Golden Kamuy (2024) summary and ending explained

Golden Kamuy follows a soldier and an Ainu girl as they go on a quest to find a hoard of hidden gold. The film is now streaming on Netflix.

Warning: This article contains heavy spoilers

Plot summary

A soldier named Saichi Sugimoto miraculously survives the bloodiest battlefield at 203 Meter Hill during the Russo-Japanese War.

It is said that no matter what kind of injuries he sustains, they all heal within a day, which earns him the nickname “Immortal Sugimoto”.

After the war, Sugimoto goes to Hokkaido, hoping to make a fortune by mining gold, but there is no gold to be found in the placer deposits.

There, Sugimoto meets an old man who tells him a story. Once upon a time, gold pieces were found in the rivers of Hokkaido. 

A group of indigenous Ainu people gathered this gold to build an army in order to stand up to Japanese persecution and prevent the stealing of their land. 

The gold was stolen by a man who killed the rest of the group. He hid the gold somewhere in Hokkaido before being captured by the Japanese. 

The man endured torture in Abashiri Prison but never revealed the secret location of the gold. Instead, he tattooed the location on the bodies of the other prisoners in the form of a code. 

The code could only be seen when the bodies of all the convicts were joined. The man promised to give half of the gold to the person who found it.

The Japanese military wanted the gold as well, so they tried to transfer the convicts out of the prison. The convicts took this opportunity to fight the soldiers and escape. 

After telling Sugimoto that the convicts disappeared, the old man goes to sleep, and so does Sugimoto. However, Sugimoto wakes up to the man pointing his gun at him. 

The man has revealed too much, and now he wants to kill Sugimoto, but Sugimoto overpowers him. The old man is then killed by a bear.

Sugimoto finds out that the old man’s body is tattooed, meaning he was one of the convicts in the story and that the story is true. 

Sugimoto is then attacked by a bear, and an Ainu girl named Asirpa saves his life. Realizing that Asirpa can be useful in finding the gold, Sugimoto asks for her help. 

Asirpa believes Sugimoto’s story because her father was one of the people who were killed when the gold was stolen. The man who stole the gold is still in prison.

Asirpa takes one look at the old man’s body and tells Sugimoto that the man who tattooed the skin never intended to share his gold with anyone, as the convicts were meant to be skinned to decipher the code. 

Asirpa wants to know what happened the night her father was killed, so she agrees to help Sugimoto find the gold. Sugimoto also offers to share the gold with her. 

Before they start working together, Asirpa makes him promise not to kill anyone. As Sugimoto had expected, Asirpa turns out to be a resourceful companion. 

Additionally, whenever she is in trouble, a white wolf that was once saved by Asirpa and her father comes to her aid. 

Asirpa and Sugimoto start their search for the escaped convicts from a town called Otaru. While working together, Sugimoto and Asirpa become friends.

The two of them manage to find and capture two convicts, who tell them that all the convicts started fighting after escaping and went their separate ways. 

They also tell them about the man who stole the gold and tattooed them. He is known as Noppera-Bo, and he asked the convicts to go to Otaru.

Sugimoto and Asirpa realize that they are not the only ones looking for the gold when the two convicts they have captured are attacked by the military’s Seventh Division. 

While one of them is killed, the other, Shiraishi, survives. Sugimoto throws Ogata, the soldier who attacked them, off a cliff and promises to let Shiraishi go after Asirpa copies his tattoo.

Before they part ways, Shiraishi tells them about Toshizo Hijikata, the convict who ordered the jailbreak. Hijikata is an ex-samurai who is also after the gold. 

The first lieutenant of the Seventh Division, Tokushiro Tsurumi, finds Ogata, who tells him that Immortal Sugimoto is responsible for his injuries, leading to the division targeting Sugimoto. 

However, Sugimoto and Asirpa always manage to escape unharmed, and Sugimoto lives up to his nickname.

Asirpa then takes Sugimoto to her village, where he meets her family. Her uncle tells Sugimoto that the gold is cursed and that he should not be going after it. 

Sugimoto comes to understand that Asirpa’s family loves her, so he decides not to put her in any more danger. 

He leaves with the skins and drawings they have collected so far without saying goodbye to Asirpa, intending to look for the gold on his own now. 

Meanwhile, Hijikata steals a sword known as the Izumi no Kami Kanesada sword, which makes him an enemy to be feared

Ending explained:

The capture

As Sugimoto has been asking various people about the tattoos, the Seventh Division finds and captures him. 

He is taken to their headquarters, where Tsurumi asks him to join them in their search for the hidden gold, but Sugimoto does not approve of Tsurumi’s plans. 

Tokushiro Tsurumi plans to fund his own army with the hidden gold, take over the Seventh Division, and gain complete control of Hokkaido for its natural resources. 

When Sugimoto refuses to join him, the soldiers of the Seventh Division torture him to get him to reveal where he is hiding the skins and drawings.

At the same time, Asirpa has been looking for Sugimoto. Her search leads her to Shiraishi, who takes her to the headquarters of the Seventh Division. 

Shiraishi, who is known for his escaping skills, agrees to help Asirpa rescue Sugimoto in exchange for a share of the gold.

The escape

Shiraishi slips into the room where Sugimoto is being held and unties him, allowing Sugimoto to fight one of the soldiers who had been torturing him. 

Sugimoto rips out the soldier’s guts and pretends to have been stabbed by him, while Shiraishi hides in a corner. 

When Tsurumi is called to the scene, Sugimoto promises to join hands with him if he is given medical treatment. Tsurumi then sends Sugimoto to a surgeon.

On his way there, Sugimoto attacks the soldiers escorting him. He is joined by Asirpa in the fight. The two of them fight side by side and defeat the soldiers. 

By the time Tsurumi realizes that Sugimoto has fooled him, Sugimoto and Asirpa have already escaped.

Meanwhile, Shiraishi wears a Seventh Division uniform to blend in with the soldiers at the headquarters. 

He then sets fire to the headquarters, aiming to create a diversion to steal the skins that Tsurumi has found so far. 

However, Shiraishi does not find the skins because Tsurumi has sewn them together and he wears them under his coat all the time.

Sugimoto’s purpose

After escaping, Asirpa confronts Sugimoto about looking for the treasure on his own and rushing to find it. Sugimoto then confides in her about his reasons for wanting the treasure. 

He had two childhood friends named Toraji and Umeko. Sugimoto left his village after his family died from a lung disease and the villagers started avoiding him for fear of catching it.

Years later, he returned to his village to find that Toraji had married Umeko. Toraji and Sugimoto then fought in the battle at 203 Meter Hill, where Toraji sacrificed his life to save Sugimoto. 

Before dying, he told Sugimoto that Umeko had lost her eyesight and that he wanted to find a good doctor for her treatment. 

Sugimoto now wants the gold to fulfill his friend’s last wish. Asirpa believes that Sugimoto survived for a purpose. 

While her purpose is to get answers regarding her father’s death, his purpose is to honor his deceased friend. 

Asirpa promises him that they will find the gold together. This time, they will be joined by Shiraishi.

It is then revealed by Hijikata that the value of the hidden gold is not merely 200 kan but 20,000 kan, which is enough to fulfill his goal of creating a nation. 

Since different parties will be looking for that gold, Hijikata predicts that Hokkaido will turn into a battlefield. He is not wrong, as everyone is seen preparing for the upcoming battle.

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