In 1932, three top students of master instructor Shibahara Eikan are challenged by the Japanese Military Police, the dreaded "Kenpeitai" when the army wants to take over their dojo. Japan was in a state of rising militarism during the 1930's. As the land of the Rising Sun moved deeper into China by taking over Manchuria, the power of the Imperial Army was growing and liberal leaning politicians like Prime Minister Inukai Tsuyoshi were being assassinated as part of an attempted coup. Against this backdrop the special permission granted by the government to operate a dojo was rescinded and would lead to not only the death of Shibahara-sensei, but a pitched battle between his students to determine who would inherit their master's Kuro-Obi (Black Belt) as head of the style. When one of the three is forced to leave, he gets involved with a family who are being pressured to sell their daughter to the yakuza so the Military Police can use her as a "Comfort Woman" (essentially a prostitute for the troops). When her little brother sets out to save her it brings to a head the showdown that would settle once and for all the succession of the style. Featuring real-life karate masters this is one of the finest martial arts movies ever made. A film festival favorite last year, KURO-OBI is a masterpiece of Japanese cinema.
Shipping begins on June 10, and we are really excited about this film. It combines great martial arts action with a story of tremendous historical significance. Not much has been written about Japan's Military Police, a brutal organization that somehow escaped being tried as war criminals. While this movie is about the three top karate students and their quest to determine which one would take over the style upon their Sensei's death, the "Kenpeitai" is featured strongly in the story.
Also available now is KAIDAN, a thrilling ghost story for the ages.
250 years ago Soetsu, a humble moneylender, is murdered by Shinzaemon, a cruel samurai, and his dead body is disposed of in the Kasanegafuchi, the pool of a river where it snakes around, and where legend has it, those who sink into the water will never float to the surface again. 20 years later, in a chance encounter, Shinkichi, the handsome son of Shizaemon, meets Toyoshiga, the daughter of Soetsu and they fall in love. Will their attraction for each other lead to happiness or will pain and anguish fill their lives because of the past. Based on the novel "Shinkei Kasanagafuchi" by noted author Sanyutei Encho this is a great addition to the wonderful tradition of Japanese horror films.