On Our Screens: W’s Tragedy (1984)

Movie: W’s Tragedy

Year: 1984

Country: Japan

Director: Shinichiro Sawai

Starring: Hiroko Yakushimaru and Yoshiko Mita


When the opportunity you’ve been waiting for suddenly presents itself, do you go for it and let nothing get in your way? Or do you stop and mull over the consequences before you take the leap?

Our protagonist, a young aspiring actress named Shizuka Mita, faces a similar dilemma when she is offered to take over the lead role in the play “W No Higeki” (Japanese for “W’s Tragedy”).

The play, being staged by an Osaka-based theatrical troupe, is an adaptation of Shizuko Natsuki’s 1982 detective fiction of the same title.

What’s very cool about the set-up is that Natsuki is a real-life author (you can buy his works online) and the book “W No Higeki” actually exists.

In Natsuki’s “W No Higeki,” a character called Mako Watsuji willingly makes herself the scapegoat of her uncle’s murder in order to hide the crime of her mother.

Within the movie, Shizuka becomes dejected and disillusioned when she isn’t cast as Mako. But there’s a turn of events and Shizuka sees a new gleam of hope in her acting career.

She can now play Mako.

But there is a catch, of course.

Shizuka must admit having a scandalous affair with a wealthy but married patron — to protect the reputation of another venerated cast member.

Will Shizuka take the deal?

Should she?

Would you?


Rating (one to five whistles, five being the best): Four Whistles


How to Read/Watch:

An English translation of Shizuko Natsuki’s detective fiction is available as “Murder at Mount Fuji”, and is available at Amazon.com.

The DVD of the movie can be purchased from Amazon’s Japanese site.



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