26 user 61 critic

The Life of Oharu (1952)

Saikaku ichidai onna (original title)
Not Rated | | Drama | 20 April 1964 (USA)
Follows a woman's fight and survival amid the vicissitudes of life and the cruelty of the society.



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Tsukie Matsuura ...
Tomo, Oharu's Mother
Shinzaemon, Oharu's Father
Toshiaki Konoe ...
Lord Harutaka Matsudaira
Kiyoko Tsuji ...
Hisako Yamane ...
Lady Matsudaira
Jûkichi Uno ...
Yakichi Ogiya
Kahe Sasaya
Akira Ôizumi ...
Fumikichi, Sasaya's Friend
Kyôko Kusajima ...
Masao Shimizu ...
Daisuke Katô ...
Toranosuke Ogawa ...
Hiroshi Oizumi ...
Manager Bunkichi


A fifty-year-old prostitute, no longer able to attract men, looks back on her sad life. Once a lady-in-waiting at the imperial court at Kyoto, Oharu fell in love with, and became the lover of, a man below her station. They were discovered, and Oharu and her family were exiled. For Oharu there followed a life filled with one sorrow and humiliation after another. Written by George S. Davis <mgeorges@prodigy.net>

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Not Rated | See all certifications »

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Release Date:

20 April 1964 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

The Life of Oharu  »

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Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?


The film is included on Roger Ebert's "Great Movies" list. See more »


Katsunosuke: Lady Oharu, a human being - no, woman - can only be happy if she marries for love. Rank and money don't mean happiness.
See more »

Crazy Credits

Opening credits shown over Japanese artwork/water-colors. See more »


Featured in Écoute voir... (1979) See more »

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User Reviews

A great portrait of 17th century Japanese society
3 September 1999 | by See all my reviews

a fifty-year old prostitute in Japan has to live in poverty, because no man is interested in her services. She visits a temple and one of the statues resembles the young Samurai, with whom her decline began. Being a noble's daughter she was not allowed to marry him, he was executed and she and her family were expelled from the court. Thereafter one misfortune follows the other. All of her attempts to lead an honest and happy life fail. The film is set in beautiful Japanese landscape and architecture, in which the action of the is arranged with great care. You can feel the inhuman rigor of feudal society and court etiquette. Nevertheless, the aesthetic quality if the films is slightly lower than those of Ozu's and Kurosawa's films. A highly recommendable movie though(8).

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