Hakai (1962) - full transcript

A young man struggles to come to terms with his true identity in a remote caste-based village in early 20th century Japan.

"This is a story of the past.

"The past holds many points on
which subsequent ages should reflect,

"and as someone once said, this is because
events of the past are assured to be true."

- Preface to Hakai


Screenplay by Natto Wada
Based on the novel by Toson Shimazaki


Raizo Ichikawa, Hiroyuki Nagato,
Eiji Funakoshi, Shiho Fujimura, Rentaro Mikuni

Kanjiro Nakamura, Kyoko Kishida,
Seiji Miyaguchi, Yoshi Kato, Haruko Sugimura

Directed by
Kon Ichikawa

Hey, come here.

I have salt.
You can have as much as you want.

Come here.

It's nothing for you to worry about.

People have long since
stopped visiting this place.

It's probably just someone on his way
to Kazawa hot springs.

He's my older brother.

I'm quite sure it's him.

We'll bury him on the mountain
at first light.

We have a custom of not keeping
a grave at the temple.

I am in great debt to you.

I found Mr. Segawa's body around
three days after he died.

That's what the constable said after we
called him up the mountain to investigate.

We all live in huts in mountain
valleys far from each other.

Sometimes we don't see one
another for days at a time.

I knew that Mr. Segawa had
a mean-tempered ox.

But he was an experienced farmer.

Nobody could've seen this coming.

Excuse me.

I just wanted to stop by
for a moment.

I believe that a cattle breeder named
Segawa lives in this area.

Ushimatsu, what are you doing here?

I'd like to ask you the same
question, Uncle.

That's my father's home,
isn't it?

Something happened, didn't it?

I beg you, please leave this
mountain immediately!

Is my father ill?
Is he injured?

Ushimatsu, he's dead.

He was gored by a bull. It happened
maybe three days ago.


Last winter, I had appendicitis.
I thought I was a goner.

He came down the mountain in the
middle of the night to look after me.

That was the last time I saw him.

I knew it...

- I knew he was dead.
- How?

I only told you just now.

Did someone else tell you?

My father.

Three days ago,

just at the time that it was my turn
as night watch at the school,

I went out to walk the school
grounds after nightfall...



I realized immediately that
something had happened to him.

If only I hadn't hesitated
in coming here.

I had no trouble whatsoever
finding this place...

a place that he forbade me from
even coming near to.

I'm sure that it was my father's voice
calling me that night.

I'm sure the voice you heard
was my brother's.

I have no doubt.

I'm not just telling you this
out of pity...

But he wasn't calling you
to come here.

He was saying, "Ushimastsu, don't forget!,"
"Ushimatsu, hide the secret!"

Right until his final breaths.

He refused to see me for 10 years,

and I couldn't see him when
he died, either.

Such is the lot of the burakumin.

- Why was I born a burakumin?
- Stop that talk!

When you finished elementary school,

your father was determined you continue
on to secondary school.

He knew that he would never
be able to see you again.

My brother, you,
and my wife and I...

lived in this burakumin village in
Komoro for many years,

before we moved to the outskirts
of Nezu Village to conceal our past.

Your father was the elder of
the burakumin village,

so he knew that secrecy was
out of the question.

He left you to live with me and
my wife, and lived on this ranch.

He wasn't able to work in society
like a regular person.

Preventing you from suffering
the same fate...

was the only reason that
he lived like a hermit.

If you thoughtlessly reveal your
identity as a burakumin,

your father's entire life's work
will have been for nothing.

Father, I swear that I will never break
your commandment to hide my identity.

No matter the circumstances,
no matter who I meet,

I will never reveal this secret.

That's enough.
Now you must leave this place.

If you go along the ridgeline,
you'll hit the road to Komoro.

You won't get there before daybreak.
Catch the train in Komoro.

Uncle, please let me see my father,
just for a moment.

You're protecting the same
secret as me.

The burakumin code dictates that you don't expose
another member who is living outside their community.

The burakumin abide by the code...

but they're people too.
You can't always trust them.

Your father understood that.

Please. Just for a moment,
and then I'll be on my way.

It's only candlelight.
You might not even recognize him.

Make sure nobody sees your face.

A friend of the family has come.

- He wants to briefly pay his respects.
- That's fine.

Let him in.

The owner of the bull is taking it
to market tomorrow.

He said he would use the money he got
from the meat to pay the funeral costs.

That's very kind.

He should have just left the bull
alone when it got lost.

Instead, for some reason he felt
he had to go looking for it.

Someone saw him looking for the bull,
waist deep in waterweeds.

I think I heard him walking up and down
the mountains calling for the bull.

It made me flinch...

Maybe he wanted to die.

I don't think that Mr. Segawa
absolutely wanted to die,

but it seemed as if he was
shouting to the heavens.

Screaming from the bottom
of his soul!

It was the sadness, the feeling
of our burakumin village...

The agony of a man who could not
die without regret!


- 52kg, 300.
- 52kg, 500. - 44kg.

- He's unclean!
- Go away!

Oh, God!
He's unclean!

It serves him right!
He's unclean!

Purify this place with salt!

Oh, you're back.

I was passing by, and the landlord
said you had returned.

Thanks for taking care of things
while I was away.

I'm sure it was an imposition to handle
both my class and yours.

Forget about it. I assume you're back
so soon because your uncle recovered?

However, since he must've been gravely ill,
I would've stayed on a bit, just to make sure.

Ma'am, did I hear there was
some kind of disturbance?

Yes, it was a real nuisance...

I assume that you heard about it,
Mr. Segawa.

That wealthy man that came here from
Shimotakai for medical treatment...

Well, it turned out he was of
the burakumin caste.

He was removed from the hospital
and returned here.

Of course, we asked him
to leave at once.

People seem to think we knew,
but that we let him stay anyway...

because he was a big tipper.
What a nuisance!

I assure you that we had no idea.

We would take no money from
the likes of him.

That's unfortunate.

Please enjoy your meal.

He was kicked out of the hospital
and then the inn.

Then he had his back smeared
with salt.

Why couldn't he have
kept it a secret?!

Even if he'd tried, it would be exposed
and the same thing would've happened.

Aren't burakumin human?

I don't see any difference between
them and regular people.

If you do, let me know,
Mr. Tsuchiya.

The designation of the burakumin class was
something that suited the policymakers.

Their descendants were confined to live...

in a specific region and have a lower
standard of living than others.

This is a new age!

We are fighting in a war,
as children of the emperor!

I've been meaning to tell you,
but you should probably stop...

reading books by Rentaro Inoko.

Rentaro Inoko?

Yes. You sound like you're reciting
one of his diatribes.

You're mistaken.

The reason Rentaro Inoko risked his life
for the burakumin liberation movement...

was that he himself was
a burakumin.

You're a normal person.
You don't have to regurgitate his rhetoric.

Reading is important, but you must
maintain a proper perspective.

If it's all right, there's someone
I'd like to introduce to you.

- Who?
- Rentaro Inoko, of course.

I believe you'll dislike him.

Such public figures seem appealing from
a distance, but once you get to know them,

you'll find that their distinction from others
often masks numerous personal flaws.

You've got gall, saying that about
a man you've never met. He's a fine man.

Have you met him?

Well... of course not.

I think he has lung disease.

If you have death
breathing down your neck,

I imagine it could inspire
you to write great works.

But I guarantee you, no man from a burakumin
village could ever produce great ideas.

Stop, already.

It breaks my heart to hear you
of all people say such things.

You must be exhausted from your trip.

It's made you emotional.

Chasing a burakumin
out of town is normal.

Rest up, you'll feel better.

I'll see you tomorrow at school.

Look! It's human blood!

It's Japanese blood!

It's not different from anyone else's.

We have the same four limbs.
The same anatomy, the same blood.

Why are we discriminated against?

Why must it be a secret?

Father, tell me!
Help me!

Even his grave is hidden...

He just slipped away,
like a stray cat.

Mr. Segawa, glad I ran into you.

There's something I want
to ask you.

I imagine you heard that
I resigned my position.

Yes, the headmaster mentioned it.

The headmaster is a master of cunning!
The truth is, I was forced to resign.

He didn't like me taking
sick leave from work.

If I resigned due to health

neither of us would lose face.
Fired in perfect health.

Newly published, "Record of Repentance"
by Rentaro Inoko

I worked there nearly 10 years.

My salary was a pittance.

Six months more and I would
have gotten a pension.

Mr. Segawa, can't you get them to
keep me on for six more months?

I'll see what I can do, but the
headmaster is a stickler for rules...

Thank you.
I mean it, thank you.

I envy you. You're young,

but the students already love you.

Even the headmaster sees it.

On the other hand...

I still have four small children.

Damn, I think I'm starting
to sober up.

Come to think of it,
where are you dragging that cart to?

The inn I'm staying at frequently
accommodates noisy guests,

- so I decided to move.
- Where to?

- Lotus Temple, in Atago City.
- Lotus Temple!

I'm sure you've no idea why I accompanied
you all the way to the temple...

and I have no intention of
telling you now.

Your name, sir?

Ushimatsu Segawa.

Welcome. Mother told me
you were coming.

Please come inside.

I'll get Shota to carry your
bags later.

Are you the daughter of
the abbot?

- Yes, my name is Shiho.
- Is the mistress away?

- She should return presently.
- And the abbot?

He's in.

I see him from time to time at the school,
but we've never been properly introduced.

He seems very affable.

I haven't that many bags,
so I'll bring them in myself.

Is there anything you need?

- I'm going out for a while.
- But why?

- To the bookstore?
- Please, don't go!

What book do you need?
I'll go buy it for you.

Don't worry about it.
You don't have to go right now.

Then you're not going
to leave, right?

- Sure, I'll stay.
- Thank you.

On this day.

On this fine day,

The Emperor was born

On this fine day,

His glory shined forth.

It became a fine day.

- That was great.
- I lost to you again, sir.

Even though I'm sure you worked into
the wee hours on your speech.

I'm sure nothing I had to say
was that compelling.

I found your interpretation of
the characters for...

loyalty and filial piety
to be quite moving.

I hope that it wasn't beyond
the students' grasp.

It was one of the finest oratories
I've had the privilege of hearing.

I heard that Mr. Takayanagi married
an extremely beautiful woman.

You must really have your hands full,
what with the election coming up.

Really? I hadn't heard!

Well, we are at war after all.
The wedding was a quiet affair.

I hope you don't take my silence
on the matter as a slight.

- Your wife is from Tokyo?
- Yes.

But I believe the real congratulations
should go to the headmaster.

The prefecture is honoring him
with an award.

He's to receive a gold medal.

Oh, well!
How about that?

That is indeed quite something,

I couldn't have done it
without all your help.

However, the decision is
still unofficial.

Please keep it quiet until then.

This is quite an honor for
Nagano's educational system.

- We'll have to have a lavish celebration.
- I'm sorry to create a fuss.

Come in!

- I'm sorry to intrude.
- Don't worry!

We were just about to leave.

It's Mr. Kazama. He asked me to
appeal on his behalf.

Well, you've gone to quite
the trouble for Mr. Kazama.

I'll listen.

- I have a request...
- I know that!

Mr. Segawa has spoken of it
many times.

I was wondering if it would be
possible to receive a pension...

- following my resignation.
- Of course.

Look at the primary school
ordinances for yourself.

You could count the subsequent
five months as vacation time,

and then he would have worked
here for the full 10 years.

Mr. Kazama, I don't know what
you're thinking, but the time...

you haven't come to school up til now would
certainly seem to count as vacation.

You've taken time off as if there's
nothing wrong with it.

You've inconvenienced
other teachers.

The teachers share a strong bond
and see no inconvenience.

A strong bond!

That's an uncomfortable thought,
and it's unbecoming of a teacher.

Of course, if you report
to work every day...

for the remaining five months,
that's another matter entirely.

It's because he can't work
that we're here.

I am the headmaster.

This school, the teachers,
and the students are all under my care.

I cannot afford to turn a blind eye to
anyone trying to undermine discipline here.

Forget about your pension
and convalesce.

I'm afraid I've no choice...

but to follow your advice.

What?! You chattered on
about how you weren't...

going to leave today til you talked
some sense into the headmaster!

Yes! I'm sorry for the
trouble I've caused.

Forget about us!

I was only just recently appointed
headmaster of this school.

I would hope that you would
be more supportive.

At any rate, as I'm sure
you'll soon hear,

I am to receive a medal
from the prefecture.

I don't credit this to any policies that
I have personally implemented.

On the contrary,
Mr. Tsuchiya,

I couldn't have done it without
the help of your uncle.

He is the county educational

It has nothing to do with me.

It's of no use trying to reason
with young people.

The county educational
supervisor oversees us.

An order from them is obeyed

I'm sure you'll understand in time.

"Record of Repentance"
by Rentaro Inoko

Thank you.
Shall I wrap it?

I am a burakumin...

Sir! You are him,
aren't you?!

Mr. Rentaro Inoko,
I mean.

Yes... I'm Inoko.

I've seen your photo in books
and newspapers.

But I didn't expect to run
into you in the countryside.

You are?

Ushimastu Segawa.

I'm a teacher at
Iiyama Elementary School.

Oh, so you're Mr. Segawa.

The many letters that
you've written...

have been of great comfort.

You must forgive my
undue caution.

I thought I was ready to die
at any time, but maybe not.

Please meet my wife.
This is Mr. Segawa.

Pleased to meet you.

I read in the newspaper
the other day...

that you had fallen deathly ill.

As you can see, I'm well enough
to travel, so you needn't worry.

I'm staying with a friend in the
outcast section of Komoro.

The innkeeper in the village
wouldn't accommodate me.

Walking in the mountains helps
nourish my thoughts,

but my wife worries that the
mountain air is poor for my health.

I don't know what
to do with her!

I saw the announcement for your
new book, Record of Repentance.

Yes, it should be available soon.

To think that someday a thoughtful
burakumin may read my book and say,

"Look, a fellow named Inoko
wrote this,"

that would be enough.

That's the dream that keeps
me going.

I still want it.

It's a puzzling coincidence:

You entered the Nagano
teachers' school after I quit.

I was born in the south of Nagano.

Students from the same area spread
rumors that I was a burakumin, and...

it turned into quite an uproar.

I immediately confirmed that I was indeed
a burakumin and left the school.

In other words,
I was expelled.

I understand that you were studying
to be a psychologist.

I heard that you quit of
your own free will.

Me? That in a moment
of inspiration,

I decided to dedicate my life to
the rights of burakumin?

No, I hadn't the mettle for
such ambitions.

When I was a boy, the other children would
make sport of me, throw rocks at me.

I didn't understand.

In middle school, it hit me that
I had been born a burakumin,

and I cursed my parents.

I was angry that they had me,
and raised me.

I thought I'd have been
better off having...

no arms or legs than to
be a burakumin.

Where are you from?


Komoro? Really?

Pardon me for asking, but are
your parents still alive?

My mother died when I was four.

My father died some time ago.

No brothers or sisters?

I rushed here when I heard
my uncle was critically ill.

Fortunately, it was nothing,
so I'm going home.

I'm sorry for your troubles.

We had a rally in Komoro
last night.

People shouted, "Who asked the opinion
of a bunch of polluted people!"

Scalawags always show up for these events.
But even sadder than that,

is when burakumin live by
hiding their identity.

They want to keep things quiet,

but I pick at the scab until blood
flows and they resent me.

They feel small and persecuted,

trapped in their haphazard lives.

They close their eyes to reality.

It doesn't even occur to these brethren
to consider change to this disharmony.

The power wielded by the movement is
on the side of the burakumin.

Don't you want to fight
the good fight?


For better or worse, we're the ones who
were educated, and we have a duty.

I was once weak and,
as a coward, hid my identity.

Do you plan to live and
die a coward?

Mr. Inoko!

How about it?

I'm... not burakumin.

I see...

You must forgive me.

You must be very angry.

Can you forgive me?

Sir, don't be absurd.

It is I who must ask for
your forgiveness.

I sometimes get carried away.

Since my health is doubtful,

I never know when
I might expire,

and am desperate to find someone
to whom I may pass the torch.

