The Three Treasures (1959)
The Three Treasures (日本誕生 is a Nihon Tanjō, lit. The Birth of Japan)1959 tokusatsu epic historical fantasy film directed by Hiroshi Inagaki and written by Ryuzo Kikushima and Toshio Yasumi, with special effects by Eiji Tsuburaya. Produced by Toho, it is based on the legends Kojiki and Nihon Shoki and was promoted as the studio's thousandth film. It stars an ensemble cast including Toshiro Mifune, Yoko Tsukasa, Akihiko Hirata, Kyoko Kagawa, Takashi Shimura, Setsuko Hara, Kumi Mizuno, Misa Uehara, Kinuyo Tanaka, Akira Kubo, and Akira Takarada. The film was released to Japanese theaters by Toho on November 1, 1959. Toho International released a shortened, English-subtitled version of the film to American theaters on December 20, 1960.
Plot[edit | edit source]
An old lady explains to the townsfolk how the gods appeared and how Japan came to be, and how two gods invented marriage. Prince Osu then arrived home in this town, and heard a rumor that his older brother, the current heir, had taken a girl who was supposed to be in the Emperors’ house. He became upset at this, and fought his brother. He defeated his brother, almost killing him, but ultimately decided to let him go. He told his brother to leave and never come back. The Emperor believed his eldest son to be dead, and this greatly upset him. One of his advisors saw it as a good opportunity to move forward with his plan of putting one of his nephews in power, so he advised the Emperor to execute Prince Osu, but the Emperor instead sent Osu off to kill two brothers who had been terrorizing a nearby town. Before leaving, Osu began a romantic interaction with Princess Ototachibana, who had devoted herself to the gods. Osu headed out with his small group and killed the two brothers, but not before the younger one acknowledged his greatness and gave him the name Yamato Takeru, which means "the Bravest of Yamato."
Afterwards Yamato returned home, but his father sent him off to the east on another mission, as the advisor wished Yamato to die. Back in the town, the old lady from earlier told another story of how the sun goddess Amaterasu went into a cave due to a prank by her brother Susano, and how it caused the world to become dark. She went on to tell how the other gods threw a laughter festival and drew her out, bringing the light back into the world. Just before leaving, Yamato, who was grieving due to him thinking his father wants him dead, visited his aunt, who gave him the mythical sword, Kusanagi no Tsurugi, and said that his father wanted him to have it.
Yamato went to his men and told them the story of how Kusanagi no Tsurugi came to be, saying that the god Susano went to a house he had found upriver, and had found two old people and their daughter weeping. He discovered that they had originally had eight daughters and had been forced to sacrifice them every year to the serpent Yamata no Orochi, and that the time for him to appear to take their last daughter was coming soon. Susano declared that he wouldn’t let that happen, and transformed the daughter into a come and set up eight large jugs of sake for the monster to drink. The monster appeared, as was expected, and it drank the sake, and passed out drunk. Susano went to the monster and went to attack it as it slept, but it awoke, forcing Susano to cause the serpent to weave its heads through the bushes and become stuck. Susano then went to the backside of the monster, and plunged his sword repeatedly into the tail of the beast. He then reached inside one of the wounds he had made, and pulled out the Kusanagi no Tsurugi. Yamato finished the story, and took his men to the east as per his father’s orders. Just before leaving, however, Princess Tachibana approached him and told him that she hated him, though in reality she was forbidden from loving anyone due to her oath to the gods.
Yamato and his army headed east, with them first finding a village in which Princess Miyazu attempted to kill him, but decided not to and then fell in love with Yamato. Yamato then later found a village whose leader tried to kill him, as the advisor’s men went ahead to tell him to kill Yamato. Yamato found that his father had been the one to tell the leader to kill him, which troubled his heart. Princess Tachibana followed Yamato here, and declared that she does love him. This upset the gods, however, and they plagued Yamato and his army with great storms. Tachibana then jumped in the water, killing herself, in order to appease the gods, which worked. Yamato then decided to head back home and confront his father.
He arrived near home, though the advisor had sent a large army out in order to kill Yamato. After he fought against them with his army, he ended up being killed and transformed into a bird. As a bird, he caused a volcanic eruption and flooding which resulted in the deaths of all the members of the army which had tried to kill him.
Staff[edit | edit source]
- Main article: The Three Treasures/Credits.
Staff role on the left, staff member's name on the right.
