The cover above for Eijanika (1981) is a VHS cover since this Shohei Imamura classic is now out of print, and I got a DVD copy with English subtitles from what I think is a Hong Kong-based company based on the Chinese/English subtitles. It was recommended to me by a friend, but it would not have taken much to get me to watch it, since I was already an Imamura fan. He is probably my second favorite Japanese director after Akira Kurosawa. I was compelled to see this film since I have been reading a book about the cultural history of Tokyo called Tokyo: A Cultural History by Stephen Mansfield (which I just finished reading and will review soon). This incident was mentioned in the book, and it was seen as a social/political protest at the start of the Meiji restoration that originated in Kansai (Kyoto and Osaka) and involved dancing festivals. Thus, there is a lot of song and dance in Imamura's film. I thought about why it didn't get much international recognition like most of his films. I arrived at the conclusion that the film was 1) too long, clocking in at 151 minutes and 2) was concerned with what most people would call an obscure historical event. Although, for me, it is one of the most interesting moments in Japanese history since this is where they decided to modernized and disband samurai shogunates after being forced to open the country for trade by Admiral Perry and the US. The speed and vigor of their efforts to modernize were astonishing and within decades they were considered a world power after defeating the Russians in the Russo-Japanese War of 1904-1905. But this isn't a film about the upper classes, it is essentially about the common folk-earthy women who enjoy the earthly pleasures and who survive by any means possible. And also of the men of the earth who do the dirty work for the bosses and revel in the risk of personal harm. For me it was a fascinating, entertaining, and essential chapter of the Imamura oeuvre.