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Encyclopedia > The Last Samurai
The Last Samurai

Promotional Poster
Directed by Edward Zwick
Produced by Tom Cruise

Tom Engelman
Marshall Herskovitz
Scott Kroopf
Paula Wagner
Edward Zwick
Written by Story:
  John Logan
Screenplay:
  John Logan and
  Edward Zwick &
  Marshall Herskovitz
Starring Tom Cruise
Timothy Spall
Ken Watanabe
Billy Connolly
Tony Goldwyn
Hiroyuki Sanada
Koyuki Kato
Shin Koyamada
Music by Hans Zimmer
Cinematography John Toll
Editing by Victor Du Bois
Steven Rosenblum
Distributed by Warner Bros.
Release date(s) December 5, 2003
Running time 154 minutes
Language English
Japanese
French
Budget $100 million USD
All Movie Guide profile
IMDb profile

The Last Samurai is an action/drama film written by John Logan and Edward Zwick & Marshall Herskovitz based on a story by Logan. It was directed by Edward Zwick and released in the United States on December 5, 2003. The plot deals with American soldier Nathan Algren (played by Tom Cruise) whose personal and emotional conflicts bring him into contact with samurai in the wake of the Meiji Restoration in the Empire of Japan between 1876 and 1877. Image File history File links TLSPoster. ... Edward Zwick (born October 8, 1952 in Chicago, Illinois) is an American film director and film producer. ... Tom Cruise (born Thomas Cruise Mapother IV on July 3, 1962) is an Academy Award-nominated, Golden Globe Award-winning American actor and film producer. ... Marshall Herskovitz (-) is an American film director. ... Paula Wagner (born Paula Kauffman 12 December 1946 in Youngstown, Ohio) is an American film producer and film executive. ... Edward Zwick (born October 8, 1952 in Chicago, Illinois) is an American film director and film producer. ... John Logan is a noted American screenwriter of the 1990s and early 2000s. ... John Logan is a noted American screenwriter of the 1990s and early 2000s. ... Edward Zwick (born October 8, 1952 in Chicago, Illinois) is an American film director and film producer. ... Marshall Herskovitz (-) is an American film director. ... Tom Cruise (born Thomas Cruise Mapother IV on July 3, 1962) is an Academy Award-nominated, Golden Globe Award-winning American actor and film producer. ... Timothy Leonard Spall OBE (born February 27, 1957) is an English BAFTA award-nominated film, stage and television actor. ... Ken Watanabe (born October 21, 1959) (Japanese: 渡辺謙) is a Japanese theater, TV, and film actor. ... William Billy Connolly, CBE, (born 24 November 1942) is a Scottish comedian, musician, presenter, and actor. ... Anthony Howard Goldwyn (born May 20, 1960 in Los Angeles, California) is an American actor. ... Hiroyuki Sanada , born October 12, 1960 in Tokyo, Japan) is a Japanese actor. ... Koyuki (小雪; full name Koyuki Katō [加藤小雪], born 18 December 1976 in Zama, Kanagawa-ken) is a Japanese model and actress. ... Shin Koyamada (Japanese: 小山田真; born on March 10, 1982 in Japan) is an American actor, film producer and martial artist. ... Hans Florian Zimmer (born September 12, 1957) is an Academy Award, Grammy, and Golden Globe award-winning film score composer. ... John Toll is an American cinematographer born in Cleveland, Ohio. ... Steven Rosenblum is an ACE-certified film editor. ... Warner Bros. ... December 5 is the 339th day (340th in leap years) of the year in the Gregorian calendar. ... 2003 (MMIII) was a common year starting on Wednesday of the Gregorian calendar. ... The English language is a West Germanic language that originates in England. ... ISO 4217 Code USD User(s) the United States, the British Indian Ocean Territory,[1] the British Virgin Islands, Cambodia, East Timor, Ecuador, El Salvador, the Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Palau, Panama, Turks and Caicos Islands, and the insular areas of the United States Inflation 2. ... Film is a term that encompasses individual motion pictures, the field of film as an art form, and the motion picture industry. ... John Logan is a noted American screenwriter of the 1990s and early 2000s. ... Edward Zwick (born October 8, 1952 in Chicago, Illinois) is an American film director and film producer. ... Marshall Herskovitz (-) is an American film director. ... December 5 is the 339th day (340th in leap years) of the year in the Gregorian calendar. ... 2003 (MMIII) was a common year starting on Wednesday of the Gregorian calendar. ... Tom Cruise (born Thomas Cruise Mapother IV on July 3, 1962) is an Academy Award-nominated, Golden Globe Award-winning American actor and film producer. ... This article needs additional references or sources for verification. ... The Meiji Restoration ), also known as the Meiji Ishin, Revolution, or Renewal, was a chain of events that led to enormous changes in Japans political and social structure. ... Anthem Kimi ga Yo Imperial Reign Slogan: Fukoku Kyohei Enrich the Country, Strengthen the Military (a. ... 1876 (MDCCCLXXVI) was a leap year starting on Saturday. ... 1877 (MDCCCLXXVII) was a common year starting on Monday (see link for calendar). ...


