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Love and Honor

4.7 out of 5 stars 36 customer reviews

Additional DVD options Edition Discs
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(Nov 11, 2008)
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

An award winning masterpiece of sacrifice and devotion, Love and Honor weaves a timeless tale set in the waning days of feudal Japan. Directed by Academy Award® nominee Yoji Yamada (The Twilight Samurai) and starring Takuya Kimura (2046), Love and Honor depicts the emotional intensity of an age when respect was more valuable than riches and love cut more truly than any sword.

Shinnojo Mimura is a samurai sharing a hand-to-mouth existence with his beautiful wife, Kayo. Frustrated by his lowly status within the castle ranks, Shinnojo dreams of better days instructing children in the way of the sword. But destiny, it would seem, has other plans… A freak accident takes the warrior’s sight, leaving Shinnojo cursed. Losing his status and pride, his hopes and dreams, and even himself to this life of eternal darkness, only one path lies open for Shinnojo: That of the true and noble samurai.

Love and Honor – Tale of the fallen samurai.


Shinnojo (Takuya Kimura) is a low-level samurai bored with his assignment as a food-taster for his emperor. Like any young husband, Shinnojo shares his work frustrations at home with his wife, Kayo (Rei Dan), and dreams of resigning his post to start a dojo that will teach fighting skills to kids in a positive environment. Shinnojo and Kayo clearly care for each other, teasing and sharing laughs just out of earshot of their longtime helper, Tokuhei (Takashi Sasano). Everything changes, however, when Shinnojo eats some bad shellfish intended for the emperor--so bad that it leaves him permanently blind. Feeling useless and facing an uncertain future, Shinnojo experiences grief and anger. Meanwhile, Kayo appeals to his family for help and is only advised to seek assistance from another samurai (Mitsugoro Bando), a man with dubious intentions toward Kayo. The fallout deeply affects Shinnojo and Kayo's marriage, and gives the former a new reason to carry on: defending his and Kayo's honor. This domestic drama by Yôji Yamada, based on a story by Shûhei Fujisawa, has the slow, somber tone both of ritual and a tragedy unfolding behind closed doors. A much more handsome than cinematically exciting movie, Love and Honor is like a silent era melodrama with visually appealing actors, a story blatantly tugging at the audience's heartstrings. A climactic fight scene gets one's adrenaline going, though nothing tops the promise of forgiveness and reconciliation for real excitement here. --Tom Keogh

Special Features


Product Details

  • Directors: Yoji Yamada
  • Format: NTSC, Widescreen, Subtitled, Color
  • Language: Japanese, English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated:
    Parents Strongly Cautioned
  • Studio: Funimation
  • DVD Release Date: November 11, 2008
  • Run Time: 125 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (36 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0012SY0E6
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #40,606 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Love and Honor" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By C. O. DeRiemer TOP 1000 REVIEWER on February 4, 2009
Format: DVD
Love and Honor (Bushi no Ichibun) is the last in director Yoji Samada's great trilogy of movies about a dying class and the ordinary people caught up in the changes. These three films are not tragedies, but somber stories of rigid, unfair class structures enforced by ferocious standards of loyalty, obligation and obedience. Now, at the end of the Tokugawa shogunate, Japanese society for those at the top is crumbing. The samurai are warriors who have had no wars to fight for generations; those unwilling or unable to adapt will become irrelevant. The farmers remain important because they produce food. The artisans are important because they produce products. The merchants are the bottom caste because they apparently produce nothing. Of course, they dirty their hands with commerce and, thus, produce wealth. They will come to rule Japan. More and more samurai are leaving their caste to become merchants.

For now, however, the samurai class in its increasing irrelevance is increasingly parasitic. Samurai ideals of honor and obligation are stained by opportunism, venality and self-interest. Honor remains for many, but it can be hard for those, even samurai, who must try to live their lives in an unfair world.

Shinnojo Mimura (Takuya Kimura) is a young, lower-caste samurai who earns a modest stipend as a food taster for his clan lord. He and his wife, Kayo (Rei Dan) are happy and in love. He has prospects to be an expert swordsman. He hopes to start his own school. Then he tastes some shellfish and becomes seriously ill. He survives but is blind. He may very well lose his stipend, his house and the ability to support his mother and relatives. They plead with Kayo to go to clan captain Shimada and beg for help.
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Format: DVD
LOVE AND HONOR (a.k.a. Bushi No Ichibun) is the third chambara period film by Yoji Yamada. After the two award-winning samurai films by this acclaimed director, the expectations for his third and last samurai film is extremely high. Thankfully, Yamada once again delivers; "Love and Honor" has won numerous film awards, cementing the director's status as one of the best chambara directors of the modern age. "Twilight Samurai", "Hidden Blade" and "Love and Honor" have different storylines and characters, they all share the same ideals of the samurai code: Honor, Duty and Loyalty. Also, the three films have an ace in their sleeves; Family and Responsibility.

Synopsis derived from the region-3 DVD back cover:
It is only a short time after Shinnojo Mimura (Takuya Kimura) is appointed to the post of food taster that he goes blind after a shellfish that brings on food poisoning is a accidentally put into a lunch for the Lord of the Clan.
Until this time Shinnojo, as a lower-ranked samurai has lived a thrifty but happy life with his wife Kayo (Rei Dan). However, the fact is that Shinnojo is unable to work in the castle any longer. Kayo is told to approach the domain's Head clerk, Toya Shimada (Mitsugoro Bando), and ask him to use his good offices in having Shinnojo's stipend maintained. In return, he has demanded her body. Out of anger and despair, Shinnojo divorces her. Eventually Shinnojo learns the truth. Shimada merely took his pleasure with Kayo; not one word did he say about how Shinnojo was to be treated to the Lord. Shinnojo cannot stand it a moment longer. He challenges Shimado to a duel.

Once again, this film explores the reality of corrupt authority figures in feudal Japan. At first impression, I thought; "Blind Samurai? Is this a Zatoichi rip-off?!
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Format: DVD
This is one of the best modern Japanese films I have seen. It embodies all of the things I love about Japanese cinema: the pacing, the subtlety, the quietude with sudden explosive bursts of intensity, the struggle between obligation and personal desires. All of this with director Yamada Yoji's keen eye for visuals, painting lovely images that counterpoints the sorrow and desperation of the characters.

The third in Yamada's "Samurai Trilogy", including The Twilight Samurai ("Tasogare Seibei" 2002) and The Hidden Blade ("Kakushi ken, Oni no tsume" 2004), it is difficult to believe that this is a director who has made his career filming the ubiquitous and repetitive "Tora-san" films, which were released once a year from 1969 till the lead actors death in 1996. Who knew that an artist of this depth lay beneath the guiding hand of the bumbling and familiar traveling salesman Kuruma Torajiro?

The director clearly knows his Japanese pop-culture films, and offers up a riff on the "blind-samurai" genre of films popularized by the long-lasting series Zatoichi, but updating it with modern sensibilities and the kind of warrior weariness found in such films as Ronin Gai and Unforgiven.
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