During the time of change of the mid-19th Century, Yaichiro is bid farewell by his fellow samurai friends Munezo and Samon as he leaves their clan's fiefdom on the northwest coast of Japan ... See full summary »
Gennosuke, a clan retainer, kills one of the clan ministers as part of a plot to achieve reform. He is pursued by his former comrades, each hoping to complete the vendetta put on Gennosuke ... See full summary »
In the Edo period, a nameless ronin accepts an assignment to go to a mountain pass and wait. Near the pass he stops at an inn where a collection of characters gather, including a gang set ... See full summary »
A talented but troubled Edo Period swordsman, Kanemi Sanzawmon. Three years earlier, Kanemi killed a woman, Renko, the corrupt mistress of the powerful daimyo Tabu Ukyou. Unexpectedly, ... See full summary »
Bored with school, 15-year-old Daisuke Kawashima embarks on a pilgrimage to visit the 7,000-year-old cedar tree on distant Yakushima Island. Through his journey, Daisuke meets a number of ... See full summary »
Shinnojo, a low level samurai, lives with his pretty, dutiful and loyal wife Kayo. He has come to find his position in a castle as a food-taster for a feudal lord to be boring and pointless, and talks about opening a kendo school open to boys of all castes where he can teach the use of the sword. Before he can act on his dream he becomes ill with a fever after tasting some sashimi made from shell fish, but an investigation reveals that the poisoning was not due to a human conspiracy, but a poor choice of food out of season. After three days he awakes but finds that the toxin from the food has blinded him. Kayo is summoned by Shinnojo's family to explain how the couple will survive. His uncle laments that he no longer knows anybody with influence in the castle, and asks Kayo if she knows of anybody. She relates how Toya Shimada, the chief duty officer in the castle and a samurai of high rank, offered to help and they tell her to act upon his offer of assistance. A message from the ... Written by
In the film it is mentioned repeatedly that the main character of Shinnojo Miura receives a yearly stipend of 30 koku. During the Edo period of Japan a koku was a unit of measure that had the equivalent of one year's worth of rice for a person (approx. 150 kg). For a samurai 30 koku was a small salary and Shinnojo was thus of a low level. Incidentally, the title character from another of Yoji Yamada's films 'The Twilight Samurai' also receives a 30 koku stipend after having 20 koku deducted from his 50 koku salary to pay for his recently deceased wife's funeral. See more »
Not the best rendition of Shuhei Fujisawa's novel, but still pretty good
Others have commented on the story so I will skip the synopsis.
The story is about human drama, and the unusual talent the main character has that leads to bombastic climax. This is typical Shuhei Fujisawa's style, and this story is no exception.
What took away from the story compared to other Shuhei Fujisawa based movie is the poor acting by Takuya Kimura. His impatient and jittery personality shows in his acting, and the poor ways he speaks the dialog all takes away from the proper mood of the story. As the member of SMAP
a Japanese idol group, his acting DNA was bread for more modern
situation, and probably isn't a good match for a period drama like this one. I couldn't get the feeling that this was a samurai living several hundred years ago. His poor dialog skill also was evident in more recent movie Uchuu Senkan Yamato as well. Another period piece starring his SMAP colleague Shingo Katori's "Zatoichi The Final" was also a flop, attesting to the mismatch of SMAP member with samurai movies.
So the main focus was weak, but the movie still has quality all its own. The sword fight scene was superb like other Fujisawa novel based movies. As a samurai movie, this is still one of the best in recent years, and is recommended along with other Shuhei Fujisawa movies such as Hisshiken Torizashi, and Hana no Ato.
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