The film's plot is loosely based on the 1877 Satsuma Rebellion led by Saigō Takamori, and also on the story of Jules Brunet, a French army captain who fought alongside Enomoto Takeaki in the Boshin War. The historical roles in Japanese westernization by the United Kingdom, Germany and France are largely attributed to the United States in the film, and characters in the film and the real story are simplified for plot purposes. While it is not an accurate source of historical information, the film illustrates some major issues in Japanese history. Combatants Imperial Japanese Army Satsuma fief Commanders Ruler: Meiji Emperor CIC: Sumiyoshi Kawamura Saigō Takamori Strength 300,000 40,000 Casualties estimate ~60,000 dead soldiers about 30,000 dead The Satsuma Rebellion (Seinan Sensō 西南戦争, Southwestern War) was a revolt of the Satsuma clan samurai against the Imperial Japanese Army... Saigō Takamori 23 January 1827/28 — 24 September 1877), one of the most influential samurai in Japanese history, lived during the late Edo Period and early Meiji Era. ... The French military mission before its departure to Japan. ... Enomoto Takeaki at the time of Republic of Ezo in 1869. ... Combatants Imperial faction: Satsuma, ChōshÅ«, Tosa Tokugawa Shogunate Commanders Ruler: Meiji Emperor, CIC: Saigō Takamori, Army: Kuroda Kiyotaka Shogunate: Ruler: Tokugawa Yoshinobu, Army: Katsu Kaishu, Navy: Enomoto Takeaki, Ezo Republic: President:Enomoto Takeaki, CIC: Otori Keisuke, Navy: Arai Ikunosuke Casualties ~1,000 killed ~2,000 killed Campaign map of... This article or section does not adequately cite its references or sources. ... History of Japan Paleolithic Jomon Yayoi Yamato period ---Kofun period ---Asuka period Nara period Heian period Kamakura period Muromachi period Azuchi-Momoyama period ---Nanban period Edo period Meiji period Taisho period Showa period ---Japanese expansionism ---Occupied Japan ---Post-Occupation Japan Heisei Pre-History/The Origin of History Jomon Period Main...

Contents

Plot

Captain Nathan Algren, a disenchanted ex-United States Army captain (once under the command of George Armstrong Custer and a veteran of the Battle of Gettysburg), is tortured by the guilt of his past transgressions against Native American civilians. He is recruited by his former commanding officer Colonel Bagley on behalf of a Japanese businessman, Mr. Omura, to help the new Meiji Restoration government train its first Western-style army. The United States Army is the largest branch of the armed forces of the United States. ... Captain is a nautical term, an organizational title, and a rank in various uniformed organizations. ... “Custer” redirects here. ... Former crewmembers of the battleship Missouri pose for photos shortly after the Anniversary of the End of World War II ceremony, held aboard the famous ship. ... Combatants United States of America (Union) Confederate States of America Commanders George Gordon Meade Robert Edward Lee Strength 93,921 71,699 Casualties 23,055 (3,155 killed, 14,531 wounded, 5,369 captured/missing) 23,231 (4,708 killed, 12,693 wounded, 5,830 captured/missing) The Battle of... Native Americans are the indigenous peoples from the regions of North America now encompassed by the continental United States, including parts of Alaska. ... The Meiji Restoration ), also known as the Meiji Ishin, Revolution, or Renewal, was a chain of events that led to enormous changes in Japans political and social structure. ... This article does not cite any references or sources. ... This article or section is in need of attention from an expert on the subject. ...


