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The Shogun's Samurai (1978)

Yagyû ichizoku no inbô (original title)
Following the death of the second Tokugawa shogun, it is revealed that he was poisoned by retainers of his son Iemitsu in hopes of gaining him the shogunate despite the stammer and ... See full summary »

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5 nominations. See more awards »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Kinnosuke Nakamura ...
Yagyu Tajima (as Kinnosuke Yorozuya Nakamura)
...
Jûbê Yagyû (as Sonny Chiba)
Hiroki Matsukata ...
Teruhiko Saigô ...
Tadanaga Tokugawa (Younger Prince)
Reiko Ôhara ...
...
Sanza Nagoya (Flute Player)
Etsuko Shihomi ...
Yagyu Akane (Yagyu Sister)
Kentarô Kudô ...
Yagyu Matajuro (Yagyu Brother)
Jirô Yabuki ...
Yagyu Samon (Yagyu Brother) (as Jiro Yabuki)
Hideo Murota ...
Sagenta Nogero (Leader of Negoro Clan)
Mayumi Asano ...
Mon (Fighter of Negoro Clan)
...
Hayate (Fighter of Negoro Clan)
Ichirô Nakatani ...
Gyobu Amano (Masterless Samurai)
Tetsurô Tanba ...
Ogasawara Gensinsai (Tajima's Rival)
Etsushi Takahashi ...
Matsudaira Izu (Iemitsu's Chamberlain)
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Storyline

Following the death of the second Tokugawa shogun, it is revealed that he was poisoned by retainers of his son Iemitsu in hopes of gaining him the shogunate despite the stammer and birthmark which undermine his respect. Iemitsu and his brother Tadanaga become bitter rivals for the shogunate, and the land is split into factions, eventually erupting into warfare. Iemitsu's mentor, his fencing instructor Yagyu, is fixated upon securing Iemitsu the shogunate and ends up betraying everyone, even his own family, in pursuit of the goal. Written by Jim Beaver <jumblejim@prodigy.net>

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Release Date:

7 December 1984 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

The Shogun's Samurai  »

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2.35 : 1
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User Reviews

 
Epic Tale
30 January 2005 | by (London) – See all my reviews

Kinji Fukasaku was one of Japan's most prolific directors - its ironic that his breakthrough movie in the West was the last one he made before his death at the age of 73 - that being Battle Royale.During the late '60's to the mid '70's he made a series of excellent Yakuza gangster movies then in 1978 turned to the historical epic with fine results.

It is 1624 - Japan after a lengthy civil war which resulted in the Emperor being marginalized and the Shogun running the Government - the current Shogun has died suddenly leaving the succession in doubt - his eldest son Iemestsu should succeed but he is disfigured and stammers - his more handsome younger son Tadanaga has the backing of most of the powerful Lords. Things get complicated very quickly when it becomes apparent that the Shogun was poisoned at the behest of Iemestsu's main supporter Yagyu(Kinnosuka Nakamaru) - Iemestu is as at first appalled by this but as the country get embroiled in the struggle he realises how much he needs Yagyu's support if he is to become Shogun.Meanwhile the Emperor and his courtiers plot behind the scenes to exploit the chaos and return to power.

It is an epic tale with political intrigue,battles,assassination's and some spectacular sword-fights and the question of just how much would you sacrifice to attain power - Yagyu will stop at nothing to install Iemestu and this has appalling consequences for both the country and for him personally but he is willing to commit these - Nakamara is excellent in the role - at first you side with what he is trying to do but at the tragedy unfolds you realize what a monster he is. Sonny Chiba is equally good as his eldest son who bears the brunt of one consequence of his Fathers action and he brings the whole thing to its tragic conclusion with more than a touch of hubris.

It hasn't quite got the epic feel of a Kurosawa but has a much more cynical take on political struggle - highly recommended.


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