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GOHATTO aka TABOO
USA: New Yorker Films
UK: Momentum Pictures
Cast: 'Beat' Takeshi Kitano, Ryuhei Matsuda, Shinji Takeda, Tadanobu Asano, Koji Matoba, Masa Tommies, MasatO Ibu, Uno Kanda, Kazuko Yoshiyuki, Tomoro Taguchi, Yoichi Sai, Jiro Sakagami, Zakoba Katsura, Kei Sato (narrator)
Director: Nagisa Oshima
Countries: France / Japan / UK
Language: Japanese (English subtitles)
USA & UK: 100 mins
UK Certificate: 15 contains infrequent moderate sex and violence
USA Release Date: 17 November 2000 (Limited Release - Los Angeles)
USA Release Date: 6 October 2000 (Limited Release - New York)
UK Release Date: 3 August 2001
KYOTO - SPRING, 1865
At the temple Nishi-Honganji, the Shinsengumi militia is choosing new recruits to become samurai warriors. Commander Isami Kondo, (Yoichi Sai) and lieutenant Toshizo Hijikata (Beat Takeshi) are supervising the recruiting process. Those hoping to be chosen must face off the best man in the militia, Soji Okita (Shinji Takeda). Out of all the men present, only two are chosen: Hyozo Tashiro (Tadanobu Asano), a low-level samurai from the Kurume clan and Sozaburo Kano (Ryuhei Matsuda), a handsome young man whose good looks are bewitching. Tashiro is immediately attracted to Kano.
Rigid rules and regulations keep order among this group of men and are the unifying force in the face of adversity... But suddenly the militia finds itself prey to rumours and jealousies ... the fascination that the others hold for the young samurai Kano creates confusion all around.
THE END OF THE SHOGUNATE
On July 8, 1853, the American squadron of "black boats" headed by Commodore Perry entered the bay of Edo, officially opening up Japan to trade after centuries of isolationism.
On March 31, 1854, he managed to have the Shogunate sign the Treaty of Kanagawa. which authorized them to open of the ports of Shimoda and Hakodate. An American consul soon arrived in Japan. In the following years, other Japanese ports would open, not only to Americans, but also to other influential nations. This arrival of foreign influence in Japan provoked uprisings. How could the Shogun sign a treaty with the "Barbarians"? The emperor soon devoted himself to the championing of national independence.
In 1863, a militia made up of samurai was created to protect the Shogun. Known as the Shinsengumi, they showed courage and cunning in the battle of Ikedaya in 1864 when they put down the principal clan leaders Chosu and Higo.
Most of the Shinsengumi warriors, averaging about 20 years old, came from peasant stock or poor trading families. Made up of 24 members at its outset, the Shinsengumi would soon grow to two hundred samurai-their job: the protection of the Shogun; their primary goal: honor.
The story of GOHATTO aka TABOO begins in the spring of 1865, several months after the victory of the Shinsengumi at Ikedaya and ends in the spring of 1866, the time at which the Chosu and Satsuma clans entered into the rebellion once again. The young Emperor Mutsu-Hito, Meijo Tenno held sway and the last Shogun, Yoshinobu Keiki gave in on November 9, 1867. A few days later, the Emperor officially announced the re-establishment of the absolute monarchy and in 1869 transferred the capital to Edo, the shogun capital which was henceforth known as Tokyo.