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CON T EN TS Section One Introduction..............................................................4. Context ....................................................................7. Characters...............................................................12. Director ..................................................................22. Influential ..............................................................34. Inter mission S e c t i o n Tw o Weapons..................................................................47. Sword Techniques....................................................56. 5 Basic Samurai Stances ..........................................66. Culture ...................................................................72. Philosophy ..............................................................76.


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Seven Samurai

Directed: Akira Kurosawa Released: 1954 Kurosawa creates a masterpiece with the Seven Samurai. This film was created in 1954, it is a Japanese film and has English subtitles. The Seven Samurai is a story about a small farming village in 16th century Japan that is under constant threat from travelling groups of outlaw bandits. The elders that live in the village decide to hire a defence force to protect them 1 from these outlaws. They enlist a variety of Samurai who are willing to work for their food. The mission of the seven Samurai is to protect the village against almost impossible odds.

INTRODUCTION

The people who live in the village need the Samurai, but they also fear the Samurai. What is really interesting about this film is the difference between the simple farming people and the more experienced Samurai. The Samurai have lived a life of violence and confrontation and the farming people have lived a very simplistic lifestyle.

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Nominated for Academy and Bafta awards, and winning many others including the coveted Venice Film Festival award for best direction. Seven Samurai was and remains a favourite with critics and the public alike.

1. Samurai were the military nobility of pre-industrial Japan. By the end of the 12th century, Samurai became almost entirely synonymous with bushi, and the word was closely associated with the middle and upper echelons of the warrior class.

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The Films Setting: 1587 Sixteenth century Japan was certainly an interesting time from a dramatic point of view—which is undoubtedly why Akira Kurosawa chose it as Seven Samurai’s setting. If you were unlucky enough to be a farmer your life was one ruled by high taxes, low wages and terrible social circumstances.

C O N T E X T

“Land tax, forced labor, war, drought. . . The gods want us farmers dead!” From the late twelfth century onwards, Japan was ruled by a shogunate—the shogun being the commander of the Imperial Army—with the emperor reduced to a puppet figure, lacking all power or influence. By the early sixteenth century, the country was racked by incessant civil war, as rival daimyo (local warlords) struggled for supremacy.

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SEV Each warlord had his own personal army, drawn from the Samurai caste. A Samurai, as a feudal retainer, owed personal loyalty to his lord and if his lord was killed or defeated (which happened often) the Samurai was out of a job. If he couldn’t find employment with another lord, he became a ronin, or masterless Samurai. All the Samurai hired by the villagers in Seven Samurai are ronin.

A man born into the Samurai class was ordained to stay in it. Caste conventions dictated what he could wear, what weapons he could carry and what kind of house he could live in. Since a Samurai’s code forbade him from earning his keep through menial labor many ronin became bandits, turning their fighting skills to outlaw ends.

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2. Gendaigeki is a genre of film and television or theatre play in Japan. Unlike the jidai-geki genre of period dramas, whose stories are set in the Edo period, gendaigeki stories are contemporary dramas set in the modern world.

3. Jidaigeki is a genre of film, television, and theatre in Japan. Literally “period dramas�, they are most often set during the Edo period of Japanese history, from 1603 to 1868.

To the farmers whose crops were pillaged, houses burned, womenfolk raped or abducted, the distinction between Samurai warriors and bandit troupes became all but meaningless. This is seen in Seven Samurai in the fear and mistrust between the villagers and the warriors they’ve hired to protect them.

Time Films was founded: 1954 1950s Japanese cinema by and large relied on a very specific sense of nationalism, from a storytelling point of view. Japan worked in two major categories, 2 3 gendaigeki and jidaigeki, both in which any number of genres could function.

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In the years immediately preceding WWII, Japanese culture found a simplified version of Samurai honor relevant in its application to military philosophy. Kamikaze warriors willing to die for their imperial army were mirrored in the blind loyalty of Samurai to their daimyo—death was met openly and without hesitation in both cases. When Japan surrendered, ending WWII, its people were struck with a vast ambiguity and uncertainty penetrating their identity. The U.S. Occupation forces, implementing their enforced democracy, oversaw the Japanese film industry and required pre-approval of all film scripts prior to their production.

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Seven Samurai has a wide range of characters, and each of the seven Samurai has his own personality.

CHARACTERS

Kambei (Takashi Shimura), the older Samurai, who describes himself as a veteran of many lost campaigns, has the wisdom to recognize that only the farmers will eventually win this fight because their relationship to life (and nature) is a fundamental one unsoiled by social considerations or obsession with personal accomplishment, which is sadly the case for the Samurai. When the farmers first meet their Samurai leader, Kambei, he displays colossal humility and bravery, defying the farmers’ prejudices against the proud warriors. And then there’s Toshiro Mifune’s character, Kikuchiyo. Both farmer and warrior, Kikuchiyo’s chaotic, often humorous behavior keeps the heart of the film light whilst delivering weighted philosophy through his own actions and insight.

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K a m b e S i h i m a d a We’re given the measure of Kambei in his very first scene, when he has his head shaved to impersonate a priest in order to rescue a kidnapped child. The amazement and horror of the onlookers convey the enormity of what he’s doing: he’s cutting off his own topknot, a key signifier of his Samurai status. (In Masaki Kobayashi’s Harakiri, from 1962, the hero defeats a whole band of Samurai sent against him and, rather than kill them, merely cuts off their topknots. The disgrace of this loss, he knows, will drive them to kill themselves.) But to Kambei,

such an outward display is unimportant compared with his duty as a Samurai to help the helpless. Kambei’s sense of honor becomes the selling point to other Samurai teeter-tottering on whether or not to join the farmers’ David and Goliath fight. Subsequent Samurai join because Shimura’s character is so “interesting” or strictly honorable. Kambei believes in facing reality. Nothing surprises him. All one can do is his best, mainly for others— even if, as in the farmers’ case, it means facing the impossible. Kambei embodies model heroism and selflessness.

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Kikuchiyo Quote: Duel Nature of the Farmer/Samurai Relationship

Upon the discovery of former Samurai armour, Kikuchiyo reveals the dual nature of the farmer/Samurai relationship. The farmers are afraid and helpless due to abuse by the stronger (sometimes Samurai) forces, but are clearly in need of their aid. Still, Mifune delivers the complex character flawlessly with a perfect mixture for the audience to digest.  Kurosawa’s most renowned Samurai hybrid helps bridge the gap between the two conflicts inside and outside the village fence.


