Keanu Reeves

John Wick 4’s Rumored “Hagakure” Title Meaning & Story Hints Explained

John Wick 4 has a rumored subtitle of Hagakuri, which draws from Japan and the Way of the Samurai. We explore what story clues it provides.

Here’s the meaning and possible story hints from the rumored John Wick 4 title, Hagakure. The action franchise started adding subtitles with the third installment, which went by John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum. That title drew from a Latin phrase meaning “prepare for war,” which was a fitting description for the film’s story. John Wick 3 ended with John and his old friend the Bowery King gearing up for an all-out battle against the High Table, setting the stage for another intense entry in the series.

Though not officially confirmed, it would appear the filmmakers are sticking with the subtitle formula for the fourth installment. A crew member’s wrap gift shared on social media revealed the movie’s name is John Wick 4: Hagakure, raising questions about the meaning behind it. Its definition points to intriguing routes the narrative can follow.

Hagakure is a Japanese term and refers to The Book of the Samurai. The phrase can mean either “In the Shadow of Leaves” or “Hidden Leaves.” The Book of the Samurai is a publication written by Yamamoto Tsunetomo, and started to gain popularity in the 1930s. The book serves as an overview of the way of the samurai, consisting of various teachings they followed during their lives.

Based on that description, there are parallels to the John Wick franchise. Much like the samurai, the assassins in the films’ criminal underworld have a strict code they follow, and if anyone deviates from the path they are subject to extreme punishment. It’s possible John Wick 4 will do a deep dive into those similarities, exploring more of the way of the hitman. A staple of the John Wick movies is the rich world-building on display, crafting an interesting universe that’s as memorable as the stunning action sequences. Seeing that each John Wick movie has peeled back more layers of the world, it wouldn’t be surprising if more details were revealed in John Wick 4. John, of course, has violated some of the Continental’s sacred rules during the film series, which could be a launchpad into further examination.

The connection could run deeper than the obvious comparisons between samurai and the John Wick hitmen. John’s personal story in the franchise is defined by his desire to just live peacefully, but he constantly finds himself getting pulled deeper into his past life as an assassin. Interestingly, there’s a passage in the Hagakure book that starts with the line, “We all want to live.” That sums up John’s life perfectly, but if is to possibly achieve his dream, he has to revert back to his old ways and fight for his survival. Following his personal Way of the Samurai in John Wick 4 might be the only way out.

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