Peace in 17th-century Japan causes the Shogunate's breakup of warrior clans, throwing thousands of samurai out of work and into poverty. An honorable end to such fate under the samurai code is ritual suicide, or hara-kiri (self-inflicted disembowelment). An elder warrior, Hanshiro Tsugumo (Tatsuya Nakadai) seeks admittance to the house of a feudal lord to commit the act. There, he learns of the fate of his son-in-law, a young samurai who sought work at the house but was instead barbarically forced to commit traditional hara-kiri in an excruciating manner with a dull bamboo blade. In flashbacks the samurai tells the tragic story of his son-in-law, and how he was forced to sell his real sword to support his sick wife and child. Tsugumo thus sets in motion a tense showdown of revenge against the house. Written by
Kevin Rayburn <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Award Winner Cannes Festival 1963
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Did You Know?
The clan featured in the film, the Ii (sometimes spelled Iyi) have produced one of the most important and controversial figures of modern Japanese history: Ii Naosuke, Chief policymaker of the Tokugawa Shogunate best known for signing the Harris Treaty with the United States, granting access to ports for trade to American merchants and seamen and extraterritoriality to American citizens. See more
When my master's house fell we immediately left the domain and moved to Edo. The streets of Edo were crowded with ronin - flotsam from the Battle of Sekigahara. In former times, other clans would have gladly taken in any ronin who'd earned a name for himself. But in an era no longer in need of warriors or horses, so peaceful that no wind even rustled the leaves on the trees, it was a constant struggle simply to find a meal. Indeed, it shames me to recall our miserable lives of these last eight ...
Referenced in Ying xiong