What did ya think these farmers were anyway? Buddhas or something? Don’t make me laugh. There’s no creature on earth as wily as a farmer! Ask ‘em for rice, barley, anything, and all they ever say is, “We’re all out.” But they’ve got it. They’ve got everything. Dig under the floorboards. If it’s not there, try the barn. You’ll find plenty. Jars of rice, salt, beans, sake! Go up in the mountains. They have hidden fields. They kowtow and lie, playing innocent the whole time. You name it, they’ll cheat you on it! After a battle, they hunt down the loser with their spears. Listen to me! Farmers are misers, weasels, and crybabies! They’re mean, stupid, murderers! Damn! I could laugh till I cry! But tell me this: Who turned them into such monsters? You did! You Samurai did! Damn you to hell! In war, you burn their villages, trample their fields, steal their food, work them like slaves, rape their women, and kill ‘em if they resist. What do you expect ‘em to do?


Although each of the seven Samurai embody the heroic archetype, only two are given enough faults to illustrate their growth. The youngest Samurai, Katsushiro, is anxious to learn from the more experienced of the gang, and is often set aside from the action to observe. He’s allowed the only real romance of the entire picture, introduced several times in a vast bed of flowers. However, his aristocratic background reveals his inability to see the perspective of the common farmer, ultimately illustrating his naivety. Katsushiro serves as the perfect template for the next generation of Samurai, emulating each warrior in their own particular skill (wisdom, modesty, humor).

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The characters in Seven Samurai each have a chance to move beyond their determined existence and become fully realised individuals. The situation of protecting the village is dangerous, and the characters know that it could lead to disaster. The peasants have little choice and some almost resign themselves to destruction because of years of living in a passive state. This is part of their class distinction; their lives are given to the land and the uncertainties that come with it. In agreeing to fight they break this tradition. The Samurais’ decision is a little different; they are used to fighting, but only for feudal duty and honour. Their choice to fight breaks with their own class, as it means using their skills for the benefit of the lower orders instead of the ruling elite. There are also many individual transformations in the film. The peasant Samurai proves himself honourable and as good as any born Samurai, but dies to obtain this proof.

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However, as the film’s plot develops so do the individual characters. Although the Samurai and peasant classes are determined by economic factors, it becomes clear that individual qualities are important. There is the desperate but heroic peasant; with his wife abducted and his village at its knees he heads the search for the Samurai. There is the Samurai leader, Kambei, the personification of Samurai virtue. He heads the action against the bandits and presents a purer version of the Samurai sense of duty as he acts with the purpose of serving all society. All of the Samurai have individual personalities and traits; but one has the distinction of not being a true Samurai – a masquerading peasant. He wants to break the bonds of peasantry and be respected. He admires the Samurai and lies to become like them. He is the bridge between the two classes; through his character we can plainly see the forces of class determinism and subjective representation.

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K a t a y a G m o a r o b e i

Up to this point in Japanese film, Samurai were depicted as supermen, cowboy figures, certainly not human or “real”. But Kambei’s humanist traits glow around him like an aura. Gorobei (Yoshio Inaba), the second Samurai to join, signs up because of the principled quality he sees

in Kambei; though he understands the farmers’ plight, he tells Kambei, “It’s your character that I find most compelling.” Good-humored, and particularly smiley, Gorobei becomes Kambei’s second in command, handled with gracious warmth by Inaba.

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Known as “The Emperor” in Japan for his dictatorial approach to directing, Akira Kurosawa worked primarily as an arthouse filmmaker until 1953, the year he began production on his masterpiece, Seven Samurai. Kurosawa had already achieved worldwide acclaim for Rashomon, his brilliant multi-perspective didactic from 1950, which, for the first time, single-handedly attracted interest from the global film community to Japan. For his next picture, Kurosawa set out to make an allegorical Samurai film.

D I R E C T O R

Kurosawa, himself descended from a Samurai clan, makes no bones about this dark side of the Samurai tradition. There’s an implicit side-glance at more recent history, the period preceding and during the Second World War, when Japan’s militaristic government perpetrated a still crueler distortion of the Samurai code of Bushido (the way of the warrior). But as a counterbalance, Kurosawa offers the selfless and altruistic figure of Kambei, the leader of the seven, who personifies the Bushido code at its purest and most Zen-based.

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The themes, symbolism, and aesthetic forms of Akira Kurosawa’s films owe their origins to the ideas and sensibilities that captured his imagination as a young 4 man. These include Marxism, which caught the attention of the Japanese intelligentsia in the twenties and thirties; classical Russian novels, which mesmerized the country’s cultural elite; impressionist painting, which rocked the contemporary art world; and the sport of kendo, which Kurosawa practiced as a young boy.

4. Marxism is an economic and sociopolitical worldview and method of socioeconomic inquiry based upon a materialist interpretation of historical development, a dialectical view of social change, and an analysis of class-relations within society and their application in the analysis and critique of the development of capitalism.

In 1928, when Kurosawa was eighteen years old, Japan attacked Manchuria and assassinated the warlord Zhang Zuolin. Society was in turmoil. A year later, the Great Depression struck, and as Marxist thinking carried the day, Kurosawa joined the Proletariat Artists’ League. Though he later renounced his belief in political organizations and actions as effective means to correct social ills, Kurosawa never denied the populist slant of his films. He said it was youthful passion that brought him to join a left-wing organization, but his compassion for the plight of the lower classes and his practice of engaging class differences as dramatic structure are readily discernible in Seven Samurai (1954), Ikiru (1952), High and Low (1963), and Dodes’ka-den (1970).

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Another major influence on Kurosawa was his elder brother, Heigo, who was addicted to the novels of Fyodor Dostoyevsky and Maksim Gorky. Additionally, he introduced Akira to Western art and the auteur cinema of Fritz Lang, John Ford, Vsevolod Pudovkin, and Sergei Eisenstein. Heigo, however, was to commit suicide when Akira was twentythree years old. In his memoir Something Like an Autobiography, Kurosawa wrote about his brother’s profound influence on his development in art and literature, and especially in nurturing his passion for Dostoyevsky. Their only difference, he wrote, was that “my brother was pessimistic and negative, and I was optimistic and positive.” One time, Kurosawa met an actor who knew his brother, and the actor told him, “You are exactly like your brother, only he’s the negative, and you’re the positive print.”

