The Tojamura Twist

Discussion of Twin Peaks TV Series, Fire Walk With Me, and Books

Moderators: Annie, BookhouseBoyBob, Ross, Jerry Horne, Brad D

Forum rules
Welcome to the forum. We know our members are passionate about their love for all things Twin Peaks. You wouldn't be here if that wasn't the case. Despite having differing viewpoints it is a policy that we all treat each other with mutual respect.

Posting abusive, obscene, vulgar, slanderous, hateful, threatening, sexually-orientated, or any material that may violate any laws be it of your country or the country where this forum is hosted will get you permanently banned.

Posting of spoilers are allowed as long as you indicate (Spoilers) in the topic name and use the Spoiler Tag.
User avatar
Jonah
Posts: 1007
Joined: Sat Apr 14, 2007 8:39 am

The Tojamura Twist

Postby Jonah » Sun Sep 27, 2015 9:55 am

Image

Apologies if this has already been done. I've seen this twist discussed in a few threads, here and there, but I've never been able to find an entire thread devoted to it, and I think it deserves one. (If there is already an older topic on this that I couldn't find, please let me know.)

Reading the extract from Piper Laurie's memoir on this twist, and watching her discuss it at length in a Youtube interview, I was wondering what you all thought about this initial twist at the time - did you know? did you suspect? - and what do you think of it now: Inspired and original? Or a ridiculous level of silliness? Would be interested in hearing your thoughts on initial impressions - and how you think the twist has weathered over the years. Does it still hold up? Or does it seem dated now?

For my part, I can't remember if I knew, but it does seem clear there's something strange and feminine about Tojamura, and given that Catherine is the only one missing at this time, it could be a bit obvious. However, I enjoy this twist a lot - and I always seem to remember it lasting more episodes than it did, but I think it was only three or four all told until the reveal. I also think it's significant the reveal took place in a Lynch directed episode (14 - one of the very best), and that Lynch first phoned Piper Laurie with the suggestion, though she made the character Japanese.

Here's the extract from her book.

There was one creative outlet that relieved some of the pressure. With the help of the makeup and wardrobe departments, I would dress in elaborate disguises, a hobby that would become valuable decades later when I made Twin Peaks. I went home one day done up as an Asian girl and for about five minutes fooled Edna, our housekeeper. She wouldn’t let me into the house.
(…) After we wrapped up the first season, David called me at home and said, in his Jimmy Stewart drawl, “Rosie, I want you to give some thought to the next season. Your character was last seen at the fire in the sawmill. We don’t know whether Catherine escaped or not. When we come back, I want the audience to think you died in the fire. Your husband, Jack Nance, will think you’re dead. Everyone will think you’re dead, and we’ll take your name off the credits of the show.” It crossed my mind for a millisecond that this was David’s original way of telling me I was being fired. But he continued, “Now, Rosie, this is the part I want you to think about. You will return in some sort of disguise, as a man, and you’ll spy on the town and create trouble for everyone -your husband, your lover, everyone. You should probably be a businessman. I want you to decide what kind of businessman you would like to be. Maybe a Frenchman or a Mexican. Think about it for a while and let me know.”
I was so enchanted with the open possibilities and the power of being able to choose my part. (…) I decided I’d be a Japanese businessman because I thought it would be less predictable. I was so filled with excitement and laughter: this was joyful children’s play. There was no argument from David when I told him my choice, no attempt to influence me. He simply accepted it. Then came the hard part. David wished me to keep it a secret from the entire cast and crew. Not even my agent or my family was to know. That was important to him. I wasn’t to tell a soul.
There was so much preparation involved in pulling off the subterfuge. There were secret makeup and wardrobe tests at a laboratory in the Valley. Paula Shimatsu-u, who was Mark Frost’s assistant and one of the few people who knew, was helpful in making tape recordings of Japanese friends reciting my lines. I practiced imitating them while driving to and from work. I had assumed that, of course, the placement of my voice would be electronically altered, but they had given it no thought and were not prepared on the morning of my first scene. I am trained to keep going no matter what, and when I realized I was on my own, I ended up going to a place in my chest and throat to get that appropriate guttural sound. It turned out to be painful to sustain, and I sipped liquids constantly between takes. I shall never do that again for fear of injuring my voice permanently.
Mr. Tojamura
I’ve skipped the enchanting part. Paula Shimatsu also dealt with the press and released a bio about “the new cast member”: “Fumio Yamaguchi, the Japanese star who works primarily with Kurosawa, has flown over especially to work with David Lynch. His English is a little shaky; therefore he needs an interpreter and learns his lines phonetically.”
The cast, crew, and all guest directors knew nothing; nor did my family. My name came off the credits, and Fumio Yamaguchi’s was put on. Because I wouldn’t talk about it when asked, my poor sister assumed I’d been fired. Sherrye was so upset that she started having asthma attacks, and I had to take her into my confidence.
I was introduced to Paula’s brother Derick, whom I hired to act as a much-needed personal assistant, and whom David later hired to appear on camera as “Fumio’s” assistant in the show. Derick would pick me up at three in the morning in Santa Monica and drive me to the special makeup lab way out in the valley, about twenty minutes from our studio. There I would spend four hours being made up and dressed for my new identity. From the moment the studio van arrived for me, I was Fumio Yamaguchi. The driver, whom I knew personally, had no idea whom he was picking up. When the long day was over, I would be driven back to the lab and spend at least an hour and a half removing the prosthetics before Derick drove me home. Wisely, they never scheduled consecutive days for me. I needed at least three days for my face to heal until the next time the prosthetics were glued on.
The enchantment continued for me, thought certainly not for the guest directors, who were not told what was up and had their hands full. I was flying! I constantly improvised conversations with Derick, my so-called assistant-interpreter on the set; I spoke fake Japanese in a very low voice, and Derick responded in real Japanese. Every time the poor director directed me, I caused a five-minute delay while my assistant and I thrashed things out. I would instruct Derick to say to the director, on my behalf, things such as “This is not the way Kurosawa works!” When it appeared that the director was about to quit or have a stroke, he would be given a heads-up, quietly. But even then he didn’t know who I was. This was my life’s Harpo moment! And I did not deny myself.
The regular cast on the set bought the act at first. They were a little intimidated initially by the strange foreigner and were told to be very respectful to me. Jack Nance, the innocent, who played my husband on the show, went to David and Mark at the end of the first day and said, “Boy … is that new actor weird!”
I learned that suppressing laughter all day long while I stayed in character was actually physically difficult. Even if I went to a private place like the bathroom (I had a locked private one next to some offices), I could crack and ruin the makeup by laughing. So I stayed controlled, and I was too tired when I got home to whoop and holler in the wee hours.
When the cast got used to me being around, they looked a little more closely and could see I was wearing very heavy makeup. Later most of the actors said they knew something was up, but they never revealed that in front of me. And no one suspected “Fumio” was me. I heard that Peggy Lipton was convinced I was Isabella Rossellini. Jack Nance and I had a number of important scenes together, but he didn’t know it was me until weeks later, when he read the “reveal” scene in his script.


