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Film / Kagi

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Kagi ("The Key") is a 1997 film from Japan directed by Toshiharu Ikeda.

A Mr. Anzai is married to a notably younger and very good-looking wife, Ikuko. Ikuko lets Mr. Anzai have sex with her but he feels like she is frigid and unable to relax in bed. What frustrates him more is that he's quite certain that she's lustful and passionate, but that her prim upper-class upbringing is stopping her from letting loose between the sheets.

So he comes up with an unusual idea. He starts writing a diary and deliberately lets her read it. He writes of his passionate desire for her, and how he really gets off at the thought of her with another man. She starts to write back to him about her desires, and soon the thought of Ikuko having sex with another man is sparking their love life—at least from his perspective. However, it isn't enough for Anzai, who has to start stepping it up. When he meets a brash young photographer named Kimura, Anzai is seized with an idea. Anzai introduces Kimura to his daughter, Toshiko, but he actually wants Kimura to start a thing with Ikuko. Anzai's Cuckold fetish leads him to practically throw his wife at Kimura.

Naturally, things go bad.

This is an adaptation of a 1956 Japanese novel called Kagi or The Key. The novel has been made into several different films, like this one, a 1959 Japanese film called Odd Obsession, a 1983 Italian film called The Key, and a 2014 American film called The Key.


  • All Women Are Lustful: Or at least Ikuko is, or so believes Anzai, who writes that "My wife has always had a lustful nature and strong desires." He's right about her. So does Toshiko, who easily falls to Kimura's seductive charms.
  • Arranged Marriage: How Anzai and Ikuko got married back in the day.
  • As You Know: The fact that Ikuko and Anzai have a daughter who is a young woman is brought up by him saying to her, re: a match for Kimura, "Don't we have a daughter of the same age?"
  • Book Ends: Scenes of Anzai's memorial service at the beginning and the end.
  • Can't Hold His Liquor: Ikuko isn't much of a drinker. So Anzai deliberately plies her with liquor and gets her drunk, then, when she goes to take a bath and passes out in the bath, he uses this as an excuse to get Kimura to gawk at her nudity as they're taking her out.
  • Chekhov's Skill: When he's not getting into weird love triangles, Kimura is a photographer, and in fact is introduced when he sees Ikuko and insists on taking her picture. Later, Anzai starts taking nude photos of his wife, and he gets Kimura to develop them.
  • Deliberately Monochrome: The scenes of Anzai's funeral service are in black and white but everything else is in color.
  • Dude, She's Like in a Coma: After Ikuko passes out cold after drinking, Anzai rapes her. Then this starts happening repeatedly and clearly becomes kinky role play, right down to Ikuko always calling out "Kimora" as her husband has sex with her. Later subverted even further with The Reveal (see below).
  • Facecam: Briefly seen with Anzai as he stumbles down the stairs with an attack of dizziness that's implied to be a mini-stroke.
  • Flashback: A flashback towards the end, back to the Kimura-Toshiko blind date that went bad, reveals that Kimura and Ikuko had been lovers for a lot longer than her husband knew.
  • How We Got Here: The first shot shows Ikuko walking along the beach. She throws a key into the sand, and then the doctor walks over and muses about how Anzai should have taken better care of himself. (It's his funeral service.). Then the story plays out.
  • Imagine Spot: The scene where Kimura is developing the nude photos of Ikuko becomes a dream-like place where she seems to be swimming in the developing fluid, bathed in the red light, and holding out a hand to Kimura.
  • Impairment Shot: Kimura's dizziness is shown by strobe flashing and his vision going double.
  • Kinky Role-Playing: The Dude, She's Like in a Coma scene eventually becomes this, with Ikuko "passing out" in the bath multiple times, and always saying Kimura's name as Anzai has sex with her.
  • Lie Back and Think of England: Anzai is frustrated because he believes his wife has strong sexual desires, but she's been trained by her upbreeding to lie back and think of England. Indeed she seems to be pretty passive in bed, and complains when Anzai, who among other kinks has a foot Fetish, tries kissing her feet.
  • Off-into-the-Distance Ending: Ends with Ikuko and Toshiko, having confessed all to each other, going back into the house arm-in-arm.
  • Out with a Bang: In two stages. Ikuko is having sex with Anzai—for the first time since they've started their kink obsession, straight, relatively normal sex—and he has a stroke, but he doesn't die. Later however, Ikuko takes all her clothes off and gets on top of a crippled Anzai and succeeds in provoking a second stroke which kills him.
  • Pixellation: When Ikuko finally strips completely naked for Anzai, her privates are blurred out (depictions of genitalia are almost never shown in Japanese film).
  • The Reveal: Two in quick succession near the end.
    • Ikuko was never really passed out from the brandy, not even the first time. And she and Kimura have been having an affair almost since they first met. In fact, they have been in cahoots the whole time, in an effort to use Ikuko's body to provoke Anzai into a fatal heart attack, so they can grab his fortune.
    • But soon after it's revealed that there is no fortune, and in fact Anzai was broke, even the house was mortgaged, and Ikuko knew this all along. She enlisted Kimura in what supposedly was a murder scheme for money but in actuality was part of her bizarre way of satisfying both her and Anzai's sexual urges.
  • Scenery Censor: For all of the scenes where Anzai is looking at, taking pictures of, or having sex with an unconscious (or pretending to be unconscious) Ikuko, the scene is always carefully blocked to hide her private area. But see Pixellation above.
  • Secret Diary: Inverted, as Anzai deliberately arranges for his wife to find his diary, with all his erotic fantasies inside. They start writing their fantasies to each other in the diary, without ever actually saying them face-to-face.
  • Sibling Triangle: A far, far creepier variation of this, as Kimura, who really wants Ikuko, seduces her daughter Toshiko in order to gain access to Ikuko.
  • Sleeping Single: Bizarrely, Ikuko and Anzai keep doing this even as their sex life keeps getting weirder and kinkier, because part of the kink is that they can't just come out and say what's going on.
  • Truer to the Text: The best known version of this story, Odd Obsession, makes some big changes to the story, like a triple homicide at the end. This film sticks pretty close to the plot of the source novel.
  • Whole Episode Flashback: Almost the whole film is told in flashback between the Book Ends of Anzai's memorial service.
  • Wrong-Name Outburst: When Anzai climbs on top of a drunk, semi-conscious Ikuko, she moans "Kimora" and embraces him. This only gets him more turned on. Later she's clearly doing it as role play.
  • Your Days Are Numbered: Ikuko theorizes that Anzai knew his time was limited, and let events play out as they did right up until he went Out with a Bang, so he could have some pleasure while he had the chance.