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The Daughter of the Samurai

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The Daughter of the Samurai
Japanese theatrical release poster
Directed by
Special effects byEiji Tsuburaya
Written byArnold Fanck
Produced by
  • Arnold Fanck
  • Nagamasa Kitakawa
  • Yoshio Osawa
  • Richard Angst
  • Walter Riml
Edited byArnold Fanck
Music byKosaku Yamada
  • JO Studios
  • Nikkatsu
  • Dr. Arnold Fanck-Film
Distributed byT&K Telefilm
Release dates
  • 4 February 1937 (1937-02-04) (Japan)
  • 23 March 1937 (1937-03-23) (Germany)
Running time
120 minutes

The Daughter of the Samurai (German: Die Tochter des Samurai, Japanese: Atarashiki Tsuchi (新しき土, The New Earth))[a] is a 1937 German-Japanese drama film directed by Arnold Fanck and Mansaku Itami, with special effects by Eiji Tsuburaya. Starring Setsuko Hara, Ruth Eweler and Sessue Hayakawa, it was the first of two co-productions between Imperial Japan and Nazi Germany. Fanck, who was famous for making mountaineering films, was possibly chosen as director because of his connections to the Nazi Party.[2] Fanck and Itami clashed a great deal during the film's production, and in effect created two separate versions for release in their respective countries.[3]

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Yamato Teruo (Isamu Kosugi) returns to Japan after spending six years at an agricultural college in Germany. Teruo is the adopted son of an old samurai family, and is expected to marry the eldest daughter, Mitsuko (Setsuko Hara). However, Teruo has become infected with the idea of Western individualism during his stay in Western Europe, and refuses to bow to the demands of society. Instead, he confounds his future father-in-law Yamato Iwao (Sessue Hayakawa) by announcing that he intends to marry a German journalist, Gerda Storm (Ruth Eweler), whom he met on the ship back to Japan. Gerda, however, is a blonde, chaste, Aryan woman, and will not agree to a mixed-race relationship. She attempts to convince him of his duty to the Japanese race and traditions and to reconcile him with his family.

Meanwhile, Mitsuko, feeling dishonored by Teruo's rejection, attempts to commit suicide by throwing herself into a volcano. She is rescued at the last second by Teruo, and the couple is romantically reunited. Sometime later, the young couple and their baby are now living in Manchukuo, the "New Earth", working on a farm under the benevolent gaze of a vigilant soldier guarding against the ever-present threat of Bolshevism.


Setsuko Hara and Ruth Eweler in Atarashiki Tsuchi
Actor Role
Setsuko Hara Misuko Yamato
Ruth Eweler Gerda Storm
Sessue Hayakawa Iwao Yamato
Isamu Kosugi Teruo Yamato
Eiji Takagi Kosaku Kanda
Haruyo Ichikawa Hideko Kanda
Yuriko Hanabusa Oiku, the maid
Kichiji Nakamura Ikkan, the priest
Max Hinder German teacher
Misako Tokiwa Teruo's mother
Kanae Murata Child


The film was poorly received in Japan. It was viewed as a condescending treatment of Japan as an exotic Oriental nation that needed German political ideas as if it had none of its own, and the racist ideology of blood and soil was considered disturbing.[4] One reviewer wrote:

Holding up a Buddhist manji to resemble a Nazi swastika, he portrayed temples as if they were the sole repository of the Japanese spirit. Great Buddhist statues were treated as if they wielded an absolute power. He applied the Nazi spirit of self-sacrifice indiscriminately to the Yamato spirit ... it is Germany that is requiring this New Order.[4]


  1. ^ Also known as The New Land.[1]


  1. ^ a b c Ryfle 1998, p. 46.
  2. ^ Hull p.121
  3. ^ Mayo, Rimer & Kerkham p.226
  4. ^ a b Baskett, Michael (2009). "All Beautiful Fascists?". In Tansman, Alan (ed.). The Culture of Japanese Fascism. Durham: Duke University Press. pp. 226–8. ISBN 978-0822344520.

External links

This page was last edited on 19 December 2023, at 00:25
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