Kwaidan (1964) Movie Script

A Ninjin Club Production
Produced by Shigeru Wakatsuki
Original Story by Yakumo Koizumi
Screenplay by Yoko Mizuki
Director of Photography:
Yoshio Miyajima
Sound effects by Toru Takemitsu
Michiyo Aratama-Misako Watanabe
Rentaro Mikuni
Tatsuya Nakadai
Keiko Kishi
Katsuo Nakamura
Tetsuro Tanba
Kanemon Nakamura
Osamu Takizawa-Haruko Sugimura
Directed by Masaki Kobayashi
In old Kyoto there was
a young samurai
who had been reduced to poverty
by the ruin of his lord.
He decided to leave his home
and take service with the
governor of a distant province.
Stay well. I can't live here
with you. I have a future.
For men, advancement is the
most important.
I can't give it up
just because of you.
I can't bury my future here.
Must you leave Kyoto?
I'll work harder than before.
I'll weave day and night.
I'll slave for a better living.
If I lose this chance,
I'll be finished.
Don't try to stop me. The new
post will bring me fortune.
If you can remarry a man
of some distinction,
you'll have fortune too.
There's nothing more to say.
I've had enough of poverty!
You're going to leave
early in the morning.
So you better go to bed now.
Take her to the bridal chamber.
My daughter is finally married.
I feel relieved now.
I'm glad to have you
in my family.
Thank you.
He knows his obligation.
He'll serve her well.
Please, take care of my daughter.
The samurai could not understand
the value of love.
He divorced his good wife
and married the daughter of
a noted family to gain position.
And he took her
to his new post.
It was the thoughtlessness
of youth
and the experience of desire.
His second marriage did not
prove a happy one.
His new wife was selfish
and callous.
He soon found every cause to
recall with regret his Kyoto days.
Then he discovered he still loved
his first wife -
Ioved her more than he could
ever love his second.
And he began to realise
how unfair
and how ungrateful
he had been.
Memories of a woman
he had wronged -
her gentle speech.
her smile.
her pretty dainty ways.
her impeccable patience...
... continuously haunted him.
I quit!
The same old game!
I'm tired of it!
Girls, you're dismissed.
You better go to bed now.
Your husband is still reading.
How ungrateful you are!
You've gained position because of
my family's social prestige.
You only used me.
You're always cherishing your
old memories.
You're walking out on me!
The dew won't help.
Please, go to your bedroom
and nurse her ladyship.
Nurse her? That's your duty.
Don't say that.
She may return to her parents
tomorrow if she wants to.
I can't stand seeing her
dissatisfied look any more.
Tell her so.
After all, I was young
and thoughtless.
I'll find my ex-wife
whom I deserted
and make amends
for my sinful act.
The years went by.
And his official term expired.
It was September 10th when he
reached the street of Kyoto
where his first wife
used to live.
It was midnight and the city was
as silent as a cemetery.
When did you come back to Kyoto?
Now. Just now.
How did you find your way to me,
through all those black rooms?
Stay seated.
Don't bother.
I'll get supper.
I don't want it.
You haven't changed a bit.
You look just like you did before.
Your face that I couldn't
forget for a moment...
and your voice that was
so dear to me!
Forgive me.
I was cruel. I was a fool.
I deserve your hatred.
Until the day my official
term expired,
how I longed to come back to you!
How deeply I regretted
my selfishness!
How wretched I was without you!
How I loathed myself
for divorcing you!
How long I've hoped and planned
to make amends!
As soon as I became free.
I wanted to come back to Kyoto
and find you.
I hurried here in the dark.
It's very kind of you
thinking about me so much.
Forgive me.
Please forgive me.
I was such a fool!
Don't reproach yourself.
It's wrong to allow yourself
to suffer on my account.
I always felt that I wasn't
worthy of being your wife.
I knew that, but I couldn't help
trying to be near you.
Anyway, it was very cruel of me
to have divorced you.
It was because of poverty.
While you lived with me,
you were always kind.
Why should I think ill of you?
I prayed for your good fortune
every day and night.
I'll make amends.
Forget it.
You came a long way home.
What greater happiness
than to see you again...
even if only for a moment?
Only for a moment!
Make it the length of
seven lifetimes!
Unless you forbid it,
I'll live with you always...
Nothing shall ever
separate us again.
Your fragrant hair!
It's the same as before.
The same glossy hair...
dark eyes...
Iovely nose...
soft cheeks...
I've forgotten my sorrow.
Many things have happened
in Kyoto since you went away.
I imagine so.
I can't tell you everything
in a night.
Soon it'll be dawn.
Yes. This room is very dear to me.
It was our bridal chamber.
We spent several nights here.
I don't want to sleep now.
I want to talk of the past and the
present and the future with you
and feel as happy as I am now.
I also feel as if
this were a dream.
I don't want to sleep
for a moment
so I can keep you forever.
In a village of Musashi Province
there lived two woodcutters:
Mosaku and Minokichi.
Mosaku was an old man
and Minokichi. his apprentice.
was a boy of eighteen.
Everyday. they went to a forest
a few miles away
from the village.
One cold day. a great snowstorm
overtook them on their way home.
The boatman had left his boat
on the other side of the river.
It was no day for swimming.
I intended to treat you like
the other man.
But I couldn't help feeling pity
for you
because you're so young.
You're a handsome boy.
I will not hurt you now.
But if you ever tell anybody -
even your own mother
about what you've seen tonight,
I'll know it.
And then I'll kill you.
Remember that.
I'll be going now.
We sell wood for a living.
You can't work for some time,
not before spring.
The terrible cold night
made you ill.
Eat the porridge.
Take care of yourself, son.
Or you'll be frozen
and dead like that old Mosaku
whose blood was all gone.
If this happens to you again,
you won't survive.
Are you listening?
You've said nothing
about that night.
A year passed.
As soon as he got well.
he resumed working.
Every morning. he went
to the forest alone
and returned with bundles
of wood after sunset.
Where are you going
in the evening?
I lost my parents.
My relatives in Edo might help me
find work as a servant.
You'd need connections
to find work in Edo.
Is it so hard to get work
when you don't know anyone?
You could get married...
With you?
That's my house.
Why don't you take a rest?
There's nobody you have to mind.
Only my mother and I live there.
Your name is Yuki?
I see, I see.
Going to Edo alone
sounds very dangerous.
People are not always kind.
Young girls must be careful
not to be bothered by bad men.
Come eat while it's hot.
And Yuki bore him
three children.
handsome and very fair of skin.
She acquired a fame for being a
good wife among the villagers.
T ake a moment to reflect
on Grandma's grave.
Show her you've grown up.
Give her your flowers.
It seems she never gets old.
She's as young today as on the day
she first came into the village.
She's a wonder.
Were you at the grave?
Yes. It's my mother-in-law's
memorial day.
That's good.
She must be pleased to see her
nice grandchildren
praying for her.
She's happy.
She died praising
her son's wife.
It's not very common.
Usually, a mother-in-law talks ill
of her son's wife.
No matter how good the wife is.
That's not true.
Thanks to you, I'm happy.
What a happy couple,
you and your husband!
He must be happy.
He has such a good and beautiful
woman for a wife.
What a young wife!
Most peasant women age early
after having three children.
She still looks like a girl.
She's a wonder.
Put them on.
Is it too small?
And the children's?
I made them.
How nice! All ready... the sandals
for the holiday season!
If the thongs are too tight,
I'll fix them.
Now try them on.
How beautiful!
Why the red thongs?
You're still young.
I'm a mother of three children.
Red is still your colour.
Your feet look beautiful.
It fits well.
Not too tight, not too lose.
It's exactly my size.
Your sandals look beautiful
and sturdy
so people come to you
for special orders.
This pair is exceedingly good.
I made them so that
they'll match your kimono.
As if I were going away
on a journey!
I can't buy you a new kimono,
so at least you have sandals.
With your sandals and my kimono
our children will have
a wonderful holiday.
How is it going?
A few more stitches.
Why are you watching me
so intently?
I just remembered
that night ten years ago.
It's strange to recall it now
after so many years.
You're sewing with the light
on your face
and I'm looking up at you
like this.
That's why I remembered
that night...
What night?
A strange thing happened
that night.
I can remember it well as if it
happened yesterday.
I was eighteen then. I never
told anybody about that night.
I'm not sure it was real
or a dream.
It was the night that old Mosaku
was frozen dead
as if his blood were all gone.
I saw with my own eyes a woman
who was bending over him.
And she was blowing her breath
like a white smoke upon him.
Then he became stiff and
couldn't move.
That woman stooped over me, too.
And I got almost numb.
the eyes of the horrible woman
Iooked very, very beautiful.
She was so beautiful
and white like you.
You looked exactly like her
just now.
That's why I remembered.
Once the memory haunted me
day and night.
I became sick after that.
I tell you, it was when I spent
the terrible snowstormy night
in the ferryman's hut.
I saw very clearly the weird
woman who killed old Mosaku.
I've never seen in my life
a woman as beautiful and white
as her except you.
Of course, she's not a human
being and I was afraid of her.
She was the Woman of the Snow
who was hungry for warm blood...
...or a dream.
...or a dream.
Not a dream.
It was me.
It was Yuki.
You promised that night you'd
never tell anybody.
You finally broke the promise.
It was a pledge for life
for both of us.
I told you if you broke it,
I would kill you.
You betrayed me!
Ah, if it were not for those
children asleep there
I would kill you this moment!
From now on
you'd better take good care
of those children.
If they have any reason to
complain about you
I'll treat you as you deserve!
The time had come.
It was dawn on March 24th
in Year 1 of the Genryaku era (1185)
The armies of the Genji
and Heik clans were determined
to fight one last time at Dan-no-ura,
off Kyushu
in the Shimonoski Strait.
Procurator Kanzo from Kumano
had hoisted the Kongo-Doji flag
and placed on the frontline
the boats belonging to Kawanano Michinobu,
inhabitant of the Province of Lyo.
He'd decided to side with the Genji
with his warriors, on board
two hundred ships.
The Genji and their allies thus
created a mighty navy
comprising of three thousand warships
with the aim of encircling the Haik navy.
The Genji an Heik couldn't wait
for the hostilities to start.
Both armies flung themseves at each other.
It is a well-known fact that the Genji army
had been put under the high command
of General Yoshitsun from Genji.
At Dan-no-ura of
Shimonoseki Channel
the last battle was fought between
the Genji and the Heike clans.
The Heike were defeated in many
battles and escaped to the west.
And here. the clan perished
with the infant emperor.
Notonokami Noritsune knew
this was his last day.
The Genji samurai
were no match for him.
He wanted to cross swords with
Yoshitsune. the Genji commander.
"Come on. Yoshitsune!" he called.
The high waves prevented them
from landing the shore.
And the Genji ships blocked the
one possible escape to the sea.
They waited with arrows
in their bows.
The crew were all dead
and the Heike ships had
no where to go.
Some sank. some went adrift.
The long contest between
the two samurai clans
was reaching its end.
Lady Nii saw the end
of the battle.
She held the infant emperor
in her arms.
"Woman though I am. I won't let
my enemy kill me.
I'll escort His Majesty
to the next world.
If you have loyalty. follow me. "
And that sea and its shores
have been haunted for
seven hundred years.
Thousands of strange crabs
called Heike crabs
which have human faces
on their backs are found there.
After Amidaji temple was built
at Akamagahara
to console the dead
samurai's souls
many strange things took place.
Here you are.
Be careful not to fall
into the well, Hoichi.
The Priest wants you to take care
while we're away.
We're going to perform a service
at the house
of a dead parishioner.
There's a piece of watermelon
for you in the kitchen.
Eat it while it's cold.
Yes. Thank you.
All right.
I told him to take care.
He's new here. I'm afraid.
I think he'll be all right.
Who is it?
Are you back, Priest?
No one would visit here
at this hour of night.
Maybe I only imagined
I heard a sound.
Who's calling?
I'm blind.
I've not been living here long.
I thought somebody was in the
garden, but I was not sure.
Pardon me.
Forgive me.
Nothing to fear.
I'm stopping near this temple
and have been sent here
with a message.
My present lord, a person of
exceedingly high rank
is now staying at Akamagahara
with his numerous attendants.
He wanted to view a scene
of the battle of Dan-no-ura
so we went there today.
I see.
Now, my lord heard of your skill
in reciting
the story of the battle.
They say you even surpass
your teacher.
So he desires to hear
your performance.
Take your biwa and come with me
to our house at once.
It's very kind of him.
But I'm afraid I'm not
good enough.
You wouldn't disobey his
commands, would you?
I believe your lord is a very
noble person.
Yes. Usually you couldn't be
in his presence.
It's good fortune.
Open the gate!
Someone in there!
I've brought Hoichi!
Take your shoes off now.
Another dead one?
The tide washed him back
Another ghost ship?
I saw wills o' the wisp last night.
Good morning.
He isn't in.
Not back yet?
Is it true that none of you knew
when he left last night?
Yes. I thought
he had gone to bed.
Another ship sank last night.
Gon-emon's. He went out fishing.
His family came here
to request a service.
Is that so?
I told the Priest.
I see. I'm very sorry.
Does a ghost ship really exist?
It seems so.
I haven't seen it. I wonder if it
really exists. Don't you, Donkai?
It exists only for those
who believe it does.
You make me confused again.
I really believe it.
Don't fool me.
I'm serious. You always...
I'm serious, too.
Is Hoichi back?
Yes. Are you going out?
How is he?
It seems he's sleeping
in his room.
What? When did he...?
None of us knows when
he came back.
I see.
He must have had
a pleasant night.
I told him to take care
of the house.
What an untrustworthy fellow!
Well, I must get ready
for a service for Gon-emon.
We'll have another wake tonight.
It'll be hot today.
How I was scared! You're sitting
in the dark like that.
I wondered who it was.
What's the matter?
"What's the matter?"
Everybody's out. Matsuzo went
home today, so I'm alone.
And I thought you were asleep.
I took you for a ghost.
Oh, I got soaking wet.
I'm so sorry.
That's all right. You didn't
eat your breakfast yet.
Where on earth were you
last night?
Your breakfast is ready here.
It hasn't gone bad.
Now eat it.
The boiled eggplants for supper
are there too.
Thank you.
Donkai and the Priest were very
anxious about you.
Where did you go and what
did you do?
Were they that anxious?
You should have known that.
"That anxious"?
You're too young to stay out
all night, aren't you?
So you have a girl now,
is that it?
Of course not.
I went out because I remembered
some business I had to attend.
Your girl must be blind too.
So you make love groping for
each other like this.
It's the time we promised.
I've come to take you.
Yes, sir.
You didn't tell anybody?
No, I didn't.
Don't say a word about it.
I understand.
This is very good.
These rice cakes and wine
are all I brought from home.
Give some to Hoichi.
He'll get up soon.
He'll be hungry
when the sun sets.
Oh? What does he do
during the day?
He sleeps like a dead man.
He's very pale.
It's because of the shining
green leaves.
Who's there?
Oh, it's you, Yasaku.
Oh, Matsuzo!
When did you come back?
You were asleep when I came
back so I didn't wake you.
I'm afraid you're sick.
It's this hot climate,
that's all. I'm all right.
I've been thinking
I must ask you
where you go every night.
Why do you stay out nights, eh?
Tell me the reason why
you leave the temple
every night at so late an hour.
What do you do while you're
away from the temple?
Everybody is suspicious of you.
But I've told them
we could trust you.
At any rate, to go out blind
and alone is dangerous.
I could have had Matsuzo or
Yasaku accompany you.
Where have you been going?
Won't you tell me?
Forgive me.
It's nothing serious.
I remembered some business
I had to do.
So I went out late at night.
I'll be careful from now on.
What is it?
Nothing really.
I'm sorry I worried you.
I see.
Priest! Priest!
Priest! Priest!
Yasaku, what happened?
What's the matter with him?
He went out again just now.
Went out? What are you waiting
for? Follow him immediately!
Go with Matsuzo.
Don't let him find you. Hurry!
Take this. Hurry!
And Matsuzo?
Come on, hurry!
I can't light it.
Better get blind. Then you
wouldn't need light.
- Hurry!
- You go first.
But it's dark.
Of course. Night is never bright.
The thunders!
Never mind! Go now!
What are you waiting for?
Go and get him!
Where'd he go?
Over there?
He can't be very far.
Go that way.
Yasaku, you must
come with me!
His Majesty wants you to be
at home.
Yes, Your Majesty.
You play the biwa beautifully.
And you recite the long
story of Heike
that consists of one hundred
songs every night.
His Majesty is highly pleased.
We're very glad too.
Thank you very much.
As I told you
there are nineteen secret songs
and five secret poems
besides the main story.
It takes many nights to
perform all of them.
I'd like to chant the part
you like most tonight.
He is right.
The battle of Dan-no-ura.
That is the most moving part
of the story.
The chant of the last battle.
Of Dan-no-ura.
Then, Hoichi, chant the battle
of Dan-no-ura.
Let's go home, Matsuzo.
It's terrible.
That kid makes us suffer.
It's unfair.
They shot arrows at each other
for a time.
Then the Genji ships moved in
the rapid current
and sailed into the middle of
the Heike ships.
The ships of both clans
crossed one another
and covered the surface
of the channel
Iike dead leaves carpet
the waves of a river.
...And then
General T omomori proclaimed
in front of his assembled soldiers:
depends upon this battle.
There should be no regrets in life.
Fight like the good men you are!
Think of nothing else!"
"The fate of the Heik clan
Shouted General Tomomori repeatedly.
"A born emperor you may be".
said Lady Nii.
"your day is done. "
The heavens will welcome you.
call the holy name of Buddha.
There is a capital beneath the waves
and there you will be crowned.
Hoichi! Hoichi!
Holding the infant emperor
in her arms
she throws herself into
the deep sea.
What are you doing?
Don't interrupt me before
this distinguished assembly!
What are you saying?
You must be mad.
You're bewitched!
Let's go home!
You'll be dead if you stay here.
Let's go.
You'll be punished
if you interfere.
Let go of me!
Listen to us. Come home!
Let go of me!
Leave me alone.
Come home! It's the Priest's order!
Let go of me!
Are you mad?
Let me go!
Why didn't you tell me
this sooner?
Poor boy!
You're now in great danger.
They must have wanted you
you have wonderful skills
in music.
You've not been visiting
a house
but a cemetery.
That place is the home
of the spirits
of the Heike samurai.
You've been passing your nights
among tombs.
By this time you must be
aware of that. Understand?
You were sitting before the tomb
of Emperor Antoku last night.
It has all been a vast illusion
except for the calling
of the dead.
Then, it was the spirit of the
dead that came here?
Yes. It was in fact that the
spirit of the dead came.
You have put yourself in
their power.
If you obey them again,
they'll tear you in pieces.
But in any event they'd have
destroyed you sooner or later.
Will the spirit come again
as soon as we go away
you must seat yourself
outside and wait.
Then the spirit will call you.
But, whatever may happen,
do not answer.
I understand.
And do not move.
I understand.
Say nothing and sit still
as if meditating.
Should you move a muscle
or utter a cry,
you will be torn to pieces.
To get rid of the spirits,
you must stay calm
and never call for help.
Even if you call out,
no-one will be able to help you.
You mustn't speak.
If you follow this advice,
there may be hope for you.
I won't move. I won't cry.
Whatever may happen?
I won't.
Donkai, you've written
the holy text upon his body?
On his entire body,
from head to toe.
Help me, Buddha!
No answer? That won't do!
I must see where the fellow is.
Here is the biwa.
But of the biwa player I see...
only two ears!
That explains why
he didn't answer.
He had no mouth to answer with.
There is nothing left of him
but his ears.
This is very strange.
I will take those ears
to my lord
to prove his commands
have been obeyed
as much as it's possible.
It's blood!
It leads to the rear gate.
Are you there?
My goodness!
Hurry, clean it!
What happened to Hoichi?
His ears were torn off.
His ears?
But why the ears?
Both of them torn off?
- Donkai!
- Yes.
Does the ghost like ears?
