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Harakiri (1962)

Seppuku (original title)
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.

Director:

Masaki Kobayashi

Writers:

Shinobu Hashimoto (screenplay), Yasuhiko Takiguchi (novel) | 1 more credit »
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8 wins & 2 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Tatsuya Nakadai ... Hanshiro Tsugumo
Akira Ishihama Akira Ishihama ... Motome Chijiiwa
Shima Iwashita ... Miho Tsugumo
Tetsurô Tanba ... Hikokuro Omodaka
Masao Mishima Masao Mishima ... Tango Inaba
Ichirô Nakatani ... Hayato Yazaki
Kei Satô Kei Satô ... Masakazu
Yoshio Inaba Yoshio Inaba ... Jinai Chijiiwa
Hisashi Igawa ... Retainer
Tôru Takeuchi Tôru Takeuchi ... Retainer
Yoshirô Aoki Yoshirô Aoki ... Umenosuke Kawabe
Tatsuo Matsumura
Akiji Kobayashi
Kôichi Hayashi Kôichi Hayashi
Ryûtarô Gomi Ryûtarô Gomi
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Storyline

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

Taglines:

The World Has Never Understood Why the Japanese Prefer Death to Dishonor! See more »

Genres:

Action | Drama | History

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

Japan

Language:

Japanese

Release Date:

4 August 1964 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Harakiri See more »

Filming Locations:

Kyoto, Kyoto, Japan

Company Credits

Production Co:

Shôchiku Eiga See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Stage-trained actor Tatsuya Nakadai and older film actor Rentarô Mikuni could not agree on an acceptable speaking voice while sharing the film stage. Nakadai spoke loudly and Mikuni spoke softly each citing their related acting experiences for their choice. They strongly disagreed with each other. The director, Masaki Kobayashi, halted filming and stated that he would not resume until both the actors came to an agreement. They did; stopping the shooting for three days. See more »

Goofs

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 »

Quotes

Hanshiro Tsugumo: After all, this thing we call samurai honor is ultimately nothing but a facade.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Jeanie's Magic Box (1972) See more »

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User Reviews

Rituals and appearances aren't just about the Japanese
17 July 2005 | by futures-1See all my reviews

"Harakiri" ("Seppuku") (Japanese, 1962): It is the 17th century. A young Samurai warrior arrives at a mansion, asking to perform his ritual death there. In a series of flashbacks, we learn who he is, why he came, and what has occurred since. Although quietly told by another ex-warrior (about whom we also learn more), this is an interesting story that builds in complexity and tension. Debates about rituals and appearances may at first seem to hold more significance in old Japan than in the contemporary United States, but it is not difficult to translate and implement such thoughts. Love, honor, duty, family, children, saving "face", determination, desperation…they all exist in OUR everyday lives. Dramatically photographed in beautiful black & white, given a strong Japanese score, and paced so that even the mildly patient will be glad they saw it, "Harakiri" is epically huge, and a must-see for story & film lovers.


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