Hara-Kiri: Death of a Samurai

Hara-Kiri: Death of a Samurai (一命, Ichimei) is a 2011 Japanese 3D jidaigeki drama film directed by Takashi Miike. It was produced by Jeremy Thomas and Toshiaki Nakazawa, who previously teamed with Miike on his 2010 film 13 Assassins. The film is a 3D remake of Masaki Kobayashi's 1962 film Harakiri.

Hara-Kiri: Death of a Samurai
Film poster
Directed byTakashi Miike
Written byYasuhiko Takiguchi
Kikumi Yamagishi
Produced byToshiaki Nakazawa
Jeremy Thomas
StarringIchikawa Ebizō XI
Kōji Yakusho
CinematographyNobuyasu Kita
Edited byKenji Yamashita
Music byRyuichi Sakamoto
Distributed byShochiku (Japan)
Release dates
  • 19 May 2011 (2011-05-19) (Cannes)
  • 15 October 2011 (2011-10-15) (Japan)
Running time
126 minutes
United Kingdom

It premiered at the 2011 Cannes Film Festival, the first 3D film to do so.[2] The Village Voice's Michael Atkinson praised it describing it as "a melodramatic deepening and a grisly doubling-down of Kobayashi's great original".[3] Composer and pop star Ryuichi Sakamoto wrote the original score.


In 1635, Tsukumo Hanshiro's clan has lost its status and he requests permission to perform seppuku in the courtyard of the castle of Lord Ii. Senior retainer Saitō Kageyu tells Hanshiro the tale of Squire Chijiiwa Motome, another samurai from the same clan who had visited with the same request the previous year in 1634. Suspecting that he was bluffing in order to obtain money, Ii's retainers scheduled the ritual immediately with Omodaka Hikokurō acting as second. Motome begged for one more day and 3 ryō to treat his sick wife and child. His request was refused, so he began to perform seppuku ineffectively with his bamboo sword, breaking it inside his stomach. Omodaka insisted that he should cut himself more but Saitō eventually chopped off his head to end the suffering.

Saitō offers to forget the request but Hanshiro insists on continuing with the ritual. He requests Omodaka as his second, but he cannot be found. His next two requests as second, Matsuzaki and Kawabe, cannot be found either. Hanshiro tells them that in June 1617 Motome's father Chijiiwa Jinnai performed unauthorized maintenance work on the castle and was banished. He died and left Motome in the care of Tsukumo Hanshiro. In 1630, Motome married Hanshiro's daughter Miho. Her infant son fell ill and Motome sold his sword to cover costs for a while but when a doctor demanded 3 ryo in advance for treatment, Motome attempted the suicide bluff that led to his death. His son died of illness and Miho killed herself with the same broken bamboo sword after Motome's body was returned to her with 3 ryo. Disgusted at the gruesome nature of Motome's death, Hanshiro hunted down Omodaka, Matsuzaki, and Kawabe and cut off their topknots for not stopping Motome's painful death, causing them to lose face and go into hiding.

Hanshiro brings the 3 ryo back to Saitō and challenges the other samurai with a bamboo sword, battling many of them capably. He says that a warrior's honor is not something just worn for show and knocks down the castle's decorative suit of armor before accepting death. Omodaka, Matsuzaki, and Kawabe all commit seppuku out of shame and the other retainers reassemble the suit of armor. Lord Ii returns to the castle and asks if the suit of armor has been polished, because it is the pride of the castle.



  1. ^ a b c d Lee, Maggie (19 May 2011). "Hara-kiri: The Death of a Samurai: Cannes 2011 Review". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 4 September 2017.
  2. ^ "Festival de Cannes: Official Selection". Cannes. Retrieved 15 April 2011.
  3. ^ Michael Atkinson. "Takashi Miike's Epic Hara-Kiri: Death of a Samurai Might Be His Best Film Yet". Village Voice. Retrieved 20 February 2016.

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