The Men Who Tread on the Tiger's Tail

The Men Who Tread on the Tiger's Tail (虎の尾を踏む男達, Tora no O o Fumu Otokotachi, alternatively They Who Step on the Tiger's Tail) is a 1945 Japanese period drama film, written and directed by Akira Kurosawa. It is based on the kabuki play Kanjinchō, which is in turn based on the Noh play Ataka.

The Men Who Tread On the Tiger's Tail
Tora no o wo fumu otokotachi poster.jpg
Directed byAkira Kurosawa
Screenplay byAkira Kurosawa
Based onKanjinchō
by Namiki Gohei III
by Kanze Kojiro Nobumitsu
Produced byMotohiko Itō
StarringDenjirō Ōkōchi
Tadayoshi Nishina
Susumu Fujita
Masayuki Mori
Takashi Shimura
Ken'ichi Enomoto
Akitake Kōno
Yoshio Kosugi
Dekao Yokoo
Music byTadashi Hattori
Distributed byToho Company Ltd.
Release date
  • April 24, 1952 (1952-04-24)
Running time
59 minutes

The film was initially banned by the occupying Supreme Commander of the Allied Powers (SCAP) due to its portrayal of feudal values. It was later released after the signing of the Treaty of San Francisco in 1952.


In 1185, the Heike family fights against the Minamoto family. After a bloody naval battle in the Seto Inland Sea, Yoshitsune Minamoto defeats the enemy and the survivors commit suicide. When the triumphant Yoshitsune arrives in Kyoto, his brother, the Shogun Yoritomo, is uneasy and orders his men to arrest Yoshitsune. However, Yoshitsune escapes with six loyal samurai led by Benkei and they head to the country of his only friend Hidehira Fujiwara. Near the border, after crossing the forest disguised as monks, their porter discovers that they are Yoshitsune and the six samurais and advises that the fearful Kajiwara and his soldiers are waiting for them at the border to arrest them. Yoshitsune disguises as a porter and at the barrier, Benkei has to convince Kajiwara that they are six monks traveling to collect donations to repair the Todai temple in Nara.



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