MY JAPANESE FILM

SUMMER SOLDIERS – In August 1971, when I returned to Japan to attend university, I had time on my hands before classes started so I looked for part-time work. In the Japan Times classifieds, I saw a notice for motion picture auditions for a film to be directed by Hiroshi Teshigahara called SUMMER SOLDIERS. Though I had never acted, I gave it go and as it turned out, Teshigahara wanted me for the lead role. However, it required that I  play the guitar and sing.  Since I could do neither, I was cast in the role of an ugly American who deserts military service while on leave in Tokyo. The following scenes are from the Japanese version of the film which has no English subtitles. Hopefully, I someday find a version with English subtitles.

Click here to read the NEW YORK TIMES REVIEW

1 (Dinner with my host, Mr. & Mrs. Tanikawa.) Mrs. Tanikawa is played by Kuroyanagi Tetsuko.

SCENE 2 (Where I attempt to pick up a girl.)

SCENE 3 Part 1 (Where I return to my host’s home- somewhat drunk.)

SCENE 3 Part 2 (Where I attack the wife of my host.)

OPENING CREDITS OF FILM

Review from NEWSWEEK Magazine:

Summer Soldiers Newsweek

JOHN NATHAN

When Nathan arrived fresh out of Harvard in 1961, he had little inkling of all that Japan would offer him. In short order he found a Japanese wife and eventually parlayed his language skills into wide-ranging projects as an interpreter of Japanese culture, becoming a translator and biographer of celebrated novelists Yukio Mishima and Kenzaburo Oe and a film documentarian of Japanese life. He also gained entree to Tokyo’s glitterati of writers, artists and movie stars, which furnishes him many a droll anecdote juxtaposing Japan’s formality, reticence and clannishness with its geisha-filled excesses and frenzied love-hate relationship with America. Worried that his success there depended on his novelty as a hulking, hirsute Western barbarian, Nathan abandoned Japan to try to make it in the States as a screenwriter and director of commercials and business documentaries. Here the narrative meanders into a somewhat aimless account of a mediocre showbiz career, with the requisite tales of Hollywood phoniness and philistinism and encounters with celebrities from Francis Ford Coppola to New Kids on the Block. Nathan is an engaging raconteur and a sharp-eyed observer of the Japanese-Western culture clash, but the whole has the slapped-together feel hinted at in the title. (Mar. 18)