Hara-Kiri: Death of a Samurai (2011) - full transcript

An tale of revenge, honor and disgrace, centering on a poverty-stricken samurai who discovers the fate of his ronin son-in-law, setting in motion a tense showdown of vengeance against the house of a feudal lord.

~ Ichimei ~
HARA-KIRI - Death of a Samurai





Produced by
NAKAZAWA Toshiaki and Jeremy THOMAS

Screenplay by

Directed by
MIIKE Takashi

With all my honour,

I have come to make a request

of your chief official.

Another one?

Will they never stop?


what should we do?

Where's Omodaka?

He should be here.

Shall I summon him?

No, that's fine.

Show him in.

You'll grant him audience,


I'll talk to him.

I am told

you wish to commit ritual suicide here.

I was in Hiroshima, in Geishu,

where I served Lord Fukushima Masanori.

I am Tsukumo Hanshiro.

Since the fall of my Lord's house,

I have sought a position elsewhere.

My wish has gone unfulfilled,
as we now live in peaceful times.

I have fallen into poverty.

I have struggled to survive,

but I can no longer bear the shame.

I wish to cut open my stomach
and die as befits a warrior.

I humbly ask

the use of your courtyard
to proceed with my task.

I applaud your truly magnificent
display of spirit.

Lord Fukushima's retainers

first confirmed his personal safety,

then handed over Hiroshima Castle.

The secession was without conflict.

They were the model
of proper conduct.

Speaking of Fukushima,

would you know a young warrior

named Chijiiwa Motome?

I do not.

He claimed to be

of the same Fukushima Domain.

Our domain reaped
498,200 koku of rice per year.

There were 572 elders, captains,

and their retinues alone.

Include their households as well,

and I cannot Imagine how many
were cut adrift

due to our loss of status.


Early last fall,

this masterless ronin Motome

appeared here

with the same request as you.

Would you care to hear

what happened?

Please tell me.

20th OCTOBER, 1634

With all my honour,

I have come to make a request

of your chief official.

He's our first.

Did you see him?
That skinny ronin?

Who cares where a beggar like that

kills himself?

The greater the House where he dies,

the more honour he regains.

Let's just kill him ourselves.


Give him a coin.

Send him away.
We don't want trouble.

Your opinion, Squire Omodaka?

Are you warm enough?

His age?

About twenty, sir.

Younger than you.

This is one of those suicide bluffs.

It's an outrage that such a person

calls on our House of Ii.

Suicide bluff?

Yes, sir.

This mess started

with one poor ronin
at the residence of Lord Fujishima.

I cannot make a living, ” he said,
"and wish to end it all. "

"I ask to use your courtyard
and die as a warrior should. ”

The elder he spoke to was moved,

and talked him out of it.

They hired him as a retainer,

and the story went round the town.

Other ronin

began Hocking to houses of great lords.

Some were taken on,

while those who weren't

were sent away with a few coins
to save face.

This is a disgrace.

Now all penniless ronin think

threatening suicide brings money.

That man is one of them.


you believe

this man is bluffing?

We must make an example of him

to stop this from happening again.

Lord Ii himself
happens to be here in Edo.

He will grant you audience.

His Lordship?

You should change.

I will conduct you to the bath.


this ritual will be a rare event.

Warriors of the House of Ii,

pay close attention to what you will see.


These are his swords.

Draw it.

He proposes

to commit suicide with that?

Put this on.

Thank you.

Then come this way.



Funeral dress, for His Lordship?

Lord Ii?

His Lordship has been called away.

He has been told of your wish.

He is convinced

you cannot be dissuaded
of your noble intent.

He commands us

to offer you

every assistance in your ritual suicide.


a little time!

Dress yourself.

All is in readiness.

You may carry out your wish
to commit suicide.

What do you think

of that?

What happened then?

I am Senior Retainer
to this House of Ii.

I am Saito Kageyu.

Our house is recognized for its bravery,

but few here remember

the great battles of Sekigahara
or Osaka.

Most of those here

are samurai by birth,

but have never fought in true battle.

They do not know war.

The land is at peace.

In these calm and gentle times,

I acknowledge

your request

as evidence of a most noble intent.

I wish our young men to observe

a true warrior

facing an impressive death.

I am your second...

Omodaka Hikokuro.

Matsusaki Hayatonosho is your witness.

Kawabe Umanosuke is your attendant.

Are you ready?

I beg a favour.


One day...

That's all I ask!

I swear I will return.

- For shame!


I swear I will return!

Even a few hours.



This House will not tolerate
suicide bluffs.

I'm not bluffing.

I will do it. I will die!


I beg you!

Squire Chijiiwa!



As fellow samurai,

we have done everything possible

to accommodate your wish.

May I now suggest
that you compose yourself?

We of the House of Ii

must observe all formalities.

A warrior's word is his bond.

Squire Chijiiwa...

You realize what you have done,

do you not?

I believe your own sword

will best suit your end.

And a fine sword it is.

Squire Chijiiwa...

I ask...

3 ryo...

I ask for 3 ryo.

To treat a sick wife and child!

How dare you!

Only 3 ryo!


That's your last request?


Of the Fukushima Domain,

I, Chijiiwa Motome,

will now cut open my stomach.

Push it in!

Twist it around!



Twist it around!

Twist it!



Truly a pitiable tale.


And so...

what will you do?

What will I do?

Leave now and I will say nothing.

I would not think of it.

A warrior's word is his bond.

I am going to commit

a most worthy suicide.


As you wish.

Go and change.
- No.

These clothes will best fit

the end of a penniless ronin.

The consideration you've shown me
has been great.

I don't know how to thank you.

If it is possible,

may I make one last request?

If you wish. I will hear it.

Thank you.

In that case, I wish

Omodaka Hikokuro to be my second.


He is said to be

the most valiant of all
the retainers to the House of Ii.


he has no equal.


Is he here?

He has not reported today.

As you have heard,
Omodaka is not here today.

Ono is a man

of no ordinary skill.

I ask most earnestly
that you honour this last request.

I insist.

Summon him.

Thank you.

He didn't come back last night?

Go and find him.

If he's absent without leave,
there will be consequences.

There are others missing?

Why didn't you tell me?


Where is he?

Senior Retainer Saito...

If Squire Omodaka is not available,

I request Matsusaki Hayatonosho

or Kawabe Umanosuke.

They have not reported today either.
Both are missing.


None of the three
returned to quarters last night.


What do you want here?I


I ask you to wait a short time.

I have something to say.

Hear me out,

then cut me Into pieces,
if you will.

Stand down!


I will.

I knew

the Chijiiwa Motome
who came here two months ago.

He was actually
a very close acquaintance.

Chijiiwa Motome

was actually
a very close acquaintance.

JUNE 1617


I have to go to the castle.


Don't worry about me, Miho.

Can you wait here alone?

Take a few minutes to rest.


Get this repaired!

If not the outer walls,
at least the inner ones!

As much as I'd like to rebuild,

we need the Shogun's permission.

We applied six months ago!

What's going on?

We can't stay this way.

Surely the Shogun won't object
to some minor repairs!

And If he does object?
We can't take the risk.

Violation of the Warriors' Laws
results in disbanding the domain!

At least start work
on the inner citadel.

We have to wait for permission!

Yes, Chijiiwa,
but we have to maintain the castle!

- Get busy!


Are you all right?

Should you be up?

To lie in bed on a fine day

is to tempt fate.


A fine melon.

My sword is a chunk of iron

compared to yours.

His Lordship gave it to me
after the Battle of Sekigahara.

Squire Jinnai,

I'm worried.

Our permission to rebuild
still hasn't come from the Shogun.

That's suspicious.

Is he scheming to destroy clans that
were his enemies before Sekigahara?

We only became allies after.

Don't say such things, Hanshiro.

Yes, it might be a problem...


You gain nothing
by worrying about it now.

Don't frown like that.

Squire Jinnai...

She looks more like your late wife
all the time.

Admit it.
She's the apple of your eye.

Considering that war
was all we ever knew,

I think we two widowers

have done a pretty good lob
of raising our kids alone.

Motome's becoming a fine young man.

He's something of a scholar,

unlike myself.

Recent work at the Hiroshima castle

violates the Warriors' Laws

and is thus held unlawful

Said construction
was to have been dismantled.

You were commanded to destroy

the entire castle
except the inner citadel.

That only a pretense was made

of following previous commands

is an intolerable affront.

Everyone must evacuate the domain

and withdraw into Tsugaru.

Hear and obey.