Your letters were so very

This is why I tell you to
at least wear socks.

It's winter and you've
caught a chill.

May I come in?

Mr. Segawa?

In the name of the Buddha.

I was wondering if you know
if it's true that...

Mr. Keinoshin Kazama was
fired as a teacher.

How did you know?

So it is true.

The abbot heard a rumor
and was worried.

Is Mr. Kazama a relative?

- He's Shiho's real father.
- Shiho?

Shiho's mother died somehow,

and she didn't get along with
Mr. Kazama's second wife,

so we let her live here
as our daughter.

- Really?
- It was drink.

My husband did everything
in his power.

Mr. Kazama vowed time after time
to quit the bottle,

but he never lasted.

Finally, my husband gave up and told him
not to come here til he gave it up for good.

So what's the story about
his four small children?

They were born of other women.

Shiho's half brothers and sisters.

She had an older brother,
but he died in this war.

In the name of the Buddha.



Some of these are just chaff.

The sparrows might've gotten some of it,
but the weight is on target.

69kg... this is good,
unshelled rice.

But you didn't count the
container weight.

It's too late to weigh the
container now.

I'm sorry the sake's cold.

Stop crying! Aren't you supposed
to be the older brother?

She took it and ate it.

Shut up!

I can't believe it.

People who take things
without asking are thieves!

Get out of here, I can't raise such
an unscrupulous child!

Are you going to take
six 40 liter bags?

40 liters?
I'm taking 85 liters?

80 liters?!

No, not 80.
I'm taking 85 liters.

Landlord, please take it all!

- I don't need any of it!
- Just a minute now...

Forget it, I quit. I'm not
sharecropping here anymore.

I take care of everything
around here,

and the would-be breadwinner just
sits around and drinks all the time.

There's no way I can make ends meet.

I give up!
I can't take it!

weeping in front of a guest!

I'll be back.

As penitence,
couldn't you stay home...

and help me,
just once a year?

I may be living in a hovel now,
but my family...

once lived in a samurai residence
near a castle on a prominent road.

You want me to do the
work of a peasant?

I wasn't exactly penniless
when I married you.

I had a lot more clothes than your
precious Shiho at Lotus Temple.

If you won't till the land, why don't you
be a bookkeeper for a bank?

Have you forgotten I'm ill?

An illness called laziness,
caused by too much drink!

I said, I'm sick.
I'll be dead soon.

That is to say, what becomes of
people after they die?

It's a question that
no one could answer.

The ancient gods of Shizuoka
were incredibly devout men...

who became the monks of Shibutani
and formed their teachings.

After the sixth year,

they became gods and the protectors
of our town of Iiyama.

In the name of the Buddha.

That's quite a group in there.

The head priest is delivering
a sermon.

I left because I don't like it when
so many people gather here.

This town is strongly Buddhist.
Aren't you going in to listen?

- I never feel comfortable at temples.
- It's cold out here.

- Actually, I have something to tell you.
- What is it?

I asked about the natural sciences instructor
position at Nagano teachers' college.

Oh, the opening at Tokyo agricultural
sciences university. Did you get it?

Yes, the letter just arrived
at the inn.

- Congratulations.
- Thank you.

It means I can finally dedicate myself to
botany without having to leave Nagano.

I'll be leaving Iiyama at the
end of the month.

So it seems.
You're leaving, too.

I'm a bit envious.

It's like I always told you,

You'd have been snapped up ages ago, had you
put in a request to the teachers' college,

Then you could be teaching at junior high,
or at a teacher's college.

You're a much better teacher
than I'll ever be.

You're being wasted on
primary school students.

I prefer playful children
that will listen to me.

I'm satisfied with the tranquil lifestyle
of a countryside teacher.

I want it to be like this forever.

Is that her?
Kazawa's daughter.

Yes, she's Shiho.

She's cute.

Mr. Segawa!

I'm sorry to disturb you
while you're studying.

What can I do for you?

I see you around the
school quite frequently,

but I've never had the
opportunity to meet you.

I'm Risaburo Takayanagi.

Pleased to meet you,
I'm Segawa.

You're serving in quite an
honored teaching position,

so I'm sure that you spend little time
involving yourself in worldly affairs,

but elections are slippery
events indeed,

and you can't predict the
outcome until it's over.

You can't let your guard down,
not even for a moment.

I hope I can count on
your support.

I haven't the skills to assist
in a campaign.

I should've mentioned it before, but I heard
your father died in a terrible accident,

and I wanted to offer my
sincerest condolences.

Thank you, but I think...

there's been some misunderstanding.

My wife's relatives knew
your father.

Nobody knows about my
wife's family.

Nobody knows where you came from,
other than my wife and me.

Do you understand?

Your wife's family?

I trust you know
Rokuzaemon from Komoro?

He's the richest man in the area.

Let's just say that I married
a burakumin girl to finance my campaign.

Please understand my

Otherwise, I'm prepared for you and I
to stab each other and die right here!

I give you my word on that.

I haven't the faintest idea
what you're talking about.

My wife and I were on
the same train...

to Komoro when you went.

Maybe you were on that train,

but if so,
I didn't notice you.

Then do you continue to insist that you
don't know what I'm talking about!?

I don't know what you're
talking about.

If I lose this election,
it will be the end of me.

I beg of you, please don't tell people
about my wife's family.

I'll do anything I can in return.

I've never gossiped about
you before now,

and I don't plan to in the future.

Furthermore, I don't need
any favors from you.

