11 August 2010

Ten Things I Know About Kōgo Noda (野田高梧)

Ozu with Kōgo Noda (野田高梧, 1893-1968)

This Hokkaido-born / Nagoya-raised screenwriter is most famous for his collaborations with Yasujirō Ozu at Shochiku studios. They collaborated on more than half of Ozu’s films together (a total of 27). Of their close working relationship, Ozu has been quoted as saying: “When I work with Noda, we agree even on short bits of dialogue. And though we never discuss the details of sets or the costumes, his image of these things is always in accord with mine. Our ideas never contradict each other. We even agree on whether a line should end with a wa or a yo. Of course, sometimes we have a difference of opinion. And we don’t compromise easily since we are both stubborn.” (Richie, p. 27)

1. Family

The youngest of five brothers, one of whom was the painter Kyūho Noda (野田九浦, 1879-1971) whose work can be found at the Kichijoji Art Museum in Musashino.

2. Schooling

Graduated from Waseda University with a degree in English Literature. Other famous Waseda grads include Edogawa Rampo, Hirokazu Koreeda, Akio Jissoji, Haruki Murakami, and Shuji Terayama.

3. Collaborations
Ozu, Shimizu, Fushimi & Noda at an onsen in Izu (July1928)

While Kōgo Noda’s name is most closely associated with Ozu, he has actually collaborated with over a dozen directors over the course of his four decades at Shochiku. Other notable pairings include Yasujiro Shimazu, Hōtei Nomura, Hiromasa Nomura, Hiroshi Shimizu, Heinosuke Gosho, Kiyohiko Ushihara, Kenji Mizoguchi and Mikio Naruse.

4. How Ozu & Noda Met

Ozu and Noda had seen each other around the Shochiku lot many times before they ended up working together. Ozu had come up with a film scenario called Sword of Penitance (Zange no yaiba) based upon an early George Fitzmaurice film Kick In (USA, 1917) that he had read about. The head of studio, Shiro Kido, sent him to work on it in the jidai-geki section of the studio which is where he and Noda got to know each other for the first time and Noda agreed to help him write the script. Sword of Penitance, which is sadly lost, was Ozu’s debut as a film director.

5. Noda & Ozu’s Writing Methods

Noda and Ozu used a writing method that I often use for writing essays – a card system. In the early stages of writing they would write each scene idea on a card rather than in a book. This allowed for greater flexibility when organizing the script as the cards could be shuffled around or discarded freely. (Richie, p. 21)

6. Drinking Binges

Noda and Ozu legendarily enjoyed drinking sake while writing scripts together. They would go somewhere like a bar called Fledermaus in Nishi-Ginza and stay up late drinking until the ideas came. When the finished writing Tokyo Story, Noda wrote in his diary: “Finished. 103 days, 43 bottles of sake.” (Richie, p. 26).

7. Tateshina

In the early 1950s, Ozu bought a cottage in the mountains of Tateshina (Nagano) where he and Noda could seclude themselves to drink and write. A typical scenario would take them 3 to 4 months if they were writing it from scratch, while adaptations took less time.

8. Shared Stubbornness

Both Ozu and Noda were notoriously stubborn and in the rare event of a disagreement could give each other the silent treatment. As Noda remarked after Ozu’s passing: “If we didn’t agree we would sometimes scarcely speak to each other for two or three days in a row except for remarks like, ‘Well, the birch leaves have finally started to fall,’ or, ‘Last night there was a bird singing down in the valley.’ After some days of this kind of thing there would come, strangely enough, either from me or from him an idea quite different from anything we had been considering before, and then work would go smoothly again.” (Richie, p. 27)

9. Marriage

Unlike Ozu, Noda did marry. His daughter also worked as a scriptwriter under the name Ryū Tachibana (立原りゅう). She married the writer Hisashi Yamanouchi (山内久, b. 1925).

10. Awards

In 1950, Noda and Ozu jointly won the Mainichi Film Concours for Late Spring (1949). In 1967, Noda was awarded the Order of the Rising Sun for his contribution to Japanese culture.

