Ugetsu (1953) - full transcript

In the beginning of the springtime in the period of the Japanese Civil Wars of the Sixteenth Century in Lake Biwa in the Province of Omi, the family man farmer and craftsman Genjurô travels to Nagahama to sell his wares and makes a small fortune. His neighbor Tobei that is a fool man dreams on becoming a samurai, but he can not afford to buy the necessary outfit. The greedy Genjurô and Tobei work together manufacturing clay potteries, expecting to sell the pieces and enrich; however, their wives Miyage and Ohama are worried about the army of the cruel Shibata that is coming to their village and they warn their ambitious husbands. Their village is looted but the families flee and survive; Genjurô and Tobei decide to travel by boat with their wives and baby to sell the wares in a bigger town. When they meet another boat that was attacked by pirates, Genjurô decides to leave his wife and son on the bank of the river, promising to return in ten days. Genjurô, Tobei and Ohama raise a large amount but Tobei leaves his wife to buy the samurai outfit and seek fame and fortune. Meanwhile the female aristocratic Lady Wakasa and her servant ask Genjurô to bring her shopping to her fancy Kutsuki House. Sooner Genjurô and Tobei discover the price they have to pay for their ambition.



From Tales of Moonlight and Rain
by Akinari Ueda

Produced by

Screenplay by


Cinematography by

Art Direction by KISAKU ITO






Directed by

Akinari Ueda's
Tales of Moonlight and Rain

continues to enchant modern readers
with its mysterious fantasies.

This film is a new refashioning
of those fantasies.



What could that be?

They must be executing
Shibata's spies.

I need to sell all this
before the fighting starts.

- Can you sell it in Nagahama?
- Yes.

I hear business is booming there
since Hashiba's forces arrived.

- Can't I go with you?
- No, no women.

No telling what lawless soldiers
are capable of.

Besides, you have to stay
and take care of little Genichi.

Go if you must!

Some samurai you'll make!
Crazy fool!

How high can a man rise
without big dreams?

Ambition must be boundless
as the ocean.

You can't even handle a sword.

Stick to your trade
or you'll regret it.

Just wait till I'm rich.

I swear by the god of war:
I'm tired of being poor.

Genjuro, please take me with you.

Still at it?
Forget your foolish dreams.

- Let me pull the cart.
- Stop it, you fool!

He's delusional.

Thinks a big future
awaits him in Nagahama.

What a nuisance!

Miyagi, I'm off.

They're too greedy
for their own good.

Not just Tobei. Genjuro too.

Quick profits made
in chaotic times never last.

A little money inflames
men's greed.

They'd do better
to prepare for the coming war.

You tell Genjuro that
when he returns.

Thank you for your advice.

Daddy's back!

Welcome home.


Look at this!

- What's this?
- What do you think?

You got that for your wares?

Just feel it.

Never seen so much, have you?
I hurried back to show you.

That's what I call trade!
Now you understand?

What about Tobei?

He saw a fine samurai in town.

I tried to stop him,
but he followed the samurai.

I beg of you, sir!

Let me be your vassal!

I'll serve you faithfully unto death!

Accept a beggar as a vassal?

Get some armor first!

- Armor and a spear!
- Get lost, beggar!

Then can I be a samurai?

You again?

Get yourself armor and a spear!

You look so nice!
Happy now?

Yes, very nice.

It's like the Bon festival
and New Year's rolled into one.

For years I've wanted
to buy you a kimono,

but I couldn't afford it.

Now I finally can!

What do you think?
You look happy.

It's not the kimono

but your kindness
that makes me happy.

I need nothing else
as long as you're with me.


Dried fish, oil, flour,
arrowroot, and rice cakes.

Money is everything.

Without it life is hard...

and hope dies.

Well, Daddy has to work.

Up we go.

I'll earn even more.

I'll make all the pottery I can.

That last small batch
brought in three silver coins.

That's enough now.
We have plenty of money.

The village chief says

Shibata's troops
could be here by tomorrow.

We should be cautious.

War's good for business.

Look how much I made!

You were fortunate once.
You may not be next time.

If anything happened to you –

Stop imagining the worst.

Ah, Ohama.


Don't worry.

No samurai would hire
a peasant dressed in rags.

Don't worry. He'll be back.

Have something to drink.


Have you come to your senses?

You look like a beggar!

You've become the village idiot!

Keep it turning.

Get him out of here!
He's in the way.

We won't make it
if we don't hurry.

Stay out of the way.
Go sit down.

Mommy, I'm hungry.

What a pest!

Come on,
just a few more turns.