That's all I needed to hear.

Mr. Segawa, you have as
much to lose as me.

Please think about it.

I didn't even know how
to apologize!

I could see that you
were depressed,

but I thought you were just
upset about your family.

It isn't the first time the abbot's malady
has manifested itself this way.

But I didn't think that he
would lay a hand on you. It's pitiful.

Mother, please don't worry.

Whatever happens,
I'll never let him touch.

I'm going to send a letter
to my sister in Nagano.

I'm going to ask him for
a divorce.

Hopefully that will open his eyes.

Were it not for that malady,

he would be a fine abbot.

Sorry to disappoint you,
but we don't have anything today.

Just some river fish and
tofu drippings.

That sounds fine.
And a glass of sake.

Hey, Segawa.

What in the world brings you
to a joint like this?

I'll sit with you.

Have a drink.

That's a surprise...

I never thought you'd buy
me a drink.

This fleeting life,
like a dream

Time just slips through
your fingers.

You think about tomorrow and the next day
and pretty soon you're 50.

Times have changed, too.

I don't know what you think when you see
the remains of the castle by Chikuma River.

Covered in brambles and weeds.
Mulberry fields on every side.

All of the samurai living
in poverty.

Working in government offices.

Or as school teachers, leading
ultimately meaningless lives.

Well, there's nothing as
useless as a samurai.

In truth, I was one of them.

Even if your job is miserable,

if you quit, you've nothing
to do and you're kaput.

You can kill time fishing.

Grave: The Deceased,
Keinoshin Kazama,
Private First Class

And nap all day when the
weather's disagreeable.

Thirsty, eh?!

Are you going to
cut loose tonight?

I suppose moderation is best
in all circumstances.

No one would be surprised
to see me drunk,

- but when you drink, Segawa,
people worry. - Why?

Because you and I are different.

I'm old. My life is over.

But you're a young man,
with a bright future.



I apologize for the inconvenience.

I know he's nothing
but a nuisance.

Shiho, what are you doing here?

Father, there's no one here.

- It's like no one lives here.
- I'm fine on my own.

Let's get you to bed.
You've been drinking.

They all left...

They left me.

One day, when I came home,
no one was here.

Back to her hometown,
I guess.

Those poor children!

Ryukichi and Susumu, having to go
to an unfamiliar home.


Their mother will raise them
to be splendid peasants.

I pity their mother, too.

Take a good look at her.

This is the kind of daughter
I have.

She's crying for a stepmother
who hated her.

She's just like her mother.

Right down to her face and
the look in her eyes.

That was the main reason
my second wife hated her.

There was nothing that
I could do about it.

Father, I'd like to live here
with you again.

I could sew or do other work.

What are you talking about?

I plan never to return to
Lotus Temple again.

Segawa, did Shiho do
something disgraceful?

What happened?

The abbot's wife said she
would divorce him.

- What he did to me...
- The abbot?!

Hey, Segawa, my wife used to
complain constantly.

She said that the abbot
was a lecher.

Such shameful behavior for a man
of his position in the monastery.

But even an animal
wouldn't lay a hand...

on his adopted daughter.

Shiho, I want you
to come back,

but as you can see,
this is how I am now.

Iiyama is distinguished for the
care it places on its temple.

You could have a happy life there.

I will always be grateful to
the abbot and his wife...

for raising me since I was
13 till now,

but I will not return to
Lotus Temple.

I could never just leave
you here...

to live on your own.

Father, I beg you.

Please go to Lotus Temple tomorrow
and tell them I'm living with you now.

Shiho, there's sake on that shelf.

Bring it here.

Don't you think you should
cut back a little?

Recently, nothing goes down
but sake.

My stomach can't handle
solid food.

The doctor told me he couldn't
find anything wrong.

I don't have a fever.

What do you think, Segawa?

Do you want the daughter
of a pauper?

She's from a good samurai family.

- If you want her, she's yours.
- Father!

I'm not of samurai stock.

I'm the only one who cares
about the samurai.

My last wife was a peasant!

Did you hear?

- About that teacher, Mr. Segawa?
- No, I didn't.

They say he's a burakumin.

I heard there's someone who can
prove it, so there can be no doubt.

- Who?
- I shouldn't say.

A councilman shouldn't
speak too freely.

Mr. Segawa, we don't have to
study today, do we?

No one else came,
because of the snow!

Mr. Segawa, let's play!

Wait a little while longer.
And try to keep quiet.

Now go.

Speech by Rentaro Inoko

Essentially, this whole thing blew up
because Mr. Segawa is just plain weird.

This isn't a joke.

We wouldn't put up with it
if he were a burakumin.

Townspeople like gossip.

Rumors about all the teachers.

- It just depends on the rumor.
- Of course...

That's why we can't afford
to ignore this problem.

Whenever I speak to Mr. Segawa
about the burakumin,

he always changes the topic.

He dodges the issue and
turns pale.

Don't you think it's strange?

He has seemed a bit
melancholy recently.

- They say you can tell a burakumin
from his face. - Precisely!

As outcasts from society,
their dispositions are extremely warped.

Such a fine young man could
never be born of the burakumin.

That alone should prove that
he is not a burakumin.

Mr. Tsuchiya, what then would
you make of Mr. Rentaro Inoko?

He's... an exception.

Be logical. Then, Mr. Segawa
is an exception, too.

If you can tell from the face,
that would make you the one.

Yes, your face is very swarthy.

- And extremely foppish.
- How absurd!

Accusing me of being
a burakumin!

