Hunter in the Dark

Synopsis: Yataro Tanigawa, a one-eyed hired assassin, impresses yakuza boss Gomyo Kiyoemon with his skill. Gomyo hires Tanigawa as his bodyguard, or yojimbo, to protect him during an inter-clan conflict. Tanigawa quickly rises in stature in the clan, but finds his boss's enemies almost overwhelming.
Director(s): Hideo Gosha
Production: Criterion Collection
  1 win & 1 nomination.
137 min




In the middle of the 18th century,

Japan was under the reign of Iyeharu,

the 10th Tokugawa Shogun,

It was known as the Tanuma era,

after a Shogunate minister,

who created a world of politics

controlled by bribery and corruption,

The general corruption

and resulting lawlessness

spawned fearful secret organizations,

Which thrived in the

shadowy underworld,

The people called such groups

"Hunters in Darkness",


Executive Producers: SATo Masayuki

KISHIMoNTo Ginichi SuGISAKI Shigemi

Based on the novel by:


Screenplay by:

Naota ENDo Takeshi

Cinematography by: SAKAl Tadashi

Music by:
SATo Maseru


NAKADAl Tatsuya

as Gomyo no Kiyoemon

KISHI Keiki as omon

ISHIDA Ayumi as oriwa

FuJITA Makoto as Kasuke

NATSuYAGI Isao as Sharaku no Matsu

Narrated by:

HoSoKAWA Toshiyuki

TAMBA Tetsuro as okitsugu Tanuma

ToNo Eijiro as Shogen Hannyain

HARADA Yoshio as Yataro Tanigawa

CHIBA Shinichi as Samon Shimoguni

Directed by:
GoSHA Hideo

Are you listening?

Get the first palanquin that comes.

Don't touch the second one.

Kill the man in the first palanquin.

You understand, right?

Who are you?

Why are you watching the lantern?

What's wrong?



Good morning.

- Good morning,

The red camellias are loVely aren't they?

- Yes they are,

Please take these.

- Thank you,

Good morning.

- Good morning,

Take this to the inner room.

- OK,

Is that so?

Such a unique sword style.

I'm told you are an excellent swordsman.

Not at all. I'm just a noVice.

Sorry Boss, but it's late.

I'm afraid I can't give you much.

You should have let me know.

Not at all. I was hungry.

The food was fine.

Right Tanigawa-san?

Yes, it was fine.

Her name is omon.

She runs this teahouse.

Sometimes she carries our messages.

My name is Tanigawa Yataro.

I'm glad to meet you.

Tanigawa-san is going to work for me.

He's a friend of mine and

he is exceptionally reliable.

I haVe total confidence in him.

Please take care of him.

Arrange it so he can rest until evening.

Certainly, I'll do my best,


You understand, Tanigawa-san?

I trust you'll perform your

services well for me.

Still the same old picture.

How does the boss seem?

Seems he likes him.

Is that so?

Now that Tokuzo of

Shirogane was gotten rid of,

from now on it'll be either

our boss or Jihei of Shiba.

It'll be settled this eVening.

I wish I could see how it's handled.

Don't treat it lightly.


It's about time we got going.



Are you sure it's all right?

We can't turn back.

That's right.

The die is cast.

But, just in case...

There's no way we can fail.

Jihei, of Shiba,

neVer puts himself in jeopardy.

He'll tactfully Iure out

our boss Gomyo.

And he'll be stabbed.

He'll neVer return aliVe.

But, that ronin...

Can we really trust him?

That one?

He won't fail us, there's no doubt.

That ronin...

I saved his life.

Sorry to keep you waiting, Gomyo.

Welcome, Boss of Shiba.

I'Ve brought only

one aide, as agreed.

And also, I'm unarmed.

I trust you in that respect.

We're here to discuss who will be

the new boss of the underworld in Edo.

She is enough as my aide.

But what about you, Gomyo?

You're with a samurai.

You're Very careful.

Don't be difficult.

If we can settle it by a

discussion, it'll be best.

You sound peaceful, but...

Last night at omodaka bridge...

I hear Boss Tokuzo

was assassinated there.

What about it?

one of the three

biggest bosses was killed.

It makes it convenient for us.

Are you sure your weren't

behind the scenes on that?

Boss, I hope you haven't grown

stupid because of your mistress.

Whoever may have been behind it

it's one of our basic rules

not to make an issue of it.

You better educate her.

You're absolutely right.

Well then, let's come straight

to the main point.


