Empire of Passion

Japan Release: 1978
Running Time:
108 minutes

Empire of Passion

Japanese Title

[Ai no Borei]

Distributor: Production:

Argos Films / Oshima Productions

In 1895, Seki has an affair with Toyoji, a much younger man who becomes jealous of her husband, Gisaburo. Together with Seki, Toyoji plots to kill the man, and they manage to strangle and dump Seki's husband into a well in the woods. To qualm suspicious, neighbors are told that Gisaburo moved away to Tokyo because of work. However, three years later, the ghost of Gisaburo begins to haunt those responsible for his demise...

Live ActionScience Fiction

Box Office - Stock Footage - DVDs - CDs - Pictures - Background - Concept Art - Cut Scenes - Reviews


International Title


Initial US Title

Empire of Passion
US Distributor: Barbary Coast (1980) / Time: 108 Minutes

Alternate Titles

The Spirit of Love
[Literal Translation]

In the Realm of Passion
[Canadian Title]



Directed by Nagisa Oshima
Writing credits Nagisa Oshima, Itoko Nakamura
Produced by Nagisa Oshima, Anatole Dauman
Music by Toru Takemitsu
Cinematography by Yoshio Miyajima
Film Editing by Keiichi Uraoka
Seki Kazuko Yoshiyuki
Toyoji Tatsuya Fuji
Gisaburo Takahiro Tamura
Hotta, Inspector Takuzo Kawatani
Mother of Landowner Akiko Koyama
Toichiro Taiji Tonoyama
Odame Sumie Sasaki
Denzo Takaaki Sugiura
Oshin Masami Hasegawa
Dancer Osugi
- Eizo Kitamura
- Kenzo Kawarasaki
- Akiyoshi Fujiwara
- Tatsuya Kimura
- Kei Sato


DVDs and Blu-rays

United States Region 1 Empire of Passion Criterion (2009) Order

Background and Trivia

  • Argos Films and Oshima Productions submitted the movie to the US copyright office on June 6th, 1991 under the registration number PA0000542777. It used the title Empire of Passion, In the Realm of Passion (Canadian title) and L'Empire de la Passion (French title). One other title was used on the registration as well: Dossier Sur un Meurtre. This is French for "Murder File", but doesn't seem to have been used as a name for the movie in any well known releases.
  • In an interview, actor Tatsuya Fuji noted that the movie was shot in an abandoned village. Streets were covered in sand and houses restored to a state they looked of the period.
  • One of the major issues with filming in the abandoned village was the local wildlife. Actor Tatsuya Fuji noted the worst of these were pit vipers and carpenter bees. In fact, he relates how actress Kazuo Yoshiyuki would wear a net around her head when not filming to keep the bees away. Mentioned in an interview done for the Empire of Passion release from Criterion.
  • During the scene where Toyoji attempts to break down the door, actor Tatsuya Fuji seriously hurt himself. From slamming into the door repeatedly he completely tore three tendons in his shoulder, causing his shoulder to sag afterwards. In immense pain, the actor continued to try and break down the door, but this time with the other shoulder. Eventually the pain became too much and the actor passed out. Recounted in an interview done for the Empire of Passion release from Criterion.
  • During the torture scene at the end, actress Kazuo Yoshiyuki notes that she lost consciousness while being suspended in the air. She recalls coming to on the side of a road wrapped in a blanket. Brought up in an interview done for the Empire of Passion release from Criterion.