Elements of production

Yasunobu, distracted over his dismissal of Chiyo, demands of Kaede that she tell Saburo that she was the one behind Chiyo’s dismssal. Kaede quickly agrees to tell, using this as an excuse to stage her seduciton of Saburo by asking him to meet her later that night in the outer garden.

 In the dark night , Kaede waits alone in the  garden. After some time, she is about to leave when Saburo appears from the garden path. She tells him that it was she who sent Chiyo away.  He shocks her by saying that he doesn't care, that he is not in love with Chiyo and has no intention of marrying her. Angry that Saburo derailed her game, Kaede challenges him to tell her who he does love. She begs him to say her name. Saburo is completely confused and reacts in the only way he knows how. He remains silent. She attempts to strike him. 


A fight… A seduction… A surrender to passion … 

As the love making intesifies, Kaede screams. 

Yasunobu awakes and, grabbing his sword, goes in search of Kaede’s scream. He arrives at the outer garden and is stunned by what he sees. He draws his sword and a struggle between the three of them ensues. 


Saburo is mortally wounded and Kaede, seeing a sickle that Saburo left in the garden, picks it up and strikes Yasunobu in the neck. 

Both die. Silence. 


Horrified at what has happened, Kaede wanders between them deliriously. 


Then slowly, a quiet peace overtakes her. As the horror fades, Kaede accepts her fate. 

Ume prepares Kaede for her inevitable end. In a peaceful surrender, Kaede feels strangely free - free from obligatin, free from duty, free from disciplined behavior, free to just be. 


At the age of 15, Kaede, the young beautiful, fiesty daughter of a Kaga-han Daimyo (Family Name Maeda), was given in marriage to a high level samurai, Yasunobu, as a token of the Daimyo’s high esteem and appreciation of his service. 

Through the schooling and not so patient discipline of Ume, Yasunobu’s devoted head of household servant, Kaede has become the model wife, learning the proper behavior and deference required of the wife of a man of Yasunobu’s stature. However, she remains childless. 

Six Years Later....

After three months away, Yasunobu has just returned home from a business trip.  He is welcomed by his wife and attended to by Ume and the young house servant, Chiyo. Having been away for a while, Yasunobu inquires of the young gardener Saburo, about the welfare of his favorite koi fish. Saburo tells him that the fish escaped from the koi pond when the typhoon hit. Yasunobu asks Saburo to bring a large heavy rock to block the escape route to avoid further loss of his beloved koi. Kaede notices Saburo’s physique with this display of his strength and also notices the attractions between Saburo and Chiyo. 

Early the following morning, Kaede witnesses a tender good-bye between Chiyo and Saburo as he leaves for a local village festival where he will participate in a wrestling tournament. Powerful emotions stir in her heart that she has never experienced before. She is both attracted and frightened by these intense irrepressible but illict feelings - equating them to the perfection of a ripe peach and the seductive pain of an aching sore - both equally joyful to her. 


Inexperience with her own emotions and fueled by her envy of the blossoming relationshp between Chiyo and Saburo, Kaede’s infatuation with the young gardener escalates. She begins to haunt Chiyo. Kaede makes a bold and illogical move when she steals a pair of Yasunobu’s silk tabi and gifts them to Saburo. 


The next day, Kaede distracted by what she has done, inapproapriately enters the kitchen. She finds the tabi discarded in the garbage barrel. She spins out of control and during a confrontation between Kaede and Saburo, Chiyo intervenes and admits to having thrown the tabi away. Several days later, after Chiyo faints while picking plums, Ume tells Yasunobu and Kaede that Chiyo is pregnant. 

Kaede declares war - Chiyo the enemy and Saburo the spoils. Kaede calls on the spirits for the strength to carry out her plan.


After hearing Saburo’s admission that he is the father of Chiyo’s baby, Kaede demands of Yasunobu that Chiyo be dismissed for ‘stealing the master’s tabi’. Yasunobu resists but Kaede, wielding her newly discovered power, stages a sexual blackmail and forces him into submission. 


Thrilled that she got her way, her triumph is short-lived when that night, Kaede has a horrific nightmare where Yasunobu dies after being washed up on the shore and she cold-heartedly refuses to save his life. His ghost comes to haunt her.



Early the next morning, Chiyo is sent home to her family. Chiyo begs Yasunobu to believe her that she did not steal the tabi but Ume intervenes before the truth is heard. 

That night, in a quiet moment alone, Kaede contemplates her desire for Saburo. Acknowledging that the pursuit of Saburo will probably not end well, she revels in the fact that she is powerless to stop herself - but in a strange twist, Kaede sees her powerlessness as an expression of power as she pursues what she wants without the intervention of convention - a powerlessness not out of duty or obligation, but because she chooses to surrender to her own desire. She concludes that she will find peace and joy in whatever the outcome.