You're a different man now.

Always so irritable.

I just want us to work in peace
as husband and wife...

and for the three of us
to live happily together.

That's all I wish for.

You really worked hard this time.

I have a plan, that's why.

Let's sell this new batch in Nagahama.
We'll make a fortune.

Will I get a share?

Of course.
A third of all we sell.

I can't wait to get my hands
on that money.

I've never seen those two
work so hard.

They've thrown everything
into this kiln:

their strength, their souls,

What will become of them
if they fail?

Living together as a happy family
is enough for me.

But he insists on taking this risk.

Men just won't listen.

He was always
so level-headed before.

War certainly changes people.

At least they're trying
to bring in some money.

What's that?

Wake up, dear!

The rumor was true.
Must be Shibata's troops!

See anything, Tobei?

The villagers
are scattering like spiders!

- What shall we do?
- We have to keep the kiln burning.

I'll be damned
if I'll let that fire go out.

They're pillaging houses
and rounding up men.


It's Shibata's army!
Hurry, run!


We're taking men
for forced labor!

Don't try to resist!

This is terrible!

Run for your lives!
Shibata's troops!

They're stealing everything!
Hide your rice and valuables!

Don't let them get your women!

They're taking all men
into forced labor.

What a pack of wolves!

If only they'd waited
one more night!

Hurry, let's run!
It's too dangerous here.


If we lose this batch,
I lose my share of the profits!

You'll lose your life for that kiln!

Come now, quickly!

Boil some rice.
We'll need it in the mountains.

Ohama, quick!


Trying to hide, eh?

Come out of there!


Please don't take them
or we'll starve!

We're begging you!

Out of my way!

Out of the way, fool!

It's ready.

Thank you.

Hurry and eat.

What happened to Tobei?

What a hopeless fool.

Have you seen my husband?

No, I haven't.

Who's there?

It's really quieted down.

The guns are almost silent.

Genjuro, where are you going?

It's too dangerous.
Wait till the soldiers leave.

It's best to wait.

I can't wait! I have to go!

- Please don't!
- I can't let the fire go out!

Forget the kiln!
What if you're caught?

The fire!

We can always make
more pottery.

I can't let that batch be ruined.

Damn it!
The fire's gone out!


Too late.

The fire's gone out.

Damn, it's empty!

What is it?

- Is someone inside?
- Could be something hidden in there.

Check and make sure.

Nothing but pots.

Let's go.

They're done!

Look! They're baked!

Thank goodness they're done!

They're done!

Are they done?

Yes, they are!
And very nicely, too.

Hurry and load them up.

So we're off to Nagahama?

Impossible now.
We'll row across the lake.

Ohama's a boatman's daughter.

You do the rowing, okay?

Can we get to the lake safely?

We'll take a shortcut to Onoe.

Where will we find a boat?

There are always
abandoned boats there.

Hurry, let's unload the kiln.

In the waters of Azuchi

A little boat floats along

All are asleep

Slumped over the rudder

The fog is thick.
Be careful.

Genichi, this is the lake.
Isn't it pretty?

We're finally out of danger.

It's good we went by boat.

On foot,
we'd probably be dead by now.

We'll reach Omizo by morning.

That's where Lord Niwa
has his castle.

It's even more prosperous
than Nagahama.

You and I will be rich men,

and our wives
will be wealthy women.

I'll build a warehouse
in our village.

And I'll buy a suit of armor.

This world is a temporary abode

Where we weep until the dawn comes
Pitched by the waves

It's a boat.

A ghost of the lake!


I'm not a ghost.

I'm a boatman from Kaizu.

I was on my way
to Azuchi with my cargo...

when I was overtaken by pirates.


Some water!

Thank you.

Wherever you're headed...

watch out for pirates.

If they see you,

you'll lose your cargo
and your lives.

Watch out for your women.

Your women!

Merciful Buddha.

Buddha have mercy on his soul.

Let's turn back.
This is a bad omen.

Let's take the women back to shore.
We'll continue on alone.

Please don't go.

I'm going too,
to keep an eye on Tobei.

- They kidnap women.
- I'll take my chances.

I'll go wherever you go.
Please take me with you.

- You must look after Genichi.
- Please, take me along!

Ohama, take us back to shore.

We'll be back
when we have the money.

We'll return within ten days.
Wait for us.

Don't try to fight
if pirates overtake you.

I know.
Don't take the main road.

Take the mountain path.

And don't go home right away.

These misfortunes won't last.
Be patient.

Tobei, Ohama –
please look after him.

Don't worry.
We'll be back soon.

