The world has never understood why the Japanese prefer death to dishonor! Winner of Prix Special du Jury at Cannes 1963 provides the answer!Plot:
An unusual request for ritual suicide on a feudal lord's property leads to the unwinding of a greater mystery that challenges the clan's integrity.
Cast & Crew
Fun Facts of Movie
While filming, Tatsuya Nakadai was afraid during most of the sword and spear fighting scenes because real swords were being used, a practice now forbidden in Japanese films. His concern was not alleviated even though professional swordsmen were employed during the choreographed swordplay.
Seppuku and harakiri (the U.S. working title) both mean to commit ritual suicide in Japanese. However, seppuku is the formal term, derived from the kanji characters for “hara” (belly) and “kiri” (cut); harakiri is the cruder, less polite term for this act.
Tatsuya Nakadai cited this as his favorite of over 100 films that he’s appeared in.
The clan featured in the film, the Ii (sometimes spelled Iyi) have produced one of the most important and controversial figures of modern Japanese history: Ii Naosuke, Chief policymaker of the Tokugawa Shogunate best known for signing the Harris Treaty with the United States, granting access to ports for trade to American merchants and seamen and extraterritoriality to American citizens.
Stage-trained actor Tatsuya Nakadai and older film actor Rentarô Mikuni could not agree on an acceptable speaking voice while sharing the film stage. Nakadai spoke loudly and Mikuni spoke softly each citing their related acting experiences for their choice. They strongly disagreed with each other. The director, Masaki Kobayashi, halted filming and stated that he would not resume until both the actors came to an agreement. They did; stopping the shooting for three days.