Akira Kurosawa Directing: Seven Samurai – 1954

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Little known fact: The film went wildly over schedule and budget, and production was shut down at least twice. The film was certainly planned to be Kurosawa's biggest endeavor to date, but it turned out to be much bigger than backers Toho Studios had planned, with Kurosawa quadrupling the budget, which rose to around $500,000, on a shoot that took 148 days, spread over a year. It pushed the company to the verge of bankruptcy.

Kurosawa’s early training in Western painting and kendo, both under his father’s supervision, was also instrumental in his creative life. Van Gogh’s and Gauguin’s dense, layered brushstrokes and sensitivities find their glorious way into Kurosawa’s screen images, evident in their composition, outline, and emotional vibrancy. His is a strong and robust emotion that favors the seasons of winter and summer and the plain flavour of daily life. Meanwhile, the 5 sport of kendo endowed Kurosawa with a highspirited heroism, complete with an unbending faith in the pursuit of perfection. An individual hero, powerful and carrying within him a humanitarian ideal bequeathed by literature and politics, goes on a quest to put society on a just path: such is the philosophical backbone of Kurosawa’s Bushido—or “way of the warrior”—cinema.

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5. Kendo, meaning "Way of the Sword," is a modern Japanese martial art/sport, which descended from traditional swordsmanship (kenjutsu) and uses bamboo swords (Shinai), and protective armor. Today, it is widely practiced across Japan and many other nations across the world.

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H e i h a c h i

H a y a s h i d a

When asked if he has killed many, the fourth Samurai, Heihachi Hayashida (Minoru Chiaki), replies, “There’s no cutting me off when I start cutting. So I make it a point to run away first.” Gorobei recruits Hayashida, finding

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him chopping wood for a meal; not exactly a prime martial artist, the character is hired to lift morale in down times, allowing both the villagers and fellow Samurai a hearty laugh when in distress.


With Seven Samurai, Kurosawa also set out to debunk some of the more inflated myths that had attached themselves to the Samurai. In jidaigeki films—especially those made under the military government-Samurai were heralded as the epitome of bravery and honour through their readiness to die for their cause.

“Samurai had become kamikaze warriors, motivated solely by honor and blind loyalty, fighting doggedly to the death rather than admit defeat.” Kurosawa undermines such false heroics in the exchange between Kambei and his old friend Shichiroji, who last he heard was on the losing side in a great battle. When Kambei asks him how he escaped, his friend replies, “I hid among the grasses in the moat until dark,” and the two men laugh. Later, Shichiroji asks another of the Samurai, Heihachi, how he deals with his opponents. “There’s no cutting me off when I start cutting, so I make it a point to run away first,” responds Heihachi. “A most excellent approach,” says Shichiroji approvingly. But over and above these select bits of brilliance stands Kurosawa’s storytelling style. The film may be over three hours in length, but the pace never flags because the director at the helm has an uncanny sense of assurance in varying the action’s flow. We’re never retracing old dramatic ground, rather, we’re always moving forward.

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Little known fact: There's a number of different versions of the film, but the original is now (finally) widely available. Given that Kurosawa's original cut was 207 minutes long, it's unsurprising that it was trimmed significantly. The director's version only played major cities in Japan, with a shorter version playing second and third-run theaters in the country. The film was re-edited for the Venice Film Festival with the second half remaining mostly untouched, while the first was cut substantially, leading some to complain that the film was confusing, a charge that Kurosawa agreed with.

In artistic matters, as in everything else, length is relative. Clocking in at three hours and twenty-seven minutes, Seven Samurai was to be the most popular— and longest—film of Akira Kurosawa’s extensive career. Seven Samurai came by its length honestly. The script took six intense weeks to write, with the screenwriters—Kurosawa, Shinobu Hashimoto, and Hideo Oguni—forbidden visitors and even phone calls for the duration. Pre-production lasted three months, and the film’s 148 shooting days were spread out over an entire year, four times the span that was originally budgeted. Unlike the often selfindulgent long films of today’s Hollywood auteurs, Seven Samurai uses its length creatively, not merely to burnish egos. Kurosawa wastes little time in setting up his premise. It’s essentially there in the film’s opening shot—an ominous vista of horses galloping against the horizon at daybreak. Once the villagers state their plight and decide the course of action they have to take, the film is off and running, as they go looking for the Samurai warriors they’ll need to help them. This situation quickly devolves into a series of vivid dramatic turns, as we meet each of the chosen Samurai and their leader (the great Takashi Shimura) sets about planning the strategy the villagers will need to fight the army.

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It is at this juncture that Kurosawa adds a special flavour to the proceedings that sets them apart from any action film ever made. For the story of Seven Samurai isn’t one of simple Good versus Evil, as we learn when we’re told that these villagers have, in the past, preyed on the very class of Samurai they’re now asking for help. And why are these Samurai helping them, for virtually no pay, and with only a few handfuls of rice for food? For the adventure of it all, of course. These men have seen many battles, but only in this one will they be truly able to test themselves. There’s no reward, and the odds against their winning are a good hundred to one—and that’s exactly why they want to stay and fight. For these seasoned warriors long to experience that very personal sense of

HONOUR

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S h i c h i r o j i

Kambei’s former soldier Shichiroji. Pudgy, yet a fruitful warrior, he joins without an instant of hesitation. He fights for his love of battle, not for money or rank. “This may be the one that kills us,” Kambei warns.

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Shichiroji’s face slowly raises a smile. Perhaps Shichiroji seeks to finally achieve The End through an honorable death, but alas, he is one of only three living Samurai when the film’s end credits begin to roll.


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THE EMP ERO Covered thoroughly by the Japanese media, Kurosawa’s massive, expensive film drew attention to his directing style, notably his penchant for dictating commands like a military commander—rousing the occasional actress to tears or humiliating someone who had forgotten their lines. Believed tyrannical by many, his autocratic control over every detail might not have appealed to his lesser actors, but the onscreen result of his alleged harshness remains undeniably sound. On the other hand, members of Kurosawa’s regular acting troupe—such as Toshiro Mifune, Takashi Shimura, Tatsuya Nakadai, Minoru Chiaki, and Kamatari Fujiwara—have attested to the director’s affable nature, despite a cross-section of his more sporadic cast members thinking him intolerable. His publicized title “The Emperor” remains an overly simplified label, equated with Alfred Hitchcock’s “Master of Suspense” brand name, or “The Lubitsch Touch”—all tags summing up only the most popularized interpretation of the director’s work, or, in this case, Kurosawa’s approach to his work.