- Directed by Hiroshi Inagaki
- Written by Ryuzo Kikushima and Toshio Yasumi
- Executive producing by Katsutaro Kawakami
- Produced by Sanezumi Fujimoto and Tomoyuki Tanaka
- Music by Akira Ifukube
- Cinematography by Kazuo Yamada
- Edited by Kazuji Taira
- Production design by Kisaku Ito and Hiroshi Ueda
- Assistant directing by Teruo Maru
- Special effects by Shuzaburo Araki, Sadamasa Arikawa, Akira Watanabe, Kuichiro Kishida, and Eiji Tsuburaya
Cast[edit | edit source]
Actor's name on the left, character played on the right.
- Toshiro Mifune as Prince Yamato Takeru / Susano
- Yoko Tsukasa as Princess Ototachibana
- Akihiko Hirata as Kibino Takehiko
- Kyoko Kagawa as Princess Miyazu
- Takashi Shimura as Elder Kumaso
- Setsuko Hara as Amaterasu, the Sun Goddess
- Kumi Mizuno as Azami
- Misa Uehara as Princess Kushinada
- Kinuyo Tanaka as Princess Yamato
- Akira Kubo as Prince Iogi
- Akira Takarada as Prince Wakatarashi
- Ganjiro Nakamura as Emperor
- Eijiro Tono as Otomo
- Jun Tazaki as Otomo's Kurohiko
- Kenichi Enomoto as God of Yaoyorozu
- Hideyo Amamoto as Spectator at Gods' Dance
- Keiko Muramatsu as Goddess Izanami
- Kichijiro Ueda as Kume's yahara
- Akira Sera as Anazuchi
- Minosuke Yamada as Okuri of Kunizo
- Michiyo Tamaki as Ehime
- Haruko Sugimura as Narrator
- Kakuko Murata as Obaki's mother
- Chieko Nakakita as Tenazuchi
- Nobuko Otowa as Goddess of Anenouzume
- Ikio Sawamura as Gods of Yaoyorozu
- Hajime Izu as Prince Oousu
- Bokuzen Hidari as God Amenominaka
- Yu Fujiki as Okabi
- Ichiro Arishima as Gods of Yaoyorozu
- Junichiro Murai as Moroto
- Kozo Nomura as Ootomo Makeri
- Hisaya Ito as Ootomo Kodate
- Ko Mishima as Yakumo
- Norihei Miki as Gods of Yaoyorozu
- Yoshio Kosugi as Inaba
- Keiju Kobayashi as God Amatsumaura
- Daisuke Kato as God Fudetama
- Hiroyuki Wakita as God Izanagi's son
- Kingoro Yanagiya as God of Omoikane
- Taro Asashio as God of Tachikara
- Koji Tsuruta as Younger Kumaso
Appearances[edit | edit source]
Monsters[edit | edit source]
Weapons, vehicles, and races[edit | edit source]
Gallery[edit | edit source]
- Main article: The Three Treasures/Gallery.
Soundtrack[edit | edit source]
- Main article: The Three Treasures (Soundtrack).
Alternate titles[edit | edit source]
- Birth of Japan (literal Japanese title)
- Japan Birth (alternate translation)
- Japan is Born (alternate translation)
- Age of the Gods (alternate title)
- The Age of the Gods (A Idade dos Deuses; Brazil)
- Three Treasures (Tres Tesoros; Spain)
Theatrical releases[edit | edit source]
- Japan - November 1, 1959 [view poster]
- United States - December 20, 1960 [view poster]
- Portugal - April 5, 1962
- Spain - 1972 [view poster]
- France [view poster]
U.S. release[edit | edit source]
Box office[edit | edit source]
Video releases[edit | edit source]
Toho VHS (1991)
- Tapes: 2
- Audio: Japanese
Toho DVD (2001)
- Region: 2
- Discs: 1
- Audio: Japanese (Mono)
- Subtitles: Japanese
- Special features: Theatrical trailer, isolated score, music and effects track (from shortened export version), talent files, promotional gallery, export version pamphlet
- Notes: Since its initial release on February 21, 2001, the DVD has been reissued three times: on February 23, 2007, on February 7, 2014, and on July 15, 2015.
Though The Three Treasures is not available on Blu-ray, an HD version of the film can be rented or purchased on the Japanese versions of Amazon Video and iTunes.
Videos[edit | edit source]
Trivia[edit | edit source]
- The Three Treasures is Toho's longest film featuring a kaiju, with a runtime of just over three hours. Because of this, the film contains an intermission 76 minutes into its runtime.
- In 1994, The Three Treasures was loosely remade by Toho as Orochi, the Eight-Headed Dragon.
References[edit | edit source]
This is a list of references for The Three Treasures. These citations are used to identify the reliable sources on which this article is based. These references appear inside articles in the form of superscript numbers, which look like this: 
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