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Zatoichi (2003) More at IMDbPro »Zatôichi (original title)

Photos (See all 23 | slideshow) Videos (see all 4)
Zatoichi -- Zatoichi comes across a pregnant woman dying from sword wounds and helps deliver her baby. Her final request to him: take the boy to see his father. From here, the film evolves into one of the wilder rides in the Zatochi series.
Zatoichi -- It’s East meets East when one of Japan’s action idols crosses paths with an iconic kung-fu hero from Hong Kong. While traveling the countryside, Zatoichi comes across Wang Kang, a Chinese swordsman protecting a brutally orphaned young child.
Zatoichi -- 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 innocence corrupted by sadistic, sleazy criminality.
Zatoichi -- In an empire ruled by fear, the people's only hope is the ultimate weapon: Zatoichi (Takeshi Kitano) -- a blind, nomadic samurai whose sword has made him a hero and whose courage has made him a legend. Determined to help the desperate residents of a village, Zatoichi seeks justice through revenge.


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7.6/10   38,623 votes »
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Down 36% in popularity this week. See why on IMDbPro.
Takeshi Kitano (screenplay)
Kan Shimozawa (novels)
View company contact information for Zatoichi on IMDbPro.
Release Date:
6 September 2003 (Japan) See more »
His Sword Made Him a Hero... His Courage Made Him a Legend. This Summer, Justice is Blind.
The blind masseur/swordsman comes to a town in control of warring gangs, and while bunking with a farming family, he meets two women with their own agenda. Full summary » | Add synopsis »
Plot Keywords:
21 wins & 10 nominations See more »
User Reviews:
With tap dancing, mundane superpowers, and an attractive albeit gender-confused cross-dresser, Zatoichi truly offers 'something for everybody'. See more (188 total) »


  (in credits order)

Takeshi Kitano ... Zatôichi / Ichi (as Beat Takeshi)

Tadanobu Asano ... Hattori Genosuke
Michiyo Ohkusu ... Aunt Oume
Taka Guadalcanal ... Shinkichi
Daigorô Tachibana ... Geisha Seitaro 'Osei' Naruto

Yûko Daike ... Geisha Okinu Naruto
Yui Natsukawa ... O-Shino, Hattori's Wife
Ittoku Kishibe ... Boss Inosuke Ginzo
Saburô Ishikura ... Boss Tashichi Ogi
Akira Emoto ... Tavern Owner Pops
Ben Hiura ... Tavern Gramps
Kohji Miura ... Lord Sakai
Hideboh ... Dancing Farmer (as The Stripes)
Ron II ... Dancing Farmer (as The Stripes)
Suji ... Dancing Farmer (as The Stripes)
Noriyasu ... Dancing Farmer (as The Stripes)
Makoto Ashikawa ... Carpenter
Tsumami Edamame ... Carpenter
Kosuke Ohta ... Carpenter
Yoshiyuki Morishita ... Carpenter
Naomasa Musaka ... Yakuza Boss on the Country Road
Shôken Kunimoto ... Rival Swordsman
Daigaku Sekine ... Ginzo's Henchman I
Koji Koike ... Boss Funahachi
Kôji Kiryû ... Dice Dealer at Funahachi's Joint (as Koji Kiryu)
Taigi Kobayashi ... Funahachi's Bodyguard
Ayano Yoshida ... Young O-Kinu
Taichi Saotome ... Young O-Sei (Seitaro)
Kanji Tsuda ... Playboy at Home
Ikki Goto ... Kuchinawa Underling 1
Yoshio Nakamura ... Kuchinawa Underling 3
Hiroaki Noguchi ... Kuchinawa Underling 5
Shinichi Nakatsu ... Kuchinawa Underling 2
Toru Yonezu ... Kuchinawa Underling 4
P. Man ... Tavern Customer 4
Al Kitago ... Farmer Boy 1
Omiya no Matsu ... Farmer Boy 2
Tsutomu Takeshige ... Farmer Boy 4
Gambino Kobayashi ... Farmer Boy 5
Sammy Moremore Jr. ... Farmer Boy 6
Muhômatsu ... Farmer Boy with a Spear (as Muhomatsu)
rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Yasushi Higuchi
Ryûki Kitaoka
Isao Ogura
Masayoshi Ohzeki
Kenji Takechi ... Yakuza
Yôji Tanaka

