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Nemuri Kyoshiro 4: Joyoken (1964)

 -  Drama  -  17 October 1964 (Japan)
7.2
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Ratings: 7.2/10 from 108 users  
Reviews: 4 user | 4 critic

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Cast

Credited cast:
Raizô Ichikawa ...
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Michiko Ai ...
Princess Kiku
Akira Amemiya
Shinjirô Asano ...
Sir Fujinami Yamato - Chief Vassal
Saburô Date ...
Honmei-Tekisatsu Fortune Teller / Ninja
Hajime Etsukawa
Jun Fujikawa
Shiho Fujimura ...
Kosuzu - Torizo's Sister
Takaji Fukui
Yûji Hamada
Jun Hamamura ...
Dr. Muroya Jundo - Official Physician of the Shogunate's Inner Court
Masumi Harukawa ...
Osen - A traveling oiran
Yoshio Inaba ...
Bizen-ya the Merchant
Gen Kimura
Katsuhiko Kobayashi ...
Torizo - a Underground Christian
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Release Date:

17 October 1964 (Japan)  »

Also Known As:

Sleepy Eyes of Death: Sword of Seduction  »

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Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?

Quotes

Nemuri Kyoshiro: [Referring to the fortune teller's attempt to lift his straw hat as if to identify him on the road] Why did you just try to see my face?
Honmei-Tekisatsu Fortune Teller: Something bothered me... I sensed a bad omen on your face.
Nemuri Kyoshiro: I don't live for tomorrow... so I'm not interested in hearing my fortune.
Honmei-Tekisatsu Fortune Teller: You must already know that the omen is dire. The Honmei-Tekisatsu
[Referring to the astrologically based fortune telling system]
Honmei-Tekisatsu Fortune Teller: signs, which are always reliable, indicate... that if you cross Mt. Hakone and head west... you'll die...
Nemuri Kyoshiro:
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Connections

Follows Sleepy Eyes of Death: Full Circle Killing (1964) See more »

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User Reviews

 
"I am unworthy that's why I can kill you ruthlessly"
31 August 2008 | by (Greece) – See all my reviews

Sword of Seduction is somewhat of a departure for the Sleepy Eyes of Death saga. Whereas the previous movies had typed Nemuri as a stray dog ronin, a sardonic fatalist without a past or future like Yojimbo, here we get to discover who he really is, his parents and the circumstances of his birth.

If Sleepy Eyes of Death has the reputation of a dark and violent chambara (especially for its time), it is exactly because of movies like Sword of Seduction. I don't want to spoil the ending that reveals Nemuri's birth but the imagery associated with him literally types him as a sword devil (to borrow the title of a Kenji Misumi picture Ichikawa worked in the next year): the son of the black mass.

This closure doesn't come out of left field though. Throughout the movie Nemuri almost literally cuts through the veils of hypocrisy and illusion: religion, politics, superstition, vanity. Each one in the form of a different subplot, all of which intersect at one point or another. The Christian missionary who renounces his faith for a drink of sake and the body of a woman (but also to save her brother), he gets his head chopped off by Nemuri. The demented daughter of the ex-Shogun who drugs and kills beautiful girls because she is deformed herself, her ugliness is exposed with a swift cut of Nemuri's sword during a Noh dance. The female fortune-teller that tries to seduce Nemuri as part of a weird sex ritual, she gets what's coming to her.

Directed by Kazuo Ikehiro, Sword of Seduction doesn't stand out as a major technical or dramatic achievement of any kind. But on a sensory level, the ways it adds grim undertones in an already cynic serialized character and how it expands the mood and universe of the movie by introducing his past, it is largely a minor triumph. The violence is on par with the previous entry Full Moon Cut and this time around the actual technique evolves on a visual level: we get to see what exactly happens with Nemuri's sword in slow-motion as he traces the circle before he kills his opponent.

If you're thinking of skipping the first three and watching this one first, I would advise against it. Nemuri, like any other serialized character from James Bond to Lone Wolf, has little character development from one entry to the next but it's cool to see the ways the style and story is moved forward.


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