Gohatto (1999)

Unrated  |   |  Drama, History, Thriller  |  18 December 1999 (Japan)
Your rating:
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 -/10 X  
Ratings: 6.9/10 from 5,973 users   Metascore: 75/100
Reviews: 53 user | 63 critic | 17 from Metacritic.com

Set during Japan's Shogun era, this film looks at life in a samurai compound where young warriors are trained in swordfighting. A number of interpersonal conflicts are brewing in the ... See full summary »



0Check in

On Disc

at Amazon

10 wins & 10 nominations. See more awards »
Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Drama | Horror | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

A young man has an affair with an older woman. He is very jealous of her husband and decides that they should kill him. One night, after the husband had plenty of sake to drink and was in ... See full summary »

Director: Nagisa Ôshima
Stars: Tatsuya Fuji, Kazuko Yoshiyuki, Takahiro Tamura
Drama | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

In 1942 British soldier Jack Celliers comes to a Japanese prison camp. The camp is run by Yonoi, who has a firm belief in discipline, honor and glory. In his view, the allied prisoners are ... See full summary »

Director: Nagisa Ôshima
Stars: David Bowie, Tom Conti, Ryuichi Sakamoto
Biography | Drama | History
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  

A passionate telling of the story of Sada Abe, a woman whose affair with her master led to a sexual obsession which then came to a violent end.

Director: Nagisa Ôshima
Stars: Tatsuya Fuji, Eiko Matsuda, Aoi Nakajima
Max mon amour (1986)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.1/10 X  

A married French woman takes a zoo chimp named Max to be her lover.

Director: Nagisa Ôshima
Stars: Charlotte Rampling, Anthony Higgins, Victoria Abril
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

In Osaka's slum, youth without futures engage in pilfering, assault and robbery, prostitution, and the buying and selling of identity cards and of blood. Alliances constantly shift. Tatsu ... See full summary »

Director: Nagisa Ôshima
Stars: Masahiko Tsugawa, Kayoko Honoo, Isao Sasaki
Comedy | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

The lives of a young, hearing-impaired and gloomy couple are fulfilled after the boy holds interest in surfboarding.

Director: Takeshi Kitano
Stars: Claude Maki, Hiroko Ôshima, Sabu Kawahara
Naked Youth (1960)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

Kiyoshi is a brooding young man who treats women solely as objects. Makoto is a young woman who is just reaching her sexual awakening. She and her friends accept car rides from middle aged ... See full summary »

Director: Nagisa Ôshima
Stars: Miyuki Kuwano, Yûsuke Kawazu, Yoshiko Kuga
Kikujiro (1999)
Drama | Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  

A young, naive boy sets out alone on the road to find his wayward mother. Soon he finds an unlikely protector in a crotchety man and the two have a series of unexpected adventures along the way.

Director: Takeshi Kitano
Stars: Takeshi Kitano, Yusuke Sekiguchi, Kayoko Kishimoto
Boiling Point (1990)
Action | Comedy | Crime
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

Two disquieted junior baseball players seek revenge on the local yakuza for attacking their coach.

Director: Takeshi Kitano
Stars: Takeshi Kitano, Yûrei Yanagi, Yuriko Ishida
Izo (2004)
Action | Drama | Fantasy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.2/10 X  

An executed samurai takes an existential journey throughout time, space and eternity in search of bloody vengeance.

Director: Takashi Miike
Stars: Kazuya Nakayama, Kaori Momoi, Ryûhei Matsuda
Anego (1988)
Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8/10 X  

The widow of a murdered yakuza boss serves jail time for attacking the man she believes killed her husband. After her release, as she is shadowed by a hitman, she returns to thoughts of revenge.

Director: Tatsuichi Takamori
Stars: Hitomi Kuroki, Hiroki Matsukata, Takeshi Kitano
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

In 1923, the Korean teenager Kim Shun-Pei moves from Cheju Island, in South Korea, to Osaka, in Japan. Along the years, he becomes a cruel, greedy and violent man and builds a factory of ... See full summary »

Director: Yôichi Sai
Stars: Takeshi Kitano, Hirofumi Arai, Tomoko Tabata


Credited cast:
Captain Toshizo Hijikata (as 'Beat' Takeshi)
Samurai Sozaburo Kano
Shinji Takeda ...
Samurai Hyozo Tashiro
Yôichi Sai ...
Commander Isami Kondo
Jirô Sakagami ...
Lieutenant Genzaburo Inoue
Kôji Matoba ...
Samurai Heibei Sugano
Masa Tommies ...
Inspector Jo Yamazaki
Masatô Ibu ...
Officer Koshitaro Ito
Zakoba Katsura ...
Tomorowo Taguchi ...
Samurai Tojiro Yuzawa
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Chikako Aoyama
Yoshiaki Fujiwara
Daisuke Iijima
Yôichi Iijima


