Up 12,549 this week

Zatoichi Meets the One-Armed Swordsman (1971)
"Shin zatô Ichi: Yabure! Tôjin-ken" (original title)

Not Rated  |   |  Drama, Action, Adventure  |  13 January 1971 (Japan)
Your rating:
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 -/10 X  
Ratings: 7.3/10 from 853 users  
Reviews: 9 user | 10 critic

Two of Japan and China's greatest heroic swordsman find themselves caught in a plot to protect a young child. But will national distrust and simple misunderstanding keep the two kindred spirits apart?


0Check in

Watch Now

Free at IMDb


IMDb Picks: August

Visit our IMDb Picks section to see our recommendations of movies and TV shows coming out in August.

Visit the IMDb Picks section

User Lists

Related lists from IMDb users

a list of 23 titles
created 12 Sep 2012
a list of 28 titles
created 24 Nov 2012
a list of 34 titles
created 26 Aug 2013
a list of 25 titles
created 8 months ago
a list of 26 titles
created 5 months ago

Connect with IMDb

Share this Rating

Title: Zatoichi Meets the One-Armed Swordsman (1971)

Zatoichi Meets the One-Armed Swordsman (1971) on IMDb 7.3/10

Want to share IMDb's rating on your own site? Use the HTML below.

Take The Quiz!

Test your knowledge of Zatoichi Meets the One-Armed Swordsman.

User Polls

1 win. See more awards »



Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Action | Adventure | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

Star Shintaro Katsu sits in the director's chair for this psychedelic and unremittingly bleak entry in the Zatoichi series, which is unlike any other in its grind-house grimness. A tale of ... See full summary »

Director: Shintarô Katsu
Stars: Shintarô Katsu, Kiwako Taichi, Kyoko Yoshizawa
Drama | Action | Adventure
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

Zatoichi is tricked by a crime gang into killing a man. Realizing his mistake, he sets out to protect the dead man's sister, who is conflicted in accepting his help.

Director: Kenji Misumi
Stars: Shintarô Katsu, Yoshiko Mita, Makoto Satô
Drama | Action | Adventure
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

Zatoichi runs afoul of some evil fugitives, working for a corrupt law official.

Director: Kimiyoshi Yasuda
Stars: Shintarô Katsu, Kayo Mikimoto, Kyôsuke Machida
Drama | Adventure | Action
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

After an artist is threatened by the yakuza into creating valuable but highly illegal pornography, the law aims to execute him. Zatoichi, having been honor bound to protect the man and his family, must now run against the law.

Director: Kenji Misumi
Stars: Shintarô Katsu, Jûshirô Konoe, Miwa Takada
Drama | Action | Adventure
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

Zatoichi tries to unrest the mob rule over a small village all while the gang leader's bodyguard is actually the Yojimbo, secretly taking the gang down from the inside. Will the two heroes realize in time that they are on the same side?

Director: Kihachi Okamoto
Stars: Toshirô Mifune, Shintarô Katsu, Ayako Wakao
Action | Adventure | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

Zatoichi arrives in a town where a gambling house is kidnapping its poor, debt-ridden patrons. A rival establishment moves to pay those debts and free the peasants, but this house's ... See full summary »

Director: Satsuo Yamamoto
Stars: Shintarô Katsu, Rentarô Mikuni, Kô Nishimura
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

Ichi seeks out on a pilgrimage to 81 temples, exploring spirituality to atone for his bloody past. On the way, Ichi stumbles into a village that's being bullied by a violent Yakuza boss and... See full summary »

Director: Kazuo Ikehiro
Stars: Shintarô Katsu, Michiyo Ohkusu, Kunie Tanaka
Action | Drama | Adventure
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

Zatoichi, while fighting off the usual group of gangsters, meets the apprentice of the swordsman who created his blade, who relays bad news about the sword.