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Stories from Seven Samurai’s set emerge in interviews with the cast and crew, seemingly describing Kurosawa in the prime of his publicized, detail-obsessed persona. For the farmers’ village and overall shooting locale, he scouted for months to find the perfect setting, which was sketched out in his head long before shooting. Throughout five locations, Kurosawa erected the assorted sections of the farming village to match where, visually, their location made the most sense. He also devised a registry of the village’s 101 members (just as Kambei keeps a list of remaining bandits)—including names, occupations, and other minor details—requiring that all on set actors, speaking lines or not, refer to each other in their characters’ names. With such order, Kurosawa could track continuity throughout his production, allowing even anonymous or background villagers a pulse. Kurosawa shoots his action with frequent use of deep focus, capturing the fore, middle, and background with multiple cameras and longer lenses. More cameras working at once meant better views of the action, and efficient creation of space through editing. Capturing the battle from numerous angles did not aestheticize his violence into graceful interplays of warrior and bandit however; we feel each death, as Kurosawa remains dedicated to realism on all fronts. In each case, death is clumsy and unforgiving and unsophisticated. Several significant deaths are represented with slow motion, so that we might ruminate over their meaning, while others, like Kikuchiyo’s, play out at regular speeds, their importance eclipsed by the chaos of battle.

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Little Known Fact: The 500-page first draft (co-written with regular collaborators Hideo Oguni and Shinobu Hashimoto) was titled "Six Samurai," but on reflection, they found that having six responsible, sober Samurai heroes was a little dry. As a result, they created the pretender Samurai Kikuchiyo, who's more empathetic and emotional, and cast Toshiro Mifune, who was originally going to play badass swordsman Kyuzo (later taken by Seiji Miyaguchi), in the new role, giving the actor free reign to improvise.

Filming such grim conditions was just as punishing as Kurosawa’s portrayals. Shot during the winter, artificial rain machines created the film’s downpour for the final battle, all but giving the crew frostbite, but creating a wonderfully dramatic effect in the process. Actors sloshed through inches of near-frozen mud, slopping along, their effort evident onscreen. Most wore period-accurate moccasins and thin clothing, as the film takes place just before planting season, leaving their bodies exposed to the elements. And just as he laboured over the grand schemes of action and setting, Kurosawa did not fail to overlook the minor details. Shino’s eyes, for example, always seem to capture light. This is because Kurosawa ordered that reflective mirrors, held at just the right angle, be used to create a sophomoric innocence in the character’s massive round eyes.

Having died in 1998 Akira Kurosawa is regarded as one of the most important and influential filmmakers in the history of cinema, Kurosawa directed 30 films in a career spanning 57 years. S

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Akira Kurosawa’s Seven Samurai is one of the most popular and influential Japanese films ever made. Released in 1954, this rip-roaring action adventure epic about a sixteenth century farm community led by a band of Samurai warriors defending itself against a marauding army, sparked not only an American remake:

INFLUENTIAL

The Magnificent Seven but went on to influence a score of other westerns, particularly those of Sam Peckinpah:

The Wild Bunch and Sergio Leone:

The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

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Once Upon a Time in the West.

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Based on legendary Japanese warrior-poet Miyamoto Musashi, master swordsman Kyuzo (Seiji Miyaguchi) initially turns down Kambei’s offer to protect the farmers. But then he appears before the group one night, joining without explanation. And surely, no explanation is needed. Kambei witnesses Kyuzo’s talent during a Western-like duel, where his sword strikes with elegance, speed,

and class few Samurai can control. During the farmers’ battle, Kyuzo, like each of the other three Samurai who fall, dies by bandit gunfire; no sword or spear could ever take down this paladin—only the blunt, unskilled attack of a gunshot. With but a few curt lines of dialogue, Miyaguchi’s embodiment singularly defines the raw capabilities all Samurai aspire to attain.

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But to hear it from director Kurosawa, the most important inroad Seven Samurai made was on home turf.

“Japanese films all tend to be rather bland in flavour, like green tea over rice,” Kurosawa remarked in an interview, making a knowing dig at his staid rival, Yasujiro Ozu (who actually made a film called The Flavour of Green Tea Over Rice).

“I think we ought to have richer foods, and richer films. So I thought I would make this kind of film entertaining enough to eat.”

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Kurosawa wasn't afraid to dismantle the mythical status cinema had attributed to Samurai figures, a theme Clint Eastwood would later explore in

Clint Eastwood Directing ‘Unforgiven’

High Plains Drifter

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Unforgiven. 6

Unforgiven went on to win four Academy Awards, including best picture and best director.

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6. Unforgiven portrays William Munny, an aging outlaw and killer who takes on one more job years after he had turned to farming.

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7. All of the main Star Wars films have been box office successes, with the overall box office revenue generated by the Star Wars films totalling $4.49 billion

Also paying close attention to all of this was George Lucas, who would eventually combine the plots and characters from Seven Samurai with another Kurosawa adventure, Hidden Fortress, to make 7 Star Wars. The first one (Episode IV: A New Hope) is essentially the first chapter of Seven Samurai, but with slightly fewer characters. Obi-Wan Kenobi, Han Solo and Chewbacca are ronin (masterless Samurai), light-sabres are Samurai swords and the Force is a supernatural version of the Bushidõ Samurai moral code. Lucas even borrows Kurosawa's favourite character theme of master and apprentice. When Obi-Wan Kenobi faces Darth Vader on the Death Star, light-sabres at the ready, Darth booms:

"When I left you I was but the learner. Now I am the master."

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The Seven Samurai

Over the years, remakes, inspirations, and downright thieveries would draw on Seven Samurai’s commercial and artistic victory. The most popular of these derivations is the previously mentioned The Magnificent Seven, which spawned a number of sequels, and even a television series. Sturges adapted Kurosawa’s masterpiece into an American West setting, giving the film, not Kurosawa or his other two writers, screen credit (which is more than Kurosawa’s Yojimboreceived received when adapted into A Fistful of Dollars by Sergio Leone). Notable score by Elmer Bernstein aside, Sturges’ film lacks the majesty and philosophy behind its heroes and conflict. As Kurosawa would say,

The Magnificent Seven

“Gunslingers are not Samurai.” Indeed, the cowboys remain a vagrant bunch with no written maxim to follow, thus their employment by Mexican farmers bears no significant social, political, or philosophical implications. The resultant movie offers expert Western amusement thanks to Sturges’ direction, and fine performances by stars Yul Brynner, Steve McQueen, and Charles Bronson, but leaves viewers with an empty stomach in comparison.

