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Irezumi (1982)

| Drama | 9 May 1984 (USA)
To satisfy her lover's fetish for tattooed women, Akane agrees to have her body covered in eloborate tattoos by Kyogoro, an old craftsman. Kyogoro has developed a special technique, by ... See full summary »


Baku Akae (novel), Chiho Katsura
1 nomination. See more awards »


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Complete credited cast:
Masayo Utsunomiya Masayo Utsunomiya ... Akane
Tomisaburô Wakayama ... Kyogoro / the Tatto Artist
Masaki Kyômoto ... Harutsune / Kyogoro's son-assistant
Harue Kyô Harue Kyô ... Katsuko / Kyogoro's adopted daughter
Yûsuke Takita Yûsuke Takita ... Fujeda / Akane's lover
Taiji Tonoyama ... Horiatsu
Naomi Shiraishi Naomi Shiraishi ... Haruna / Barmaid / Fujeda's ex-lover


To satisfy her lover's fetish for tattooed women, Akane agrees to have her body covered in eloborate tattoos by Kyogoro, an old craftsman. Kyogoro has developed a special technique, by which his assistant, Harutsune, keeps Katsuko's mind off the pain while Kyogoro does his work. After the work is done, Harutsune makes the shocking discovery of how Kyogoro mastered his technique. Written by Jean-Marc Rocher <rocher@tss.nec.co.jp>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis









Release Date:

9 May 1984 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Irezumi See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Daiei Studios See more »
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User Reviews

Subtle and complex unrecognised forces shape our lives
24 June 2005 | by ian-millissSee all my reviews

This is a subtle and beautiful film.The fact that almost no Japanese women have tattoos is the beginning point of the film in which a woman's tattoo is symbolic of the way in which she is prepared to degrade herself for the lover who insists she gets tattooed. Yet the exact process of the tattooing, of which he is unaware, with its strange sadomasochist eroticism, gives her the power to throw her degradation back in his face.

The hypnotic sounds of this part of the film as the needle punctures flesh, the slow trickles of blood, the warm darkness amid the snowy landscapes, the cloying atmosphere of conspiratorial guilt, erotic degradation and also pride and beauty and defiance and expiation of past mistakes - this film is very subtle, very loaded and in some ways almost feminist in its exploration of what men do to women, all written out on the flesh.

And the many unknown connections between all the characters, symbolised by the book of snow crystals, the way in which each of them shapes the lives of the others without knowing the connections that shape their own, lives as evanescent and blown on the wind as the snow crystals.

I think this is a great film which should be recognised as such. Unfortunately many people who see the film are threatened by its eroticism, particularly its aestheticisation and sexualisation of pain. But that is in many ways the symbolic point of the film, the pain of life and love written on the body.

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