192 user 75 critic

Harakiri (1962)

Seppuku (original title)
Not Rated | | Action, Drama, History | 4 August 1964 (USA)
An elder ronin samurai arrives at a feudal lord's home and requests an honorable place to commit suicide. But when the ronin inquires about a younger samurai who arrived before him things take an unexpected turn.



(screenplay), (novel) | 1 more credit »

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8 wins & 2 nominations. See more awards »
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Cast overview, first billed only:
Akira Ishihama ...
Hikokuro Omodaka
Masao Mishima ...
Tango Inaba
Ichirô Nakatani ...
Hayato Yazaki
Kei Satô ...
Yoshio Inaba ...
Jinai Chijiiwa
Hisashi Igawa ...
Tôru Takeuchi ...
Yoshirô Aoki ...
Umenosuke Kawabe
Tatsuo Matsumura
Akiji Kobayashi
Kôichi Hayashi
Ryûtarô Gomi


Peace in 17th-century Japan causes the Shogunate's breakup of warrior clans, throwing thousands of samurai out of work and into poverty. An honorable end to such fate under the samurai code is ritual suicide, or hara-kiri (self-inflicted disembowelment). An elder warrior, Hanshiro Tsugumo (Tatsuya Nakadai) seeks admittance to the house of a feudal lord to commit the act. There, he learns of the fate of his son-in-law, a young samurai who sought work at the house but was instead barbarically forced to commit traditional hara-kiri in an excruciating manner with a dull bamboo blade. In flashbacks the samurai tells the tragic story of his son-in-law, and how he was forced to sell his real sword to support his sick wife and child. Tsugumo thus sets in motion a tense showdown of revenge against the house. Written by Kevin Rayburn <kprayb01@homer.louisville.edu>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Action | Drama | History


Not Rated | See all certifications »

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Release Date:

4 August 1964 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Harakiri  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?


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! See more »


Hanshiro Tsugumo: Swordsmanship untested in battle is like the art of swimming mastered on land.
See more »


Featured in Through the Mist (2009) See more »

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User Reviews

This is the best character study & Samurai movie ever made.
12 May 1999 | by (Scottsdale, Arizona) – See all my reviews

I have seen this movie numerous times (at least 10, probably many more), and enjoy it each time. The first couple of times I saw it was right after it came out. It did not have sub-titles, and as my Japanese is not very good, I made some assumptions about the characters, relationships, the plot,etc. When I saw it with sub-titles, I was surprised at how few incorrect assumptions I had made. That I made so few errors is no credit to me, but rather to how well the plot, character development, character relationships, and the overall movie were done.

The movie is not limited to feudal Japan, for it transcends this era. It has lessons, for those who look for this in art. For instance, just one example occurs to me now: It underscores the need for a person to stand on principle, and to maintain their honor, ethics, and dignity, even when those who are the political leaders have long since lost theirs. However for purely entertainment value, the realism, suspense, art, and action could not be better. Words fail to express how this film captivates and entertains. Few films can equal this one. It is a "must see."

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