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K a t s u s Oh k i a r m o o t o

Though from a noble family and not trained extensively in bushido convention, the adolescent Katsushiro (Isao Kimura) recognizes Kamei’s greatness when he sees it, and follows him like a puppy. The pubescent Katsushiro frolics in a flower field, worships Kyuzo like a child does

a superhero, and finds a sweetheart in village farmgirl, Shino (Keiko Tsushima)— with whom he exchanges a number of wide-eyed glances and even a brief roll in the hay. His ongoing courtship with Shino adds romance to the list of genres found in Seven Samurai.

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Other minor inspirations include India’s most 8 successful film of all time, Sholay, released in 1975, which took the skeletal outline of Seven Samurai for Bollywood’s version. Sholay ran for more than five years in India, a staggeringly protracted run, during which time it was advertised as:

8. When first released, Sholay opened to a tepid response; with favourable word-of-mouth spread, soon it became a box office phenomenon, ultimately making it the highest grossing film of all time in Indian cinema when inflation is considered, although such figures are not known with certainty.

“The Greatest Story Ever Told!” Fans of Pixar Animation Studios will also recognize Seven Samurai’s framework in A Bug’s Life, replacing Samurai with assorted insect circus performers enlisted to rescue a farming colony of ants from grasshopper bandits.

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In 2004, a Japanese anime series entitled Samurai 7 even attempted to retell the story in a postmodern futuristic world; over 26 episodes, the cartoon programme touches on several themes from its source, but fails to address Kurosawa’s widespread historical themes.

From left to right: The Samurai in Samurai 7: Shichiroji, Kyuzou, Gorobei, Kambei, Heihachi, Kikuchiyo, Katsushiro

While directly based on the original characters and given the same names, there are many differences in skin colour and looks. Especially in Kikuchiyo’s case who is a robot in this adaption. The bandits are also all giant flying robots. In some ways the series is very close to the original film. When they find Heihachi for the first time he is chopping wood. They even go as far as to use some of the same shots (for example, the shot of the windmill at the beginning of the film).

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K i k u c h i y o

Toshiro Mifune plays Kikuchiyo, the seventh Samurai acquired by the peasants, who, in fact, is not a Samurai (nor ronin) at all. A stray vagrant putting on airs to attain the glory of battle, Kikuchiyo begins as the film’s comic relief, boasting his prowess in a drunken stupor. Carrying a longsword inches longer than any of the other Samurai (an ironic phallic symbol if there ever was one), Kikuchiyo overplays his masculinity, coming off as buffoonish to the other six Samurai he strives to emulate. Even after being told to buzz off, Kikuchiyo trails along with their group, inviting himself back to the farmers’ village, determined to assert his battle-readiness with harsh

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fighting words, mocking insults, and nearslapstick displays of horsemanship. Kurosawa conceived Kikuchiyo’s tragic figure to provide a living bridge between peasant and Samurai. Aspiring to become the latter, Kikuchiyo admits he was born a farmer’s son, thus his presence within the seven connects the two groups. He demystifies both stations in the film’s most powerful speech. After discovering the farmers’ cache of stolen Samurai weaponry, taken from injured or vulnerable Samurai killed after wandering into their village, he scorns his comrade warriors for being surprised at the farmers’ predatory instinct:


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A Samurai’s weapon is his most valuable object. In many media, including films and books, the weapon is referred to as an extension of or even a separate limb or appendage.

W E A P O N S

A Samurai’s weapon is most commonly known as a sword, or ‘Katana’. This is the weapon made popular by movies and tv shows, and is classically what all Samurais use. Each Samurai in Seven Samurai carries one, even if their speciality is a different weapon. Just as important as the sword is the bow and arrow, crucial to hit those long range enemies. Other weapons include; The Kama, Wakizashi (another smaller sword) and the Tanto (a small dagger sword, often used as a last resort). Towards the end of the era of the Samurai, they started using guns (mainly to compete with enemies who used guns. This is shown in Seven Samurai, guns were one of the main problems). There are many other weapons the Samurai’s use but these are the basics that nearly all had on them, or at least were mastered in.

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K A T A N A What most people broadly refer to as a Samurai sword is actually called a katana (meaning long sword). The katana, as the name suggests, is the longest sword a Samurai would carry and the most important. There are many disciplines that focus on the use of the katana most famously and probably most widely known is ‘Iaijutsu’ this is mainly a defensive art, but is involved in the basic training of all Samurai. It is the art of drawing one’s sword. Iaijutsu technique may be used aggressively to wage a premeditated surprise attack against an unsuspecting enemy. The katana is characterized by its distinctive appearance: a curved, slender, single-edged blade with a circular or squared guard and long grip to accommodate two hands. It has historically been associated with the Samurai of feudal Japan and has become renowned for its sharpness and strength.

A Katana and its sheath.

The rise in popularity of katana by Samurai is believed to have been due to the changing nature of close combat warfare. The quicker draw of the sword was well suited to combat where victory depended heavily on fast response times. The katana further facilitated this by being worn thrust through 9 a belt-like sash (obi) with the sharpened edge facing up. Ideally, Samurai could draw the sword and strike the enemy in a single motion.

9. In many martial arts the colour of the obi signifies the wearer's skill level. Usually the colours start from the beginner's white and end in the advanced black, or masters' red and white.

The katana was often paired with a similar smaller companion sword, such as a wakizashi or it could also be worn with the tantō, a smaller, similarly shaped dagger. The pairing of a katana with a smaller sword 10 is called the daishō. The daisho could only be worn by Samurai and it represented the social power and personal honour of the Samurai.

10. The wearing of daish was limited to the Samurai class after the sword hunt of Toyotomi Hideyoshi in 1588, and became a symbol or badge of their rank.

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Example of Daisho in use. Both swords crossed together on the left hand side.

W A K I Z A S H I The wakizashi meaning ‘side inserted sword’ is one of the traditionally made Japanese swords (nihonto) worn by the Samurai class in feudal Japan. The term wakizashi did not originally specify swords of any official blade length and was an abbreviation of ‘wakizashi no kataka’ (‘sword thrust at one’s side’). The wakizashi has a blade between 30 and 60 cm with wakizashi close to the length of a katana being called o-wakizashi and wakizashi closer to tantō length being called ko-wakizashi. Wakizashi are not necessarily just a smaller version of the katana; they could be forged differently and have a different cross section. Wakizashi have been in use as far back as the 15th or 16th century. The wakizashi was used as a backup or auxiliary sword; it was also used for close quarters fighting, to behead a defeated opponent and sometimes to commit ritual suicide

A Wakizashi and its sheath.

