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Zatoichi the Fugitive (1963)

Zatôichi kyôjô-tabi (original title)
Not Rated | | Drama, Adventure, Action | 10 August 1963 (Japan)
A yakuza gang targets the blind masseur Zatoichi after he defeats their group in a wrestling match. Meanwhile a long lost love of Zatoichi's returns to his life.



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Zatoichi is mistaken for a thief. To clear his name he must find and defeat the real villain.

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After being wounded in a fight, Zatoichi is nursed to health by a young woman and her father. Now indebted to the family, he works to protect their ferry business from local thugs.

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When Zatoichi witnesses the murder of a young mother he promises to deliver the baby to the father. Along the way he gains the help of a reluctant criminal.

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The blind swordsman tries to locate a girl's missing father.

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A samurai with a high skill in chess makes friends with Zatoichi, who finds that things become peculiar in his presence.

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After Zatoichi learns of his sensei's murder he uncovers a horrible conspiracy involving the local government and crime family.

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The adventures of a blind, gambling masseur who also happens to be a master swordsman.

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The blind masseur and swordsman, Zatoichi, searches for proof an imprisoned man's innocence.

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Promising to make a delivery for a dying man, the blind swordsman Zatoichi comes across the usual crime gangs but also meets a blind monk who brings into question his use of violence.

Director: Tokuzô Tanaka
Stars: Shintarô Katsu, Shigeru Amachi, Jun Hamamura


Credited cast:
Jun'ichirô Narita
Katsuhiko Kobayashi
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Tôru Abe ...
San'emon Arashi
Yûji Hamada
Sumao Ishihara
Jun Katsumura ...
(as Jutarô Hôjô)
Kôichi Mizuhara ...
Boss Unosuke
Yasuhiro Mizukami ...
Boss Tamamura
Hiroshi Nawa


Blind swordsman/masseur Ichi (known as Zatoichi, or "Masseur Ichi") angers a local yakuza gang when he defeats several of them in a wrestling match. When he finds that his long lost love Tane is nearby and romantically involved with a tough samurai in the employ of the gang, he remains in the village. Meanwhile, the young heir to the leadership is forced to confront his own fear and weakness when the gang insists he fight Ichi. Written by Jim Beaver <jumblejim@prodigy.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Not Rated | See all certifications »




Release Date:

10 August 1963 (Japan)  »

Also Known As:

Zatoichi the Fugitive  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(Westrex Recording System)



Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?


Last Zatoichi movie appearance for Masayo Banri. She played the character Tane three times, in The Tale of Zatoichi (1962), Zoku Zatôichi monogatari (1962), and this movie. See more »


Zatoichi: Wherever I go, I'm the god of calamity.
See more »


Followed by Zatoichi's Flashing Sword (1964) See more »

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User Reviews

too much and too many fake arrangements in this sequel
23 April 2015 | by See all my reviews

this is one of the so-so add-on(s) of this 'blind swordsman' series. after couple of the prequel and sequel in black and white, it suddenly turned into a colored one. but there were many flaws in this series that by nowadays standard, they were so obvious and inevitably decreased the greatness of this series:

1) In this follow-up film, Zatoichi's short hairdo suddenly fashioned in modern cut. his short hair was trimmed so evenly and nicely and blow dry up and held on his head firmly. a wandering Yakuza blind masseur would have such fashion taste to have his hairdo nicely treated in an expensive saloon was beyond my comprehension.

2) The fighting scenes looked more false and phony once in colors. the swords never cut open the clothes and no blood was splashed all over the places, even when cut by Zatoichi's sword and fell into the pond, no blood ever showed up in the water, yet when Zatoichi was cut by his opponent's sword, his arm would have blood. but judging by where it was cut, the artery on his arm should have cut deeply and the blood would never be so easily to be stopped. but the worst effect of such synchronized swords fighting was those clothes never being slashed open and no blood appeared whatsoever, it just looked so fake and unconvincing, more like the stupid productions of Chinese 'Shaw Brothers' Kung-Fu movies, all of them just looked so stupidly fake and moronically synchronized.

3) For a blind man, no matter how sensitive his hearing ability, there's no way he could have detected the positions and locations of so many enemies around him. but Zatoichi seemed to have the supernatural power to rightly detect his enemies' locations and where to lodge and cut his opponents' bodies. the most unconvincing flaw of Japanese samurai movies was the sudden stop in action when one of the guys was cut and the others just stood around to await the next synchronized movement. it seems when all the people surrounding their targeted person would allow the guy to finish the fatal cut of their comrades to be completed thoroughly and then to start the next fighting sequence. this is such a unbearable fake scene almost appeared in every Japanese samurai movie.

4) When a hunting rifle was implemented in this film, the primitive long gun seemed to be very easily reloaded. by judging this movie series era, the primitive rifle would need fuse to ignite the gun powder to push a round bullet ball out of the barrel, it would need gun powder to be stuffed into the barrel and chamber first then inserted the lead ball bullet to complete the reload, yet in this film and all the other series, the rifle simply operated so modern than what we usually saw in the fighting scenes of the American Civil War.

The screenplay of this film is just too bland and lukewarm to make this particularly a great and memorable one.

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