This story is not based
on actual events


All characters and incidents
portrayed here are fictitious




In DaieiScope




Produced by Masaichi Nagata


Original Story by
Yukio Mishima


Photography by
Kazuo Miyakawa


Art supervision by
Yoshinobu Nishioka




Raizo Ichikawa


Ganjiro Nakamura
Tatsuya Nakadai


Michiyo Aratama


Directed by
Kon Ichikawa


Goichi, Mizoguchi, 21, a student
novice at Soen Temple


On the day Shukaku Temple
burned down.


he was found in a coma in the
mountains behind the temple


He was rushed to the hospital,
and was released today


He has 2 knife scars
on his chest


- Above the heart ?
- These were near him


He burned his belt
and money


Birthplace ?


Maizuru City... the son
of a small temple priest


His father died 7 years ago...
His mother works


Did you do it alone ?
Protecting someone ?


You can't even die.
Don't be funny


You can't fool the police


A full-scale investigation
is going to begin


Our Chief's here, too,
so you'd better confess


Mizoguchi, silence won't make
the sentence lighter


You, of all people...


... should know Shukaku Temple
was a national treasure !


You knew how important
the building was !


Confess like a man !


What's his mental state ?


A slight split personality.
Nothing serious


Why are you silent ?


You haven't said a word
since your arrest


You needn't, under postwar law,
but how did you know that ?




To the Most Reverend Tayama...


Street cars stopped...
terrible walking


- Good morning. Who's he ?
- He came to see Priest Tayama


Kengen Temple...


Oh, Priest Mizoguchi's son ?
You've grown up


Came 3 years ago, didn't you ?


I'm awfully busy


Sorry I can't be more


Ouch ! The rice-gruel
is boiling over !


Excuse me


Good morning


Allow me please


Excuse me


Sorry to disturb your meal, but...
would you read this ?


Mizoguchi's son brought it


Mizoguchi's son ?
Has he gone ?


He's outside


- Let him in.
- Breakfast... ?


It doesn't matter


Come on in


I'm glad you've come


Is your father well ?


I've neglected writing to him


Then... your father
did not recover ?


I didn't know... his father died


I'm very sorry to hear it


It is a sad thing


This has become his last letter
to me


- Tuberculosis ?
- Almost a lifelong illness


Good people die early


A godd man. He worshipped


He said there was nothing
more beautiful


We should appreciate it more


He must've wanted to see Shukaku
again before he died


I'll offer prayers
for him later


I'll take care of you.
Stay here.


- What ? But you can't... !
- He entrusted the boy to me


That may be so, but... !


You may go !


What're you doing ?


Shukaku. You can't really
see it from here.


Haven't I been put in charge of
this temple's business affairs ?


Then, please tell me before
bringing people in !


- He's an exception to...
- I know that very well...


... and how kind-hearted
you are !


Then what about my son ?


I've asked for years that you
let him become a novice


You haven't married,
so you have no son


A novice will succeed you. Do
you consider my son ineligible ?


I'm sorry to have shouted


I wasn't thinking


Namba received his draft notice,


Only the old and very young


I don't even consider
a successor now


If I find no suitable successor
from among my novices...


... I shall return this temple
to the headquarters


If it's a gift, give it
to Tenza


I...i...idiot ! It's r...rice !
It's wasteful !


A stutterer ? No wonder he's been
so quiet. It's pretty bad


- Isn't that your classmate ?
- Yes, his name's Mizoguchi


Come with us. An alumnus
has come to visit


- Say something. Are you dumb ?
- He s..s..stutters


A stutterer ? Join the navy.
I'd correct it in a single day


No, my home's a temple.
I'm going to be a priest


- Forget about him ! Let's wrestle !
- Okay. I'll coach you


These are awfully important.
Watch them


Let's go.


He stammers badly


Not when I read the sutra


A priest must do more, though...


He must lecture and visit homes


And act as a guide.


Don't be so absent-minded.
Help pick up the rice.


Namba, are you taking
the night train ?


No, the noon train, if he's
to enter the army tomorrow


No, the noon train, if he's
to enter the army tomorrow


I've packed already


Work hard for our country.


No rice-gruel in the army.


No rice, so we all have
to eat it.


There used to be more
than 10 novices.


