Differences between the short story Sansho the Steward and the movie Sansho the Bailiff,
Write an essay exploring the differences between the short story Sansho the Steward,
written by Ogai Mori, and the movie Sansho the Bailiff, directed by Kenji Mizoguchi.
Consider, but do no limit yourself, to these questions:
1. What changes did Mizoguchi make to the short story, and what aspects of the
original story changed as a result of those alterations?
2. Why did you think Mizoguchi made those changes? What was he trying to
emphasize through those alterations that was perhaps not emphasized in the
original story?
3. Did the short story evoke different moods from the movie? Why?
HIST 219: Pre-modern East Asia
Extra credit assignment
The movie Sansho the Bailiff is based on a short story written around the turn of the
19th/20th century. It is a quick read. Director Kenji Mizoguchi made some small but
significant changes to the story for the film.
This optional assignment offers students a chance to improve their grades. This
assignment will count for up till an extra 5% of your total grade, i.e. adding up till 5
points to your final total grade.
Texts
• Sansho the Bailiff, movie directed by Kenji Mizoguchi
• Sansho the Steward, short story by Ogai Mori (uploaded into D2L)
• Textbook (Ebrey) material relating to Japan
Assignment
Write an essay exploring the differences between the short story Sansho the Steward,
written by Ogai Mori, and the movie Sansho the Bailiff, directed by Kenji Mizoguchi.
Consider, but do no limit yourself, to these questions:
1. What changes did Mizoguchi make to the short story, and what aspects of the
original story changed as a result of those alterations?
2. Why did you think Mizoguchi made those changes? What was he trying to
emphasize through those alterations that was perhaps not emphasized in the
original story?
3. Did the short story evoke different moods from the movie? Why?
Due: Saturday, November 28, 11.30 pm. Upload to D2L Absolutely no late extra
credit assignment will be accepted. No extensions will be given.
Length: 1,000 words minimum
Other points
• Your essay should also make broader statements about Heian life in general based
on lectures and the textbook readings.
• You must refer to specific incidents in the movie and details from the short story
and textbook. The latter have to be properly footnoted.