Rikyu (Movie Review)

Rikyu moview review

This is the third Japanese movie about Rikyū. The other two are Death of a Tea Master, and Ask This of Rikyū.

The title in Japanese is 利休.

It’s from 1989, the same year as the Death of a Tea Master film.

Of the three movies, I believe this one shows the most historical details.

Also, it has more scenes where tea is being prepared in the ceremony.

Basically, Rikyū is trying his best not to step into political territory but at the end it proves to be an impossible task.

This enrages the powerful feudal lord Hideyoshi and results in Rikyū’s death.

The movie makes Rikyū just a martyr or a victim, in contrast with the other two movies where he is more courageous.

That was a disappointment for me.

Another letdown was that in this movie Rikyū didn’t perform his last tea ceremony, and there was no ritual suicide scene either.


It also felt very slow, even more than Death of a Tea Master.

But I did enjoy it. Of course, one has to know a bit about Japanese history and main characters in order to avoid getting lost.

For example, when he meets with Furuta Oribe and admires the daring design of his bowl, the viewer can’t make any sense of this moment unless he knows about Oribe.

One memorable scene for me was the black raku bowl being taken out from the furnace.

I liked Death of a Tea Master the best. This one would be my second favorite.

Ask This of Rikyū, while entertaining, is so historically inaccurate that I don’t recommend it for tea enthusiasts.

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