IMDb > The Men Who Tread on the Tiger's Tail (1945)

The Men Who Tread on the Tiger's Tail (1945) More at IMDbPro »Tora no o wo fumu otokotachi (original title)

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Release Date:
28 February 1960 (USA) See more »
A Japanese general and his men disguise themselves as monks in order to pass an enemy border patrol. Full summary » | Add synopsis »
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The man who tread on the tigers' tails See more (26 total) »


  (in credits order)
Denjirô Ôkôchi ... Benkei
Susumu Fujita ... Togashi
Ken'ichi Enomoto ... Porter

Masayuki Mori ... Kamei

Takashi Shimura ... Kataoka
Akitake Kôno ... Ise
Yoshio Kosugi ... Suruga
Hanshirô Iwai ... Yoshitsune (as Shubo Nishina)
Dekao Yokoo ... Hidachibo
Yasuo Hisamatsu ... Kajiwara's Messenger
Sôji Kiyokawa ... Togashi's Messenger

Directed by
Akira Kurosawa 
Writing credits
(in alphabetical order)
Nobumitsu Kanze  play "Ataka"
Akira Kurosawa 
Gohei Namiki  play "Kanjinchô"

Produced by
Motohiko Itô .... producer
Original Music by
Tadashi Hattori 
Cinematography by
Takeo Itô 
Production Design by
Kazuo Kubo 
Production Management
Jin Usami .... unit production manager
Sound Department
Keiji Hasebe .... sound
Ichirô Minawa .... sound effects
Camera and Electrical Department
Iwaharu Hiraoka .... lighting technician
Koichi Shikida .... still photographer
Editorial Department
Toshio Gotô .... negative cutter
Other crew
Hachiko Toi .... script supervisor

Production CompaniesDistributorsOther Companies

Additional Details

Also Known As:
"Tora no o wo fumu otokotachi" - Japan (original title)
See more »
59 min
Aspect Ratio:
1.37 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:
Filming Locations:

Did You Know?

This film is based on both the Noh play "Ataka" and the Kabuki play "The Subscription List", both being taken from historical folklore.See more »
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2 out of 2 people found the following review useful.
The man who tread on the tigers' tails, 20 April 2011
Author: Carlos Mora from Ann Arbor, MI, United States

This is a very intelligent movie, telling the story of two men who ride the tiger's tail out of loyalty and grace. The courage of one of them is explicitly portrayed in the film. It is the samurai Benkei who cleverly defends his lord at a very high personal risk. Benkei improvises an eloquent speech reading out of a blank scroll the prospectus for the temple when required to do so by the commander of the military outpost seeking to capture his master. Benkei uses logic to convince his comrades that it is not a good idea to fight the soldiers of the barrier. The samurai may kill all the soldiers this time but that will result in more soldiers and more persecution later on. Benkei uses a clever trick, to flog his master who is posing as a porter when the second-in-command suspects that the porter is the master they are trying to capture. Since a servant would never beat his master, the porter cannot be the master, reasons the top commander.

But more impressive than Benkei is the street-wise guy, the real porter played by Kenichi Enomoto, who joins the party of samurai in the forest. He treads on two tigers' tails. The first tiger is represented by the party of samurai. He is rejected by them, he is called a nobody, he is treated harshly, he is even threatened with death. He disappears at times but he returns to help the samurai who walk in the forest pretending to be itinerant priests. He collects information valuable to them and shares that information. And the second tiger is the military outpost who will surely kill him if they discover that the master is among the party of fake itinerant priests.

While Benkei does his heroic deeds in a ceremonial manner framed by rituals and high tension, the loquacious porter does his heroic deeds in a discreet, even awkward manner, without fanfare or rituals. His heroism is so discreet that even seasoned Kurosawa critics missed the point of the movie: natural, humble heroism offered not out of loyalty, but out of grace.

(The master of the party of samurai is such an obscure figure that out of respect to Kurosawa I have not even mentioned his name in my review)

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