Love and Honor (2007)




Critic Consensus: The third in director in Yoji Yamada's samurai trilogy is enjoyable, intricately made and well acted.

Movie Info

Yoji Yamada's torchy Japanese drama Love and Honor (aka Bushi no Ichibun) follows the heartbreaking plight of Shinnojo (Yoji Yamada), a young man employed as a "food taster" for the imperial family. Shinnojo's position comes to a sudden and tragic end when he consumes poisoned fish intended for the clan leader and is forever robbed of his sight. Forced to give up his job, Shinnojo thus heads home and sinks into a deep and seemingly inescapable depression. Contemplating suicide, Shinnojo is only stopped by the love of his wife, Kayo, who insists that she will also commit seppuku if he proceeds. Begrudgingly, he agrees to relinquish his self-destructive thoughts, but financial problems from his unemployment linger on. With no other recourse, Shinnojo must send Kayo off to the clan bursar to appeal for monetary assistance. Nothing, however, can prepare him for the bursar's demand for his wife's body in exchange for monetary help -- or for his wife's sudden complicity in this arrangement. Rei Dan, Mitsugoro Bando, and Kaori Momoi co-star.
PG-13 (for some violent content)
Art House & International , Classics , Drama , Romance
Directed By:
Written By:
In Theaters:


Takuya Kimura
as Shinnojo Mimura
Ken Ogata
as Samurai Teacher
Nenji Kobayashi
as Sakunosuke Higuchi
Kaori Momoi
as Ine Hatano
Takashi Sasano
as Tokuhei
Rei Dan
as Kayo Mimura
Mitsugoro Bando
as Toya Shimada
Show More Cast

Critic Reviews for Love and Honor

All Critics (19) | Top Critics (4)

It's a satisfying story, played out in decorous period surroundings of the classic warrior tale but Yamada's 79th film lacks any hint of surprise or excitement.

Full Review… | December 11, 2008
Time Out
Top Critic

A very satisfying tale that emphasizes one of the genre's key themes: The deepest wound a samurai may suffer does not come from any blade.

September 19, 2008
Globe and Mail
Top Critic

An impeccably made classic Japanese period picture in which a nobility of spirit is tested amid the most beautiful of settings, revealing the harshness and hypocrisy of a feudal society of the utmost formality and rigidity.

Full Review… | September 5, 2008
Los Angeles Times
Top Critic

It's an exquisitely crafted melodrama, moving with stately grace toward an understated yet forceful quest for revenge.

Full Review… | July 11, 2008
Seattle Times
Top Critic

the movie has only one sword fight, and it consists of only three or four swings of the blade, but don't let that dissuade you. You won't be bored.

Full Review… | January 2, 2009

Feudal honour is challenged by love with overwhelming consequences. Even die hard Zatoichi-ites will admire the deftness of Yamada's masterly direction.

Full Review… | December 11, 2008
Empire Magazine

Audience Reviews for Love and Honor

(****): Thumbs Up This is an excellent conclusion to Yoji Yamada's samurai trilogy (which follows the great Twilight Samurai and The Hidden Blade). Well-crafted and the acting is superb. A beautiful and emotionally driven film.


Love and Honor is even greater than Yamada's previous films Twilight Samurai and Hidden Blade. He has perfected his style of serene and subtle tales of ill-begotten samurai. Here we find a lord's poison taster left blinded after eating some out of season shellfish. What follows is a web of lies, slowly broken down. Each time the truth surfaces, things get a little worse. Like the films pace, the lies start as small, with Kimmura's wife saying that the fireflies have not yet come out, probably to stop him from missing such beautiful sites. Yamada even manages to make the audience appreciate the littlest insect, as a blind Kimmura is, unknowingly, pestered by a butterfly. It builds to a wonderfully tense climax and an excellent and underplayed duel. The visual lyricism and subtext of the dialogue is wonderfully scattered in the film. Despite the film's gloomy goings on, it is never a depressing film. In fact, it has an excellent sense of visual humour that works surprisingly well. Yamada has left it late in life, but his recent samurai trilogy rivals some of Kurosawa's classics.

Luke Baldock
Luke Baldock

Super Reviewer


A very very Japanese movie.. It shows us the real faces of the Japanese in the past... The story was ordinary, but the directing was pretty good... So it was a pretty good movie.. But for me, Takuya Kimura act wasn't pretty good at all.. He doesn't show the acting that he is blind people... Rei Dan acts was the good ones... She can shows the feel that she is a really depressed young wife... At last, it's a pretty interesting movie to watch....

Sanjaya  丘耀文
Sanjaya 丘耀文

Super Reviewer

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