You're too good natured.

How did you eVer get to be

an underworld boss?


Yaichi, your underling who

arranged this meeting,

fell in loVe with omon

and betrayed you to us.

What do you think about that?

Well, Boss Gomyo?

Shut up!

Hurry and kill me!

Well said!

According to your wish, we'll kill you.

Kill him.


Damn it!



Welcome back.

What are you doing?

This is absolutely unforgivable.

Are you making a fool of me

just because the boss isn't here?

Sakimatsu. What's all this about?

Explain all this.

What are you all up to?

- Will you be quiet for a while?


- What is it?

You said the boss isn't here.

Where is he and what's he doing?

Will you tell us?

Will I tell you?

What's wrong?

Very well.

I will tell you the story.

The boss, he isn't alive anymore.

What's worse...

Jihei's men will be here soon

to shut you all up permanently.

So that's how it'll be.

Then are you the one

who betrayed our boss to Jihei?

We'll talk about it later.

If your want to liVe, join me.

You better hurry, or...

- What if I say I want to liVe, too?


According to the

rules of the underworld

we must stab the betrayer

with a dagger until he is dead.

What about her?

I never thought you'd betray me.

I don't care.

Kill me if you like.

It's my fault.

If you kill me.

I'll haVe no regrets.

You left me for that woman

who tried to commit suicide.

I felt like I was thrown

into the depths of hell.


Let's observe the rule.

That picture again?

Sometimes you can be so childish.

Always the same picture.

But we are going there one day,

aren't we?

We'll go there together, won't we?

Yes, someday.

If you want to go that badly.

It's strange.

As you so often asked me to go,

I began to feel as though

I'd been there too.


Kill me at once!

Please kill me!


You chose to liVe in the underworld.

No one forced you.

So don't complain now.

I fell for a woman I shouldn't loVe.

I'm to blame. It's my fate.

I'Ve no grudge against the boss.

I'Ve nothing personal against him.

So as the rule says, kill me!

I wish I could ask

him to forgive you.

But you tried to kill him,

and that's unforgivable.



What's wrong?

You look so stern.

I was lonely.

Yesterday... today...

So very lonely.

Don't say that.

Don't say you're lonely.

I love you. Boss.

I'm floating.

I'm floating.

My body is floating.

Is this where I'm to die?


It's our rule to kill woman

without bloodshed.

Because of that, you'll drown.

- Wait a minute!

We'Ve been friends a

long time haVen't we?

Let me at least prepare myself.


What are you doing?

Stop it!

I'm the infamous Madame of Kamesen

and I'm going to die.

I want to be neat when I die.

Don't underestimate me.

I'm different from Yaichi.

You misunderstand.

You're very suspicious, aren't you?

Look. Now I have no

weapons whatsoever.

Now, search me.

Don't do it.

Omon, you mustn't.

You want me, don't you?

You can hold me if you like.

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Hideo Gosha

Hideo Gosha (五社 英雄, Gosha Hideo, February 26, 1929 – August 30, 1992) was a Japanese film director. Born in Arasaka, Tokyo Prefecture, Gosha graduated from high school and served in the Imperial Navy during the Second World War. After earning a business degree at Meiji University, he joined Nippon television as a reporter in 1953. In 1957 he moved on to the newly founded Fuji Television and rose through the ranks as a producer and director. One of his television shows, the chambara Three Outlaw Samurai, so impressed the heads of the Shochiku film studio that he was offered the chance to adapt it as a feature film in 1964. Following this film's financial success, he directed a string of equally successful chambara productions through the end of the 1960s. His two most critical and popular successes of the period are Goyokin and Hitokiri (also known as Tenchu), both released in 1969 and both considered to be two of the finest examples of the chambara genre. During the 1970s Gosha abandoned pure chambara and turned his productive energies toward films in the yakuza genre but he still produced period sword films such as The Wolves (1971 film) (1972), Bandits vs. Samurai Squadron (1978), and Hunter in the Dark (1979). His films Three Outlaw Samurai and Sword of the Beast (1965) have been released by Criterion.By the early 1980s, Gosha began making period films that featured prostitutes as protagonists that were renowned for their realism, violence, and overt sexuality. They were critically panned for those very reasons, but they were also all box office successes. In 1984 he was awarded the Japan Academy Prize for Director of the Year for The Geisha.Gosha’s films have influenced directors including Chang Cheh, Takashi Miike, and Yoshiaki Kawajiri. more…

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Submitted on August 05, 2018

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