What it is • Here, in this corner of industrial, postwar Japan we have our prison. On the grounds, detached yet enclosed, there is a small compound, complete with a garden and what looks like a little house, surrounded by a fence - to keep in, rather than to keep out. This is the execution chamber. Our narrator guides us through the open corridors and rooms of what will be our location for much of the next two hours, explaining in his matter-of-fact tone that this is where the prisoner goes to the bathroom, this is where prayer services are conducted - Buddhist or Christian, depending upon the faith of the condemned, and this, of course, is where the man is hanged. From this introduction, we proceed to watch the hanging of R., a young Korean convicted of raping and murdering two Japanese girls. He shudders as he is dragged to the trapdoor, the noose is placed around his neck, the door drops, the man falls, and he dies.
Except that he doesn't die.
A note appears onscreen - "The body of the condemned man, R., refuses execution." Why? With this question our story begins.
Why I like it •