By Joey Defalco – Reporter
The Japanese program showed the 2006 drama “Hana” with Japanese audio and English subtitles on March 9 in PUB 161 to teach students about Japanese culture and relieve finals week stress.
“Hana” takes place in an impoverished town during the Genroku era of Japan 300 years ago and follows a reluctant “ronin” — a samurai without a lord — named Sōzaemon “Sōza” Aoki, who travels to a slum to find and murder his father’s killer. Japanese professor Michiyo Okuhara said samurai were traditionally banished from home until they could avenge their father’s death.
Before the film played, Okuhara introduced the movie as a “very brutal” revenge film, but pointed out, “It’s a little bit of comedy, little bit of [a] laugh during the stressful time of finals week.” Okuhara said she wanted students to “see how [Japanese] people lived 300 years ago.”
In the film, the jocular and sarcastic Sadashiro leads Sōza to his father’s killer and provides comedic relief along the way.
The serious revenge plot is webbed with comical side stories including Sōza‘s romance with the young widow Osae, the town’s annual amateur play about revenge killing and the eviction of citizens from their decaying homes.
The film features a historically real band of samurai called the 47 Ronin who killed a court official as vengeance for their lord.