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Song of the Canefields

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Song of the Canefields
Directed byKatsuo Fukuzawa
Produced byYasuo Yagi
Screenplay byKazuhiko Yukawa
Music byNaohiko Terashima
Distributed byTBS Television (Japan)[1]
Release date
  • September 28, 2003 (2003-09-28) (Japan)
Running time
154 minutes

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Song of the Canefields (さとうきび畑の唄, Satôkibi Batake no Uta) is a 2003 Japanese Made-for-Television period war drama film directed by Katsuo Fukuzawa on a screenplay by Kazuhiko Yukawa, and stars an ensemble cast including Sanma Akashiya, Hitomi Kuroki, Kenji Sakaguchi, Yukie Nakama, Aya Ueto, Ryo Katsuji, Natsumi Ohira, Taiki Agatsuma, Joe Odagiri, and Emi Ikehata. Japanese folk singer Ryoko Moriyama makes a special appearance as herself performing her best-selling single "Satôkibi Batake", which served as an inspiration for the film.[2][3]


Set in 1945 during the Battle of Okinawa, the film follows Hirayama Koichi and his wife Michiko, who eloped from Osaka to Okinawa and lived happily with their five children. When war erupts, their eldest son is drafted into the Imperial army. As fighting spreads, the family takes refuge far from the city, but soon, child after child is drafted to serve in various branches of the military and in organizations supporting the war cause. Koichi himself is faced with a moral dilemma when he is ordered to kill a wounded American soldier, as he is a pacifist who does not believe in killing people.



The film was first broadcast on television on September 28, 2003, by TBS Television (Japan).[4]

Home Media[edit]

TBS released the film on VHS and DVD on January 23, 2004. The film debuted on the Blu-ray format for the first time on September 25, 2013. The disc includes an audio commentary, a making-of documentary, and cast & crew interviews. The discs have since gone out of print.[5]


David Yamaguchi of the North American Post gave a rather positive review of the film, writing: "It is worth watching as it makes a point that is not obvious from other coverage of this chapter in US/Japan history. It is that Japanese civilians were near the center of the fierce battle for this island."[6]


The film won the Grand prize at the National Arts Festival by the Agency of Cultural Affairs (Japan, 2004).


External links[edit]

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