Tasogare Seibei

  • Directors:
  • Producers:
  • Writers: Shuhei Fujisawa, Yoshitaka Asama
  • Genres: Drama, Romance
  • Actors: Hiroyuki Sanada, Rie Miyazawa

At the start of the film, the main character, Iguchi Seibei, becomes a widower when his wife succumbs to tuberculosis. His wife receives a grand funeral, more than what a lowest-ranking samurai such as Seibei could afford. Seibei works in the grain warehouse, accounting for stores inventory for the samurai clan. His samurai colleagues give him the condescending nickname “Tasogare Seibei” or “Twilight Seibei” — when evening approaches, Seibei rushes home to look after his senile elderly mother and two young daughters, Kayano and Ito, instead of bonding with his supervisor and other samurai colleagues over customary nights of dinner, geisha entertainment, and sake drinking. Even though he is of samurai class, Seibei continues to neglect his own appearance, failing to bathe and dressing shabbily. The well-being of his young daughters and medicine for his mother take priority over new clothes or covering the monthly bath fee.

Things change when Seibei’s childhood friend, Tomoe (sister of Iinuma Michinojo, one of his better, kinder samurai friends) returns to town. Recently divorced from an abusive alcoholic husband, Koda, a samurai captain), Tomoe finds comfort and solace with Seibei’s daughters. When her ex-husband Koda barges into the household of Michinojo in the middle of night in a drunken demand for Tomoe, Seibei accepts a duel with the captain, hoping to put a stop to the abuse. There seems little chance for him to beat the captain, but Seibei feels he must try. Dueling amongst clan members is strictly forbidden. The penalty is usually death for the winner as the loser is already dead. Seibei decides to use only a wooden stick whilst Koda brandishes a steel katana. Seibei overcomes Koda, sparing both their lives.

Ito disagrees: her father never had any ambition to become anything special; he loved his two daughters, and was loved by the beautiful Tomoe.

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