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Japanese film poster
Directed by Hideo Gosha
Produced by
Screenplay by
Music by Masaru Sato[1]
Cinematography Kozo Okazaki[1]
  • Fuji Television
  • Tokyo Eiga[1]
Distributed by Toho
Release date
  • 1 May 1969 (1969-05-01) (Japan)
Running time
124 minutes[1]
Country Japan

Goyokin (御用金, Goyōkin?, lit. Official Gold) is a 1969 jidaigeki film directed by Hideo Gosha. Set during the late Tokugawa era, the story follows a reclusive ronin who is trying to atone for past transgressions.


Magobei Wakizaka is a samurai for the Sabai clan. A nearby island, Sado, boasts a rich gold mine which provides plentiful riches[2] for the Tokugawa clan. When one of the gold ships sink, the local farmers recover some of the gold, intending to return it to the Tokugawa clan. However, Magobei's clan master, Rokugo Tatewaki, takes the gold and slaughters the farmers so they cannot report the gold stolen. Magobei is appalled. He promises not to report Rokugo to the shogunate in exchange for Rokugo's promise to never do so again.

However, three years later, assassins sent by Rokugo's retainer, Kunai, come for Magobei, who is living in Edo. He realizes that Rokugo intends to steal more gold and slaughter more innocents. So Magobei returns to Sabai to face his former master. Rokugo hires another ronin, Samon Fujimaki, to kill Magobei, but Magobei eventually wins him over. Also, along the way, Magobei meets a young woman, Oriha, who survived the original slaughter. She and her brother, Rokuzo, join him on his way to Sabai.

At Sabai they learn that Rokugo intends to move a bonfire, which serves as a warning to passing ships against dangerous rocks, so that a gold ship will hit the rocks and sink. After recovering the gold, Rokugo intends to slaughter the peasants who help him in this endeavor. The combined efforts of Magobei, Samon, Oriha, and Rokuzo result in the correct bonfire being lit, the fake bonfire being put out, and the innocent peasants' lives being saved. Thus the gold-bearing ship evades the rocks. In a final showdown, amid falling snow, Magobei slays Rokugo, but is wounded by one of Rokugo's throwing knives.



Goyokin was the first Japanese production shot in Panavision.[1] Initially, Toshiro Mifune was cast Kinnosuke Nakamura's role, but was replaced several weeks into filming.[1]


Goyokin was released as a roadshow theatrical release in Japan on 1 May 1969 where it was distributed by Toho.[1] The film received a general release in Japan on 17 May 1969.[1]

The film was released in the United States by Toho International with English-subtitles in September 1969.[1] It was reissued in the United States with an English-language dub and a running time of 85 minutes under the title The Steel Edge of Revenge in September 1974.[1]


Goyokin won the awards for Best Cinematography and Best Art Direction (Motoji Kojima) at the Mainichi Film Concours.[1]



  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m Galbraith IV 2008, p. 257.
  2. ^ This gold was called goyokin, roughly translated as "gold for official use", hence the title of the film.


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