Sakamoto Ryoma Film Project

Wanted: International film professionals and investors with vision to produce a film about “Renaissance Samurai” Sakamoto Ryoma for worldwide audience.

Sakamoto Ryoma is an icon and national hero in Japan. My first encounter with him was thirty years ago through Shiba Ryotaro’s popular biographical novel. So fascinated was I by Ryoma’s life story, particularly his indispensible role in the “samurai revolution at the dawn of modern Japan,” that I thought that people all over the world should know about him. Which was why I wrote the only biographical novel about Ryoma in English. “It is a cultural loss that an historical figure of such magnificent stature has failed to gain the full attention of the Western world,” I wrote in the Preface to Ryoma: Life of a Renaissance Samurai, published in 1999. It was my fervent hope that through my book Ryoma would become a household name throughout the world. In December 1999 I met then-Prime Minister Keizo Obuchi to ask him to speak about Ryoma and hand out copies of my book at the Group of Eight Summit, which he was supposed to host in Okinawa the following summer. When the prime minister graciously agreed, I thought that Ryoma was on his way to international stardom. A few months later of course Mr. Obuchi suffered a stroke from which he never recovered. And now, nearly sixteen years later, Ryoma still has not gained the international fame he deserves.

A quality film about Ryoma must be produced. I’ve tried through the years to muster interest in Hollywood, but to no avail. To be successful we need help – i.e., financial support. If we can find a sponsor or a group of sponsors to back us, maybe a major Hollywood film producer or director would become interested. Perhaps the most likely sponsors are in Ryoma’s hometown of Kochi, and in Kyoto and Nagasaki, two cities where he performed some of his greatest work. Certainly local governments and businesses would benefit from a film that would bring international fame to a native son, which, in turn, would attract tourism and other business from all over the world. And since Japan itself stands to benefit from a film depicting one of its greatest national heroes – perhaps released around the time of the Tokyo Olympics in summer 2020 – it seems that Japan’s national government is also a logical source of support for this project.

And so, I reach out to all “Ryoma fans” for their ideas to make this dream a reality. Please contact me directly with your good ideas, or share them on Facebook and other social media — and invite your friends to do the same.

Romulus Hillsborough



Ryoma: Life of a Renaissance Samurai, the only biographical novel about Sakamoto Ryoma in English, is available on





いた伝記小説で大変人気を博した「竜馬が行く」を読んだ事でした。 坂本龍馬の生き方、特に近代日本の夜明けに最も重要な役割を果たしたことが私にとっては大変魅力的でした。 この坂本龍馬の素晴らしい生き方を、世界のより多くの人達に知ってもらおうと思い、英文による最初でもあり今も他にない坂本龍馬伝記小説「Ryoma: Life of a Renaissance Samurai」を書きました。1999年に出版されたこの本の前書きに私が書いたように「龍馬ほどの大人物が欧米ではあまり知られていないことが文化的喪失になる。」この本を通じて、龍馬が世界中で知られるようになることが私の念願でした。1999年12月小渕恵三総理大臣に面会し、その翌年夏に沖縄で開かれる予定の主要国首脳会議(サミット)で総理に私の本をG8首脳に配り龍馬について講演をしてもらうようお願いしました。小渕総理が 私の願いを受けてくださると聞いた時、『龍馬が世界的有名人になる』と私は思いました。しかし、それから間もなく病に倒れそのまま逝去され、私の夢は今も果たされていない状態です。

坂本龍馬が主人公になる、質の高い映画を製作しなければなりません。この16年の間 、ハリウッドの映画業界で龍馬について関心を待ってもらおうと私も努力してきましたが成功には至っていません。成功するには経済的支援が必要です。スポンサーができれば、ハリウッドの一流映画プロデューサーや監督が関心を持つことになるだろうと思います。スポンサーの候補は、龍馬の故郷の高知、あるいは龍馬が一番重要な仕事を果たした京都や長崎などの地方自治体か、そこにある企業などがよいと思います。坂本龍馬が世界的有名人になると、龍馬ゆかりの市や県などの観光産業などの業界や地方自治体のためにもなります。また2020年夏に開かれる東京オリンピックもあり、日本政府が国民的英雄を描く映画のスポンサーになる可能性もあるかもしれません。


ロムルス ヒルズボウロウ