It’s no secret that Japanese movies are sometimes a tough sell for me, though I have to admit that’s starting to turn around. Someday soon I may have to stop using that excuse. This isn’t the MOST affecting classic-era Japanese film I’ve seen (that would be Mizoguchi’s Sansho the Bailiff), but it’s definitely one of the more emotionally raw ones, and I appreciated that greatly about it.
Harakiri is the Japanese custom of suicide for the sake of honor. In this case, a ronin, Tsuguma, whose master has died, leaving him no one to serve, comes to a nearby noble’s estate and requests to perform harakiri in his courtyard. The noble stops him and tells him the story of another ronin, Chijiiwa, who recently made the same request…as you might guess, these stories are connected.