Director: Kimiyoshi Yasuda
Stars: Shintarô Katsu, Shiho Fujimura, Yoshihiko Aoyama
Action | Adventure | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

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

Director: Akira Inoue
Stars: Shintarô Katsu, Norihei Miki, Mikiko Tsubouchi
Drama | Adventure | Action
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

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

Director: Kenji Misumi
Stars: Shintarô Katsu, Mikio Narita, Chizu Hayashi
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

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
Action | Adventure | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

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

Director: Kazuo Mori
Stars: Shintarô Katsu, Kanbi Fujiyama, Eiko Taki


Credited cast:
Shintarô Katsu ...
Wang Kong / One-armed Swordsman
Watako Hamaki ...
Michie Terada ...
Kôji Nanbara ...
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Tôru Abe ...
Boss Toubei
Katsutoshi Akiyama
Yûtarô Ban
Yi Chang ...
Yûji Hamada
Tokue Hanazawa
Seishirô Hara
Tsutomu Hashimoto
Shirô Itô ...
Tadashi Iwata


While traveling the Japanese countryside the blind masseur Zatoichi comes across the One Armed Swordsman, Wang Kang, who is in hiding and protecting a child from a corrupt Japanese priest and a group of yakuza. Zatoichi and Wang Kang, each from very different worlds yet heroic swordsman in their own right, at first seem to get along but a language barrier and a series of misunderstanding leads Kang to distrust Ichi. Soon the two heroes are at each other throats while each attempts to stop the true villains from taking the child. Written by Daniel Jos. Leary

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


A legendary figure in Japan is Zatoichi - the blind masseur with healing hands and a swift sword.


Not Rated | See all certifications »






Release Date:

13 January 1971 (Japan)  »

Also Known As:

The Blind Swordsman Meets His Equal  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(Westrex Recording System)



Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


The last Zatoichi film produced by the Daiei Motion Picture Company (which had went bankrupt). Toho Company took over the films for the rest of the decade (along with Shintarô Katsu's own Katsu Productions, which coproduced the films since 1967). See more »


Follows Zatoichi the Fugitive (1963) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

Japan's Top Action Character meets Hong Kong's Top Action Character
26 December 2006 | by (NYC) – See all my reviews

An interesting meeting of action film genres at a time when one was ebbing into the twilight and the other just starting to go. It would be only a few more years before the chambara genre peters out (but not before some more great films are made) and mostly moves to television. The wuxia (swordplay) genre (where the One Armed Swordsman comes from) split off into the kung fu genre which hits it's stride with the coming of Bruce Lee's "Big Boss" and Wang Yu's self-directed "One Armed Boxer" (no relation to the swordsman), the same year this Zatoichi film is released. The great years of kung fu cinema were just around the corner.

Wang Kong (the One-Armed Swordsman) arrives in Japan to find a temple where a Japanese monk has invited Wang Kong to live. Unable to speak Japanese at all, Wang Kong chances upon a traveling Chinese family of entertainers who have made Japan their home. A husband, wife and young boy, they like Japan better then China. Accompanying Wang Kong to the temple the four encounter a procession of samurai transporting specially prepared abalone destined for the Shogun. Everyone must get off the road and let the procession pass or suffer dire consequences. Unfortunately, the little Chinese boy runs after a kite and is set upon by a sword swinging samurai. The mother protects her child but at the cost of her life, the father is killed too. Agast at the cruelty of the samurai, Wang Kong jumps in and kills a number of them. The little boy runs off and is separated from Wang Kong who retreats from further battle. The samurai decide to kill all the innocent people who witnessed the scene and blame the carnage on the "crazed Chinaman". Zatoichi comes upon the frightened child and decides to take care of him. Later the fugitive Wang Kong meets Zatoichi but the two have a really hard time communicating and Wang Kong is very suspicious of Zatoichi's motives. Of course this being a Zatoichi film, an evil yakuza gang gets involved and you know what's going to happen to them.

The first thing that strikes me is how different the One-Armed Swordman films were from the Zatoichi films in terms of sophistication. The HK films of the time were still very stagy in look and acting where the Japanese films were well versed in film techniques and acted in a more natural manner. I am not a great fan of Chang Cheh's "One Armed Swordsman" but many people really like it and it deserves it's significance in film history. It was also apparently very popular in Japan.

This particular outing with the character is arguably the best produced One-Armed Swordsman film with actor Wang Yu as the character. There are a few issues with the film, the most serious is that the producers assumed that you already know Wang Kong is missing an arm and fights with a broken sword. Anyone unfamiliar with the backstory is going to be confused but the film will still be watchable. Second, the highly refined and excellent sword choreography for Zatoichi really makes the faithful but stagy non-weapon kung fu for Wang Kong look not so good. The kung fu sword work comes off fine however. The Japanese producers were very respectful to the One-Armed Swordman mythos and kept the character true to the original film.

The film, while not the absolute best of the Zatoichi series, is very good and touches on a number of issues. There are colorful characters the liven up the film and you will not be wasting your time watching. Recommended.

10 of 13 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for: