MovieChat Forums > The Last Samurai (2003) Discussion > I enjoy the film overall, but the glorif...

I enjoy the film overall, but the glorification of the samurai...


...doesn't really stand up once you conduct a little research into the nastier acts they engaged in.

---
It is a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing .

reply

Like all armies do?

reply

Moreso. The samurai have been "extra-glorified" by comparison.

---
It is a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing .

reply

You should watch Kobayashi's Seppuku from 1962.

.../ `---____________|]
../_==o;;;;;;;;_____.:/
.. ), --.(_((_) /
..//(.)//
.//__//

reply

I agree. I actually really enjoy it as a movie, but politically it's incredibly shallow. It's a naive romanticized view of a deeply reactionary, hierarchical and oppressive social system that, sooner or later, had to be swept into history. The samurai weren't really such a great bunch of guys. Not just because of individual atrocities they committed, but because of the social role they played as an oppressive feudal ruling class that trampled upon the peasants, women, burakumin, and other social groups for hundreds of years. The new, capitalist Japan represented by Omura wasn't so great either, but it had greater progressive potential than the samurai system did, and eventually led to enfranchisement of women, at least nominal political equality for workers and peasants, higher economic development and improved living standards, and a limited form of political democracy. None of that could have happened with the samurai.

I also don't agree with the way the movie seemed to draw an equivalency between the destruction of the samurai and the destruction of Native America, as the end of a "traditional way of life". The difference was that the samurai were overthrown in a revolution by (relatively) progressive social forces within Japanese society, whereas the Native Americans were conquered, slaughtered and subjugated by an invasion of colonial oppressors who reduced the few of them that remained to prisoners in their own land. The samurai were a class, the Native Americans are entire peoples. There's no comparison. And actually, the abolition of the samurai system most likely saved Japan from becoming colonized itself. Had the samurai continued to rule and their backward socioeconomic system continued to exist, Japan would have eventually been subjugated by Britain, the United States or some other imperialist power and become a colony. They very, very narrowly escaped that even as it was.

I do really like the movie, but yeah, you've got to leave politics at the door to enjoy this one, and just look at it as a work of pure fiction.

reply

Thank you for chipping in, Kira. I continue to appreciate your rather in-depth insights into these films both you and I have consumed.

---
It is a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing .

reply

cinematic liberty








so many movies, so little time

reply