Hara-Kiri: Death of a Samurai

Hara-Kiri: Death of a Samurai


一命
Ichimei
Life

Director Takashi Miike
Original Story Yasuhiko Takiguchi
Screenplay Kikumi Yamaguchi
Music Ryuichi Sakamoto
Photography Nobuyasu Kita
Lighting Yoshimi Watanabe
Sound Jun Nakamura
Art Yuji Hayashida
Editor Kenji Yamashita
Production Companies Sedic International, Dentsu, Shochiku, Kodansha, Recorded Picture Company, OLM, Yamanashi Nichinichi Shimbun, Yamanashi Broadcasting, Amuse Soft Entertainment, Asahi Shimbun, Yahoo
Release Date October 15, 2011
Runtime 126 minutes
Poster

一命
Ichimei
Life

Staff
Director Takashi Miike
Original Story Yasuhiko Takiguchi
Screenplay Kikumi Yamaguchi
Music Ryuichi Sakamoto
Photography Nobuyasu Kita
Lighting Yoshimi Watanabe
Sound Jun Nakamura
Art Yuji Hayashida
Editor Kenji Yamashita
Info
Production Companies Sedic International, Dentsu, Shochiku, Kodansha, Recorded Picture Company, OLM, Yamanashi Nichinichi Shimbun, Yamanashi Broadcasting, Amuse Soft Entertainment, Asahi Shimbun, Yahoo
Release Date October 15, 2011
Runtime 126 minutes

Hanshiro, a ronin, enters the court of Kageyu and requests permission to commit ritual suicide. Kageyu bids Hanshiro to listen to his story of another ronin, Motome, who had earlier entered his court and made the same request. During that time sympathetic lords would offer such samurai small sums of money out of pity and attempt to convince the ronin not to commit ritual suicide. Ronins began to take advantage of the lords’ pity and bluffed for gain. When Motome appeared in Kageyu’s court, Kageyu, on the advice of his stern vassal Hikokuro, decided to force him to commit ritual suicide to serve as an example to other ronin. Motome, who had been forced to sell his blade and only carried a bamboo training sword, suffered greatly during the attempt until Kageyu mercifully delivered the fatal blow.

Hanshiro is unmoved by Kageyu’s story, and requests that Hikokuro be present as his second. When Hikokuro cannot be found, Hanshiro reveals that he has recently dueled Hikokuro and taken his top knot, and Hikokuro has hidden himself out of shame. Hanshiro reveals that Motome was the son of his former lord. When his lord lost favor with the shogun, he entrusted Motome to Hanshiro’s care, even though it meant sending him to live in abject poverty. When Motome was grown, he married Hanshiro’s daughter Miho, and they had a child. The child grew ill, and Motome sought to earn money off Kageyu to pay for a doctor. While he was away, the child died. His corpse was delivered back to his home, and Miho in despair took her life. Hanshiro learned everything that had transpired in Kageyu’s court, and sought out Hikokuro to take revenge for Motome.

Hanshiro admits Motome acted rashly, and also accuses Kageyu of dishonoring his house by rejecting him so callously. Hanshiro unsheathes his own bamboo sword and humiliates Kageyu’s men in a fight that rages throughout Kageyu’s mansion. Hanshiro defaces the ancestral armor of Kageyu’s house, and then allows himself to be struck down by Kageyu’s men. Kageyu hurriedly has the armor and the mansion put back in order to maintain the appearance of honor in the house.