Hitokiri (film)

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Directed by Hideo Gosha
Produced by Fuji Telecasting,
Kaisu Productions
Written by Shinobu Hashimoto
Starring Shintaro Katsu
Tatsuya Nakadai
Yukio Mishima
Yujiro Ishihara
Distributed by Daiei Film (Japan),
Japanese Film Exchange (USA),
Daiei International Films (USA)
Release date
9 August 1969
Running time
140 minutes
Country Japan
Language Japanese

Hitokiri (人斬り) is a 1969 Japanese samurai film directed by Hideo Gosha set during the end of the Tokugawa Shogunate and based on the lives of the historical Four Hitokiri of the Bakumatsu. It is notable for starring the famous author Yukio Mishima.[1]


Okada Izō is a rōnin born into poverty who joins the Kinnō-tō (ja), a group of Imperial loyalists based in Tosa and headed by Takechi Hanpeita. Okada soon becomes a well known and successful killer, and he is stubbornly loyal to Hanpeita. However, Sakamoto Ryōma warns him that he is merely "Takechi's dog" and that Hanpeita will end up betraying him. Eventually abandoning Hanpeita, the regretful Okada returns and apologizes. He is then ordered to assassinate the aristocrat Anegakōji Kintomo (ja) using the sword of Tanaka Shinbei. The assassination is successful, and during his interrogation over Anegakōji's death, Tanaka commits harakiri after his recovered sword is presented to him as evidence. As Hanpeita becomes increasingly determined to succeed in his plan to become daimyo of Tosa by supporting the Emperor, it becomes necessary to sacrifice Okada, which he does by betraying him after he is arrested as a rōnin by the Aizu Mimawarigumi and later by trying to poison him. Okada, disillusioned, confesses to his murders for the Kinnō-tō, and he is condemned to crucifixion. Before being killed, he is told that Hanpeita will be forced to commit harakiri.[2]



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