Unsurprisingly, there’s a lot to unpack from the last five minutes of Double Suicide. In Koharu and Jihei’s final moments, both of them make very valid, rational statements that oppose their decision to move forward with their pact. Jihei acknowledges that Osan is no longer his wife, and as a divorced man he could remarry, but Koharu lets this fact blow away and repeats that she wants to die with him. Likewise, Koharu recognizes that she, a courtesan, is not the picture of feminine morality, yet she asserts that she mustn’t live and marry Jihei since she owes it to Osan to “save” him. These contradictions persist until their deaths, the details of which I am left wondering about.
Koharu dies first, by Jihei’s sword. Jihei then proceeds to walk up the hill and hang himself. The first thing that throws me off here is that this is not by definition a double suicide; rather, it is a murder-suicide. The second thing is the fact that they die so differently. Koharu’s death is dragged out, as Jihei stabs, slashes, and once more stabs her with his sword. Conversely, Jihei’s hanging of himself provides a quieter, cleaner death. How could the means by which the two die be interpreted symbolically?