Effective Immediately.
June 2, 1619

As Commissioner of Works
for the Domain,

I should have appealed
to His Majesty the Shogun

by cutting my stomach

to avoid

destroying the castle

and our domain

The Shogun raises and lowers men

as he pleases.

Even close allies don't contradict him.

It's a crying shame.

Squire Jinnai...


I understand.

If worst comes to the worst,

I will take your son Motome

under my care and protection.


I'm sorry.

Slide open the doors.

I'd like to see the castle.

Beautiful, isn't it?


EDO, JUNE 1620

it's like schooling or fencing.

Practice faithfully every day,

and you'll see results.

Don't worry.

You're not eating, Father?

I have to go out.

Then we'll wait.

I'm meeting someone.
Don't wait.

Eat while it's hot.

It won't taste so good cold.

We give thanks for this food.

No luck today.

I hoped we'd get another carp.

They say carp gives good nutrition
to the frail.

Especially girls.

The net!


We can give this to Miho!

That's a fine estate.

That's the House of Ii.

At the Battle of Sekigahara,

we joined forces with them

to assure our victory.

With a position there,

I could fulfill my obligation
to you and Miho.

MAY 1630

He'll have to marry Miss Miho off
to find a position himself.


I'm back.

The Head Clerk from Koshuya grocery
came by again.

The fourth time he calls?

The fifth?

I think the answer was ”no" again.

You need to be married,

Miss Miho, so your father can relax.

But I guess the likes of us
wouldn't understand.

It's complicated

when you're of samurai caste.

I'm home.


I did more today than I expected.

That's lots of work.

Don't overdo it.


Don't worry yourself

over trifles.


A rice cake?

Want one?

You go ahead, Father.

I'll have mine later.

They taste better with someone.

Thank you!


I'm worried if the roof

is leaking badly.

Thank you for coming.

Not at all.

I haven't seen you for a while,
Squire Motome.

You put this old shed to good use,

I'm pleased to see. Thank you.

I should thank you,

I have taken advantage
of your kindness.

Not at all.

It's all for you,
I had some with Father.

They taste better with someone.


What's so funny?

I'll boil some water.


What brings you here?


Thank you.

That cat likes it here.

Is something wrong?

Could you marry Miho for me?


Will you marry her?

I have no position.

I can't get married yet.

It's the feeling that counts.

How do you feel about Miho?


For Miss Miho,

I would give my life!
- Really?


as I am now...

Well spoken, Motome! That's fine.

What matters is how you feel.

That's fine!


Go on, Motome.

Bring Kingo.

Come on, Miho.

Thank you for treating us
to that sea bream, Father.

I'm sorry it wasn't a bigger one.

Not at all.

Thank you, Father.

Don't be silly.
He's my grandson!

Don't be so formal.

Today is your first solid-food rite.

Go on...


Want some fish, Kingo?

Here, by a little.


Shall we eat?

We give thanks.


I'm off to help out
a friend at his school.

Away you go, then.


You've always been frail.

Take care of yourself.


don't worry.

We're going fine, as you can see.


don't pretend with me.

Whatever I can do, ask me.

All right?


It's extortion!

In front of someone's house!

What a nuisance!
- Terrible!

Squire Tsukumo...



that young samurai living over the way?

He did one of those

suicide bluffs.

Suicide bluff?

You haven't heard of them?


We of the townsfolk caste
would never think of it.

A samurai calls on a great lord.

He asks to commit suicide there,
but has no intention of doing it.

Just looking for charity.

It's just a trick.

But It puts the lord
in a very uncomfortable situation.


You're back. Sony.

What's wrong?

It's nothing.

I thought the cat

had finally come home this morning.

I see.

So he came home

to die...

He was lying here
just like he always does.

Go inside. I'll do this.


I'm fine.

Is that all?

I'm afraid so.

Unless, of course,
you want to sell your swords...

How dare you!

Here you are.

Three eggs. Thank you.


Fresh-laid eggs!


I'm sorry.

Don't worry. You rest.

You shouldn't have.

Don't let that concern you.

Take the medicine,
eat good food and rest.

Lie down.

I'll get you to a doctor somehow.

He'll fix you up.

A doctor?

We could never afford a doctor.

I'm nothing but a burden.

A husband must provide
for his wife and child.


we're two halves of a whole.

Stop worrying.

Don't think right now.

Keep resting.

Thank you.

50 mon.

