Japanese history through cinema series: Seppuku (Harakiri)

SEPPUKU (Harakiri) Dir. Kobayashi Masaki, 1962. 133 mins.

A samurai warrior (played by the great Tatsuya Nakadai) fallen on desperate times asks permission to commit hara-kiri (also known as seppuku) at the house of a great lord. As preparations for the ritual are underway, mysterious facts about the warrior’s past begin to come to light. Many Japanese films take as their subject the decline of the feudal period and supposed demise of chivalrous honour that accompanied it. Kobayashi’s film remains one of the very best to broach the topic, and far superior to the 2011 remake.

Updated:  27 November 2018/Responsible Officer:  JI Management Group/Page Contact:  Japan Institute