You never could take a joke.

Mr. Segawa, haven't you researched
Rentaro Inoko's writings extensively?

Just what kind of a man is he?

He's not a philosopher,
or an educator, or a clergyman...

- He's a freethinker!
- A freethinker?!

If you ask me,
he's a daydreamer.

In fact, he's some kind
of a madman!

Give it a rest...

You always get worked up when
you talk about Rentaro Inoko.

Let's go outside.

It's because you're suffering inside,

tortured by your own thoughts,
that people misunderstand you.

That you could be a burakumin...

What if I were a burakumin?!

Get a hold of yourself!

The school checks where teachers
are from before hiring them.

These rumors are completely

Just talk to me.

You've no reason to
keep secrets from me.

Talk about what?

What's bothering you and
every other young man:



I noticed that you suddenly
moved to Lotus Temple,

and that you've been
glum ever since.

I understand that Shiho
has a sordid history.

That was the time that you
became dejected, wasn't it?

We went to the same teachers' college,
and we're posted at the same school.

Why don't you level with me?

If you open up and
ask my advice,

maybe I can't help,
but I'll try.

I've had such feelings before.

But, the truth is...

she died a long time ago.

That's what it is.
She's dead.

I don't think I could ever
feel that way again.

I can't.

That's all I can tell you now.

Forgive me.

All of the teachers at the school
speak highly of you.

But some people in the
town no longer...

wish to send their children here.

I apologize for this commotion.

On the contrary, we understand
that this must be difficult.

We are simply concerned for you.

Thank you.

The truth is that I have
noticed telltale signs...

once or twice in his behavior.

But I cannot simply leap to the conclusion
that it's due to his lineage...

and fire him right on the spot.

On the other hand, I cannot stand
by as parents, students,

and even other teachers,
nurture rumors about him.

Perhaps if he requested
to transfer...

to another school, this matter
could be solved quietly.

I understand completely
the spot you're in.

The school's honor must
not be compromised.

Rentaro Inoko

In a sluggish economy,
these books won't sell.

I'll take the
English-language book.

But these are brand new.
I haven't even read them.

I don't know what to say...

I'll give you 55 sen
for the lot.

55 sen?

I'll take it.

I guess I took you by surprise.

I should have told you
I was coming.

My wife said as much.

I didn't know that you'd moved here,
so I stopped by the boarding house...

in Takasho City
before I came here.

Is something the matter,
Mr. Segawa?

You must be sick.

You're shaking.

You seem feverish.
You must sit down.

I only intended to see
you briefly.

Who... who are you?

Me? I'm Inoko:

Rentaro Inoko.

I'm Segawa...

I'm not sure if you have
the wrong person,

but I've never met you before.

Your name sounds familiar...

I do believe that I've
read your books,

but I've never met you before,

and at any rate,

I don't know you.

Mr. Segawa.

I've made a terrible mistake.

There are many who are sympathetic
to us burakumin...

And we gratefully accept their sympathy.

We do so because their
understanding and sympathy...

more than anything
gives us strength.

Still, I'm always careful.

Depending too much on people's
sympathy and compassion...

makes one feel like a beggar
with his hand out.

There's something that I'm
even more cautious of:

that is being so vigilant of avoiding
stooping to the level of a beggar...

that I become hard-hearted and rebuff
innocent acts of kindness.

I've made doubly sure to be
alert to both dangers,

but it seems I have again
made a mistake somewhere.

I'm sorry that you went out in the cold
to look for someone that you...

were unable to find.

I'm sorry; there must be many
people with the same name.

There must be many people
who look alike.

My eyesight has suffered
since I fell ill.

I often mistake people
for others.

It's a nuisance for people
dear to me.

It's sad.

I'll let myself out.

You don't seem well.
Please take care.

What are you doing here?

I came to greet the guest,
but he had already left.

Mr. Segawa, you should rest.

Did something happen to him?

Maybe the flu.

He's a bit shy, but we should have
adopted someone like him.

We should've gotten a son
from the start.

Shut up!
I don't need your sarcasm.

I'm not being sarcastic.

If we don't have someone to take care of us,
what will become of us?

It's raining again.

What happened!?

What is it?!

Has someone gone
to fetch the police?

Mr. Inoko!

- Who is it?
- Who knows?

He's your guest; we'll leave
him with you for now.

He was with attorney

He left right after the incident.
So, he's not my guest.

If you leave him here,
all of my other customers will leave.

The police are busy
investigating this incident,

and we can't just leave
him outdoors.

I knew it had to be
something like this.

I don't mind keeping
the body.

When my husband had
a relapse in Komoro,

a man named Murakami
helped us greatly.

I understand he's
a lawyer from Ueda.

He did so much for us,

but my husband became involved
with the election.

I only found out later...

but Mr. Murakami is running
against Mr. Takayanagi...

in the upcoming Iiyama election.

He was trying to use
my husband.

I told him,

but he said he didn't care.

Mr. Takayanagi had married
a burakumin girl...

just to get at her
rich father's money.

He said that it would be worth it...

just to expel such
a base man from politics.

He left early this morning
for a campaign speech...

Letter of Resignation

I hear the killer was
hired by Mr. Takayanagi,

because his wife was
a burakumin.

It's more frightful to think of Inoko
exposing that fact at a campaign speech.

Still, Inoko was
an important man.

I have an announcement.

- An announcement?!
- An announcement!

This will be my last day
teaching you.

I have to say goodbye
to you all.