Now the garden's
gone to weed.


He's taking Namba's place,
but he's still a boy.


Is no one here ?


- And my assistant ?
- He went to the city office


To transfer Namba out
and Mizoguchi in.


He acted very busy and bumped
into a post going out


I see. What about Namba ?


He's bidding his neighbors
farewell. Tsurukawa's at school.


Here. I'll give you 10 sen


Go 'round back next time


Working already ?


Even people living in temples
aren't all Buddhas.


Understand ?


Consider this your father's
temple and do your best.


Your father and I were old friends,
so feel free with me.


Kyoto's in a terrible state


A shame the way they're
pulling down good houses.


- Your place, too ?
- No, not in the country.


But it's near the Naval Base,
so we have air raids.


Can't even till the fields.


Tokyo's in ruins... soon
they'll raid Kyoto, too


They wouldn't dare burn down
a precious temple like Shukaku


I'm sorry I didn't send something
for the new year


to thank you for taking care
of my boy.


It's about time he got back
from school


Schools have been mobilized.
Students are working in factories.


A waste of school fees


I'm grateful that he's well.


Someone's here...
Visitors ?


That's unusual.
I'll go and see.


I'm Mizoguchi's mother.


Thank you for being kind
to him.


What fine beans ! Are they
from your garden ?


These are sesame seeds.


These are beans.


This is dried seaweed.


This is dried fish.


And this is rice.


A bit of everything :
a poor offering.


- What lovely presents.
- It's nothing


Sorry to trouble you


We're back.


Mizoguchi, your mother
is here.


He's a willful boy.


My husband died one and a half
yeras ago today.


So long, already ?


If you'd read the sutra for him,
my husband would be glad.


Gladly. To the main hall,
then. Come with me.


We owe you very much.


But I can only afford
a poor offering.


Oh, the sirens again. We have
air-raids alerts every day, too.


I was scared, so I sent
the visitors away.


One mustn't make fun
of alerts.


And the assistant ?
Around. I guess.


Timid, but he's absorbed
in the temple.


His one good point.


You ignored your mother because
of the others ? Happy ?


No, I'm not.


I miss my mother.


Our temple's in Tokyo, but father
arranged for me to train here


I don't like him much.


Were you afraid of yours ?


You were sad, then, when he died,
weren't you ?


You were, that's why
you look sad.


E..everyone laughs when I
stutter, but you don't


Me ? I don't mind.


I'll go clean.


Shukaku again ? No visitors come,
and it could burn up.


You must have a heart of gold
to do it.


Goichi, where are you ?
It's an air raid !


What're you doing here ?


D..don't come in !
You mustn't !


It's awful if there's
no place to hide.


There is.


I'm not afraid at all at home.


But it's terrible in a strange


Going home ?


Yes, I only came to have
the sutra read to father


but I can't go to the temple,
it's someone else's now.


What ? Someone else's ?






What is it ?


- Kurai and Mother... !
- Don't say anything


Goichi, I'll take you to see
Shukaku soon. I promise.


It nestles in the lap of
the Kyoto mountains


There's nothing more beautiful
than Shukaku.


I forget this filthy world
just thinking about Shukaku.


I know why you sold the temple !
You hated father !


What're you saying ?


Your father was sick a long time ;
it was mortgaged.


I'm going to my parents' home.


Keep your father's
memorial tablet


Understand, you have no temple
or home.


Gain the priest's favor,
then you'll succeed him


I'm looking forward to it. never know.


I might go to war
and die.


Idiot ! It'll mean the end of us
if they take stammerers.


D..d..don't come here again !


- I'm happy just to be here !
- Don't go ! Stay here !


I'd be glad to burn to death
with Shukaku !


Isn't it beautiful ?


The first floor's
called Kasuiden.


The second, Shuindo.


Finally, I'm able to show you


5,000 copies more


Thanks. Many visitors...
Must be a thriving business.


You're wrong. It's expensive
to get out guidebooks.


Heard Priest Tayama has raised
the admission.


I've heard you make 200,000 yen
a month.


People are all wrong.


We're just a bit better off.


We deserve it after
the war years.


There's a crowd outside.


Yes, on Sundays.


A weekend.


What's that ?


It's Saturdays and Sundays.
I'll be going...


