beautiful, sad but ultimately heart-
warming story told by the film Love And
is typically Japanese and
explores the consequences of a loving
sacrifice following her samurai
tragic blindness and loss of
career... WORKING AS A POISON-TASTER TO THE SHOGUN, low-ranking samurai Shinnojo
Mimura (Japanese film and pop superstar Takuya Kimura: 2046; Howl's
Moving Castle) lives a thrifty but happy life with his beautiful
and much-loved wife Kayo (Rei Dan) and their old servant Tokuhei (Takashi Sasano).
Shinnojo's dream is to leave his job and open a kendo dojo where children from
any background could learn to master fighting with a sword. His vision included
changing the way fencing masters taught, because he recognised that each child
Shinnojo's otherwise contented life is tragically shattered when he samples
a dish of red tsubugai sashimi destined for the Shogun's table that contains
suspect shellfish, leading him to contract food poisoning. Although he recovers,
the illness has cost him his sight and he can no longer work at the Shogun's
Falling into a deep depression and afraid that his lovely wife will leave him,
Shinnojo wants to end his life honourably by his own sword. But when Kayo tells
him that if he dies she will follow him, he relents.
Beside herself with anguish, Kayo visits the Hundred Prayers Stone and is later
approached by Chief Duty Officer Shimada Toya (Mitsugoro Bando), who had been
an admirer in her youth. Kayo's husband's family encourage her to ask him for
help and he agrees to talk to the Shogun in exchange for certain favours. But
what started out as a way out for Kayo and Shinnojo turns into blackmail and
There is already talk about Kayo in the castle town as she has been seen entering
a tea house in Somekawacho with Shimada Toya. A suspicious Shinnojo orders Tokuhei
to follow Kayo and, discovering that the gossip is true, he disowns his wife.
But when he finds out that Toya has been ruthlessly exploiting Kayo while not
keeping to his part of the unthinkable bargain Shinnojo, with his honour at
stake, challenges Shamada Toya to a duel.
How can a blind man hope to win against a high-born samurai? Can he forgive
his wife and take her back? Love And Honour deals with an impossible
dilemma and a love that transcends the bounds of propriety with the benefit
of Yoji Yamada's sensitive and creative artistry.
Love And Honour also features: Takashi Sasano; Nenji Kobayashi; Kaori
Momoi and Ken Ogata. The film is based on the story by Shuhei Fujisawa; Screenplay
is by Yoji Yamada, Emiko Hiramatsu and Ichiro Yamamoto; Producers are Hiroshi
Fukasawa and Ichiro Yamamoto; Cinematography is by Mutsuo Naganuma; Art Director
is Mitsuo Degawa; the beautiful music by Isao Tomita; and the film is Directed
by Yoji Yamada.
Love And Honour completes Yamada's acclaimed Samurai Trilogy with this
simple, graceful film that continues the theme of its two predecessors
the Oscar-nominated The Twilight Samurai and Hidden Blade
and closes the series with a swordfight that will be remembered as one of the
greatest duels in Japanese cinematic history. This stunning film has garnered
numerous accolades including three Japanese Academy Awards
Legendary director Yoji Yamada's Love
And Honour will be released on 22 June (2009), courtesy of ICA Films at
a RRP of £12.99.
"Love And Honour deals with an impossible dilemma and a love that transcends
the bounds of propriety with the benefit of Yoji Yamada's sensitive and creative
artistry" Maggie Woods, MotorBar
"A fervent, sweet-natured tragic romance" The Guardian
"Even die hard Zatoichi-ites will admire the deftness of Yamada's masterly direction"
"…a gracefully shot, convincingly acted affair that turns a shrew's eye to the
inequalities of the class system in which its characters are rooted"
"Intricate, artfully constructed and utterly assured… Essential viewing"