Taken from http://welcometotwinpeaks.com/actors/pi ... z3mxVwKnU5


And a recent interview in which she discusses the twist.

Last edited by Jonah on Sun Sep 27, 2015 10:05 am, edited 1 time in total.
User avatar
Audrey Horne
Posts: 1953
Joined: Sat Apr 14, 2007 9:20 pm
Location: The Great Northern

Re: The Tojamura Twist

Postby Audrey Horne » Sun Sep 27, 2015 10:05 am

I knew right away back in the fall of 1990. As soon as it showed a two shot of her at the conceirge in profile. Her height and shape, and the way she carried her body, I knew right away it was Laurie. I remember being so excited and screaming, "it's Catherine!!" Especially since her first appearance there's a stare down with Ben.

I was so excited because I loved her character. I wasn't fooled but I didn't care, just was glad she was back.
God, I love this music. Isn't it too dreamy?
User avatar
N. Needleman
Posts: 2050
Joined: Wed Dec 03, 2014 2:39 pm

Re: The Tojamura Twist

Postby N. Needleman » Sun Sep 27, 2015 10:07 am

I honestly can't recall. I was very young and I do remember missing Catherine terribly for early Season 2, as she was a favorite. I still think they mishandled some of that, at least in terms of Joan Chen (who was apparently unavailable for part of that time). But I love the twist today, politically incorrect and all. Looking at it today I probably would have guessed it's Catherine, but back then? Never.
AnotherBlueRoseCase wrote:The Return is clearly guaranteed a future audience among stoners and other drug users.
User avatar
TwinPeaksFanatic
Posts: 119
Joined: Mon Oct 06, 2014 2:37 pm
Location: Central. NJ
Contact:

Re: The Tojamura Twist

Postby TwinPeaksFanatic » Sun Sep 27, 2015 11:20 am

That's a great interview with Piper Laurie. I don't remember if I knew at first or not, but I always loved that plot twist. Definitely one of the highlights of season 2 and poor Pete spilled his milk.
User avatar
tylergfoster
Posts: 18
Joined: Mon Sep 14, 2015 8:14 pm
Location: Covington, WA
Contact:

Re: The Tojamura Twist

Postby tylergfoster » Sun Sep 27, 2015 10:06 pm

My recollection is that I instantly noticed something was strange, but it took longer for me to realize it was Catherine.
User avatar
Jerry Horne
Posts: 4485
Joined: Mon Jan 22, 2007 9:28 pm
Location: Private Portland Airport
Contact:

Re: The Tojamura Twist

Postby Jerry Horne » Mon Sep 28, 2015 10:46 am

What's really sad is that I don't remember now.

:?
User avatar
Audrey Horne
Posts: 1953
Joined: Sat Apr 14, 2007 9:20 pm
Location: The Great Northern

Re: The Tojamura Twist

Postby Audrey Horne » Mon Sep 28, 2015 2:03 pm

what's more sad for me, Jerry is remembering where I was and what was happening that night for every episode.
God, I love this music. Isn't it too dreamy?
User avatar
madeleineferguson
Posts: 277
Joined: Thu Oct 01, 2015 8:25 am

Re: The Tojamura Twist

Postby madeleineferguson » Thu Oct 01, 2015 10:39 am

I was just a child watching when it aired, but I remember I had no idea it was Catherine. I remember, because I was so deeply disappointed in myself that I never put it all together before the big reveal. I remember immediately rewinding my Twin Peaks VHS (I taped them all!) and examining all of the scenes with Tojamura, to see if it really was her the whole time... and much to my dismay, it was.