Will Priest Tayama be back ?


- He's at a bank party.
- He's changed.


I didn't know he was
so worldly.


Is Mizoguchi helping, too ?


I couldn't find him.


He hates people
more and more


- I'll help.
- Thanks.


We must employ more people.


You're a brute !


Get away from me !


What're you doing ?


Don't you dare defile Shukaku !


Excuse me.


Oh, it's you, Mizoguchi


What is it ?


There's something
I must tell you.


A present ? Thanks.


I'm so busy lately I can't even
give you lectures


This is a good time
to tell you.


I intend to send you
to college.


I want you to get good grades.


You needn't thank me.
Just do you very best.


Call Tosen for me


W..Won't you tell me ?


- Are you still worried ?
- Tsurukawa !


Okay...I'll tell you...
Everyone's jealous of you.


Because Chief Priest Tayama
is sending you to college.


Th..That's not all, is it ?
Priest Tayama avoids me, too.


I don't want to worry you


Then there is something !


I heard...


A strange woman came


The week before she'd visited
Shukaku with a G.I...


and a novice knocked her down, so
she said to pay up or she'd sue


Upon hearing that the novice had
stuttered. Chief Priest paid her.


and forbade us to discuss it


- I..I knocked her down !
- You're lying !


I can't believe it...
What was the reason ?


- She tried to enter Shukaku.
- Then... ?


- Nothing.
- Nothing ?


I couldn't stand it !


She laughed at your stutter,
didn't she ? Tell the truth.


You should've apologized
right away.


Want me to ?


- I..I will, myself.
- Yes, as soon as possible. she alive ?


I wonder... she's like a doll


You're late.


- Why'd you come ?
- Why ? Because it's been 2 years


Sit down, will you ?


I hear they're sending you
to college.


I cried when I heard it.
Could anything be better ?


At my parent's home, both
of my parents died long ago


And it's gotten harder to live
in the country.


The Priest said I could work here
and gave me a room.


You thank him for me, too.


- I said not to come !
- I know.


You didn't want to see me till
you're a full-fledged priest


But I have to eat, so
try to bear it, dear.


You don't understand !


Is that everything ?


My mother's very ill.


Hurry back to her. Tenza, go
to the station, too.


He'll see you safely there.


Streetcare fare


I hope he's on time.'s...


- Did you see your mother ?
- Yes.


I must tell you about the tobacco
and about that girl


I know !


I did my duty as the priest
in charge of Shukaku.


I..I... !
Shukaku... !


Don't make excuses.


I am disappointed


I didn't think you'd be one to
apologize after the harm's done.


Why follow me, then ?


J..just to ask you explain
some p..points in the lecture...


...p..points I don't


Don't stammer so much !


You don't want my help


I know why you spoke
to me


You're Mizoguchi ?
I've been waiting.


But I don't want friends.
My foot keeps them away, anyway.


I wondered when you'd dare


We'd only spotlight your fault
all the more


Go on, stutter till everyone
in Kyoto knows


Then you'll know peace.


So, you think you've found
a good companion ?


Right ? You were interested
in college at first.


You got good grades. You grew
lazy in the 2nd year.


And now you'll probably flunk.


Want to know why
I know so much ?


Not only you


Sports are out for me,
so I have time.


So I sit and watch people


- Why not go to school ?
- No fun at school.


Hah ! No fun anywhere.


What do you do ?


I visit temples.


Why visit other temples ?


To see if any other temple
is lovelier than Shukaku


Why ? They're merely buildings
that escaped bombing


They don't change


Idiot ! People, history,
and morals all change.


Everything does


Your precious Shukaku, too...
Ants could eat it or fire burn...


I'll teach you... watch the change
in a stuck-up girl


Follow me !


Jump !


Leaving me here ?
It's your fault I've fallen !


You're so beautiful, I didn't
watch where I jumped !


What should I do ?


Someone here ?


What are you doing ? A new novice
is coming tomorrow




Thinking of Tsurukawa ?


Sitting here won't
bring him back


He's gone. Don't waste


Goichi, where are you going ?


To the Garden !


Goichi, come to my room !


Why don't you go to school ?


I was told to give you
a good talking to


By the Chief Priest ?


