Masaki Kobayashi

The Inheritance

The Inheritance

On his deathbed, a wealthy businessman announces that his fortune is to be split equally among his three illegitimate children, whose whereabouts are unknown. A bevy of lawyers and associates begin machinations to procure the money for themselves, resorting to the use of impostors and blackmail. Yet all are outwitted by the cunning of the man’s secretary (Keiko Kishi), in this entertaining condemnation of unchecked greed.

Film Info

  • Japan
  • 1962
  • 108 minutes
  • Black & White
  • 2.40:1
  • Japanese

Available In

Collector's Set

Eclipse Series 38: Masaki Kobayashi Against the System

Kobayashi Against the System

DVD Box Set

4 Discs


The Inheritance
Keiko Kishi
Yasuko Miyagawa
Tatsuya Nakadai
So Yamamura
Senzo Kawara
Yusuke Kawazu
Sadao Narimune
Mari Yoshimura
Minoru Chiaki
Junichi Fujii
Misako Watanabe
Masaki Kobayashi
Produced by
Shigeru Wakatsuki
Produced by
Masaki Kobayashi
Based on the novel by
Norio Nanjo
Koichi Inagaki
Takashi Kawamata
Production design
Shigemasa Toda
Keiichi Uraoka
Toru Takemitsu


Eclipse Series 38: Kobayashi Against the System
Eclipse Series 38: Kobayashi Against the System

Four of the great Japanese director’s lesser-known, early films show the coming into being of a political artist.

By Michael Koresky


Tatsuya Nakadai


Tatsuya Nakadai
Tatsuya Nakadai

A dynamic, handsome star who got his start in Japanese cinema during its 1950s golden age, the Tokyo-born Tatsuya Nakadai defies easy categorization. He is convincing whether playing a mercenary lone wolf or a heartsick love interest, a hero or a villain, in a sleek suit or samurai robes, and just as comfortable blending in to an ensemble as commanding a spotlight. The stage-trained actor was discovered, while working as a shop clerk, in 1953 by director Masaki Kobayashi, who promptly cast him in a tiny role in the controversial drama The Thick-Walled Room; a year later, he was given a walk-on part in Akira Kurosawa’s Seven Samurai. After a major breakthrough as a young yakuza in Kobayashi’s Black River, Nakadai was on his way to becoming one of Japan’s busiest actors; he would work several more times with both Kobayashi and Kurosawa, as well as Hideo Gosha, Kon Ichikawa, Mikio Naruse, Kihachi Okamoto, and Hiroshi Teshigahara—the cream of the nation’s crop of film artists. Nakadai, still acting into his eighties, is perhaps most often recalled for his ravaging performances in Kobayashi’s epic war drama The Human Condition (1959–61) and Kurosawa’s Ran (1985), in which he embodies unforgettably a cinematic King Lear for the ages.