12 movies

Ran

September 26, 1985

With Ran, legendary director Akira Kurosawa reimagines Shakespeare's King Lear as a singular historical epic set in sixteenth-century Japan. Majestic in scope, the film is Kurosawa's late-life masterpiece, a profound examination of the folly of war and the crumbling of one family under the weight of betrayal, greed, and the insatiable thirst for power.

Harakiri

September 11, 1963

Aging samurai Hanshiro Tsugumo arrives at the home of Kageyu Saito and asks to commit a ritual suicide on the property, which Saito thinks is a ploy to gain pity and a job. Saito tells Tsugumo of another samurai, Motome Chijiiwa, who threatened suicide as a stratagem, only to be forced to follow through on the task. When Tsugumo reveals that Chijiiwa was his son-in-law, the disclosure sets off a fierce conflict.

13 Assassins

March 30, 2011

A bravado period action film set at the end of Japan's feudal era in which a group of unemployed samurai are enlisted to bring down a sadistic lord and prevent him from ascending to the throne and plunging the country into a war-torn future.

Rising Sun

July 30, 1993

When a prostitute is found dead in a Los Angeles skyscraper occupied by a large Japanese corporation, detectives John Conner and Web Smith are called in to investigate. Although Conner has previous experience working in Japan, cultural differences make their progress difficult until a security disc showing the murder turns up. Close scrutiny proves the disc has been doctored, and the detectives realize they're dealing with a cover-up as well.

47 Samurai

October 3, 1963

The story tells of a group of samurai who were left leaderless (becoming ronin) after their daimyo (feudal lord) was forced to commit seppuku (ritual suicide) for assaulting a court official named Kira Yoshinaka, whose title was KĊzuke no suke. The ronin avenged their master's honor after patiently waiting and planning for over a year to kill Kira. In turn, the ronin were themselves forced to commit seppuku for committing the crime of murder.

Hiroshima

August 5, 2005

The documentary recounts the world's first nuclear attack and examines the alarming repercussions. Covering a three-week period from the Trinity test to the atomic bombing of Hiroshima, the program chronicles America's political gamble and the planning for the momentous event. Archival film, dramatizations, and special effects feature what occurred aboard the Enola Gay (the aircraft that dropped the bomb) and inside the exploding bomb.

Scabbard Samurai

June 11, 2011

Nomi Kanjuro (Takaaki Nomi) is a master less samurai on the run after throwing away his sword for good. He has with him his headstrong 9-year-old daughter Tae (Sea Kumada). A bounty is soon placed on Nomi Kanjuro and 3 assassins go after the score. When Nomi Kanjuro is eventually captured and placed in front of the local feudal lord (Jun Kunimura) he is given a choice. A boy prince has been grieving ever since the death of his mother. Nobody has been able to make the boy smile. Nomi can attempt to make the boy smile within 30 days or he must commit seppuku (suicide).

Ask This of Rikyu

September 1, 2013

Sen no Rikyu (Ebizo Ichikawa) is the son of a fish shop owner. Sen no Rikyu then studies tea and eventually becomes one of the primary influences upon the Japanese tea ceremony. With his elegant esthetics, Sen no Rikyu is favored by the most powerful man in Japan Toyotomi Hideyoshi (Nao Omori) and becomes one of his closest advisors. Due to conflicts, Toyotomi Hideyoshi then orders Sen no Rikyu to commit seppuku (suicide). Notes

The film has two parts, the first (Heaven Scroll) directed by Masahiro Makino and the second (Earth Scroll) directed by Tomiyasu Ikeda. The two parts have different crew but pretty much the same cast. The film is a big budget prestige film produced by Nikkatsu in 1938. In 1937, after Japanese film industry's transition to sound, most independent studios founded by those famous jidaigeki superstars dissolved (including Bantsuma's, Chiezo Kataoka's as well as Kanjuro Arashi's) and they all joined Nikkatsu (on the other hand, Denjiro Okochi was lured away from Nikkatsu by PCL/Toho). So the next year, Nikkatsu made this prestige film starring four of the industry's biggest jidaigeki stars. And the subject is naturally Chushingura.

The Abe Clan

January 1, 1995

A Choice between Loyalty or Duty of the Samurai! Can the heartlessness of society crush the honor of an individual? In the spring of the 18th year of Kanei, Hosokawa Tadatoshi, feudal lord of the Higo area, died. Although Tadatoshi forbade his vassals to follow him in death before he died, they still committed seppuku one after the other. The new feudal lord, Mitsunao, Tadatoshi's son, also gave the order forbidding seppuku. Abe Yaichiemon obeyed his former lord's last wish but is now being called a coward by his comrades and finally decided to follow Tadatoshi in death in order to save his family's honor. Mitsunao, upset by Yaichiemon actions, punished the Abe family unfairly. Objected to this, the Abe family shut themselves up in their manor as the lords troops moved in. This is the true story of what happened within the Hosokawa clan in early Edo era. A masterpiece by director Kinji Fukasaku that boldly depicts the struggle between humanity and the code of the Samurai.

Directed by Masami Akita,who is also one of Japan's leading noise musicians under the name Merzbow. With a soundtrack by the director himself, this intense and ultra-gory seppuku film shows a young woman taking her own life by an act of ritual harakiri.

Miss Mishima

September 15, 2011

Explores the ambiguity of sensations, the boundaries between pleasure and pain, a filmmaker's piece about death as the final fetish and the ritual suicide Seppuku.

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