ⓘ Gohatto


ⓘ Gohatto

Gohatto, also known as Taboo, is a 1999 Japanese film directed by Nagisa Oshima. It is about homosexuality in the Shinsengumi during the bakumatsu period, the end of the samurai era in the mid-19th century.


1. Plot

At the start of the movie, the young and handsome Kanō Sōzaburō Ryuhei Matsuda is admitted to the Shinsengumi, an elite samurai group led by Kondō Isami Yoichi Sai that seeks to defend the Tokugawa shogunate against reformist forces. He is a very skilled swordsman, but it his appearance that makes many of the others in the strictly male group, both students and superiors, attracted to him, creating tension within the group of people vying for Kanōs affections.


2. Cast

  • Tadanobu Asano as Hyōzō Tashiro
  • Kei Satō as Narrator voice
  • Masa Tomiizu as Inspector Yamazaki Susumu
  • Ryuhei Matsuda as Kanō Sōzaburō
  • Masato Ibu as Military Advisor Itō Koshitarō
  • Yoichi Sai as Commander Kondō Isami
  • Shinji Takeda as Captain Okita Sōji
  • Takeshi Kitano as Vice-Commander Hijikata Toshizō
  • Koji Matoba as Sugano Heibei
  • Yoshiaki Fujiwara as Samurai
  • Jirō Sakagami as Inoue Genzaburō
  • Tomorowo Taguchi as Samurai Tojiro Yuzawa

3. Production

The original title of the film, Gohatto, is an old-fashioned term that can be translated as "against the law". Nowadays, "gohatto" can be translated as "strictly forbidden" or "taboo" "tabu".

During the filming of Taboo, actor Ryuhei Matsuda was sixteen years old.

It was Nagisa Oshimas final directorial effort.


4. Reception

Roger Ebert wrote that Taboo is not an entirely successful film, but it isnt boring." Peter Bradshaw of The Guardian said that it was "a film which for some will be dismayingly impenetrable, but it is unmistakably the work of a master film-maker and a work of enormous strangeness and charm." The film currently has a rating of 71% "fresh" on review aggregation site Rotten Tomatoes.

The film was a financial success in Japan, grossing ¥1.01 billion and becoming one of the highest-grossing films of the year. The film was also given a limited theatrical release in North America where it grossed $114.425.


5. Accolades

It was nominated for the Palme dOr at the 2000 Cannes Film Festival, losing out to Dancer in the Dark.

The film won four awards at the 2000 Blue Ribbon Awards: Best Director for Nagisa Oshima, Best Film, Best New Actor for Ryuhei Matsuda, and Best Supporting Actor for Shinji Takeda.

Ryuhei Matsuda won the 2000 Japan Academy Prize for Newcomer of the Year; the film was nominated in nine other categories. Matsuda also won the Best New Actor category of the 2001 Kinema Junpo Awards, as well as the 2001 Yokohama Film Festival prize for Best New Talent.

Tadanobu Asano won the Best Supporting Actor category at the 2000 Hochi Film Awards.