Filmography (work in progress)

1925 Shin chikyōdai (Yasujiro Shimazu)
1926 Kōtō no kage (Yasujiro Shimazu)
1926 Cosmos saku koro (Hotei Nomura)
1926 Yōfu gonin onna – Dai ippen: Benten Osaku (Tsutomu Shigemune)
1926 Yōfu gonin onna – Dai gohen: Reijō Osumi (Yoshinobu Ikeda)
1927 Sword of Penitence (Zange no yaiba, Yasujirō Ozu)
1928 Man’s Worldly Appearance (Hito no yo no sugata, Heinosuke Gosho)
1928 Riku no ōja (Kiyohiko Ushihara)
1929 Wasei kenka tomodachi (Yasujirō Ozu)
1929 Kaishain seikatsu (Yasujirō Ozu)
1929 Dance girl no hiai (Kōjirō Sasaki)
 1929 Mother (Haha, Hotei Nomura)
1930 Marriage for Beginners (Kekkongaku nyūmon, Yasujirō Ozu)
1930 The Army Advances (Shigun, Kiyohiko Ushihara)
1930 Shami-hen: Haha (Hotei Nomura)
1930 Daitokai: Bakuhatsu-hen (Kiyohiko Ushihara)
1930 Vengeful Ghost of Erotica (Eroshin no onryo, Yasujirō Ozu)
1930 Ashi ni sawatta koun (Yasujirō Ozu)
1930 Story of Kinuyo (Kinuyo Monogatari, Heinosuke Gosho)
1931 Tōkyō no kōrasu (Yasujirō Ozu)
1931 Nanatsu no umi: Zempen Shojo-hen (Hiroshi Shimizu)
1932 Nanatsu no umi: Kohen Teiso-hen (Hiroshi Shimizu)
1932 Manshu koshin-kyoku (Yasushi Sasaki and Hiroshi Shimizu)
1932 Byakuya wa akaruku (Hiroshi Shimizu)
 1932 Seishun no yume imaizuko (Yasujirō Ozu)
1932 Mata au hi made (Yasujirō Ozu)
1932 The Stepchild (Nasanunaka: Mikio Naruse)
1933 Tōkyō no onna (Yasujirō Ozu)
1933 Ōendanchō no koi (Hiromasa Nomura)
1934 Haha wo kowazukuya (Yasujirō Ozu)
1934 Kōki Manshu-koku (Kazuo Ishikawa)
1935 Hakoiri musume (Yasujirō Ozu)
1936 Shindo: Zempen Akemi no maki (Heinosuke Gosho)
1936 Shindo: Kohen Ryota no maki (Heinosuke Gosho)
1937 Hana-kago no uta (Heinosuke Gosho)
1938 Kokumin no chikai (Hiromasa Nomura)
1938 The Tree of Love (Aizen Katsura, Hiromasa Nomura)
1939 Zoku aizen katsura (Hiromasa Nomura)
 1939 Aizen katsura – Kanketsu-hen (Hiromasa Nomura)
1940 Nishizumi senshacho-den (Kozaburo Yoshimura)
1941 Genkide yukōyo (Hiromasa Nomura)
1943 Hiwa Normanton jiken: Kamen no butō (Keisuke Sasaki)
1944 Kimi koso tsugi arawashia da (Toshimasa Hozumi)
1944 Yasen gungakutai (Masahiro Makino)
1946 Josei no shōri (Kenji Mizoguchi)
1949 The Flame of My Love (Waga koi wa moenu , Kenji Mizoguchi)
1949 Late Spring (Banshun, Yasujirō Ozu)
 1950 The Munekata Sisters (Munekata kyoudai, Yasujirō Ozu)
1950 Hi no tori (Shigeo Tanaka)
1951 The Good Fairy (Zemma, Keisuke Kinoshita)
1951 Early Summer (Bakushū, Yasujirō Ozu)
1952 Flavor of Green Tea Over Rice (Ochazuke no aji, Yasujirō Ozu)
1953 Tokyo Story (Tōkyō monogatari, Yasujirō Ozu)
1956 Early Spring (Shoshun, Yasujirō Ozu)
1957 Tōkyō boshoku (Yasujirō Ozu)
1958 Equinox Flower (Higanbana, Yasujirō Ozu)
1959 Good Morning (Ohayō, Yasujirō Ozu)
1959 Floating Weeds (Yasujirō Ozu)
1960 Late Autumn (Akibiyori, Yasujirō Ozu)
1961 The End of Summer (Kohayagawa-ke no aki, Yasujirō Ozu)
1962 Zoku aizen katsura (Noboru Nakamura)
1964 Radishes and Carrots (Daikon to ninjin, Minoru Shibuya)
2003 Musume no kekkon (Kon Ichikawa, TV)

3-DVD "Chichi Ariki," "Todake no Kyodai," "Hitori Musuko (The Only Son)" / Japanese Movie
Japanese Movie
3-DVD "Banshun (Late Spring)," "Nagaya Shinshiroku," "Kaze no Naka no Mendori (A Hen in the Wind)" / Japanese Movie
Japanese Movie

© Catherine Munroe Hotes 2010