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Irezumi (1966)

 -  Drama  -  15 January 1966 (Japan)
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A mysterious tattoo artist puts his masterpiece, a human-faced spider, on a kidnapped woman's back. She and her lover are then forced into a conspiracy-born nightmare, where they face the ... See full summary »


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Credited cast:
Ayako Wakao ...
Akio Hasegawa ...
Gaku Yamamoto ...
Tattoo artist Seikichi
Kei Satô ...
Hatamoto Serizawa
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Jun Fujikawa
Reiko Fujiwara ...
Tadashi Iwata
Gen Kimura
Kazuo Moriuchi
Kikue Môri ...
Shinsuke's mother
Shôzô Nanbu
Fujio Suga ...
Kimiko Tachibana
Asao Uchida ...


A mysterious tattoo artist puts his masterpiece, a human-faced spider, on a kidnapped woman's back. She and her lover are then forced into a conspiracy-born nightmare, where they face the danger of becoming the very evil they seek to escape. With each new bloody incident, the spider's face seems to redden with ever-growing hunger... Written by MichelleYeohFan

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis







Release Date:

15 January 1966 (Japan)  »

Also Known As:

Tatouage  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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User Reviews

Lady Revenge
27 August 2006 | by (France) – See all my reviews

"Irezumi" (which means "tattoo" in Japanese) is an erotic costume film from one of the bad boys of '60s Japanese cinema. Director Masumura used a full palette of primary colors (with very vivid reds) to tell us about the story of Otsuya, a beautiful young woman from a middle-class merchant family who is abducted into geisha work, and who catches one day the eye of Seikichi, a tattoo master who marks her back with a huge, monstrous spider. From that moment on, Otsuya will take her revenge with every man who shared her bed.

If you have an appetite for perverse stories, try this one. To play Otsuya, Masumura used beautiful actress Ayako Wakao, best remembered in the West for her part in Mizoguchi's "Street of Shame" (1956), where she was Yasumi, the cold-hearted and money-greedy prostitute. She inspired Masumura throughout the '60s, and "Irezumi" is one of their best collaborations. Adapted to the screen by Kaneto Shindo (the internationally acclaimed director of "The Naked Island" and "Onibaba"), the script goes far beyond Junichiro Tanizaki's original short story. In Tanizaki's work, a sadistic tattoo artist searches for his ultimate canvas, a beautiful girl, to create his masterpiece. The girl is innocent until the tattooer finishes "pouring his soul" into her tattoo, which represents a huge tarantula (it is better to know that "tarantula" in Japanese is "jorôgumo" and "jorô" stands for "prostitute", as both attract men to suck their blood). She becomes thus the "femme fatale" of his dreams. In "Irezumi", we never know if Otsuya is evil by nature or if the tattoo is the cause of her misconduct and bad manners, and that's the most fascinating aspect of the film. As it is a "pinku eiga" of the '60s, don't expect graphic sexual scenes but highly suggestive shots (which are more than enough) and enjoy this shameless film. As for me, I still haven't decided yet whether it is a misogynous film or its complete opposite. And what about the spider? It's a... uh, very special piece of art.

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