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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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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 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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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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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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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 the best seller among all Zatoichi franchise due to Mifune's Yojinbo. 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

Under-rated flick unites Toshiro and Katsu
4 April 2001 | by phillip_marloweSee all my reviews

As one of the other reviews mentioned, you should really start with the original "Yojimbo" to fully appreciate the Mifune character here. However, this was my first Zatoichi story, and I enjoyed it immensely.

The two characters have a great repertoire, an uneasy adversarial partnership, further complicated by the appearance of a third mystery agent, and the various dealings of Mifune and his boss.

This particular storyline allows Mifune especially some time to explore the farther corners of his Yojimbo/Sanjuro character. We see some comedy, and even some romance... though Sanjuro might be loathe to admit it. The ending even makes sense, in a strange way, providing a possible closure on the character's fate.

Ichi and Sanjuro are funny together, and their chemistry is really entertaining. Katsu Shintaro sketches Zatoichi as both a master swordsman, and a bit of a klutz. He treads a fine comedic line between having fun at Ichi's expense, and portraying Ichi as a cleverly self-deprecating tactician.

Finally, the Chambara Entertainment version (released recently) had an excellent transfer, was widescreen, and came with a very informative little insert, explaining some of the more esoteric terms and puns. The subtitling was superb as well, using different colors to denote who was talking.

I highly reccomend this movie for fans of chambara, and especially for fans of Mifune and Shintaro! Mind you, it's not Kurosawa, but it's decently-made, and the actors are very entertaining.


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