Harakiri is a slice of 1962 Japanese cinematic brilliance; the story of an old ronin (masterless samurai) who falls on hard times. Samurai were the masters of their craft, skilled in fighting techniques as well as the arts; during times of peace though, the fighting skills that earned them a living were useless. They were laid off, unemployed, and cast out into a world possessing a talent that was no longer needed. We are confronted with a challenged world at the moment, and the skills that we may have earned and acquired over the years could potentially be outdated, useless, or unneeded. Like the main character’s clear headed approach to this predicament, it’s important in times such as these to keep a clear, level outlook, and to be thankful for what we have and are able to do. So in many ways, this film hits home, and the overall message translates somewhat well.
In the film, lack of employment is a major factor and the driving force behind the motives and actions of the main character. He is a widowed former warrior who is forced to construct umbrellas as a means of supporting his daughter, son in law, and grandson. He is essentially destitute as a result of repeated attempts to make ends meet; the skills that he obtained through years of training are no longer of use, as there is no need for for them in a time of relative peace. In today’s world, I see a few loose similarities between having a degree and having warrior skills during peacetime; unemployment is so strikingly severe and widespread these days, that a degree provides no guarantee of employment. It didn’t matter how adept a samurai was back then, and it generally doesn’t matter how educated a job seeker is now. In the enclosed film trailer, the main character states, “This thing we call samurai honor is ultimately nothing but a facade”; is the tradition of collecting a university certificate indicating that one has completed a series of courses also a thin facade? Again, a very loose correlation, but still food for thought! Nonetheless, Harakiri is a very weighty, masterfully directed and acted film, more than worthy of your time.
Check it out!
Director – John Boorman, 1981
Below is a clip depicting the knighting of Arthur; if you’re a fan of Richard Wagner (my favorite composer), note the very Wagner heavy score.
Below is a fan made trailer, which does quite an effective job evoking the power and mystique of the film:
“Once more unto the breach,dear friends, once more”-
legendary words that
Shakespeare so eloquently
envisioned as English King Henry V
his loyal and depleted few to victory over the
numerically superior French forces,
a powerful army that was overwhelmingly
predicted to crush Henry and his
“Once more unto the breach”,
he cried when defeat seemed certain,
and under the unwavering bravery of
those rallying words,
his troops sallied forth courageously into
the swell of the enemy, and vanquished them
from the field wholly and victoriously.
Shakespeare at his finest…
history at its most endearing.
Once more unto the breach,
we should remind ourselves as we
venture out into the swell of
against its unknown numbers,
and challenges that, on paper,
would annihilate us-
once more unto the breach,
as we throw our hats gallantly into the
mix and swim out against the current
for another shot, another chance, and
despite the odds,
despite the challenges,
eager to face its unknown numbers,
and eager to cry out ferociously into the
face of opposition-
ready to march forward once more,
ferociously brave in pursuit of any and
every dream that we could possibly
Defeat sometimes seems certain..
victory often seems dim,
until we remember that one more
charge into the fray may mean the
difference between failure and success,
the beginning and the end
if we’re willing to rally forward into the
surge of the current, no matter the odds,
and claim what lands we choose to
Shakespeare at his finest,
history at its most triumphant,
bravery at its most resounding*