7.6/10
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The Tale of Zatoichi (1962)

Zatôichi monogatari (original title)
Not Rated | | Action, Adventure, Drama | 18 April 1962 (Japan)
The adventures of a blind, gambling masseur who also happens to be a master swordsman.

Director:

Kenji Misumi

Writers:

Minoru Inuzuka (screenplay) (as Minoru Inuduka), Kan Shimozawa (short story)
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1 nomination. See more awards »

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The blind masseur and swordsman, Zatoichi, learns of a powerful political figure's secret and is quickly tailed by a group of killers.

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Wishing to find peace, Zatoichi travels to his old village but only finds trouble when he ends up in a love triangle and finds old scores have followed him home.

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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 promises to deliver a maiden safely home but finds two dangerous gangs have a mysterious interest in the young girl.

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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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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

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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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

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

Director: Kimiyoshi Yasuda
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    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.

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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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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

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

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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

Zatoichi returns to his home village for the first time in over ten years to find much has changed and that corruption abounds.

Director: Kimiyoshi Yasuda
Stars: Shintarô Katsu, Yukiyo Toake, Eiji Okada
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Shintarô Katsu ... Zatôichi / Blind Man Ichi / Masseur Ichi
Masayo Banri ... Tane / Tatekichi's sister / Seisuke's ex-lover
Ryûzô Shimada Ryûzô Shimada ... Shigezô of Sasagawa / Sasagawa yakuza boss
Hajime Mitamura Hajime Mitamura ... Hanji of Matsugishi
Shigeru Amachi ... Hirate, Miki
Michirô Minami ... Tatekichi / Tane's brother / Saki's lover / Iioka yakuza member
Eijirô Yanagi ... Sukegorô of Iioka / Iioka yakuza boss
Toshio Chiba Toshio Chiba ... Masakichi / Iioka yakuza member (as Toshirô Chiba)
Manabu Morita Manabu Morita ... Seisuke / Tane's ex-lover / Iioka yakuza member
Yoshindo Yamaji Yoshindo Yamaji ... Yahei / Father of Tane and Tatekichi (as Yoshito Yamaji)
Yôichi Funaki Yôichi Funaki ... Yogorô / Sasagawa yakuza member
Eigorô Onoe Eigorô Onoe ... Rihei / Sasagawa yakuza member
Ikuko Môri Ikuko Môri ... Yutaka / Shigezô's wife
Chitose Maki Chitose Maki ... Yoshi / Hanji's wife
Kin'ya Ichikawa Kin'ya Ichikawa ... Mokichi / Sasagawa yakuza member
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Storyline

An impoverished blind masseur becomes a mercenary swordsman, to gain basic respect. The first of novelist Kan Shimozawa's Zatoichi series: 26 films, a TV series and a play, all but two starring controversial singer/producer/director Shintaro Katsu. First of six Zatoichi films directed by Kenji Misumi. The shrewd Zatoichi targets a yakuza-controlled village, because war with a neighboring town's smaller gang is brewing. The broke ex-masseur "Ichi" immediately wins big, by taking advantage of local bakuto's cheating, after they scoff at his asking to join a dice game. The larger horde, who have been given carte blanche by the local governor, summoned Zatoichi. Zatoichi hates the fact that he's become an outlaw, so he strikes up a friendship with the other gang's honorable hired samurai, who has TB. Written by David Stevens

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Japan

Language:

Japanese

Release Date:

18 April 1962 (Japan) See more »

Also Known As:

The Tale of Zatoichi See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

In his drinking scene, Hirate performs several series of moves with his katana (Japanese two-handed sword) from a kneeling position. This is Iaijutsu, the art of the quick-draw and its requisite zen-like presence of mind. Iaijutsu comprises many forms for drawing a katana to attack or to parry and counter-attack from any position at any moment. The katana is always returned to its scabbard to end each form. The word Iaijutsu means, literally, "the practice of constant readiness." See more »

Goofs

Hirate's fishing line is clearly a modern transparent nylon filament. See more »

Quotes

Zatôichi: [after asking Zatoichi what she would do with having so many children] Just don't raise them to be gangsters.
Tane: I won't... But why do you say that?
Zatôichi: Because to be a gangster is a foolish way to live.
Tane: Then why don't you live a decent life?
Zatôichi: It's like being stuck in a bog; it's not easy to pull yourself out once you've fallen in.
See more »

Connections

Followed by New Tale of Zatoichi (1963) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more »

User Reviews

 
I'll watch this kind of movie over most big studio stuff any day
3 April 2005 | by AtavistenSee all my reviews

A tale of warring townships and two strong characters who cant help but being pawns in a horrible game of carnage. Set in rural Japan in feudal times the setting is beautiful.

Too bad the camera works don't quite follow up. The scope is 70mm (or close to it), but I could settle with less if the cameraman (I suspect they didn't have one) didn't cut off the heads all the time. The use of zoom-lens sometimes works and sometimes don't. One time zooming in on Tane-san for instance was very dramatic. Intense was also the battle scenes. Very good.

Zatoichi is a good character and the actor playing him is fitting. The story is good and makes for an intriguing film despite some flaws. In all respects I think its inferior to Sanjuro though.

This is my first Zatoichi and I will check out other entries in the series for sure (at least the Kitano "Zatoichi" from 2003 is easy to get hold on).


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