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Film Sakuran
- vol 1 -
"Sakuran" and the world of oiran
The Hottest Women Today Shake Up Japanese Films
Anno Moyoco, Tanada Yuki, Ninagawa Mika, Tsuchiya Anna, Shiina Ringo – the hottest and most talented young women in various Japanese scenes today enhance the filming of Sakuran, a stunning revolutionary of Japanese Oiran films.
"Sakuran" – Men's Paradise, Women's Hell
Edo Period Japan ––– an eight-year-old girl named Kiyoha is brought through the Daimon of Edo to Yoshiwara, sold into the most dazzling and alluring district in the country. Kiyoha, taken away all her freedom decides to face the rules, tradition and social system instead of obeying them, and binds herself to adhere to her identity and ambition. Years later, the girl turns seventeen and changes her name from Kiyoha to “Higure” making her first step as the number one oiran in Yoshiwara.
Edo Yoshiwara and Oiran – Yoshiwara: “Vegas” of Edo
It is said that hundreds and thousands of Edo courtesan quarters were crammed to every corner of the 20,000-tsubo (66,000 square meter/ 80,000 square yard)-area of Yoshiwara inviting any of those entering through the Edo Daimon into the most glittering and enthralling district in the country back then. Although many times Yoshiwara is mistaken as a prostitution district as is the case for geisha and oiran as whores, it is not quite accurate nor intelligent to call it so, for it was – unlike the red light districts today – a “bakufu (government)-approved official place for social interaction” emphasizing manners and rules of the citizens of the high society. How exclusive Yoshiwara was ––– records and stories tell us that it was no less cultivated and glorious than areas such as Ginza and Akasaka today. In a way, Yoshiwara had some common characteristics to share with Las Vegas in USA ––– the government approved exclusive entertainment.

As men known as “tsujin” formed social and cultural salons with the courtesans, Yoshiwara quickly developed and flourished as the center of Edo’s culture, fashion and lifestyle where it held anything and everything men and women desired. Oiran were the top-level courtesans who enjoyed the highest status in such society of Yoshiwara. They held strong beliefs called “ikibari”, to not be swayed by money and to keep their pride as the perfect beings of the world. Perfect they were, as becoming an oiran required perfection not only in appearance, singing, dancing, playing music, entertaining, but also igo (aka ‘go’), shogi (Japanese chess), kado (flower arrangement) and sado (tea). Oiran were the envy of Edo people.
(c)2007 Ninagawagumi "Sakuran" Film Committee (c)Anno Moyoco/Kodansha
Production Board – A fusion of Edo aesthetics and 21st century talents
Breaking down the basic assumption of oiran films today are the heretics of heretics in various scenes in 21st century Japan. Ninagawa Mika, an innovative photographer who made history with unique color-ism and worldview makes a glamorous debut as a film director delivering the viewers vivid and lively color images based on ukiyoe (woodblock prints).

Charismatic manga artist Anno Moyoco is also known for her other works Hatarakiman, Happy Mania and Bijin Gahou, although she claims that Sakuran – her first work to be turned into film – is the first work she has truly picked up the pen for herself, as a manga artist.

The fresh and energetic 21st-century-creator Tanada Yuki who has attracted attention as an innovative film director and actress herself in her works Takadawataruteki and Tsuki to Cherry (Moon and Cherry) continues to cultivate the world of film making as a scriptwriter for the first time.

Playing the protagonist oiran Kiyoha is Tsuchiya Anna, a charismatic fashion model, rock musician and actress. Following her pervious film Shimotsuma Monogatari (Kamikaze Girls) – in which she swept new face awards and gained strong popularity from young women – Tsuchiya continues to show her rich talent punching out the previous oiran movies.

Shiina Ringo is coming back to the music scene as “Shiina Ringo” after a three-year-break, pioneering the world of film music as the total music director of Sakuran. Taking thrice as much time from usual film music production Shiina embellishes the film with her music from beginning to end, all carefully designed to fully bring out the aestheticism and astonishment of the world of Sakuran.
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