No, he's too nice.
The assistant told me


What makes you act in such
an ungrateful way ?


Your father would grieve
if he knew


Put yourself in my place.


You're cared for, and
I'm working, too.


I'm humiliated.


Go, then.


Wh..what're you saying ?


Don't stutter !


Mother, do you make fun of me,
too ?


I..I didn't intend to


I worry a lot, feel small, and
work without any fun at all.


It's all to see you become
Chief Priest here before I die.


And you're telling me to leave.
I'm unhappy, so I stutter.


Yes, when you learn you're alone
and live in despair


Then words don't come easily.


I wasn't born a stutterer.


I was raised in a poor,
cold temple.


Father was consumptive.


I'm sure Father felt as I did.


That's why he spoke
of Shukaku every day.


Thinking of it made him forget
the long, lonely days.


Sh..Shukaku was his dream.


He wanted me to relive his dream
so he sent me here.


But...but you had to come.


You don't want me to be here
because I look miserable ?


Mother, I know... !
... about Kurai and you


A s..stutterer can't become
Chief Priest.


I'm satisfied just to be near


Go to bed. It's late.


Fool ! Are you spying on me ?


Who is it ?


Oh, it's you. I thought
it was Mizoguchi.


Where is he, so late ?


- Thanks.
- I counted the admission fees.


- 5,800 yen.
- Good.


Good night. I'll be going now.


- Now ?
- Is something... ?


Please, tell me if something
is bothering you.


Do you remember...


... I said if couldn't find
a suitable successor...


... I'd return my temple
to the headquarters ?


But I realize now that I'm
not suitable, either.


You're wrong.


Soenji's success
is due to you.


That's the problem.


I must be worldly to manage
a temple like this.


I feel I've strayed from
the path of Buddhism


by being Chief Priest.


Meaning... ?


- I should resign.
- That's ridiculous.


- All priests keep a mistress or 2.
- Never mind others.


I respect you very much.


I felt bitter towards you about
my son, but he has a shop now.


He's a born shopkeeper, so I'm
impressed by your foresight.


You're too wise for you own good.


If you resign from this temple,
I will, too.


I don't know how I'll live.


I don't want to trouble
you or others.


I'll think it over.


What now ?


You bother me.


Haven't you any other friends ?


Yes, one, but he died
2 years ago.


A truck ran him over.


He was kind.


I won't die. Those who do
are weak in some way.


People with guts don't die easily,
like your priest.


Know him ?


I come from a temple, too,
so I know rich priests.


He took a Gion geisha recently
for his mistress.


A lie !


Didn't you know ?
Hey, the Hibachi !


You can buy pictures of her
at Gion. I'll show you one.


Not interested ?
I won't, then.


She's pretty, modern-looking
the type old men like.


He's changed.


Everything has.


Men who live by the Precepts
easily fall prey to money.


You seem to respect him, but
the deformed are easily fooled.


A little kindness and they're
easily taken in.


Hypocrites !


They aren't deformed, but
others feel superior.


The Priest was kind to you ?


- first.
- But not now ? See ?


A real priest wouldn't change.


He acted out a lie
from the first.


I don't believe it.


You're so very na´ve.


All right, then do the thing
he hates the most.


If he's all that you think he is,
he'll do some soul-searching,


and become kind again.


Staying longer ? About time
for the girl to come.


- S..sorry, I'll go.
- No, stay, and have some fun.


I'll show you the hypocrisy
that passes for kindness.


She's that girl... her home
is in front of the school.


Hello. A guest ?
I'll come later.


You know him


Oh, your friend.


Why did you leave him and run ?
You're no friend.


It was hard to help him.
He was hurt.


I'll introduce you... She is
Miss Wanibuchi.


Be kinder to him after this.


Still hurts ?


I'm sorry. I'll fix it.


I was to blame !
I'm sorry !


I'll make it well !


It's well now.


Strange, but it gets well
when you do that


You're a saint.


No, I'm not.


Mizoguchi, get my furoshiki.


A keepsake from my uncle
who died... a shakuhachi.


This is mine.


Then you play it ?


I don't need two, so you
take the keepsake.


Nice to play when
you're worried.


Go on, take it.


Friendship between men is nice.
I'm envious.


Like this. It's simple.


Excuse me.