T A N T The tantō is commonly referred to as a knife or dagger. The blade is single or double edged with a length between 15 and 30 cm. The tantō was designed primarily as a stabbing weapon, but the edge can be used for slashing as well. Some tantō have particularly thick cross-sections for armorpiercing duty, and are called yoroi toshi. Tantō were mostly carried by Samurai, as commoners did not generally wear them. Tantō were sometimes worn as the shōtō in place of a wakizashi in a daishō, especially on the battlefield. Before the advent of the wakizashi/tantō combination, it was common for a Samurai to carry a tachi and a tantō as opposed to a katana and a wakizashi. S

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T A N E G A S H I M A The Tanegashima plays an important role in the film Seven Samurai. The Bandits have three of them, and it causes a serious problem for the Samurai, and the gun itself takes out a couple of them. While not used directly by any of the Samurai in the film, it was used by Samurai.

The Tanegashima Flintlock Rifle.

The firearm was introduced to Japan through the Portuguese in 1543. Tanegashima were used by the Samurai class and their foot soldiers (ashigaru) and within a few years the introduction of the tanegashima in battle changed the way war was fought in Japan forever.

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They are used as a plot device in the film, to show that the Samurai’s time is over, and a new age is beginning. To a lot of Samurai the use of the gun was seen as cowardly. The death of Kyuzo by gun was to show that he couldn’t be defeated by the sword, and cowardly tactics had to be resorted to.

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Y A R I Yari is the term for one of the traditionally made Japanese blades in the form of a spear, or more specifically, the straight-headed spear. The martial art of wielding the yari is called sĹ?jutsu. Yari were characterized by a straight blade that could be anywhere from several centimeters to three feet or more in length. The blades were made of the same steel (tamahagane) that traditional Japanese swords and arrow heads were forged with, and were very durable. The shaft (nagaye or ebu) came in many different lengths, widths and shapes; made of hardwood and covered in lacquered bamboo strips, these came in oval, round, or polygonal cross section. These in turn were often wrapped in metal rings or wire (dogane), and affixed with a metal pommel (ishizuki) on the butt end. Yari shafts were often decorated with inlays of metal or semiprecious materials such as brass pins, lacquer, or flakes of pearl. A sheath (saya) was also part of a complete yari. They are used in the film by the villages who forge them as a way to defend against the bandits.

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Y U M I This early Samurai weapon (it pre-dates the katana) was a bow and arrow “killing machine.” The bow for this weapon was made of wood and bamboo and 11 was laminated to protect it from the elements and keep it from eroding. Arrows used with the Yumi were made of bamboo. Interestingly, the strength of the bow was measured by the number of men it took to string it.

11. The laminating process is called ‘Uroshi’. Urushi comes from the sap that is collected from the lacquar tree which is native to China, Japan, Korea and some other Asian counties.

A standard bow consists of two hardwood side strips and three bamboo strips sandwiched between bamboo faces. This unique style of laminating has been done for hundreds of years in Japan. The immediate advantage results in a very light but very powerful bow.

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“ When you shoot a bow and arrow, you aim at the clouds, not because you expect to hit them, but so that you may reach the distant target on the ground.

– Sun Tzu S

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10 Stages of Firing a Bow and Arrow:

1. .......................... Assuming the stance. 2. .......... Positioning the bow arm and grip. 3. .......................................... Nocking. 4. .......................................... Drawing. 5. ....................................... Anchoring. 6. ......................................... Relaxing. 7. ........................................... Aiming. 8. .................................. Concentrating. 9. ....................................... Releasing. 10. ................................ Follow-through.

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Kyūjutsu is the traditional Japanese martial art of wielding a bow (yumi) as practiced by the Samurai class of feudal Japan. Although the Samurai are perhaps best known for their swordsmanship with a katana (kenjutsu), kyūjutsu was actually considered a more vital skill for a significant portion of Japanese history. During the majority of the Kamakura period through the Muromachi period (c.1185–c.1568), the bow was the symbol of the professional warrior, and way of life of the warrior was referred to as "the way of the horse and bow". One of the earliest formal schools In 1543 the matchlock rifle of kyūjutsu, teaching a scientific approach was introduced to Japan, to shooting the bow, was the les. Weildi soon Japan began to y t s ng Ogasawara-r yū, founded ing manufacture their t y h ar own version C . e e r in the 14th century. In g t a a in D ant (tanegashima) and v o d particular, the practice of the emphasis upon the skill shooting a bow while of ky jutsu riding a horse at full gradually began gallop (yabusame) was to decline as the tanegashima developed and trained and yari (spear) extensively. The bow became the main weapons of (yumi) itself was fairly war. Ky jutsu was unusual in its asymmetrical eventually developed shape and extremely large size; into the modern "way of the bow" still practiced today. a little under six feet to just over seven feet long and gripped only one third up from the bottom. At the height of their use, bows were made from a combination of wood and bamboo, and many different arrowheads were created for different applications. Training involved the shooting of 1,000 arrows per day, and the techniques developed for their use were ritualized with systematic focus on the various stages of shooting and the mental attitude required for each. Additionally, many specialized tactics were developed for regiments of bowmen.

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There are many types of traditional Japanese Samurai sword techniques. The technique will vary with each style, or ryuha, with each emphasizing different aspects. Today, the goal of learning to use a Samurai sword is not to develop fighting prowess. It’s to hone and develop the character and spirit of the practitioner.

SWORD TECHNIQUES

The Samurai sword is a craft of its own. Making it is not less of an art than learning it. It is a weapon so well designed that one must carefully train with it as well as use it. To be effective, a kenjutsu strike or counter-strike must be a composition of several techniques: feigning, cutting, jabbing, thrusting, parrying or binding, footwork, choice of weapon, and even knowing the opponents weapon.

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Nukitsuke is the skill which can cope with an enemy's preemptive attack. Of course, it is effective as a preemptive attack toward the enemy as well. Nukitsuke is an important skill that can often decide a battle.

NUKITSUKE 1. Bend both knees a little, and stabilize the posture of the body. 2. Take the left foot forward a little, and then put a hand on the handle. Put your left hand thumb on 12 the Koikuchi, and hold the handle with your right hand from the bottom. At this time, do it quietly so that an enemy may not notice this movement.

12. The Koikuchi is part of the entrance of the sheath because it is shaped like the mouth of the carp.

3. Move the right foot forward greatly, and pull out the sword by turning the edge of the sword to the top. When a sword is pulled out, you must not pull it out suddenly. Pull it out and gradually build up speed. 4. Slant the sheath horizontally the moment the sword pulls out of the sheath. Then, quickly cut a target horizontally with the sword. At this time, pull the sheath backward with your left hand. This is said as "Sayabiki". If you don't do a "Sayabiki", a sheath is likely to be shaved by the sword's edge.

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What generally differentiates the different swords is their length. Japanese swords are measured in units of shaku. Since 1891, the modern Japanese ‘shaku’ is approximately equal to a foot (11.93 inches).

The danger here is that is is easy for the sword to deviate from its path. An important point to remember when using the ‘slice’ is to stretch the right arm firmly. When the right arm bends, a hard target can be hard to cut with a sword. It is because the elbow becomes a cushion and the power is absorbed by it.

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"Kesa" means cut with the sword from an enemy's shoulder to the armpit. 13

The power may not go into the kissaki when it changes from position 2 to position 3. This is because the arm isn't stretched enough. Then, the orbit of the sword draws a little circle. The character of the sword isn't being made use of, therefore, stretch the arm enough, and swing it.

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13. Kissaki is the point or tip of the sword.

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The japanese sword cuts very well when it's very sharp. Therefore, even if you don't put power in the swing, you can cut a target easily. But, when you handle the sword carelessly, you can't cut anything, and the sword may bend.

SHI G I RI 1. Swing the sword up. At this time, stretch your elbow and wrist. Then, lower the left foot. Be aware to not cut you own foot off. 2. Swing down the sword when the elbow and wrist are stretched. At this time, be conscious that the power may go into kissaki. The power must not go into the root of the sword. You can't cut a target well with a sword if thw elbow and wrist are curved when the sword hits its target.

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Although hundreds of schools of Samurai swordplay have existed over the centuries, the basic techniques and strategies of swordplay hold true across disciplines. One of the most important aspects of Japanese swordplay is the existence of five basic stances used for different situations. Although different schools include extra stances, there are five stances that virtually all kenjutsu schools have in common.

S A M U R A I S T A N C E S

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Ch큰dan-no-kamae, sometimes called Seigan-gamae, is the most basic stance. It provides a balance between attack and defence. Chudan-gamae means "centrelevel posture." The user stands with right foot forward, body squared toward the opponent and holds the katana pointed forward at an upward angle so the point is level with the opponent's eyes. The sword forms a 30-degree angle from the horizontal line, with the end of the hilt held a fist's width from the navel. Assuming chudan-gamae prevents the opposing swordsman from closing the distance by putting the sword point in the way. It also allows for a quick thrust as the opening attack.

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Waki-gamae is a stance that originated before sword lengths were legally fixed. Meaning “hidden guard stance,” waki-gamae’s purpose is to hide the length of the sword from an opponent by positioning the sword behind the body. Like hasso-gamae, waki-gamae can be taken on either side and requires the user to turn his or her body sideways.

Kyuzo wielding the stance in Seven Samurai, in the scene that gets him recruited. Being a master of the sword it was important to demonstrate his professionalism from an early point in the film.

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G E D A N - N O - K A M A E Gedan-no-kamae is the lowest stance. Like jodan and chudan, it has the sword positioned on the centre line of the body. It is used mainly to provoke an enemy into making the first attack due to perceived weakness. The sword points at the knees of the other fighter and therefore seems to leave an opening. Gedan-no-kamae can lead into a deceptively fast 14 counter kiri-age, or rising cut. This involves turning the sword so the edge faces upward and scooping the blade along the enemy's abdomen.

14. Kiri-age is used as a counter attack, and can be great at catching your enemy off guard. Samurai also use their sheath sometimes to stun an enemy.

Kyuzo wielding the stance in Seven Samurai.

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Hasso-gamae serves a similar purpose to jodan-nokamae, but conveys a less aggressive intent. In hassogamae, the user turns his body to the side, shifts the leading foot behind and holds the sword vertically at face level slightly away from the body. From this stance, the user can perform the vertical shomen-uchi, the diagonal 15 cut, kesa-giri, or the lateral cut, yoko-giri. Hasso-gamae was originally intended to serve as a substitute when a Samurai couldn’t assume jodan for some reason such as having a low ceiling above or wearing a constricting helmet. This stance can be taken on either side, but is most often a right-side stance with the left foot forward.

15. Kesa-Giri and Yoko-Giri were both known as ‘Test Cuts’ and were used to test how good a sword was before using it in actual combat. They were often ‘tested’ on criminals.

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5 J O D A N - N O - K A M A E Jodan-no-kamae is an extemely aggressive posture, literally meaning “high-level posture”. In jodanno-kamae, the purpose is to have the katana already in position to make the most basic strike: shomen16 uchi or a downward cut to the crown of the head. The sword is held pointed backward above the head at approximately a 45-degree angle, though this varies between schools. Because of the aggressiveness of jodan, students of kendo are required to say “Gomen,” or “I apologise”, upon assuming it during sparring. Jodan-no-kamae also places the sword in position to cut diagonally downward in kesa-giri to either side. Either foot can be forward in jodan-no-kamae.

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16. Showmen-uchi is a hand move, no sword used, it’s a slap to the head used to knock enemy off guard and leave them vunerable to a more serious attack.

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As de facto aristocrats for centuries, Samurai developed their own culture, thus shaping Japan for centuries.

C U L T U R E

A Samurai was expected to read and write, as well as to know some mathematics. Toyotomi Hideyoshi, a great Samurai yet a peasant at start, 17 could only read and write in hiragana and this was his biggest drawback. Some hint that this was 18 what prevented him from becoming a shĹ?gun.

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17. Hiragana is a Japanese syllabary, one of four Japanese writing systems.

18. A shogun; meaning "military commander" was one of the (usually) hereditary military dictators of Japan from 1192 to 1867. Often a Shogun started off as a Samurai.

19. The Edo period is the period between 1603 to 1868 in the history of Japan when Japanese society was under the rule of the Tokugawa shogunate.

Samurai were expected, though not required, to have interests in other arts such as dancing, go, literature, 19 poetry, and tea. Ota Dokan who first ruled Edo wrote how he was shamed to realize that even a commoner had more knowledge of poetry than him and this made him study harder.

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20. Zen is a school of Mahayana Buddhism that developed in China during the 6th century as Chán. From China, Zen spread south to Vietnam, Northeast to Korea and east to Japan. The word Zen is derived from the Japanese pronunciation of the Middle Chinese word ‘djen’ which in turn is derived from the Sanskrit word dhy na, which can be approximately translated as "absorption" or "meditative state". 20

Samurai culture ranged from a spartan Zen Buddhisminfluenced culture to an extravagant Kano-style culture. Most Samurai lived rather simply not due to preference, but necessity. As commerce developed in Edo period, Samurai who were supplied with rice as income were faced with inflating prices of common goods. Some Samurai did crafts and others farmed to make ends meet. These poor Samurai still found money and time to teach their children to value education. By the middle of Edo period, Samurai had to be ordered to practice their martial art skills. There were stories of Samurai being threatened and forced to run away by well muscled workers, some were even beaten in a fight. As Samurai were specialists in fighting, these troubles were never reported out of shame but were still documented.

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21. Botany is a discipline of biology and the science of plant life.

With time on their hands, many Samurai began 21 studying such topics as archaeology, botany, and literature. Samurai introduced vegetables like the potato and sweet potato to farmers who remained apathetic to these imported vegetables. Samurai also transcribed and studied historic books and records. The kojiki, as well as Chinese classics, were studied. Samurai also engaged in scientific studies, often relying on translations of Dutch books.

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Philosophies of Buddhism and Zen, and to a lesser extent Confucianism, influenced the Samurai 22 culture, as well as shintĹ?. Meditation became an important teaching by offering a process to calm one’s mind. The Buddhist concept of reincarnation and rebirth led Samurai to abandon torture and needless killing. Some Samurai resigned to become Buddhist monks after realizing how fruitless their killings were.

P H I L O S O P H Y

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22. Shinto, literally meaning "the way of the gods", Shint is the native religion of Japan. It is a form of animism which stresses the importance of harmony between humans and nature. It involves the worship of kami, which could be translated to mean gods, nature spirits, or just spiritual presences.

BushidĹ?, codified during the Edo period, was the "way of Samurai", yet its deceptive simplicity led to countless arguments over its interpretation. Hagakure, the Book of the Samurai by Yamamoto Tsunetomo, is a manual instructing the Samurai. Even as it was published, it raised a number of reviews that criticized its strict and impersonal interpretations. For example if the lord ordered a massacre of civilians, should the Samurai observe loyalty to massacre as ordered or should he observe rectitude to let civilians escape unharmed? If a man had sick parents but committed an unamendable mistake, should he protect his honor by committing 23 seppuku or should he show courage by living with dishonor and care for his parents?

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23. Seppuku is a ritual disembowelment originally reserved for the Samurai, the warrior class of Japan. Priests, peasants and merchants were not allowed to commit seppuku as it was commonly believed that they were unable to tolerate the agony and pain.

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The case of the "47 Rōnin" caused debates about the righteousness of their actions and how bushidō should be applied. They had defied shōgun by taking matters into their own hands, but it was an act of loyalty and rectitude as well. Finally, their acts were agreed to be rectitude but disloyalty to the bushidō. This made them criminals with conscience and eligible for seppuku.

24. The case of the ‘47 Ronin’ tells of a group of Samurai who were left leaderless (becoming ronin) after their daimyo (feudal lord) Asano Naganori was compelled to commit seppuku (ritual suicide) for assaulting a court official named Kira Yoshinaka, whose title was K zuke no suke. The ronin avenged their master's honour by killing Kira, after waiting and planning for almost two years. In turn, the ronin were themselves obliged to commit seppuku for committing the crime of murder.

Ronin Samurai Contemplating Seppuku

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Explanations of shudĹ? in Hagakure was highly controversial even at the time when such practices were common. It illuminates one of the Samurai’s practices of platonic love that were sometimes homosexual relationships between a seasoned and a 25 novice Samurai. Even though this was not considered a crime at that time and was not exactly prohibited by religion, a notion that some Samurai advanced by being sexually attractive was enough to raise an uproar. Samurai were not supposed to be prostitutes, but advance by having abilities and skills, not by engaging in illicit relationships.

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25. The master was permitted, if the boy (the apprentice) agreed, to take the boy as his lover until he came of age; this relationship, often formalized in a "brotherhood contract". was expected to be exclusive, with both partners swearing to take no other (male) lovers. This practice, along with clerical pederasty, developed into the codiďŹ ed system of age-structured homosexuality known as shud .

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So. Again we are defeated. The farmers have won. Not us. - Kambei Shamada


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BIBLIOGRAPHY 1. www.criterion.com/current/posts/443-a-time-of-honor-seven-Samurai-and-sixteenth-century-japan 2. www.criterion.com/current/posts/444-kurosawa-s-early-influences 3. www.criterion.com/current/posts/442-the-hours-and-times-kurosawa-and-the-art-of-epic-storytelling 4. www.criterion.com/current/posts/19-seven-Samurai 5. www.film-philosophy.com/vol7-2003/n34singh 6. www.123helpme.com/view.asp?id=47142 7. www.brattleblog.brattlefilm.org/seven-Samurai-the-discipline-of-conflict 8. www.blog.fredericerk.pro/2012/07/essay-seven-Samurai-by-akira-kurosawa.html 9. www.deepfocusreview.com/reviews/sevenSamurai.asp 10. www.jref.com/japan/culture/Samurai.shtml 11. www.wikipedia.com 12. www.rogerebert.com/reviews/great-movie-the-seven-Samurai-1954 13. www.theholisticwarrior.com/the-way-of-the-Samurai-warrior 14. Danny O’Donnell - 2006 15. Seven Samurai - David Ehrenstein 16. Laurence Topham - 2011 17. www.wikihow.com 18. www.samuraiweapons.com 19. www.samuraisword.com/howtouse 20. http://www.ehow.co.uk/info_8490015_stances-samurai-fighting-styles.html


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Remember, that's war. You're all in one boat. He who thinks only about himself will destroy himself, too.

Highly influential and widely praised, Seven Samurai is nothing less than a cinematic mastepiece. Accept no substitutes. Filled with insights into the LEGENDARY Director Akira Kurosawa and his first Samurai Masterpiece, and all you need to start your journey into Samurai-hood. You’re bound to find something that interests you!

Seven Samurai  

A book about the iconic film 'Seven Samurai' and other Samurai related treats.

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