A collection of four Japanese folk tales with supernatural themes.

Director:

Masaki Kobayashi

Writers:

Yôko Mizuki (screenplay), Lafcadio Hearn (novel) (as Yakumo Koizumi)
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Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 5 wins & 1 nomination. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Michiyo Aratama ... First wife (segment "Kurokami")
Misako Watanabe Misako Watanabe ... Second Wife (segment "Kurokami")
Rentarô Mikuni ... Husband (segment "Kurokami")
Kenjirô Ishiyama ... Father (segment "Kurokami")
Ranko Akagi Ranko Akagi ... Mother (segment "Kurokami")
Fumie Kitahara Fumie Kitahara ... (segment "Kurokami")
Kappei Matsumoto Kappei Matsumoto ... (segment "Kurokami")
Yoshiko Ieda Yoshiko Ieda ... (segment "Kurokami")
Otome Tsukimiya Otome Tsukimiya ... (segment "Kurokami")
Kenzô Tanaka Kenzô Tanaka ... (segment "Kurokami")
Kiyoshi Nakano Kiyoshi Nakano ... (segment "Kurokami")
Tatsuya Nakadai ... Mi nokichi (segment "Yuki-Onna")
Keiko Kishi ... Yuki the Snow Maiden (segment "Yuki-Onna")
Yûko Mochizuki ... Minokichi's mother (segment "Yuki-Onna")
Kin Sugai ... Village woman (segment "Yuki-Onna")
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Storyline

This film contains four distinct, separate stories. "Black Hair": A poor samurai who divorces his true love to marry for money, but finds the marriage disastrous and returns to his old wife, only to discover something eerie about her. "The Woman in the Snow": Stranded in a snowstorm, a woodcutter meets an icy spirit in the form of a woman spares his life on the condition that he never tell anyone about her. A decade later he forgets his promise. "Hoichi the Earless": Hoichi is a blind musician, living in a monastery who sings so well that a ghostly imperial court commands him to perform the epic ballad of their death battle for them. But the ghosts are draining away his life, and the monks set out to protect him by writing a holy mantra over his body to make him invisible to the ghosts. But they've forgotten something. "In a Cup of Tea": a writer tells the story of a man who keep seeing a mysterious face reflected in his cup of tea. Written by Kathy Li

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

In the tradition of "RASHOMON" and "GATE OF HELL" See more »

Genres:

Drama | Fantasy | Horror

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Despite receiving much critical acclaim, this film received a rather cold reception from American audiences. Feedback from audiences suggested that they expected Japanese horror films to follow the model of Godzilla (1954) with fast-paced action, atomic monsters, and lots of special effects. They disliked the subtle spookiness, even-pacing, and creepy mood of this film which critics had praised. See more »

Goofs

In the last scene, spotlight falls on a cup of tea which lies on a floor, farther from other cutlery set items, but in the scene before, the cup was lying right next to a wooden tea tray. See more »

Alternate Versions

Originally a four-episode anthology released in Japan at 183 minutes. The USA version removes the second episode, starring Keiko Kishi and Tatsuya Nakadai, in order to shorten the running time to 125 minutes. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Lake of Dracula (1971) See more »

User Reviews

 
If you have the time, this is a very rewarding film.
5 April 2003 | by ronchowSee all my reviews

Over a time span of some 35 years, I saw Kwaidan twice on the large screen. I liked it the very first time, and it got better when I saw it the second time.

From the very opening when credits were introduced, color ink drops penetrating clear water generated an extremely soothing visual effect. The execution was low-tech, but it goes to show the power of human creativity before the age of fast computer chips. This opening also sets the tone of what you are about to get into - a film of great visual beauty, a film that requires a relaxed and unrushed mental frame of mind to appreciate.

It consists of four stories, all about ghosts, spirits and a blood-sucking woman in white. Some stories are better than the others, and my favourite is 'Hoichi the Earless', which also has the longest running time. It is about escapism, tales of morals, and cinema at its best.


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Details

Country:

Japan

Language:

Japanese

Release Date:

22 November 1965 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Ghost Stories See more »

Filming Locations:

Japan

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Box Office

Budget:

JPY350,000,000 (estimated)
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Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (heavily cut) | (cut)

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Recording)

Color:

Color (Eastmancolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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