Japanese Samurai Movies

Monday, April 11 by Ed Mulero

Japanese samurai movies take the honorable warriors of the country's feudal era and put them on prominent display for audiences. The samurai follow the code of the Bushido as they lived and protected their Japanese masters in movies. Many Japanese movies depict the samurai as courageous and respectable warriors in combat against their enemies. The samurai have a strong influence in the long history of Japanese movies as an iconic figure of nobility and honor as well as an agent for justice versus oppression. Japanese samurai movies celebrate the storied lives of these strong, fearless and dedicated men who served their lords without hesitation and forged a legend seldom matched in history.  

  1. "Seven Samurai." Akira Kurosawa directed this story about a samurai who finds a village besieged by cruel bandits. He recruits six other samurai in order to teach the poor villagers how to defend themselves. Now, the seven courageous samurai must contend with an army of bandits forty strong who wish to ransack the village.  
  2. "The Last Samurai." A veteran of the Civil War, Tom Cruise, goes to Japan to help to train the Emperor's soldiers in modern warfare with guns. Captain Algren gets captured by the rebelling samurai class and is tended by their leader Katsumoto portrayed by Ken Watanabe. He learns the ways of the Bushido and joins the samurai in preserving their ancient ways.
  3. "Yojimbo." Akira Kurosawa's story of a cunning samurai who wanders into a town divided by warring factions of gangsters. The samurai devises a plot to pit one side against the other until the one of the gangster's son, Unosuke, unravels his scheme. After the death of the opposing gang and the innkeeper' abduction, all at the hands of Unosuke, the samurai goes back to the town to confront him.
  4. "The Hidden Blade." In 19th century Japan, a samurai named Munezo lives with his mother and sister after the suicide of his father. Munezo's life takes a dramatic turn after his sister's marriage and the passing of his mother when his fellow samurai, Yaichiro, escapes from prison on political charges. Munezo must learn the secret style of the "Hidden Blade" in order to stop Yaichiro who holed himself in a farm house with hostages.
  5. "The 47 Ronin." A corrupt administration plots against the honest Lord Asano who refused to take a bribe from one in the Shoguns court.  Asano is forced to commit ritual suicide due to the false charges and his loyal samurai disbanded and reduced to ronin or masterless samurai. Oichi assembles the group of ronin and sets out on a quest for revenge against their former master's dishonor.  

-Ed Mulero

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