He should eat the ears of a
dried cuttlefish instead.
It's our fault.
I thought I wrote everywhere
on his body.
We forgot to write the holy text
on his ears.
I'm sorry.
It's too late.
Ears don't grow again.
It was wrong of me not to make
sure you had done it.
It's my grievous fault.
I never imagined it would
take his ears away.
Well, it can't be helped now.
We can only try to heal
his wounds.
But cheer up.
The danger is now over. His ears
were a trade off for his life.
Then, we won't see
those visitors again?
They'll come no more.
They'll come no more.
We wish to hear the famous
Hoichi-the-Earless play the biwa.
My lord heard of the
strange story.
He will pay Hoichi generously.
By his order, I've come
to take him with me.
- He's here again.
- What?
With attendants!
A noblewoman came also
with her attendants.
I can't tell if they're real.
Maybe the ghost is among them.
Hoichi. You'd better refuse them.
You have so many offers.
I'll play the biwa
as long as I live.
I'll play to console
those sorrowful spirits
and make them rest in peace.
Many noble persons came to the
temple with large gifts of money
so that Hoichi-the-Earless
became a wealthy man.
The Year 1 900.
Now. in old Japanese books.
there have been
curiously preserved
certain fragments of fiction.
Why were they left unfinished?
Perhaps the writer was lazy.
Perhaps he had a quarrel
with the publisher.
Perhaps he was suddenly called
away from his little table
and never came back.
Perhaps death stopped
his writing brush
in the middle of a sentence.
But no mortal could ever tell
I select a typical example.
It was today 220 years ago -
New Year Day of the
fourth Tenwa.
It was when Lord Nakagawa Sado
paid a New Year's visit.
It was when Lord Nakagawa Sado
paid a New Year's visit.
He stopped with his entourage
at a temple in Hongo.
You're on duty tonight.
I'll relieve you in the morning.
I'm Shikibu Heinai.
I met you today for the first time.
You don't seem to recognise me.
I don't recognise you.
Will you tell me how you gained
entrance to this house?
Ah, you don't recognise me!
No, I don't.
This house is strictly guarded
at all times.
No one can enter unannounced.
I don't understand why you
don't recognise me.
This morning you dared
to wound me!
Come out, everybody!
There's an intruder in the house!
Kannai. No stranger was seen
entering or leaving the house.
But I saw him.
No one in his house has ever heard
of "Shikibu Heinai".
Anyway I thrust him.
To death?
Strangely, no.
We can't even find
a stain of blood.
Well, it sounds strange, but he
went through the wall soundlessly.
Through the wall?
Do you mean he vanished
into the wall?
That explains why
we couldn't find him.
After all, he vanished
into the wall.
You're tired,
so you had a nightmare.
No. I'm sure I saw him.
Men! Men!
Men! Where did the intruder go?
Don't you know?
He runs fast!
Will you go to bed, Brother?
It's late.
Umm. How are Mother and Father?
They're asleep now.
Will you tell the servant
to bring wine?
Are you still worried
about last night?
No. I'm off duty tonight.
I want to sleep well.
What is it?
We have guests, sir.
At the front.
At this hour of night?
What do they want?
Well, a little conversation
with you, sir.
Didn't they give their names?
No. There are three of them.
I'm Kannai.
I'm Matsuoka Bungo.
I'm Dobashi Kyuzo.
I'm Okamura Heiroku.
We're retainers of
Shikibu Heinai.
Shikibu... Heinai!
When our master visited you
last night
you struck him with a sword.
He was hurt badly
and went to a hot spring
to tend to his wound.
I sympathise.
But on the 16th day of the
next month he will return.
And he will then repay you
for the injury done to him...
"And... "
Here the old narrative
breaks off.
Well, I didn't see him go out.
He has been writing all day.
I made him hurry.
I'm the publisher.
Oh. I never thought he went out.
I just dropped in to say
New Year's greetings to him.
- Why don't you come in and wait?
- I will.
I can imagine several
possible endings.
But none of them would
satisfy your imagination.
I prefer to let you attempt
to decide for yourself
the probable consequence
of swallowing a soul.
The man who swallowed a soul...