The Human Condition 01: No Greater Love (1959)


No Greater Love (第一部 純愛篇/第二部 激怒篇) is a 1959 Japanese film directed by Masaki Kobayashi.

It is the first part of The Human Condition trilogy.


In World War II-era Japan, Kaji marries his sweetheart Michiko despite his misgivings about the future. To gain exemption from military service, he moves his wife to a large mining operation in Japanese-colonised Manchuria, where he serves as a labour chief assigned to a workforce of Chinese prisoners.

Kaji aggravates the camp bureaucracy by implementing humane practices to improve both labour conditions and productivity, clashing with foremen, administrators, and the Kenpeitai military police. Ultimately his efforts to grant autonomy to the POWs are undermined by scheming officials, resulting in the electrocution of several prisoners and the beheading of others accused of attempted escape. When Kaji protests the brutality, he is tortured and then drafted into the army to relieve the camp supervisors of his disruptive presence.


  • Tatsuya Nakadai as Kaji.
  • Michiyo Aratama as Michiko.
  • Chikage Awashima as Tōfuku Kin.
  • Ineko Arima as Shunran Yō.
  • Sō Yamamura as Okishima.
  • Keiji Sada as Kageyama.
  • Kōji Nanbara as Kao (as Shinji Nanbara).
  • Akira Ishihama as Chen.
  • Kōji Mitsui as Furuya.
  • Seiji Miyaguchi as Wang Heng Li.
  • Eitaro Ozawa as Okazaki.
  • Toru Abe as Sergeant Watai.
  • Junkichi Orimoto as Sai.
  • Masao Mishima as Manager Kuroki.
  • Kyū Sazanka as Cho Meisan.

The Human Condition Series

Production & Filming Details

  • Director(s):
    • Masaki Kobayashi.
  • Producer(s):
    • Shigeru Wakatsuki (all parts).
    • Masaki Kobayashi (II and III only).
  • Writer(s):
    • Masaki Kobayashi (all parts).
    • Zenzo Matsuyama (all parts).
    • Koichi Inagaki (III only).
  • Music:
    • Chuji Kinoshita.
  • Cinematography:
    • Yoshio Miyajima.
  • Editor(s):
    • Keiichi Uraoka.
  • Production:
    • Ninjin Club.
  • Distributor(s):
    • Shochiku.
  • Release Date:
    • Part 01: 15 January 1959.
    • Part 02: 20 November 1959.
    • Part 03: 28 January 1961.
  • Rating: 18.
  • Running Time:
    • All Parts: 579 minutes.
    • Part 01: 208 minutes.
    • Part 02: 181 minutes.
    • Part 03: 190 minutes.
  • Country: Japan.
  • Language: Japanese, Mandarin, and Russian.

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