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Hara-Kiri: Death of a Samurai

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Hara-Kiri: Death of a Samurai

Today's lesson on Japan's feudal society and the central role the samurai has in it reminded me of the movie "Hara-Kiri: Death of a Samurai" directed by Takashi Miike in 2011. This movie offered a glimpse into the daily life of a down-and-under samurai who was not retained by any daimyo in a society that did not provide any social safety net. In their struggle to make ends meet, one samurai had to gamble his life by asking a local warlord the venue for which he could commit ritual suicide--Hara-Kiri. He probably had hoped that the warlord would understand his dire situation and fold under his bluff by offering him some money. However, the warlord did not want to turn his house into a charity organization for other poor samurai by calling the poor samurai's bluff and allowed him to commit Hara-kiri. The cathartic moment came when the poor samurai's father-in-law--who was equally poor--came to the lord's house for vengeance. By defeating all the retained samurai of the lord's house, he showed how cowardly these so-called warriors were when they were faced with a challenge. The movie had many powerful moral themes which can be inspiring. Needless to say, there will be some violent and bloody fight scenes.
edited by vngo on 5/17/2015