Love and Honour (2006)


Introduction

Love and Honor (武士の一分, Bushi no Ichibun, literally “Warrior’s Honour”) is a 2006 film set in Japan of the Edo period.

It is the final film in Yoji Yamada’s acclaimed Samurai Trilogy, following The Twilight Samurai (2002) and The Hidden Blade (2004).

Outline

Shinnojo, a low level samurai, lives with his pretty and loyal wife Kayo. Bored with his position as a food-taster for a feudal lord, he talks about opening a kendo school open to boys of all castes. Before he can act, he becomes ill after tasting some whelk sashimi. An investigation reveals that the poisoning was not a human conspiracy, but a poor choice of food out of season. After three days, he awakes but finds that the toxin has blinded him.

His uncle is asked by Shinnojo’s family how the couple will survive. He laments that he no longer knows anybody with influence, and asks Kayo if she knows of anybody. She relates how Toya Shimada, the chief duty officer in the castle and a samurai of high rank, offered to help and they tell her to act upon his offer of assistance.

A message from the castle brings the good news that Shinnojo’s stipend of rice will remain the same, and for life but his aunt tells him that Kayo was seen with another man. He has Tokuhei, his faithful servant, follow her. Kayo notices that she is being followed, and although Tokuhei offers to cover for her, she reveals to Shinnojo that Shimada offered to help but at a price, shown when he forced himself upon her. He then solicited additional trysts by threatening to tell Shinnojo about the first. An enraged Shinnojo divorces her and orders her out of his house.

When it is revealed to him that Shimada had nothing to do with maintaining his stipend, but that it came out of gratitude from the lord of the clan himself, Shinnojo seeks to renew his skill with the sword as a blind man to avenge the dishonour of Kayo. Through Tokuhei, he sends a message to Shimada to set up a duel, with the additional message to not underestimate him. The two samurai meet at the stables near the river to decide their destinies. In the subsequent fight Shinnojo cuts off Shimada’s arm. He leaves Shimada to live a horribly disfigured life, telling Tokuhei that he has now avenged Kayo’s dishonour. The next day Shinnojo is informed that the injured Shimada refused to tell anyone what had happened or who injured him in the duel. That night Shimada committed seppuku and killed himself, as a samurai cannot live with only one arm. He dies without anyone knowing of his sin against the Mimura family, his violation of Kayo, or his own dishonourable injury by a blinded man.

Tokuhei tells Shinnojo he has found a girl to work in the kitchen and cook for him. After one taste of the girl’s food, Shinnojo recognises his wife’s cooking, and calls Kayo to come into the house. Shinnojo and Kayo reconcile, with an understanding that they will begin their life together anew.

Cast

  • Takuya Kimura – Mimura Shinnojo.
  • Rei Dan – Mimura Kayo.
  • Takashi Sasano – Tokuhei.
  • Nenji Kobayashi – Higuchi Sakunosuke.
  • Ken Ogata – Kibe Magohachiro.
  • Kaori Momoi – Hatano Ine.
  • Bandō Mitsugorō X – Shimada Toya.

Production & Filming Detail

  • Director(s):
    • Yoji Yamada.
  • Producer(s):
    • Hiroshi Fukazawa … producer.
    • Jun’ichi Sakomoto … executive producer.
    • Ichirô Yamamoto … producer.
  • Writer(s):
    • Shûhei Fujisawa … (novel).
    • Yôji Yamada … (written by).
    • Emiko Hiramatsu … (written by).
    • Ichirô Yamamoto … (written by).
  • Music:
    • Isao Tomita.
  • Cinematography:
  • Editor(s):
  • Production:
    • Asahi Broadcasting Corporation (ABC).
    • Hakuhodo DY Media Partners.
    • J Dream.
    • Nagoya Broadcasting Network (Nagoya TV).
    • Nippon Shuppan Hanbai (Nippan) K.K.
    • Shochiku.
    • Sumitomo Corporation.
    • TV Asahi.
    • Tokyo FM Broadcasting Co.
    • Yahoo Japan.
    • Yomiuri Telecasting Corporation (YTV).
  • Distributor(s):
    • Eleven Arts (2008) (USA) (theatrical).
    • FUNimation Entertainment (2007) (USA) (theatrical) (subtitled).
    • Golden Village Pictures (2007) (Singapore) (theatrical).
    • ImaginAsian Pictures (2007) (USA) (theatrical).
    • Odeon (2007) (Greece) (theatrical).
    • Shochiku (2007) (Japan) (theatrical).
    • TA Entertainment (2008) (USA) (theatrical) (limited).
    • The Bigger Picture (2007) (USA) (theatrical) (limited release).
    • trigon-film (2007) (Switzerland) (theatrical).
    • trigon-film (2008) (Austria) (theatrical).
    • trigon-film (2008) (Germany) (theatrical).
    • Celestial Pictures (2007) (Hong Kong) (all media).
    • FUNimation Entertainment (2008) (USA) (DVD).
    • Madman Entertainment (2007) (Australia) (DVD).
    • Notro Films (2007) (Spain) (all media).
    • Shochiku Home Video (2007) (Japan) (DVD).
    • trigon-film (2008) (Germany) (DVD).
    • trigon-film (2008) (Switzerland) (DVD) (special edition).
  • Release Date: 20 October 2006 (Tokyo International Film Festival, Japan).
  • Rating: 12.
  • Running Time: 122 minutes.
  • Country: Japan.
  • Language: Japanese and English (subtitles).

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