Films at the Embassy of Japan

Choshu Five

Tuesday 25 June 2013, 18:30
Doors open at 18:00. No admittance after 19:00.
Free admission. Prior registration essential.

Directed by Sho Igarashi 五十嵐匠 / 2006 / 119 min

This special screening is part of a series of events to mark the 150th anniversary of the arrival of the Choshu Five in the UK.

This film contains some scenes which viewers may find disturbing, including scenes of violence or of a sexual nature.

It is 1863, ten years after the United States Navy officer Commodore Perry and his black ships sailed into Tokyo Bay and awoke Japan, which had been closed off from the world for over 200 years.  With Japan yet to emerge from its isolation, five samurai from Choshu (the current Yamaguchi prefecture) are smuggled to the UK to see and learn about this country’s sophisticated technology.   

On their arrival they are overwhelmed by the prosperity they find here and resolve to absorb British technology and expertise, especially as regards mintage, shipbuilding and railways. This knowhow later helps the Choshu clan to transform Japan. They later become the founding fathers of Meiji-era Japan by assuming various key posts, including that of the first prime minister of Japan.

Photograph (C)2006「長州ファイブ」製作委員会


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