The Chrysanthemum and the Guillotine

March 24, 2021
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Film past event

Now streaming through May 28th 

Amid the sociopolitical turmoil following the 1923 Great Kanto Earthquake, a group of radical male anarchists who call themselves the Guillotine Society cross paths with an itinerant female sumo troupe and form a bond strengthened by their shared resistance to rising militarism and racist vigilante nationalists targeting socialists and Koreans. Chronicling a country caught between flowering liberal democracy and a reactionary shift towards fascism, Takahisa Zeze’s exhilarating and sprawling epic paints a compelling portrait of the late Taisho era using historical incidents and figures while highlighting the little-known story of Japanese women’s sumo—a sport that continues to relegate women’s participation to non-professional circuits.

“A high-energy passion project.” –The Japan Times

2018. 189 min. DCP, color, in Japanese with English subtitles. Directed by Takahisa Zeze. With Mai Kiryu, Hanae Kan, Masahiro Higashide, Kanichiro.

Please note: This film contains strong sexual content including depictions of sexual violence.

Tickets: $10 / $8 members for 5-day rental after purchase, with a 48-hour viewing window.
Special offer: Rent all three films in this series together for $24 / 20% off members.

This program is part of our Passing the Torch series, a celebration of the upcoming Tokyo Summer Games.

Japan Society Film’s programs are generously supported by the Lila Wallace-Reader’s Digest Endowment Fund.

Additional season support is provided by The Globus Family, Masako H. Shinn, David Toberisky, Geoff and Fumi Matters, George Gallagher, Akiko Koide and Shohei Koide, Laurel Gonsalves, David S. Howe, and Masu Hiroshi Masuyama.

Transportation assistance is provided by Japan Airlines, the exclusive Japanese airline sponsor of Japan Society Film.

  • March 24, 2021 – May 31, 2021