Directed by
Takeshi Kitano 
Writing credits
Takeshi Kitano (screenplay)

Kan Shimozawa (novels)

Produced by
Makoto Kakurai .... assistant producer
Shinji Komiya .... line producer
Jack Maeby .... producer (English language version)
Masayuki Mori .... producer: Office Kitano
Chieko Saitô .... planner
Tsunehisa Saitô .... producer: Saitô Entertainment
Masanori Sanada .... co-producer
Takio Yoshida .... co-producer
Original Music by
Keiichi Suzuki 
Cinematography by
Katsumi Yanagijima 
Film Editing by
Takeshi Kitano 
Yoshinori Ohta 
Casting by
Takefumi Yoshikawa 
Production Design by
Norihiro Isoda 
Costume Design by
Yohji Yamamoto 
Makeup Department
Kakusei Fujiwara .... special makeup effects artist
Production Management
Kensei Mori .... production manager
Sound Department
Senji Horiuchi .... sound designer
Akira Nakano .... sound recordist
Kenji Shibasaki .... sound effects
Camera and Electrical Department
Hitoshi Takaya .... lighting director
Toshio Watanabe .... still photographer
Costume and Wardrobe Department
Kazuko Kurosawa .... costume supervisor
Other crew
Marc Handler .... voice director: English version
Marc Handler .... writer: English version
Hideboh .... choreographer: tap dancing (as The Stripes)
Richard Lormand .... publicist: international
Noriyasu .... choreographer: tap dancing (as The Stripes)
Ron II .... choreographer: tap dancing (as The Stripes)
Haru Shôbara .... script supervisor
Suji .... choreographer: tap dancing (as The Stripes)

Production CompaniesDistributorsSpecial EffectsOther Companies

Additional Details

Also Known As:
"Zatôichi" - Japan (original title)
"Takeshi Kitano's Zatoichi" - International (English title) (informal title)
"The Blind Swordsman: Zatoichi" - USA (DVD box title)
See more »
Rated R for strong stylized bloody violence
116 min
Aspect Ratio:
1.85 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:

Did You Know?

Kitano said that he wanted the fights to be as realistic as possible, but that he wanted the blood to be extremely exaggerated.See more »
Aunt Oume:This must be quite a sight! I'm guiding a masseur, who's carrying my vegetables.
Zatôichi:Wish I could see that!
See more »
Movie Connections:
Referenced in Grindhouse (2007)See more »


This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.
44 out of 66 people found the following review useful.
With tap dancing, mundane superpowers, and an attractive albeit gender-confused cross-dresser, Zatoichi truly offers 'something for everybody'., 17 December 2004
Author: Colette Corr from Melbourne, Australia

This is a strange one, a drama/comedy/action film with absurdist overtones. In Japan, Zatoichi is a cult character who was the subject of 26 feature films between 1963 and 1989. Now director "Beat" Takeshi – best known for Hana Bi – introduces Zatoichi to a new generation. Takeshi also stars as Zatoichi, the elderly masseur and dice gambler whose hearing is so acute he can detect which side a die has fallen. He's a master swordsman, too – one slice and you're diced.

Supporting characters include two beautiful geishas avenging their parents' death, a farmer and her drunkard nephew, the gangsters running the town and a masterless samurai (an impressive performance from Tadanobu Asano).

The Blind Swordsman is great fun, although it could do with a tighter structure. And I was shocked by the spectacular tap-dancing finale – in traditional Japanese dress and shoes! ***½/***** stars.

Was the above review useful to you?
See more (188 total) »

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Shintaro Katsu is rolling around in his grave hooligan17
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Samurai Glee Club robchalms
Name top 5 samurai flicks you've seen LoneWolf6
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Aunte Oume............ LastAvailableUsername
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