Saturday, August 31, 2013

The Beauty of Zatoichi

Bored with Netflix and HBO I hunted the web for another source of entertainment and luckily stumbled onto ZATOICHI, the Blind Swordsman. This Japanese TV show portrayed the traveling trials of a blind masseur and swordmaster living in the Edo period circa 1840s. The actor Shintaro Katsu masterfully breathed life into novelist Kan Shimozawa's creation throughout the twenty-six films from 1962 to 1989. Zatoichi's roguish harmlessness was a ruse for his deadly skill with a zue or cane sword. His whirlwind speed defeats any opponent and his yakuza honor resurrects the goodness in the bad man unable to atone for his murderous life. Shintaro Katsu led the life and could honestly say in character, "Kurayami nara kocchi no mon da" or "Darkness is my advantage." He was one of 'us'. According to Wikipedia Akira Kurosawa cast him for the lead role in KAGEMUSHA (1980), Katsu left before the first day of shooting was over. Though accounts differ as to the incident, the most consistent one details Katsu's clash with Kurosawa regarding bringing his own film crew to the set (to film Kurosawa in action for later exhibition to his own acting students). Kurosawa is reputed to have taken great offense at this, resulting in Katsu's termination. KAGEMUSHA sucked with Katsu. I love these Zatoichi films and everything about them. To hear Zatoichi sing, please go to this URL

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