Take good care of Genichi.

You'll be surprised
at all the silver we bring back.


Please be careful!

Come back safe and sound!

- Daddy!
- Be careful!


I'll take that vase.

This one?

And that sake jar
and those cups.

And those rice bowls,
plates, and pots.

Rice bowls, plates, and pots.

We live at Kutsuki Manor.
Please deliver them there.

We will pay you then.

Thank you.

- The castle guard!
- Make way!

Don't look!
You'll get crazy ideas!


With armor I could be a samurai.

Sword... spear... armor.

Don't throw away
our hard-earned money.

- Leave me alone, idiot!
- Stop him!

Let me go! I'll be a great samurai
next time we meet!

Please stop him!


She's gone.

- May I help you?
- A suit of armor.

Do I look like a samurai?

Yes, and a fine one.

But you need a spear.

I'll take one!

Here you are.

How much?

One silver piece.

Pretty, isn't she?

What are you doing?

Damn you!


Here's some money for you.


Look what's become of me.

Satisfied now,
seeing your wife reduced to this?

What do you care?
You're so happy to be a samurai.

Tobei, you wretched fool!

You big fool!

Would you watch over my stall
until my partners return?

They should be back soon.
Thank you.

Sir, how much is one of those?

Are you looking to buy?

Depends on the price.

They're too luxurious
for the wife of a man like you.

I've got money.

Excuse me.

We thought you might need
a guide to find the way.

You're very kind.

Follow us.

Please come in.

Thank you,
but I should be going.

Lady Wakasa is waiting.

Please step inside.

Are you referring
to the young lady?

Yes, daughter
of the late Lord Kutsuki.

Now please come in.
No need to be shy.

Thank you.

Come in.

Please, this way.

You are Master Genjuro
of Omi province, are you not?

How does my lady
know my name?

When I saw your ceramics
at the market...

I could hardly believe my eyes.

The blue glaze gleamed

like crystal.

My father taught me

a certain appreciation
for such things.

I wanted to meet you

to ask how you manage
to create such beautiful objects.

Is it perhaps a secret
not meant for outsiders?

No, there's no special secret.

But it takes
many years' experience

to handle the clay
and apply the glaze.

The fruit of experience is beauty,

but only a master craftsman
can create such beauty.

Thank you, my lady.

Aren't these my wares?

I wanted to taste sake
from your cups.

You're fortunate, my little ones,
to catch this noble lady's eye.

I'm a farmer,
so the pottery is just a sideline.

But I feel for my creations
as if they were my own children.

That such a noble lady
would look kindly on them

is a great honor.

To see them
in such a grand residence...

graced by the touch
of so beautiful a lady...

is a dream come true.

Not at all.

They must be saddened
by the touch

of one fallen on hard times
such as myself.

Please, have a cup.

My wares have never looked
so beautiful.

The value of people and things
truly depends on their setting.

My wares must be at a loss to find
themselves in such a noble manor.

Your talent must not be hidden away
in some poor, remote village.

You must deepen
and enrich your gift.

How might I do so?

By swearing your love
for Lady Wakasa

and marrying her at once.

The finest silk

Of choicest hue

May change and fade away

As would my life

Beloved one

If thou shouldst prove untrue

Our vow to love

For a thousand years

Is sealed with this cup

His voice sounds so pleased!

That's the voice
of my late father.

Because of Nobunaga Oda,

that detestable Nobunaga Oda,

the House of Kutsuki
was wiped out.

The only survivors
were Lady Wakasa

and myself, her nurse.

But the spirit of the late daimyo
lingers in the palace

and sings like this
every time my lady dances.

Is it not a splendid voice?

He's delighted
at my lady's impending marriage.

Whenever I hear his voice –

It's too early to rise.
Please sleep as long as you like.

What am I doing here?

What a thing to say...

as if you'd forgotten everything.

Is my lord awake?

Lead your husband by the hand
to the spring and bathe him.

I won't intrude.

You seem to distrust me.

You think I'm an enchantress...

don't you?

But you're mine now.

From now on...

you must devote
your whole life to me.


Has driven me mad

Even if you are a ghost
or enchantress,

I'll never let you go.

I never imagined
such pleasures existed.

This is exquisite!

It's paradise!

Help me!

Somebody please help!

Someone help me!

See any food?


Pull yourself together.
Come with me.

Come quickly!

Take these rice cakes,
and this too.

Thank you.
I'll never forget your kindness.

You'll be all right
if you take the back road.

To the left.

Be careful.

It's mine!

You got any food?

We're starving to death.

That food's for my son.

