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Zatoichi Meets Yojimbo (1970)

Zatôichi to Yôjinbô (original title)
Not Rated | | Drama, Action, Adventure | 15 January 1970 (Japan)
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

Writers:

Kihachi Okamoto, Kan Shimozawa (characters) | 1 more credit »
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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.

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

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On the road, Zatoichi meets a dying pregnant woman and delivers the child moments before she passes. Honor bound, he sets out to find the next-of-kin who he discovers have their own problems.

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In a town where debt-ridden peasants are being ruthlessly exploited, Zatoichi is forced to take sides between a cruel yakuza boss and his seemingly altruistic rival.

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After accidentally causing an old lady's death, Zatoichi seeks out her daughter to atone for the tragedy, consequently getting into all sorts of trouble.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Zatoichi's trek through 88 temples to atone for his violent past is interrupted as he stumbles into a village terrorized by a violent yakuza boss.

Director: Kazuo Ikehiro
Stars: Shintarô Katsu, Michiyo Yasuda, Kunie Tanaka
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Shintarô Katsu ... Zatoichi
Ayako Wakao ... Umeno
Osamu Takizawa Osamu Takizawa ... Yasuke Eboshiya
Masakane Yonekura Masakane Yonekura ... Boss Masagoro (as Sakatoshi Masakane)
Shin Kishida Shin Kishida ... Kuzuryu
Kanjûrô Arashi Kanjûrô Arashi ... Hyoroku
Toshiyuki Hosokawa Toshiyuki Hosokawa ... Sanaemon Goto
Shigeru Kôyama Shigeru Kôyama ... Jinzaburo Wakiya (as Shigeru Kamiyama)
Minoru Terada Minoru Terada
Hideo Sunazuka Hideo Sunazuka
Daigo Kusano Daigo Kusano ... Police Officer
Fujio Tokita Fujio Tokita ... (as Fujio Tsuneda)
Gen Kimura Gen Kimura
Hiroshi Tanaka Hiroshi Tanaka
Hiroto Kimura Hiroto Kimura
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Storyline

With a price on his head, Ichi seeks tranquillity in a favorite village. Since his last visit, it has fallen prey to Boss Masagoro, the son of a merchant rumored to have stolen gold from the shogunate. The boss has hired Yojimbo as his hard-drinking enforcer, but Yojimbo is both a spy for the shogunate, trying to find the gold, and in love with the merchant's unwilling mistress, Umeno. Ichi hires on as the merchant's masseur and buys Umeno's freedom with his employer's own money. This embarrasses Yojimbo who withdraws from a pact with Ichi to stir up trouble between father and son and their gangs. As the two sides fight, Ichi finds the gold and sets up a final set of confrontations. Written by <jhailey@hotmail.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

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


Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Japan

Language:

Japanese

Release Date:

15 January 1970 (Japan) See more »

Also Known As:

Zatoichi Meets Yojimbo See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Westrex Recording System)

Color:

Color (Daieicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

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

Trivia

This film was so popular that in the U.S. is was booked into some theaters that normally didn't run foreign language films. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Zatoichi: I've got blood on my hands again.
See more »

Connections

Follows Zatoichi on the Road (1963) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Giving advise on better Samurai films than this one.
18 April 2002 | by ldoigSee all my reviews

Funnily enough a few years ago I wrote this (...BUT): First things first, for those that are concerned (and I'm sure you will be as I was), Toshiro Mifune is NOT playing the Yojimbo character from the Kurosawa movies. The title is purely a cash-in, though I'm not sure if it is for the modern Western market or the original title translates as such and was designed to con the Japanese market. The only other film I know of where Mifune genuinely plays the Yojimbo character is "Ambush at Blood Pass" which was the film the both actors completed after this one.

In all respects, this is a bad film sadly. It has a few nice moments but its clear this was a commercial venture utilising the two most famous male Japanese actors and characters at the time. In all honesty, I know little about the Zatoichi character, but imagine that the original film must be far superior to this. I couldn't really recommend this film to anyone unless you're a hardcore fan of Japanese Cinema or of the two actors. There are many, many better films of the genre to choose from. Even "Ambush at Blood Pass" which is not a great film is still significantly superior to this one. "Zatoichi versus Yojimbo", like many Japanese films of the time seems confused over what audience its aiming at. The result is an unsatisfactory soup of part comedy, part slasher, part period drama, part morality tale which limps from moment to moment.

As said previously, some of these scenes are nice in themselves, but the overall effect is somewhat bland with some scenes almost cringe-worthy. For the uninitiated, always try a Kurosawa film first, if not (and you are interested in Samurai films from an historical perspective) then you may prefer to look at the films of Mizoguchi or Kobyashi. If you just want to see a good samurai flick with Mifune in it, then you may want to look at films such as "Red Lion", "Samurai Assassin" or "Samurai Banners" which are more rounded films and are currently available. As said, I don't know much about Zatoichi, but I would imagine the original and early films are better than this one and worth the effort. Still, I hope this proves useful, it would have saved me money!

Now after seeing it again I'm surprised with myself. I've seen so many more Japanese films since and I realise how wrong I was. It must be stressed that it is NOT "Yojimbo" from the Kurosawa films but taking the point that this film is purely "entertainment" then it really is a good film, I watched it with harsh critical eyes when I wrote this and I was wrong! The Zatoichi films vary a great deal in quality, and the character has grown on me a great deal since seeing the recent Takishi film. This is by far one of the best from the original set.

So I guess I should now say, if you want a high-art samurai flick, then you'll still be disappointed as with my previous comments; but if you want to see a good, well structured, entertaining film with a very good insight into human nature than I would certainly say give it a whirl.


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