I'm feeling better today.

Take care of yourself.


I don't know how to thank you.

You don't have to.

Stay in bed.

You take care, too.

You're all alone.

I'm fine.

I'm truly sorry

for worrying you.



I've brought trouble upon you.


What do you mean?

I'm sorry.

I have hope.

I will help Miho to recover.

You're right.


I'll do anything I can!

He's had fever for three days.

This isn't good. He needs a doctor.

I tried several times.


He demands 3 ryo first.

3 ryo?


How do we get the money?


could you stay

with Miho and Kingo for a while?

I have an idea.

You do?

I'll be back early this afternoon,
if things go well.

Hurry. We're counting on you.



Hold on.

Hold on.



Drink, won't you?


Stop that!

Your milk can't be good in your state.

Now lie down!

Lie down!

Where's Motome?

Why didn't he do something sooner?

Are you all right?



That's the way!

You're a samurai!


Please, drink!

Lie down.

What's keeping Motome?

Hold on!

Wake up!

Wake up,

win you!

Wake up!



I'm sorry.

Did it hurt, Kingo?

I'm sorry!

I'm sorry!


it's me.

It's my fault.

I'm sorry!

I'm so sorry!

It's not your fault.

I'm sorry.

It's not your fault!

Is that Motome?

Is this the residence
of Squire Chijiiwa?

Who's there?

We serve at the residence of Lord Ii.

Squire Chijiiwa called on us
this morning,

requesting the use of our courtyard

to commit ritual suicide.


This is from the Senior Retainer.

Our task is complete.



Tell me how Motome ended up this way I

We already told you.

Motome wouldn't do that!

Our task was to deliver the body.

Excuse US.

Wait! I can't believe that!

What happened?I

Our House decided
to not tolerate suicide bluffs.


Wait, please!

I thought the Senior Retainer
would stop it!

Tell me!
How did Motome die?I

Forgive me!



Have some.

It's delicious.

Motome had sold his sword

for his family's sake.

I still treasure mine
more than anything

and thus I cling to it.

The life of a samurai,

in fact,

depends entirely on twists of fate,

leading to glory or tragedy.

That means

Motome could have been among you,

and one if you could have lived
his sad destiny.

But even if Chijiiwa Motome

was in a desperate situation,

seeking profit from a suicide bluff

remains contemptible.

To outsiders,

requesting hara-kiri
with a bamboo sword will be mocked,

while this House will he praised
for allowing the ritual suicide.

No one here

will mention the courage and distress

that Motome revealed
using a bamboo sword upon himself.

I understand how you feel,

but he told us

that ritual suicide was his wish.

So we offered him the courtyard.

He was wrong to think
he would not have to.

A warrior must kill himself

once he says he will.

But knowing the shame for a warrior

in coming here to beg money

for a sick wife and child,

did you feel no pity?

Did not one warrior amongst you

have the humanity

to put yourself in his place?

We extended

every courtesy to him as a warrior.

Humanity, you say?

How absurd!

Even a warrior

has blood flowing through his veins.

Squire Tsukumo...

the House of Ii
must set a good example.

Each man has his own honour.
We are nothing without it!

Without the heart to preserve that,

we can preserve nothing!

I see.

All our men have it.

You say

that none of your men

has any fear of death...

in the name of a warrior's honour?


Squire Tsukumo...

are you satisfied?

Since the three gentlemen
left quarters last night,

they have not been seen.

Still missing?
- Yes.

Find them!

Where are my men?


I return these to you.

And I have brought

something else as well.

The topknots of Matsusaki Hayatonosho,

Kawabe Umanosuke,

and Omodaka Hikokuro.

Return those

to the gentlemen, if you would.

Without those topknots,

those three men

dare not be seen in public.

They still have their heads,
but they have lost face.

Who are you?

Who are you?I

Announce yourself!

Do you remember Chijiiwa Motome?

I took topknots Instead of lives.
In shame, they have hidden away.

You speak of a warrior's honour...

What about it now?

It means nothing!

A farce...

A complete farce!

Slice him!

A warrior's honour

is not something simply worn for show!



am I?

I was merely living my life...

waiting for spring.



Squire Omodaka!

As you ordered,

all is back in place.

Has it been polished?

Yes, sire.

After all,

that red armour
is the pride of our House.


Transcribed and timed by Avallach.
Subtitled by Marukomu