Set during Japan's Shogun era, this film looks at life in a samurai compound where young warriors are trained in swordfighting. A number of interpersonal conflicts are brewing in the training room, all centering around a handsome young samurai named Sozaburo Kano. The school's stern master can choose to intervene, or to let Kano decide his own path. Written by Jean-Marc Rocher <rocher@fiberbit.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Unrated | See all certifications »



| |


Release Date:

18 December 1999 (Japan)  »

Also Known As:

Tabu  »

Filming Locations:

Box Office

Opening Weekend:

$9,947 (USA) (6 October 2000)


$47,234 (USA) (24 November 2000)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


This was Nagisa Oshima's only film after his 1996 stroke. See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

A riveting, exquisite film about homosexuality in Edo-period Japan
21 April 2009 | by (Berlin, Germany) – See all my reviews

Japan in the 1860's was in a tense political situation with the Shogunate and the Emperor in conflict over whether to trade with foreigners. Though the country was still mostly isolated, the winds of change were in the air. Long-standing traditional institutions were withering away, and soon the supremacy of the samurai would give way to that of the merchant.

Nagisa Oshima's newest film TABOO (GOHATTO) examines this socio-political decline on a personal level. The film, which was nominated for a Golden Palm at Cannes 2000 and won Best Film recognition at the St. Petersburg Festival of Festivals in St. Petersburg, Russia, is a truly riveting, yet exquisite film about homosexuality among Edo-period samurai. It is worth seeing for the simple, streamlined beauty of its images and its potent drama.

Kyoto, Spring 1865. Hyozo Tashiro (Tadanobu Asano), a low-ranking samurai from the Kurume clan, and Sozaburo Kano (Ryuhei Matsuda), an effeminate 18-year-old rich man's son, join the Shinsengumi, a conservative samurai military unit loyal to the Shogun. Deceptively demure at first, the boy Kano quickly proves his acumen for killing when ordered to execute a wayward samurai. Tashiro, struck by Kano's feminine beauty and odd power, seduces him and they become butt buddies. Other men in the unit are also taken with Kano, and soon their bodies start piling up, murdered by a not-altogether-unknown assassin.

The troop leader Isami Kondo (Yoichi Sai) and his second-in-command Toshizo Hijikata (the famed actor-director Takeshi Kitano) observe the situation and react to it differently. Kondo wants Sozaburo to pay with his life for his alleged transgressions, while Hijikata, who is as wise and merciful as can be within the samurai code of conduct, adopts a wait-and-see attitude.

The most intriguing and surprising element in the film is how fairly tolerant of homosexuality the samurai leaders are, up to a point. The two commanders even discuss the subject with bemusement. When it becomes clear that the passions are running just a little too hot and threaten the cohesiveness and then the very integrity of the unit, then and only then is Hijikata galvanized into action. The last sequence of the film, when he makes his decisive move, is one of extreme grace and potent symbolism.

Takeshi Kitano's performance is measured and calm. His character seems to have attained an inner peace that the others have not. Kitano puts a human face on a duty-bound samurai. He previously acted in Oshima's 1983 Japanese-British co-production MERRY Christmas, MR. LAWRENCE, playing a sarcastic sergeant in a Word War II P.O.W. camp who cracks jokes about homosexuality. Upon closer inspection, TABOO shares some striking similarities with that film. Both films take place in a military setting and deal with homoerotic themes. The two films are also outstanding in their exploration of the endlessly conflicting aspects of Japanese culture: prone to militarism and merciless brutality on one hand - aesthetically and spiritually attuned on the other. Oshima's images are colder, more austere and subdued (sub-dude?) in TABOO than in MR. LAWRENCE, but are also no less resplendent.

3 of 4 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
Homosexuality is not the 'taboo' here Ottilia
Shinsen gumi = gay? rockertje
Enter the Geisha gidgetbananas
I. Don't. Get. It. cinnamon_rose88
Huh, wha, who? sagarian01
Anyone know where I can watch this movie? Katerina-Krueger
Discuss Gohatto (1999) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for: