Sanjuro (1962)

Introduction Sanjuro (椿三十郎, Tsubaki Sanjūrō) is a 1962 black-and-white Japanese jidaigeki film directed by Akira Kurosawa and starring Toshiro Mifune. It is a sequel to Kurosawa’s 1961 Yojimbo. Originally an adaptation of the Shūgorō Yamamoto novel Hibi Heian, the script was altered with the success of Kurosawa’s 1961 Yojimbo to incorporate the lead character of… Read More

Yojimbo (1961)

Introduction Yojimbo (用心棒, Yōjinbō, lit. ’Bodyguard’) is a 1961 Japanese samurai film co-written, produced, edited, and directed by Akira Kurosawa. The film stars Toshiro Mifune, Tatsuya Nakadai, Yoko Tsukasa, Isuzu Yamada, Daisuke Katō, Takashi Shimura, Kamatari Fujiwara, and Atsushi Watanabe. In the film, a rōnin arrives in a small town where competing crime lords vie for… Read More

The Twilight Samurai (2002)

Introduction The Twilight Samurai (たそがれ清兵衛, literally “Twilight Seibei”) is a 2002 Japanese historical drama film co-written and directed by Yoji Yamada and starring Hiroyuki Sanada and Rie Miyazawa. Set in mid-19th century Japan, a few years before the Meiji Restoration, it follows the life of Seibei Iguchi, a low-ranking samurai employed as a bureaucrat. Poor,… Read More

What is Chambara?

Introduction Chanbara (チャンバラ), also commonly spelled “chambara”, meaning “sword fighting” movies, denotes the Japanese film genre called samurai cinema in English and is roughly equivalent to Western western (genre) and swashbuckler films. Chanbara is a sub-category of jidaigeki, which equates to period drama. Jidaigeki may refer to a story set in a historical period, though… Read More

Age of Samurai: Battle for Japan (2020): S01E06 – A Dynasty is Born

Introduction The kingdoms of feudal Japan are at war when several powerful warlords fight to become absolute ruler. Outline Tokugawa Ieyasu seizes power from Toyotomi Hideyoshi’s infant heir, Hideyori, splitting the country in two; once again, Japan has been plunged into a bitter civil war. Age of Samurai: Battle for Japan Series You can find… Read More

Age of Samurai: Battle for Japan (2020): S01E05 – Invasion, Annihilation and the Rise of Ieyasu

Introduction The kingdoms of feudal Japan are at war when several powerful warlords fight to become absolute ruler. Outline Toyotomi Hideyoshi controls all of Japan, but this new peace is problematic; for the samurai – a race bred for combat and military prowess – war must be waged to rise in status and to accrue… Read More