I think you all know...

in these mountains,
there are five types of people:

Former samurai, merchants,
farmers, clergymen,

and there's a group called
the burakumin".

Even now, burakumin live in groups
separate from the town,

and some of them work
as farmers.

Those who work as farmers conduct
what they call pilgrimages.

Once a year, they visit
their fathers and grandfathers

with a sheaf of rice and
check on their wellbeing.

I'm sure you know that if
they visit your house,

they are to eat from
special bowls on a dirt floor,

and under no circumstances to set one foot
past the threshold into the living quarters.

And if an errand takes you to
the burakumin neighborhood,

you can accept a cigarette,

but you are by no means
to accept a cup of tea.

Such is the lowly position
of the burakumin.

If a burakumin came into this
classroom and taught...

language and geography,
how would you feel?

The truth is...

I'm a burakumin.

You're not adults, but you're also
not so young that you...

have no understanding of
the matters of this world,

Please remember what
I've told you.

In the future,

after 5 or 10 years,

when you look back on your
days in primary school,

please remember that you once
had a teacher named Segawa,

when you were in the
fourth grade,

and when he revealed
his status as a burakumin,

said goodbye, and left.

He drinks spiced sake on
New Year's Day just like me,

and on the emperor's birthday
he sings the national anthem,

and he said that he would pray
for our good fortune.

Also, that the reviled

like you,
were born into this world...

as defenseless,
innocent babies,

and remain the same as you
until their dying day.

Please remember that
I plainly explained that...

we're neither monsters,
nor animals.


As your teacher,
I've tried to...

teach you how to think clearly.

To stay on the straight and narrow
path and never to lie.

For this reason, I'm ashamed that
I hid the fact that I am a burakumin.

Please, forgive me!

I will probably never
teach again.

The days I've spent with
you all in the...

three years I've been
at this school,

are probably the happiest
in my life.

Walking along the Chikuma River
with you singing;

shoveling snow together
after the blizzard;

losing at tennis;

marveling at how quickly
you grow.

They are a flood of
memories for me.

This classroom and...

how all of you smell like the
sun on dry grass.

Your healthy faces in your
fine school uniforms.

These are memories
I will never forget.

You made a person like me...

your friend for such
a long time.

I would like to express
my gratitude.

Thank you.

Thank you very much.

When you get home,

please tell your parents about me.
Tell them...

I'm sorry that I concealed
that I'm a burakumin.

Please tell them that
I told you everything.

Forgive me!

What's wrong?

- Mr. Segawa admitted to being a burakumin.
- He told his fourth grade class.

He knelt and apologized,
telling them never to discriminate.

Let's go!

Forgive me!

What are you saying?
Get a hold of yourself!

Letter of Resignation

You're ready to quit?!

I understand.
I know how you feel.

Leave everything to me!
You stay here!

Father, it's all done now.

You made sure
I was educated.

I learned to feel free.

That freedom cost
you your life.

You spent your life buried
in the mountains,

and I betrayed your wish.

I abandoned Mr. Inoko,

and he died as a result.

Today, I've abandoned
my father,

and when I cry,

I can no longer carry
your memory in my heart.

I am alone.

I abandon my name, love,

and spend my life wandering as an act
of contrition for my transgression.

Father, what do you need?

It's heavy...
My chest is heavy.

This blanket isn't enough to
keep you from catching a cold.

Is that better?

I'm sorry to intrude,
but I'm looking for Mr. Segawa.

Mr. Segawa? No.

That's strange.
I wonder where he went.

Did something happen to him?

He left school, but hasn't
returned to the Lotus Temple.

I thought he might be here.

- I'll go with you.
- To where?

To look for him.

Thank you.


Are you all right?

He can't be dead, can he?

It would be so tragic.

I can't imagine his suffering.

Mr. Segawa didn't get to choose...

his mother and father.

Shiho, you have to
help Mr. Segawa.

He was fond of you...

But because of his lineage,

he abandoned thoughts of you.

I don't know what to say,

but I've already decided
to be with him.

- For the rest of your life?
- Yes.

His hands are like ice.

Miss Shiho...

You'll freeze to death out here!

I can never make this
up to you.

No, it is I who must apologize.

If I had been even a little
understanding of your situation,

you would have told me first.

Since I aspire to be a botanist,

I can't lie and say that I don't
understand nature as it is.

Casually dividing up
humanity into classes,

and putting the burakumin
on the bottom rung.

It makes me sick that I never
doubted it for a moment!

I couldn't blame you
if you hate me.

Please forgive me!

Mr. Tsuchiya!

I just learned everything
from Shiho...

She wanted to help look for you
without even asking why.

When I told her what happened
at school today,

she just said that she
felt badly for you.

She also said that...

she's ready to spend
the rest of her life with you.

Shiho, that's impossible.

I'm touched by the sentiment,

but I can't let you get involved in
the miserable future that awaits me.

But... Mr. Inoko married.

What about her?

I understand that she isn't
a burakumin.


I saw it in Record of Repentance.

Did you read it?

When Mr. Segawa came to the temple,
I knew that he was reading it,

and I borrowed it.

Mr. Inoko's wife's mother was
deadset against the marriage,

but her father eventually
gave implicit approval.

He endured painful gossip at his job
as a government official till retirement.

A woman can get her way
if she is determined.

It will be a long, sad trip with
my husband's remains.

I'm glad that you're
coming with me.

But Mr. Segawa, why did you
resign as a teacher?

I don't think there was any reason
for you to confess.