They set it up brilliantly, I think. I had grown accustomed to dismissing the characters who were associated with Ghostwood. The Norwegians, the Icelanders... I thought Tojamura was just another foreign investor.

There were too many other things to obsess about at that point in the show. During the Tojamura arc, we still didn't know who killed Laura Palmer!
User avatar
Jonah
Posts: 1007
Joined: Sat Apr 14, 2007 8:39 am

Re: The Tojamura Twist

Postby Jonah » Thu Oct 01, 2015 11:31 am

I wish I could remember if it fooled me or not. It probably did. It's so cool to see how many people were effectively taken in by it.

And I've always remembered this twist fondly too. I wonder, though, do new watchers find it a little too hammy or silly, or even dated? Especially now with things like HD and Blu-Ray, and no grain to help further hide the actress behind the heavy make up, is it more obvious?

Another thing I always wondered about this twist. As fondly as I and others recall it, I've never seen it get many negative comments. I do wonder if it had occurred a few episodes later, in the notorious 17 - 23/24 batch of weak episodes, would it be more criticised? It's not THAT far - the concept, at least on paper - from the silliness of plot points in those episodes, is it? Though of course I think it was much more eloquently handled and thought out, and having the reveal come in a Lynch-helmed episode helped!
Mace

Re: The Tojamura Twist

Postby Mace » Wed Oct 07, 2015 10:09 am

I thought it was Catherine early on. I also found it very interesting that Tojamura's true face is revealed in the same episode that Bob's true face is revealed. The doubling in Twin Peaks is always fun to discover.
User avatar
StealThisCorn
Posts: 150
Joined: Thu Aug 21, 2014 2:53 pm
Location: Laying on Laura's lap in the Red Room / Gorging on garmonbozia with Bob Above the Convenience Store

Re: The Tojamura Twist

Postby StealThisCorn » Mon Oct 12, 2015 4:15 pm

I honestly had no idea it was Catherine when I watched it the first time. I kept wondering what the point of this strange odd-looking Mr. Tojamura character was (he's even one of the notable characters at the Great Northern when MIKE says that's where BOB is but it was like no way). When he kisses Pete in Episode 14 I was like WTF and then it turns out to be Catherine and I was still like, what a strange thing. Like I didn't see the point of this elaborate ruse but it just increased my sense that Twin Peaks is the strangest most bizarre show I've ever seen. I kept wondering after, why did the writers DO that exactly? I guess Lynch and co thought it would be funny, but it's a pretty racist portrayal

With how many people I've read about since who knew almost right away that it was Catherine, I'm surprised that never occurred to me but I did not see that coming at all.
User avatar
LostInTheMovies
Posts: 1558
Joined: Tue May 20, 2014 12:48 pm

Re: The Tojamura Twist

Postby LostInTheMovies » Mon Oct 12, 2015 7:20 pm

I though the character looked odd but it took me a few episodes to put together - maybe when he starts making deals with Ben, or maybe not even until the scene with Pete at the bar. Once I figured it out, I was embarrassed I hadn't gotten it sooner!
User avatar
Jonah
Posts: 1007
Joined: Sat Apr 14, 2007 8:39 am

Re: The Tojamura Twist

Postby Jonah » Mon Oct 12, 2015 7:49 pm

Though I still think, on paper, it seems as silly as anything from the weak stretch of episodes later on in Season 2, I think it was exceptionally well handled and has stood the test of time. It's very surprising how effective it was, and how it holds up. While some do get it right off the bat, I think most people didn't guess it, and still don't - or at least not straight away. Even in today's more twist-expectant audience. And people discovering the show today on crystal-clear Blu-Ray or high quality DVD, when arguably, without the added grain in the image, the make-up etc. should be more apparent.
Ajax Rules
Posts: 38
Joined: Thu Nov 20, 2014 1:56 am

Re: The Tojamura Twist

Postby Ajax Rules » Tue Oct 13, 2015 6:02 am

The Tojamura Twist for me was one of the many dissapointments of the show.

For long, I had it in my head that the show was brilliant until Laura's killer was revealed. But after rewatching it a couple of times, I was surprised and dissapointed that also S1 and the first half of S2 contain LOTS of very weak subplots: Tojamura, the social security scheme with Leo, the Asian guy that threatens Josie, Windom Earle, Maddy Ferguson's character, the trial against Leland (for killing Jacques).

So, instead of a brilliant show with some weak moments, it's actually more a "okay show with some brilliant moments" for me. Tojamura embodies that for me. It was not until I watched FWWM, Lost Highway and Mulholland Drive that I realized what pure genius DKL is.

Return to “Twin Peaks Movie, TV, Books”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: vicksvapor77 and 17 guests