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Harakiri (1962)

Seppuku (original title)
Not Rated | | Action, Drama, History | 4 August 1964 (USA)
An elder ronin samurai arrives at a feudal lord's home and requests an honorable place to commit suicide. But when the ronin inquires about a younger samurai who arrived before him things take an unexpected turn.



(screenplay), (novel) | 1 more credit »

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8 wins & 2 nominations. See more awards »


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Cast overview, first billed only:
Akira Ishihama ...
Masao Mishima ...
Tango Inaba
Ichirô Nakatani ...
Hayato Yazaki
Kei Satô ...
Yoshio Inaba ...
Jinai Chijiiwa
Tôru Takeuchi ...
Yoshirô Aoki ...
Umenosuke Kawabe
Kôichi Hayashi
Ryûtarô Gomi


Peace in 17th-century Japan causes the Shogunate's breakup of warrior clans, throwing thousands of samurai out of work and into poverty. An honorable end to such fate under the samurai code is ritual suicide, or hara-kiri (self-inflicted disembowelment). An elder warrior, Hanshiro Tsugumo (Tatsuya Nakadai) seeks admittance to the house of a feudal lord to commit the act. There, he learns of the fate of his son-in-law, a young samurai who sought work at the house but was instead barbarically forced to commit traditional hara-kiri in an excruciating manner with a dull bamboo blade. In flashbacks the samurai tells the tragic story of his son-in-law, and how he was forced to sell his real sword to support his sick wife and child. Tsugumo thus sets in motion a tense showdown of revenge against the house. Written by Kevin Rayburn <kprayb01@homer.louisville.edu>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Award Winner Cannes Festival 1963 See more »


Action | Drama | History


Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

4 August 1964 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Harakiri  »

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?


While filming, Tatsuya Nakadai was afraid during most of the sword and spear fighting scenes because real swords were being used, a practice now forbidden in Japanese films. His concern was not alleviated even though professional swordsmen were employed during the choreographed swordplay. See more »


After Motome's seppuku, when Omodaka steps forward and chops Motome's head off (supposedly), he visibly stops his swing before striking Motome's neck (naturally, since real swords were used). See more »


Kageyu Saito: The ronin from Hiroshima, Hanshiro Tsugumo, committed hara kiri. All our own men died of illness. The house of Iyi has no retainers who could be felled or wounded by some half-starved ronin.
See more »


Referenced in At the Movies: Cannes Film Festival 2011 (2011) See more »

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User Reviews

Excellent cinematography
20 April 2006 | by See all my reviews

It's quite surprising that some old masterpieces fall easily into the oblivion. Harakiri (Seppuku) is a good example. Quite simply this is one of the best Japanese movies I've ever seen.

Everything is this movie is exceptional: the cinematography is top notch, the acting is very good, the direction is almost perfect.

Tragedy, revenge, ethics, political contents...this movie has all of these elements wrapped in an exceptional 16th century samurai environment.

The only defects I could see in this movie is that someone may feel it is slightly slow (as actually there are very few action scenes...this is not a "chambara" movie!) and the fact that it is not dubbed (at least in the Italian edition)...so you lose some of the details while reading the subtitles....that is, unless you understand Japanese.

If you like black & white Japanese movies this is definitely a must see. GREAT.

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