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Seppuku (1962)

Drama | 135 minutes
3,98 357 votes

Genre: Drama

Duration: 135 minuten

Alternative titles: Harakiri / 切腹

Country: Japan

Directed by: Masaki Kobayashi

Stars: Tatsuya Nakadai, Shima Iwashita and Akira Ishihama

IMDb score: 8,6 (69.174)

Releasedate: 15 September 1962


Seppuku plot

"The world has never understood why the Japanese prefer death to dishonor! Winner of Prix Special du Jury at Cannes 1963 provides the answer!!"

A period of peace has begun in 17th-century Japan. Many clans are disbanded because of this; samurai become unemployed. Some of them threaten harakiri, or ritual suicide, in the hope of alms. As soon as an elderly warrior knocks on the door of the lyi clan's house to commit harakiri, it seems that he too is after some quick pocket money. Yet his intentions turn out to be more sincere than initially thought.

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Hanshiro Tsugumo

Motome Chijiiwa

Miho Tsugumo

Hikokuro Omodaka

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avatar van blurp194


  • 4583 messages
  • 3628 votes

A masterpiece.

The story starts out simple, but it gets a little more complicated with every step as something new is added with perfect timing. The image, the story, the mimicry of the actors and the sound of their voices complement each other perfectly. One of the finest examples of tension-building I've ever seen, and a wonderful play with honor and hypocrisy, hypocrisy and truthfulness, black and white.

Tatsuya Nakadai dominates almost every scene, both in the story and in his appearance, his look and his voice tell the story without you having to understand the words. The contrast between the present and the flashbacks comes across perfectly, and that is also made extra strong by the hard black and white contrast that makes his eyes splash from the screen.

The black-and-white material is used perfectly, there are few films in which light and dark are played so beautifully, and in which the lighting is so beautiful. The scene of the fight in the wind is the highlight of that, but the rest is hardly less.

It is also striking that this film was made about 50 years ago, but does not feel dated in any way. Without exaggeration, a truly timeless masterpiece.

dutch flagTranslated from Dutch · View original

avatar van wibro


  • 11590 messages
  • 4098 votes

I usually ignore Japanese films about the Samourai era, regardless of whether they were made 50 years ago or now. The era doesn't appeal to me at all. The high position in the top 250 or should I say it better; appearing in the top 250 of this film at all made me curious and prompted me to watch this film anyway. I have to admit I got more than I expected. Not directly because of the images, the acting and the story, but especially because of the Japanese code of honor of the samourai at the time, which in no way differed from the code of honor of the Japanese soldier during the 2nd World War. Even then, after the defeat, many Japanese and especially their superiors committed harakiri to exchange the shame. So the Japanese mentality had not changed in over 300 years. You can also see it in the extreme submission of the Japanese to their superiors. But again, the 41st position of this film in the top 250 really surprises me and I am convinced that if more film lovers start watching this film just because of that high position this film will disappear from the top 100 very quickly because I can't watch that this film appeals to the mainstream movie viewer. Time will tell.


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avatar van Sir Djuke

Sir Djuke

  • 343 messages
  • 958 votes

The 1962 film 'Seppuku', directed by Masaki Kobayashi, revolves around a begging samurai, played by Tatsuya Nakadai.

At an extremely calm pace and with almost architecturally drawn images, Kobayashi reveals the background and intent of the samurai's request to commit suicide in the courtyard of a daimyo (warlord) of the Ii clan.

It produces an almost unbearable tension and psychological joust (pun intended) between the samurai and the daimyo, which can only end in an excessive outburst of violence.

One of the best Japanese movies ever made.

dutch flagTranslated from Dutch · View original