subplot concerning the jujitsu teacher’s daughter, of course. Could it have been the result of censorship (possibly already on the script stage)? I will need to check how this was handled in the 1965 remake.

    What sort of a deleted scene is the jujitsu teacher’s daughter in, by the way? The script for Sanshiro Sugata is available at the Akira Kurosawa Digital Archive (section 22.01.01), but I don’t know if it is the shooting script or a transcript (it looks like a published script, so I assume it has gone through censorship). I haven’t really given the script much of a look, as it would take quite a bit of time with my language skills to figure out if any additional scenes for the jujitsu master’s daughter are present.

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    Vili Maunula

    Something really strange is going on with the servers, no doubt due to the server move last week. Some content seems to have disappeared. I’m doing my best to return at least some of it.

    Ugetsu wrote in this thread:


    Vili

    What sort of a deleted scene is the jujitsu teacher’s daughter in, by the way?

    The scene, which presumably took place after the girl was intercepted in the courtyard, is set in one of the rooms in the school. The Priest (played by the actor who played the Village Elder in Seven Samurai, he still has his teeth in this film) sits and talks to the girl. He tries to reason with her, saying that ‘to kill a man accidentally is not the same as to kill someone deliberately’. The girl refuses to listen. He asks her what she wants, and she says she must kill Sanshiro. The Priest turns away in disgust and throws the knife on the floor. The scene darkens, the Priest is still sitting, and there is some sort of commotion outside. Thats where its cut. It doesn’t really make much sense in the context, so presumably something else is lost. The deleted scene is apparently from an additional 1944 cut, so I assume more may have been lost originally.

    If the censors didn’t like the idea of a girl thirsting for revenge, it seem strange that they left part of the story in. So presumably, it it was cut, it was whatever she did afterwards that was deemed offensive.


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