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Film / The Three Treasures

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The Three Treasures (日本誕生 Nippon Tanjō, lit. Birth of Japan) is a 1959 film directed by Hiroshi Inagaki. An Epic Movie featuring an All-Star Cast of some of Toho's biggest names, including Toshiro Mifune, Kyoko Kagawa, Takashi Shimura, Setsuko Hara and Akira Takarada, this film tells the story of the legendary Prince Yamato Takeru (Mifune), who, after strangling his brother, and letting everyone believe that he killed him, is sent on various missions and begins to suspect that his father wants him dead.

The film is interwoven with tales from Japanese Mythology, featuring Susanoo (Mifune again), the god of storms.

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This film provides examples of:

  • Adaptational Angst Upgrade: The film goes into more depth of the cause of Susanoo's bad behaviour: he had Daddy Issues and sorely missed his mother, Izanami, who resided in the underworld.
  • Adaptational Heroism: In the legend, Yamato Takeru really did kill his brother. In this film, it was one of his other brothers who killed him after Yamato Takeru spared him.
  • And You Were There: Both Yamato Takeru and Susanoo are played by Toshiro Mifune, showing that Yamato Takeru sees himself as Susanoo, for worse and for better.
  • Annoying Arrows: How Yamato Takeru dies
  • Break His Heart to Save Him: Ototachibana breaks up with Yamato Takeru because she's celibate and fears the wrath of the gods if she loves a man, but she tells him that she hates him instead.
  • Cool Sword: One of the three treasures is Murakumo, the sword that Susanoo used to defeat Orochi.
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  • Damsel in Distress: Princess Kushinada, whom Susanoo turns into a comb to prevent her from being sacrificed to the serpent Orochi.
  • Dirty Coward: Yahara, who betrays his prince.
  • Disguised in Drag: How Yamato Takeru infiltrates the Kumaso brothers' palace.
  • Epic Movie: A sprawling epic on a massive scale, compared to the filmmaking of Cecil B. DeMille.
  • Even Bad Men Love Their Mamas: Susanoo mourns deeply for his mother Izanami, even when he is a grown man.
  • Faux Affably Evil: Kurohiko, who acts politely towards Yamato Takeru before trying to kill him.
  • Godiva Hair: Izanami has hair constantly draped over her naked breasts.
  • Heel–Face Turn: Offscreen, Susanoo goes from an unruly troublemaker to a brave and principled hero.
  • The Hero Dies: Yamato Takeru is wounded and then shot by archers
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Ototachibana, after she angers Susanoo by losing her virginity. Later the remaining men loyal to Yamato Takeru form a human shield to save him and are pierced by arrows.
  • Hero with Bad Publicity: Outside of Yamato, everyone fears Yamato Takeru.
    Yamato Takeru: I don't blame you. I am feared everywhere. Everyone hides when I approach.
  • Hot-Blooded: Both Yamato Takeru and Susanoo.
  • Interclass Romance: Yakumo, a soldier of the Emperor, and Azami, a peasant girl.
  • Laser-Guided Karma: The men who ambush the prince and those loyal to him are either burned alive by lava or drowned by a tidal wave, as a punishment from the soul of Yamato Takeru, in the form of a bird.
  • Love Triangle: Yamato Takeru, Ototachibana and Miyazu.
  • Missing Mom: Izanami, who died giving birth to Susanoo. Prince Yamato Takeru's mother also died in childbirth.
  • Ocular Gushers: Inverted. Susanoo, god of the sea and storms, cries so hard for his dead mother and the lack of love from his distant father that he drains the world of water.
  • Royals Who Actually Do Something: Yamato Takeru is a Warrior Prince who is generous enough to provide food for his own people.
  • Tampering with Food and Drink: Miyazu gives Yamato Takeru poisoned sake, but regrets it after finding out what a good man he is. He lives, however.
  • "Well Done, Son!" Guy: Yamato Takeru is so eager to please his father that he travels to the world and back to try and earn his love. The very reason he almost kills his brother is to protect his father's honor. His other brothers use this to their advantage so they can ambush and kill him in the climax.
    Yamato Takeru: I must obey his father and thank him for having faith in me!
  • Worthy Opponent: Kumaso Takeru is so desperate to die by one that when he is defeated, he gives Yamato Takeru his name.
  • Yamato Nadeshiko: Ototachibana, who is actually from Yamato. She is gentle and loyal and actually takes it upon herself to follow Yamato Takeru to Mt. Fuji to be with him.

Alternative Title(s): Birth Of Japan, The Birth Of Japan

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