I touched on it in my lecture,
about the Nanchuan cat.


This has always been considered
a very difficult catechism.


A cat once strayed
into a quiet temple


the priests fought
to catch it.


Priest Nanchuan killed it,


with a sword


And by this merciless deed, he
quelled the fighting priests.


He explained what had happened
to his high disciple, Chao Chou.


And asked his opinion.


His disciple put his shoes
on his head and left.


The priest was sad.


For the cat would not be dead
if Chao Chou had been there.


- Excuse me !
- Who is it ?


Mizoguchi !


I meant to make you
my successor once


But I have no such thought now.


It's a lie !


Not a..a stutterer like me !


Fool ! Has it ever bothered me ?
You've a warped mind !


Y..You know all about me.


But I believe I know you, too.


So ? Knowing without understanding
means nothing.


So ? Knowing without understanding
means nothing.


Lend you 3,000 yen ?
Whatever for ?


This is your collateral ?


I have a dictionary.


And the shakuhachi is
the one I gave you


I may lend you the money,
but what's it for ?


Speak up !


Your stuttering's past remedy.


Be careful... you're safe
as long as you stutter.


It gets so you can't express
yourself. You become dumb.


and clam up,


till you go crazy, or commit
suicide, or kill someone.


- I want to travel.
- Where ?


Coming back ?


I can't, if you're not even sure


I..I will come back.


Very well, put your seal
to this I.O.U for 3,000.


Thumb print will do.


The interest is 10% per month.
Cheaper than a moneylender.


Next time the priest's away,
let me play flute in Shukaku.


Can you play it yet ?


- Just noise.
- That's fine.


Go ahead.


Blow on it !


Your music doesn't stutter


I gave it to you to hear
music stutter


Like the last guest...


He's been in his room
for 5 days.


He doesn't eat much
and just sits.


Excuse me.


You registered under
your real name ?


The address, Soen Temple,
means you're a priest.


You don't look like one.


Kotani College... I see,
you're a student.


It's you all right.


Do they know
you're here ?


School's not out yet.


What're you doing here ?


Don't do anything foolish


There may be times when
you feel like dying


But you don't seem


Many people want to study
but can't


But you have a promising


Have any money ?


You thankless, ungrateful boy !


How could you come back !
Who will you apologize to ?


Acting crazy... out of spite
to me ?


I was so worried about you...
You hoped I'd die, didn't you ?


I'm so ashamed, I can't
stay here


- Wh..where will you go ?
- I don't care what happens to you !


Die, for all I care !


I wish I hadn't borne you.
You like tormenting me !


The Priest's mistress...
she's with child ?


Who said so ? Keep still.
He's upset.


Why ?


Your son is back ?


I'm a cripple,
so excuse me.


Please look at this


It's Mizoguchi's I.O.U.
from 5 months ago.


I reminded him, but he won't pay.
It's comes to 4,500 now.


It'll get harder
for him to pay,


so would you pay ? I thought
I'd hold the temple responsible.


I also need the money.


Hello ? Hello ? Our fire alarm
is out of order.


Please come right away.
The sooner the better.


This evening ? Thanks.


You're back ?
Know Mr. Togari ?


He's in with the priest.


Did you find your mother ?


The Priest is calling you.


Is this your thumb print ?




- The interest is 1,500...
- No interest on student loans.


Excuse me


If you repeat this behavior,
you can't stay here


Knock before you come in !


Sorry about my behavior earlier.
No offense.


You forced me into it
by not paying me.


Your priest is a tightwad.


He's rolling in money, but
wouldn't pay interest.


What's that ?




You're odd. Why didn't you
pay up, if you had it ?


H..he gave me my school fees.


Won't you need it ?


What of the priest who paid
your debt, then your fees ?


He's a hypocrite, or
he's testing you.


Show his true colors
by spending the money


You have guts. There's nothing
to fear by it.


I saw Shukaku for the first time...
It's lovelier than I imagined.


Wonderful to own one.


A big garden, and
the pond is fine.


It's a national treasure,
so the money rolls in


Sh..Shukaku's different.
You wouldn't understand.


I wouldn't ?
Do you ?


What's it to you ? You're only
a novice in the priest's charge.


