Kinoshita's ambitious and intensely moving film begins as a multi-generational epic about the military legacy of one Japanese family, before settling into an emotionally complex portrayal ... See full summary »
More of a psychological drama than a horror story.
The first notable postwar film version of the Kabuki play Tokaido Yotsuya Kaidan by Nanboku Tsuruya. It was first performed as a Kabuki play in 1821 and after 1900 made into many films. The play is actually based on contemporary incident of a lower-class samurai wife who went insane and disappeared after discovering that her husband had got another woman pregnant. In Nanboku's play the husband has someone poison his wife so that he could marry into a rich family, and the dead wife becomes a ghost who haunts him.
Lemon her husband does not feel any guilt for his actions, but still is presented as a despicable character responsible for the heroine's plight. Kinoshita presents the appearances of the dead Oiwa as simply the hallucinations of Lemon's guilt-wracked mind. When he commits suicide - a divergence from Nanboku's inconclusive ending where he remained alive - it is obvious he died from pangs of conscience rather than supernatural causes. The film was more a psychological drama than a horror story.
Made again in 1959 by Nobuo Nakagawa, and in 1965 by Shiro Toyoda.
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