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The Human Condition III: A Soldier's Prayer (1961) More at IMDbPro »Ningen no jôken (original title)

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Down 29% in popularity this week. See why on IMDbPro.
Zenzô Matsuyama (screenplay) &
Kôichi Inagaki (screenplay) ...
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Release Date:
5 August 1970 (USA) See more »
His ideals challenged by life as a conscript in war-time Japan's military, a pacifist faces ever greater tests in his fight for survival. Full summary » | Add synopsis »
Plot Keywords:
5 wins See more »
User Reviews:
Love is the Condition for Being Human See more (15 total) »


  (in credits order)

Tatsuya Nakadai ... Kaji
Michiyo Aratama ... Michiko
Tamao Nakamura ... Hinannmin no Shôjo
Yûsuke Kawazu ... Terada Nitôhei

Chishû Ryû ... Hinanmin no Chôrô
Taketoshi Naitô ... Tange Ittôhei

Kyôko Kishida ... Ryûko
Reiko Hitomi ... Umeko
Keijirô Morozumi ... Hironaka Gôchô
Kôji Kiyomura ... Hikita Ittôhei
Nobuo Kaneko ... Kirihara Gôchô
Fujio Suga ... Nagata Taii
Tatsuya Ishiguro ... Dôkutsu Taichô
Kazuo Kitamura ... Kitagô Sôchô
Toshio Takahara ... Chôsen e Iku Heichô
Akira Yamanouchi ... Kira Jôtôhei
Hiroshi Nihon'yanagi ... Noge Shôsa
Kôichi Hayashi ... Minagawa Tsûyaku
Kô Mihashi ... Rôkyôshi
Kichijirô Ueda ... Sekitan'ya
Saburoh Bouya ... Zakkaya (as Saburô Bôya)
Masahiko Naruse ... Chôsenjin
Takashi Sue ... Ogura Heichô
Kin Sugai ... Dôro no Hinanmin
Miyoko Nakamura ... Zakkaya no Tsuma
Yoshie Minami ... Rôkyôshi no Tsuma (as Yoshi'e Minami)
Noriko Ishimoto ... Sekitan'ya no Tsuma
Takayuki Shindô ... Hinanmin no Shônen
Fumie Kitahara ... Buraku no Hinanmin (as Fumi'e Kitahara)
Gen'ya Nagai ... Heitai A
Hideo Fukuhara ... Heitai B
Tadayoshi Hirosawa ... Ide Ittôhei
Tetsuo Mizoi ... Hoshô
Daijirô Minami ... Ikkenn'ya no Rônôfu
Kanji Ôsugi ... Hatake no Chûgoku Nômin
Mamoru Hirata ... Fukumoto Jôtôhei
Hideo Hirosawa ... Heitai C
Takao Tsuge ... Heitai D
Kôtarô Hirasawa ... Dassô Suru Heitai A
Masatoshi Kanematsu ... Dassô Suru Heitai B
Yuichi Kikuchi ... Ujii'e Jôtôhei (as Yûichi Kikuchi)
Hachirô Maruyama ... Tsûyaku
Akira Kimura ... Chûgokujin no Wakamono
Yasuo Minami ... Naganuma - Chûi
Hideko Aki ... Hinanmin no Onna
Mikiko Suzuki ... Hinanmin no Onna
Yumiko Oguri ... Hinanmin no Onna
Kazuko Hirano ... Hinanmin no Onna
Yoshiko Watanabe ... Hinanmin no Onna
Yôko Hayashi ... Hinanmin no Onna
Fumiko Kondô ... Chôsenjin no Tsuma
Edo Kîn ... Sorengun Shôkô
Ronarudo Serufu ... Chabâefu
Pôru Rafaero ... Tôbatsutai no Shikikan
Wiriamu Bassun ... Shisatsu Sareru Hoshô
Henrî Ban ... Manjûya

Hideko Takamine ... Hinanmin no Onna

Directed by
Masaki Kobayashi 
Writing credits
Zenzô Matsuyama (screenplay) &
Kôichi Inagaki (screenplay) &
Masaki Kobayashi (screenplay)

Jumpei Gomikawa (novel) (as Junpei Gomikawa)

Produced by
Masaki Kobayashi .... producer
Shigeru Wakatsuki .... producer
Original Music by
Chûji Kinoshita 
Cinematography by
Yoshio Miyajima 
Film Editing by
Keiichi Uraoka 
Art Direction by
Kazue Hirataka 

Production CompaniesDistributors

Additional Details

Also Known As:
"Ningen no jôken" - Japan (original title)
"Human Condition III: A Soldier's Prayer" - USA (DVD title)
"The Human Condition III" - USA
See more »
190 min | West Germany:143 min
Aspect Ratio:
2.35 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:
Stereo (RCA Sound Recording)

Did You Know?

Is the first Japanese movie in stereo.See more »
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15 out of 17 people found the following review useful.
Love is the Condition for Being Human, 9 April 2010
Author: jouler500-art from United States

Ningen no jôken is a masterpiece film but is also painful to watch most of the time. Nonetheless, it is a tour de force to be lauded for its direction, cinematography and acting at every turn. Most of those commenting in previous discussions mention the virulent anti-war sentiment of the film which is abundantly evident. It was interesting that much of the film is autobiographical, inspired by Kobayashi's war experiences. He too refused to be an officer when he qualified, and stayed a private throughout the war. An interesting point came up when I was watching the fourth DVD in the Criterion edition of The HumanCondition which is a series of three insightful interviews. During his comments the director Masahiro Shinoda mentioned that he thought at the time, the romantic love Kaji had for his wife, Michiko, was overly sentimental and unrealistic. He thought that it was due to the fact that Kobayashi and his peers were born of another age whose romanticism was the norm and unsullied by his generation's sobering war experience. He said that he had also consulted the internet to see the opinions of the film among contemporary young people in Japan today, and found that they too, thought the love unrealistic. He felt the love should have been more erotic and less idealized. The remarks of another commentator solidified my opinion of this issue about Kaji's love. That writer stated that the title really means more like "condition for being human." This confirmed my opinion that Kobayashi's point of the film is that what makes one human, in the best sense of the word, is love. Otherwise we devolve into some type of cruel bestiality found in the phrase 'man's inhumanity to man.' This inhumanity is evident throughout the film, whether in the sadism of the other Japanese soldiers, the cruelty of the guards to the Chinese prisoners, or in the malice of the of the Russian overseers. However, the Kaji character is set apart: he sticks to his ideals, he is humble, he displays selflessness as seen when he gives his food to another or when leading the men and puts them ahead of himself. He is a type of everyman whose being is elevated above merely satisfying physical needs and responding to base instincts. He remains an ennobled human not a saint above the fray, but his love gives him the will to live, to continue on and to even do good when surrounded by evil. Love is the condition for being human.

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