Kodayu (1992)

Genres - Historical Film  |   Run Time - 122 min.  |   Countries - Japan , Russia   |  
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Junya Sato directs this historical epic about an Japanese sailor shipwrecked in Russia. Set during the Edo period (1600-1868, an era of great international isolation when going abroad was an offense punishable by death), the film centers on ship captain Daikokuya Kodayu (Ken Ogata), who, while transporting a load of rice from Ise to Edo (pre-modern Tokyo), gets blown off course. Nine months later, he and his ragged crew land on Kamchatka Peninsula. There they brave Siberian winters, and Russia's labyrinthine bureaucracy. Along the way, Kodayu learns Russian and befriends a local scholar (Oleg Yankovskii), who accompanies him on his exhausting journey across the tundra to St. Petersburg where he meets Catherine the Great. Ten years later, when he returns to Japan, he is immediately jailed. Will the hero be put to death?