If people spread rumors about
you being a burakumin,

then they're still just rumors.

If people ask you to your face
whether you're burakumin,

avoid answering.

Then you won't be lying.

That's all you had to do.

I don't mean to be rude,

but if you're not a burakumin,

the whole thing must seem
incredibly simple.

It says in the constitution
that all people are equal.

My husband said that burakumin
were normal people,

and that it was wrong to
discriminate against them.

If that's the case, then why conform to
the errant convictions of others?

If you're a normal person,
why not live like one?

When I think of my husband,
I have no regrets.

He couldn't forget the hatred of being
born a burakumin till his dying day.

That's probably what made him dedicate
himself to the rights of the burakumin.

I guess I wanted a more
ordinary husband.

But it's because of men like
your husband...

that people's attitudes change.

They say that history is not borne
of the unwashed masses,

but from the deeds of great men.

I disagree...

Maybe it's because I'm a woman,
and detest violence.

I do believe that a day will come when
this problem will cease to exist...

And not because other activists like
my husband will take up the cause,

but in the natural flow of time.

I don't believe in such dreams.


You claim that all of society
scorns the burakumin,

and yet Mr. Tsuchiya,

the abbot,
and even his wife...

all learned that you were

but their feelings didn't
change a bit.

Even in your narrow circle of acquaintances,
there are several such people.

If you checked around Iiyama,
I'm sure you'd find more.

If you checked around the
whole country, still more.

Of course, some people will
stand in your way,

but it's the same for everyone.

Normal people accept hardship...

as the natural course of things.

You must accept that suffering
is a part of life...

and not blame it on being
a burakumin.

- You mean, keep a stiff upper lip?
- Yes.

And not to become an activist
like your husband?


But do I have to stay in Iiyama?

I don't think I can go to
Tokyo with you.

When I was a young girl,
I worked at a nursery school.

I'd like to return to that school,
if possible.

Tokyo will bring endless misery.

I understand.

Would you like to come?

Mr. Tsuchiya, I'd like to have
a farewell party for you.

When would be convenient?

I don't need a farewell party.

Least of all because I'm not quitting.
I'm not going to Tokyo.

Why not?

Just yesterday,
you were still planning to go.

Why are you not allowing the children
to see off Mr. Segawa?

Is it because of his lineage?

And in my case, I get a party for being the
nephew of the County Educational Supervisor?

Watch your tongue,
Mr. Tsuchiya!

My uncle is a conventional man,

but he detests irrational thinking.

You tell the students you're doing all
in your power to keep Mr. Segawa here,

but the fact is, you're treating him as
if on holiday and have written him off!

If I appeal to my uncle,
what do you think he'll do?!

Are you blackmailing me?

You have absolutely no understanding
of your students! I pity them!

That's why I'm not leaving
this school!

Mr. Tsuchiya, listen up...

The first criteria for engaging in a
teaching position in a regional area is...

an understanding of
the common man.

I couldn't serve in this
post if I just...

dedicated myself to higher thought and
avoided vulgar interests.

At dinners, I must sit with
Buddhist monks and Shinto priests,

learn customs of drinking
local sakes,

and use the regional dialect

Otherwise, I'd be shunned.

I'll concede that I no longer
think as an educator.

I placed a higher priority
on my position.

Looking back, I remember my...

boundless enthusiasm for education
when I was young.

It gives a man pause.

Let me carry it.

That's not necessary.

It looks heavy.

I was just thinking...

Are human bones really
this heavy?

Or is it the urn that they're in?

Did you meet Mr. Inoko when you
were at the nursery school?

It seems so very long ago.

It also feels just like yesterday.

I think I want to take the
mantle from Mr. Inoko,

but I don't think I could ever
aspire to his level of success.

Still, I can't suppress my desire...

to spend my life following
in his footsteps.

I apologize for disregarding
your advice,

but this is the path for me.

I don't know why I'm crying.

Despite my adamant protests,

when I think of how happy my
husband would have been...

He would have been so proud.

He has a fine successor,

and even if I can't understand the
machinations of a man's heart,

thank you.

I'd like to thank you on
his behalf.

Please excuse me.

I didn't think we'd
make it in time.

Is it really true that
you're leaving?

Isn't Tokyo far away?

Will you ever come
back to Iiyama?

I'll be away for a while.

Iiyama is my second home.

I'm sure I will return.

I loved this dictionary.

It's in poor shape now,
but use it at the school.

Mr. Segawa,
here's some hardboiled eggs.

My mother made them for you.

Isn't that Shiho?

Thank you.
Excuse me.

How's your father?

He spits out solid food.

Water is the only thing
that goes down.

He's been asleep all morning.

That's the bell of
the Lotus Temple.

I said goodbye at
the Mountain Gate.

The abbot's wife gave me wooden
prayer beads as a going away present.

Shota made them.

She also gave me some grass sandals
with covers, for walking in the snow.

That's probably Shota
ringing the bell.

Everyone's lives change,
but Shota just stays the same.

He has no family, no wife,
no children...

Shiho, if I call for you
from Tokyo,

...would you come?
- Yes.

You must be Shiho.

This is of tattered and
of no value,

but you'll need it until you
get to the train.

How kind. Thank you.

Thanks for everything.

Thank you.

I thought that it would be
you who saw me off.

Life's funny.

I'll see you in Tokyo.

You sure will.
Until then.


Ushimatsu left Iiyama in December 1904,
the first year of the Ruso-Japanese War.

Translation: scannon
Timing: lordretsudo