IMDb > The Tale of Zatoichi (1962)

The Tale of Zatoichi (1962) More at IMDbPro »Zatôichi monogatari (original title)

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Overview

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Director:
Writers:
Minoru Inuzuka (screenplay)
Kan Shimozawa (short story)
Contact:
View company contact information for The Tale of Zatoichi on IMDbPro.
Release Date:
18 April 1962 (Japan) See more »
Genre:
Plot:
The adventures of a blind, gambling masseur who also happens to be a master swordsman. Full summary » | Full synopsis »
NewsDesk:
(8 articles)
What I Watched, What You Watched #225
 (From Rope Of Silicon. 29 December 2013, 7:00 AM, PST)

New DVD Blu-ray: 'Red 2,' 'The Canyons,' 'Jobs'
 (From Moviefone. 27 November 2013, 8:00 AM, PST)

Blu-ray, DVD Release: Zatoichi: The Blind Swordsman Collection
 (From Disc Dish. 26 August 2013, 4:34 PM, PDT)

User Reviews:
Sombre and effective period drama See more (18 total) »

Cast

  (in credits order)
Shintarô Katsu ... Zatôichi / Blind Man Ichi / Masseur Ichi
Masayo Banri ... Tane / Tatekichi's sister / Seisuke's ex-lover
Ryûzô Shimada ... Shigezô of Sasagawa / Sasagawa yakuza boss
Hajime Mitamura ... Hanji of Matsugishi
Shigeru Amachi ... Hirate, Miki
Chitose Maki ... Yoshi / Hanji's wife
Ikuko Môri ... Yutaka / Shigezô's wife
Michirô Minami ... Tatekichi / Tane's brother / Saki's lover / Iioka yakuza member
Eijirô Yanagi ... Sukegorô of Iioka / Iioka yakuza boss
Toshio Chiba ... Masakichi / Iioka yakuza member (as Toshirô Chiba)
Manabu Morita ... Seisuke / Tane's ex-lover / Iioka yakuza member
Yoichi Funaki ... Yogorô / Sasagawa yakuza member
Kinya Ichikawa ... Mokichi / Sasagawa yakuza member
Eigorô Onoe ... Rihei / Sasagawa yakuza member
Yoshito Yamaji ... Yahei / Father of Tane and Tatekichi
Yukio Horikita ... Kanaji / Sasagawa yakuza member
Takaji Fukui ... Daihachi / Iioka yakuza member
Masayoshi Kikuno ... A coolie
Hajime Koshikawa ... A farmer
Akira Shiga ... A dice-roller
Yûji Hamada ... Iioka yakuza member
Kôichi Aihara
Hiroyoshi Nishioka ... Iioka yakuza member
Gen Kimura ... Sasagawa gambler spy
Taizô Sengoku ... Ishichi / Sasagawa yakuza member
Noboru Taniguchi ... Tomozô / Sasagawa yakuza member
Shingo Hosoya ... Iioka yakuza member
Saburô Nagaoka
Katsuyoshi Baba ... Iioka yakuza member
Kaname Yûki ... Iioka yakuza member
Keiko Awanami ... Saki / Tatekichi's lover
Kanae Kobayashi ... Kane the Sasagawa innkeeper
Bonta Maru
rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Jun Fujikawa ... Iioka yakuza
Takashi Teramura
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Directed by
Kenji Misumi 
 
Writing credits
(in alphabetical order)
Minoru Inuzuka  screenplay (as Minoru Inuduka)
Kan Shimozawa  short story

Produced by
Ikuo Kubodera .... executive producer
Ikuo Kubodera .... planner
 
Original Music by
Akira Ifukube 
 
Cinematography by
Chishi Makiura 
 
Film Editing by
Kanji Suganuma 
 
Production Design by
Akira Naitô 
 
Production Management
Mitsuru Tanabe .... production manager
 
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
Toshiaki Kunihara .... assistant director
 
Art Department
Kazuo Kajitani .... set dresser
 
Sound Department
Iwao Ôtani .... sound recordist
 
Camera and Electrical Department
Hiroya Katô .... lighting technician (as Hironari Kato)
Hiroya Katô .... lighting technician
Yasuo Matsuura .... still photographer
 
Music Department
Toshio Nakamoto .... natural music director
 
Other crew
Shôhei Miyauchi .... martial arts director
 

Production CompaniesDistributors
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Additional Details

Also Known As:
"Zatôichi monogatari" - Japan (original title)
"Zatoichi: The Life and Opinion of Masseur Ichi" - Japan (English title) (imdb display title)
See more »
Runtime:
96 min | USA:95 min
Country:
Language:
Aspect Ratio:
2.35 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:
Certification:

Did You Know?

Goofs:
Anachronisms: When Hirate and Zatoichi are about to fight near the end, the horn of a modern ship can be heard in the background.See more »
Quotes:
Zatôichi:[after asking Zatoichi what she would do with having so much children] Just don't raise them to be gangsters.
Tane:I won't... But why do you say that?
Zatôichi:Because to be a gangster is a foolish way to live.
Tane:Then why don't you live a decent life?
Zatôichi:It's like being stuck in a bog; it's not easy to pull yourself out once you've fallen in.
See more »
Movie Connections:
Referenced in Death Proof (2007)See more »

FAQ

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22 out of 23 people found the following review useful.
Sombre and effective period drama, 14 May 2002
Author: Roger Keightley (rkeightley@sympatico.ca) from Toronto, Canada

This is the first of more than 20 films featuring Ichi, a blind masseur-turned-swordsman in medieval Japan. Although he learned to wield a sword only to gain respect, Ichi finds his skill constantly in demand by criminal gangs. He's always reluctant to fight, and resorts to violence only with great reluctance and as a last resort. He prefers to make his living by practising his skills as a masseur and supplementing that income by conning greedy crooks who underestimate his gambling abilities.

In this first episode of a series that covered two decades, Ichi is hired by a gang leader to defeat a consumptive samurai who's been imported by a rival gang. The two swordsmen meet while fishing and become friends, but destiny has decreed they must fight each other, and only one will survive…

Fans of action movies may be disappointed with ZATOICHI MONOGATARI, because there's virtually no fighting for the movie's first hour. Instead, there's unusual emphasis on character development. Ichi himself receives much of the attention, and Shintaro Katsu (who also played the role in all the sequels) presents us with a subtle, complex portrayal of the reluctant mercenary. His scenes with the enamored sister of one of the gang members and with the mortally sick samurai are played with great sincerity without becoming sentimental. These two characters are also sensitively portrayed. Even many of the crooks are carefully established as individuals.

The climax won't disappoint action fans, though. Beginning with a flurry of gang skirmishes, frenetically edited to a throbbing score, it ends on a bitter and almost tragic note after the inevitable confrontation between the two protagonists.

Director Kenji Misumi embellishes the slow build-up with a succession of captivating black-and-white compositions and attention to period detail. A degree of pace is maintained by making scene transitions with cuts rather than dissolves. Sets are given visual depth by being framed with foreground objects. The camera is often positioned slightly above or below the characters' eye-lines. Very precise interior lighting creates interesting patterns on and around the actors. By contrast, the daytime exteriors are overly bright and tend to disrupt the mood.

Far from being a typical samurai movie, ZATOICHI MONOGATARI is an unusually somber yet effective period drama, and probably the best entry in the long series it inaugurated.

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