Please don't take it!

Behead me!

I've brought you a head!
A general's head!

What is it?

Please look at this!

You found the head
of a great general.

No, I didn't find it.

I killed him with my spear!

Who would believe
a great warrior like Katsuhige Fuwa

would let a mere foot soldier
kill him?

A lucky find, but you will be
rewarded all the same.

What would you like?

A horse, armor, and vassals.

Very well.
You will have them.

Thank you, my lord!

A clever one, aren't you?

He has got the air of a great samurai!

What clan does he belong to?

He killed Fuwa, the great general.

What's his name?

Tobei of Nakanogo,
Lord Niwa's top man.

Pay homage,
that you may be so lucky.

Beautiful girls
are waiting for samurai.

We have the finest sake and fish.

I can't let you pass.

Come look.
We have beautiful girls inside.

What's all this about?

Chief, let's rest here.

No, I'm returning directly home.

There's someone waiting.
She must see me in all my glory.

Chief, be generous.
Let us celebrate your triumph.

Your men are
looking forward to it.

I see. Very well.

I, Tobei Nakanogo
of Lord Niwa's army, will rest here.

Prepare some tables.

He'll rest here.
Show your gratitude.

Thank you.

Make way!

Clear the way for Master Tobei!


- Which one is this Tobei?
- Over there.


I heard of his great exploits.

May I drink from your cup, sir,
that good fortune may rub off on me?

Me too!

How did you manage to kill
such a great warrior?

Yes, tell us
so we may do as you did!

A guide for future action!

There's nothing much to tell.

You need brains.
You need knowledge.

A strong arm.

Skill in battle.

Martial artistry.

Speed to seize the moment.

The ability to see life
in perspective.

Then you'll be wise as Kongming,
the Chinese strategist.

But above all,
keep a clear, discerning mind.

Got that?
- Indeed.

For military tactics,
study the Kusunoki and Koshu schools.

For firearms,
learn from the Kanamaru school.

For the spear,
study the Otsubo school.

Next you need to know
fortifications and fortresses.

Then defensive tactics,

V-formations and the like.


My money!

Let me go!

Crazy bitch!

Stop him!
Where do you think you're going?

Let go of me!

Trying to run off like a thief!

I don't have money
for wenches like you!

Making a plaything of me.

This will do just fine.


So you're a great man now.

Finally became
the samurai of your dreams, eh?

While you've made
your way to the top,

I've made a name
for myself too.

In my fancy kimonos
and makeup,

drinking fine sake,

I bed a different man
every night.

Some success
for a woman, isn't it?

You must be pleased.
This is what you always wanted.

Success always comes
with a price in suffering.

Your wife may be fallen,

but your success
wipes the slate clean.


Be my customer tonight
and we'll celebrate.

Buy this fallen woman with the money
your exploits earned you!

Without you,
my success means nothing.

That's a lie!

My fate meant nothing,
as long as you became a samurai.

No, you're wrong.

I thought you'd be proud
if I made good.

I never dreamed
you'd be brought to this.

I'm a defiled woman.

And you're to blame.

Can you restore my honor?
- I can.

- Otherwise I've no choice but to die!
- I can!

I swear I'll restore your honor.

How many times
I've wanted to die,

but I had to see you first!

I hated myself for it...

but I couldn't die
without seeing you first!


and this.

I don't quite have enough.
Could you lower the price?

In that case,
I'll take this back.

I wanted that one.

Come to Kutsuki Manor
and I'll pay you the rest.

- Kutsuki Manor?
- Yes, at the foot of the mountain.

Take it all and go away!

Keep your money too.
Just go!


Yes, your worship?

I see something terrible.
An ill omen.

What is it?

Let me look closely at your face.

- Mine, sir?
- Yes, yours.

We can't talk here.

Follow me.

The shadow of death
is upon your face.

Have you not come across
some strange creature?

No, not really.

Have you no home, no family?

If others depend on you,
return to them at once.

If you stay here any longer,
you will die.

Return home quickly.

But why?

Do not ask why.
Your life is at stake.

I spend my days happily

with Lady Wakasa
at Kutsuki Manor.

- She's a spirit from the dead.
- Nonsense.

This love of yours is forbidden.

Do you not love
your wife and child?

Would you forsake your life
and abandon them too?


Go then, if you must.

But I cannot let you walk
into the jaws of death.

I will exorcise this ghost.


When you realize
how horrible this spirit is,

you'll come to your senses.

How beautiful!

Such lovely jewels!

You've made me so happy!

Most thoughtful of you!

I'm so relieved.

