4 user 2 critic

Keiho (1999)

39 keihô dai sanjûkyû jô (original title)
Masaki Shibata Sinichi is a theater actor who murders a man and his wife. Masaki confesses the crime and alleges that the reason for it was that the woman, five months pregnant, had ... See full summary »


Yoshimitsu Morita


Yasutaka Nagai (novel), Sumio Ohmori
6 wins & 4 nominations. See more awards »


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Cast overview, first billed only:
Kyôka Suzuki Kyôka Suzuki ... Kafuka Ogawa
Shin'ichi Tsutsumi ... Masaki Shibata
Ittoku Kishibe Ittoku Kishibe ... Inspector Nagoshi
Naoki Sugiura Naoki Sugiura ... Professor Saneyuki Fujishiro
Kirin Kiki ... Defence Counsel Shigure Nagamura
Tôru Emori Tôru Emori ... Prosecutor Michihiko Kusama
Hideko Yoshida Hideko Yoshida ... Kafka's Mother
Mirai Yamamoto Mirai Yamamoto ... Mikako Kudo
Masanobu Katsumura Masanobu Katsumura ... Sunaoka
Jun Kunimura ... Shibata Toshimitsu
Yasuhito Ohchi Yasuhito Ohchi ... Kudo Keisuke as a child
Takashi Sasano Takashi Sasano ... Tezuka
Takatoshi Takeda Takatoshi Takeda ... Detective Nakamura
Masato Irie Masato Irie ... Hatata Osamu
Misayo Haruki Misayo Haruki ... Hatata Kei


Masaki Shibata Sinichi is a theater actor who murders a man and his wife. Masaki confesses the crime and alleges that the reason for it was that the woman, five months pregnant, had criticized her show. It could be a very simple case to settle if it were not for the "mitigating liability" contemplated in the criminal system of Japan. Masaki must undergo a psychological test to determine his sanity. Written by patriot

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Crime | Drama







Release Date:

1 May 1999 (Japan) See more »

Also Known As:

Keiho See more »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs




Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »

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User Reviews

Highly recommended
31 May 2002 | by sharptongueSee all my reviews

Much to like, and a few things to nitpick about. Practically faultless direction, cinematography and pacing. Some terrific performances from the support actors. Many of the images are memorable and/or shocking.

There are problems with the script and performances of the lead actors. Despite being a true story, some aspects of the story lack credibility, especially upon reflection after the film finishes. The lead actors play a disturbed young man on trial for murder and a young female psychiatric assessor. The best I can say about their performances is that they are competent. The assessor spends the entire film wearing an expression of puzzled anguish which varies only slightly. The disturbed boy fares only a little better.

In another film, these criticisms could have sunk the whole thing. But the direction and cinematography are of such a high calibre that these problems are almost completely glossed over. The film starts a little slowly and has a few confusing viewpoint changes, but the interest builds up and never lets go. The story gets you in, becoming involving and even enthralling. Much of the story is courtroom drama and it is very talky in places, but this is unavoidable in a courtroom drama.

Some of the support actors deserve special mention. The prosecutor is played by Japan's top Shakespearian actor, and he was so good that I wish his part had been made more substantial. The detective who seems to know the full story about the disturbed boy is a loathsome piece of slime, whom I hated more than the accused, and the part is played to perfection. And the defence lawyer is played with straightforward sincerity and good sense.

If this sounds like a mixed review, it isn't. Keiho is perhaps the best Japanese film I've seen this year.

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