In the 1800s, an American returns to Japan to find the prostitute he fell in love with, but instead learns of the psychical and existential horror that befell her after he left.



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Episode cast overview, first billed only:
Shihô Harumi ...
Laborer #1 (as Shihou Harumi)
Komomo (as Michie)
Magy ...
Laborer #2
Shin'ichi Tokuhara ...
Laborer #3 (as Shinichi Tokuhara)
Takao Handa ...
Yoshi, Laborer #4
Hiroshi Kuze ...
Miyuki Konno ...
Dead Woman
Yutaka Matsuzaki ...
Gate Keeper #1
Hiroshi Fujita ...
Gate Keeper #2
Sachiko Matsuura ...
Shamisen Player
Noriko Eguchi ...
Whore #1
Megumu Takada ...
Whore #2
Yuno ...
Whore #3
Miho Harita ...
Whore #4


In the Nineteenth Century, in Japan, the American journalist Christopher is traveling through the country searching Komomo, the missing love of his life that he had abandoned years ago promising to come back to her later. He arrives in a shadowy island inhabited by whores and caftans, where he has an encounter with a deformed prostitute that tells that his beloved Komomo had passed away. He drinks sake with her and later he asks the woman to tell the story of her life. The prostitute discloses a dark and cruel story about her life and the sad fate of Komomo. Written by Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis




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Release Date:

7 April 2006 (UK)  »

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Did You Know?


This episode was originally going to be shown on Showtime in January 2006, but the station banned it shortly before the broadcast. It debuted in America on DVD on September 26, 2006. See more »


The Woman: This island isn't in the human world; demons and whores are the only ones living here.
See more »


Referenced in Imprinting: The Making of 'Imprint' (2006) See more »

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User Reviews

a tale of a prostitute and her, uh, 'sister, and also a daring allegory on heaven & hell (more-so the latter)
4 November 2006 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

It's not exactly as surprising really that the Showtime network decided not to pick up director Takashi Miike's entry into the Masters of Horror, Imprint, but rather why they chose him in the first place. Didn't they think after seeing Ichi the Killer and Audition and Gozu, among probably a dozen others I can't think of, that he would deliver something to the highest X-rated for violence &/or sex caliber? I'm guessing then they either decided to take a calculated risk, or maybe Mick Garris was such a huge fan of his he must've known what he was getting. Maybe no one did. Certainly not me, and I've already dug into a good few of Miike's movies. This one definitely ranks up there as one of the most shocking of the lot of the works he's made, matter of fact probably ever will. It's how really that the director approaches the subject matter, and how its presented, that really makes it so effective in the realm of real horror. This isn't for kids, make that perfectly clear; indeed I'd say if you've ever really been close to babies, or have had them, you might really feel disgusted by a few of the key scenes in Imprint.

At first Miike seems to be dealing with something that is intriguing, though in a familiar style. It's a Rashomon-style tale of the truth behind a grisly matter, in this case the death of a prostitute, Komomo (Michie Ito, pretty heart-wrenching when she gets time to be). Her one-true-love, Christopher (Billy Drago, in a performance that's somewhat like David Carradine but in a slightly different, not-as-magnificent key), is there to find her on an island run amock with prostitutes. He goes to pieces over the news, which he hears from a woman (Youki Kudoh, the most effective and shattering performance of the film) who has a scarred face. He then hears a 'story' of what happened to her, but through the woman's story as opposed to exactly Komomo's. The woman has to tell her own story, which starts off rough from when her mother sends her away as a child from their river-side house to the ring of 'whores' she becomes apart of, and where she meets Komomo. But this story, of which the first real rush of horror comes in following an interrogation/torture of Komomo, is only the first one, and not necessarily the 'truth'.

What comes out as the truth soon enough turns into something that not only did I not expect, but had me cringing and with eyebrows raised, but once or twice sort of laughing too. This isn't a very funny effort really, and unlike Visitor Q Miike doesn't combine satire with the more disturbing, bone-chilling elements. It's a straight-up no-holds barred look at the darkest side of human corruption and exploitation, with the surprises that come up really too hard to believe at times. For example when we finally do see the woman's ultimate 'secret', it borders on being a laughable, un-Godly sight gag. But it's dealt with in the utmost serious way, and meant as allegory- which it is without a doubt the case- is very powerful. What ends up being the most horrific, and horrific to a point that will make those in the US who seek out the DVD covering their eyes and feeling ripped to shreds, is stuff that isn't completely abstracted like with the ideas of 'the soul being in heaven or the body being in hell'.

It's in seeing how the woman came to be, from birth, and how seeing what she saw- her mother's 'occupation'- along with her certain 'ailment' involving her sibling, combine together into something that is much more potent than monsters or savage lunatic psychos. For Christopher, this is something that brings him to the brink of his own cognizance, and what his love for Komomo really meant. Seeing how Komomo had her final days on Earth is pretty staggering, but for the viewer its not exploitive in the sense that it's just shock-value for shock-value's sake (though I'm sure many would argue that, especially over notorious scenes in other Miike films). It's there for a purpose, and made purposeful through the style that is very unlike how typical TV mini-movies are shot. Sometimes we get the bloody, creepy shots, and sometimes not, adding to what horror is or isn't seen as part of the effect. In the end, all of it adds up to something that I might want to try to forget soon, but I probably won't be able to.

In short, if you're already a fan of Miike's, this should be like the treat of the season, with a mix of the director's bravura film-making technique (some shots are pretty incredible, like the tilt from the water to that tree, in tint of green, or the detail in how he shoots 'things' moving in backgrounds, and long-shots), and the no-punches-pulled sensibility of the subject matter. In this case a world of maybe the purest hell on earth with only the dire hopes and undermined will of getting to a heaven. It's one of the director's very best, albeit shortest, works in his very prolific career. A-

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