You were so late in returning

that I grew terribly worried.

You look troubled.

What has happened?

What is it?

You must not leave here again.

Since the fall of our clan,

people treat us with contempt

and slander our name.

What a wretched world!


I want you
never to leave my side.

Let's leave this manor
and return to my native land.


you are my husband for life.

Won't you come with me?

Forgive me!

I've been –

I've been lying to you.

I have a wife and child.

I left them back home
in the chaos of the war.

Please forget about all that.

Please let me go home!


You may not return.

Come with me
to my native land.


What is it?

He has something on his skin!

His skin?

Genjuro, did you –

Did you –

Wash away
the writing on your skin!

Why did you wed her
if you were already married?

How could I have made
such a terrible mistake!

A mistake for a man perhaps,
but for a woman, far worse.

Please forgive me.
Let me go home.

Certainly not!

Wipe off those Sanskrit characters,

those prayers to Buddha,
that curse,

or we will never forgive you!

How could you do
something so dreadful?

I wish to remain forever
by your side.

For all eternity.

Lady Wakasa departed this world

without ever having known love.

It grieved my heart
to see her sorrow.

I wanted my lady to enjoy fully

the pleasures of a woman's life...

so we returned
to wander this world.

Our hopes were fulfilled.

She met a good man like you...

and found a love that happens
only once in a lifetime.

Now, when she has
at last found joy,

you speak of returning home,

never to see each other again.

Would it not pain you to know

you'd destroyed
her only chance for happiness?

Would you not feel remorse?


banish these dreadful thoughts

and stay by her side forever –

Please forgive me!

This is the man!

Hey, you! Get up!

- What are you doing?
- Shameless thief!

You stole that treasure
from the temple.

You're wrong!

I didn't steal it!
- Silence!

This sword disappeared
a month ago.

That can't be!
It belongs to Kutsuki Manor.

- Kutsuki Manor?
- That's right!

You must be dreaming.

Kutsuki Manor stood here
before the clan was wiped out.

He's lying through his teeth!

Where exactly in the manor
did you find the sacred sword?

He's suspicious.
Search him.

That's my money!
Give it back!

If this were peacetime,
we'd throw you in jail,

but Shibata's army
burned it down.

Be thankful for that,
lucky bastard.

The finest silk

Of choicest hue

May change and fade away

As would my life

Beloved one...


I'm sorry
I've been gone so long.

You're back!

I knew you'd be worried.

I'm so happy to see
you're all right.


He's asleep.

Let me hold him.

Genichi, I'm back.

Daddy's back.

Let me hold you.

I wanted to bring back
nice presents,

but this is all I have.

I made a terrible mistake!

Not another word, dear.

You've come back
safe and sound.

I realize now
how right you were.

My mind was warped.

Let's not speak of it anymore.

You must be tired.

I have some sake ready.

And there's stew
ready in the pot.

I feel so relieved.

Sake has never tasted so good.

It's so peaceful here.

Come, Genichi.

I'll put you to bed.

I haven't had...

a moment's peace since I left,

but I'm home at last.

Hey, is someone in there?

Open the door!

Is someone in there?
Open up.

Village chief!

Genjuro! You're back?

Thank you for your kindness
in my absence.

There you are, my boy!

I was so worried
not knowing where you'd gone.

I'm so relieved.

I'm so glad.

The boy must have heard
you were back.


Are you dreaming?


Miyagi was killed by soldiers
of the defeated army.


She'd have been so happy
to see you back safe and sound.

Poor thing.

Merciful Buddha...

Ever since she died...

I've been looking
after your boy at my house.

I was so afraid
when he disappeared last night.

The bond between parent and child
is strong indeed.

But how could he have known
you'd returned?

To hell with these things!

I told you so...

but you were too stupid to learn
except through misfortune.

The war drove us mad
with ambition.

Don't let my suffering
be in vain.

Pull yourself together
and work hard.

Why did you have to die?

Why did you have to die, Miyagi?

I did not die.

I am at your side.

Your delusion
has come to an end.

You are again your true self,

in the place where you belong.

Your work is waiting...

What a beautiful shape!

Helping you spin the wheel
is my greatest pleasure.

How I long to see it
when it's baked!

The firewood is cut and ready.

The rampaging soldiers
are gone.

So make
your wonderful pottery in peace.

So many things have happened.

You've finally become
the man I had hoped for.

But alas...

I am no longer
among the living.

I suppose such is
the way of the world.

You must be tired.
Rest a bit.

Have some, Genichi.
It's good.

Eat it while it's hot.

eat before it gets cold.