T. alt.: Renbo Satsuma Bikyaku. T. int.: Sakyo the Handsome Man [Sakyo il bello]. Sog., Scen.: Ranshu Mizutari. F.: Tetsuo Morio. Int.: Chojiro Hayashi (Sakyo Takenaka), Tsuyuko Kitahara (Sakie Bando), Sumako Uranami (Okiku), Yasuo Shiga (Jinemon), Eiko Higashi (Oyuki), Kichijiro Ueda (secondo in comando), Kinnosuke Takamatsu, Yoshimatsu Nakamura. Prod.: Shochiku (Shimogamo) 35mm. D.: 47’ a 24 f/s.
This jidai-geki is a work by a little-known but prolific director, Tetsuroku Hoshi, who directed more than fifty films between 1928 and 1941. It tells the story of Sakyo Takenaka, charged by the shogunal authorities with secretly entering the Satsuma Domain in Japan’s westernmost main island of Kyushu, and exposing its illegal trading activities. The lead role is played by Chojiro Hayashi, better known in the West by his later pseudonym of Kazuo Hasegawa, under which name he starred in both the 1935 Kinugasa version and the 1963 Kon Ichikawa version of Yukinojo Henge (An Actor’s Revenge).
The film was originally released as a silent film in 1931, but the extant print is a kaisetsu ban (‘version with benshi explanation’) re-release dating from the Occupation era, in which most of the intertitles have been removed, and a soundtrack featuring accompaniment music and benshi commentary has been added. In the process, the film was retitled from Renbo Satsuma bikyaku (approximately translated as ‘The Loves of a Messenger in Satsuma’) to Sakyo the Handsome Man. Despite its postwar date, it is believed that the benshi track actually dates from before the war.