You can't get along


I'd understand if that's
why you like Shukaku


-'re wrong !
- Why ? Hurry up and tell me !


Stutter ! Not ashamed to now,
are you ?


Even this knows
you stutter !


Sh..Shukaku belongs
to no one.


Not the priest's


It was there from the beginning,
and was always beautiful.


They're using it to make money


But Shukaku won't change


You said all living things change.
Sh..Shukaku's alive, but it won't !


I won't let it !


Such confidence. You won't
let it change ? Hah !


No. I..I came to tell you so


What can you do ?


She's not Miss Wanibuchi


The girl from the big house ?


You've been seeing her, too !
I knew it !


She's a teacher


She teaches me flower arranging,
and is very vain


You're horrid !


I..I saw you once
a long time ago


Wanibuchi married. I chased her
away from me.


She became suffocating.


The same is true for you


You said I arranged flowers well,
didn't you ?


You can't teach me any more,
so I don't need you


Brute !


What are these flowers,
anyway ?


Want to know what I was
laughing at ?


At 2 crippled men talking
nonsense !


Get out !


The other girl thought so, too !


Pride over kindness !
No cripples for me !


Don't, or I'll break your neck !


Proud to be a cripple ?


Who'd even notice
if you weren't ?


Get out !


First time here ?
From a temple ?


- How'd you know ?
- I could tell by your hair cut


Many come


You look depressed.
Broken heart ?


Scolded by the priest ?
By your mother ?


I..I'm lonely


You shouldn't come here.
You seem nice


What if Shukaku burned down ?


Shukaku... ? Oh... I've
never been there


- Would you be surprised ?
- It doesn't matter, does it ?


It'd be terrible if this place
burned, I have 3 years to go


You stutter... can you read
the sutra ?


Yes, the sutra and English


Read this, then


You can, can't you ?
You've a nice voice, too


It'd be nice to have you
read the sutra


- Bye. I'll leave.
- Why ? Don't waste your money


Never mind


It really is your fist time,
isn't it ?


Come again...
I'm Mariko


Sorry to have you go like this.
Thank you.


- Salty.
- Is it ?


- Where do I put his bed ?
- He won't use it yet.


Lay it in the hall


Is the fire alarm... repaired ?


Not yet


It's not safe.
I asked them to fix it


He drinks a lot


Priest Zenkai is notorious
as a heavy drinker...


More sakÚ !


Come in


- Mizoguchi's son.
- So he's Mizoguchi's...


You take after him. We were
friends since training days.


He was mischievous.


It's a pity he died so young


He's attending Kotani College,
and is very diligent.


That's great


- Telephone.
- Who is it ?


Excuse me.
Who'd phone now ?


It's a boy !
A boy was born !


I said not to call


I'm sorry, but this
is different


Mistress is happy to give you
an heir. She said to call


Your father's temple was at Naryu,
wasn't it ? I went once


It's nice place jutting out
into the Sea of Japan


The waves are breathtaking


Wh..what do you think of me ?


You seem like a nice,
serious student ordinary student ?


Being ordinary is best.
No one doubts you that way.


Please judge me !


I'm not what you think


Please see the real me !


I don't need to. It's best
not to think


No one understands me ! one understands


I..I've only one thing
left to do


No one understands me


Who is it ?


Why were you following me ?
Why did you have to ?


It's... to late ! It won't do you
any good to get mad !


He's acting crazy


What's going on ?
What is it ?


Not a fire ?


It's too late.


Buddha's judgement !


You won't speak


Even so, the investigation
will proceed


You'll be indicted
when we have proof


You burned a national treasure


What was your reason ? Did you
just suddenly do it ?


Have you considered
your mother ?


Your mother comes every day


She's praying you'll confess
and become a good boy


You've committed a hideous crime,
so she's ashamed to see you.


Doesn't it bother you
to do that to her ?


Think hard on it


No amount of money can bring
back what you've burned.


It probably won't affect the
tourist trade, though.


How much will it cost
to rebuild ?


- Millions.
- It's hard to say


We can't waste our time
on him


Ready to go ?


He's the one that burned


His mother killed herself.
Read about it 2 months ago.


- The verdict ?
- 7 years.


The Chief Priest's helping


- He requested another trial.
- He shouldn't have.


They should have left it alone


Toilet... ?