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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
Ichirô Sugai ...
Shinzaemon, Oharu's Father
Toshiaki Konoe ...
Lord Harutaka Matsudaira
Kiyoko Tsuji ...
Hisako Yamane ...
Lady Matsudaira
Jûkichi Uno ...
Yakichi Ogiya
Eitarô Shindô ...
Kahe Sasaya
Akira Ôizumi ...
Fumikichi, Sasaya's Friend
Kyôko Kusajima ...
Masao Shimizu ...
Daisuke Katô ...
Tasaburo Hishiya
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?


Jacques Rivette's favorite film 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 »


Referenced in Flowing (1956) See more »

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User Reviews

a masterpiece
1 April 2005 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

I cannot agree with the reviewer who commented that Mizoguchi does not have the aesthetic sensibility of Kurosawa or Ozu. In fact, he appears to me to be the true master of Japanese cinema. 'Oharu' is a marvellous achievement - a compassionate, beautiful account of a quite astonishing fall from privilege and grace into destitution and despair. It is unremittingly bleak and yet due to Mizoguchi's genius and Kinuyo Tanaka's luminous portrayal of the unlucky Oharu, it is a spiritually compelling work, with sheer artistry and simple human empathy competing for our attention in every take. Breathtaking film-making of the highest quality.

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