Algren, under the benevolent command of Bagley, trains an army of peasants and farmers in firearm techniques, and is forced to take them into battle, despite lack of sufficient training, against a group of samurai rebels led by Katsumoto, to defend Omura's investment in a new railway. During the battle, the samurai slaughter Algren's poorly trained and inexperienced soldiers, Bagley withdraws from the field, and Algren is captured. Algren, after killing some samurai himself with pistol and a saber, is taken as a prisoner to an isolated village, where he gradually recovers from his wounds. He lives with the family of the samurai he killed, namely his widow Taka, her two sons and Katsumoto's son Nobutada. Over time, Algren's mental and emotional state improve as he learns "the way of the samurai" (Bushido), develops romantic feelings for Taka, learns swordplay from a skilled swordmaster (Ujio) and converses with the local residents, gaining their respect. Japanese samurai in armor, 1860s. ...


One night, as the people watch a comic play, a group of ninja assassins attack the village, intent on killing Katsumoto. The Samurai succeed in defeating the ninja, but suffer losses. Algren wins the respect and admiration of the samurai by fighting alongside them, and distinguishing himself in the battle by his defense of Katsumoto. Katsumoto confides in Algren that he believes that Omura is responsible for the attack. Jiraiya, ninja and title character of the Japanese folktale Jiraiya Goketsu Monogatari. ...


With the arrival of spring, Nathan is taken back to Tokyo, where he learns that the army, under Bagley's command, is now better organized and outfitted with howitzers and Gatling guns. He declines Omura's job offer to lead the army against Katsumoto, to crush the Samurai rebellion. He also witnesses the brutality of the Japanese soldiers who enforce the new laws forbidding samurai to publicly carry swords and wear their hair in chonmage. 19th century 12 pounder (5 kg) mountain howitzer displayed by the National Park Service at Fort Laramie in Wyoming, USA A howitzer is a type of artillery piece that is characterized by a relatively short barrel and the use of comparatively small explosive charges to propel projectiles at trajectories with... Gatling gun illustrated in an 1885 encyclopedia in Swedish http://www. ... The chonmage (丁髷, ちょんまげ) is a form of Japanese traditional haircut worn by men. ...


At the same time, Katsumoto offers his counsel to the Emperor, to whom he was once a teacher. He learns that the young Emperor's hold upon the throne is much weaker than he thought, and that he is afraid to challenge men like Omura, who control vast wealth and political power. An emperor is a (male) monarch, usually the sovereign ruler of an empire or another type of imperial realm. ...


The samurai leader Katsumoto is arrested and confined to his quarters in Tokyo when he refuses to remove his sword in the Emperor's presence, but Algren, having learned that Omura has ordered his assassination, and narrowly escaping an assassination attempt on his own life, decides to rescue him with help from several of Katsumoto's loyal followers. During the rescue mission, Katsumoto's son Nobutada is killed while allowing Algren and Katsumoto to escape.


Katsumoto is still mourning the loss of his son when he receives word that a large Imperial army unit is marching out to battle the samurai. A force of warriors, numbering only 500, are rallied. Algren receives a katana of his own. He is also given, by Taka, the armor of the samurai he killed. She dresses him into the armor, and they share a kiss just before Algren leaves. This article or section does not cite any references or sources. ...


The samurai plan, with the assistance of Algren, is to make their final stand. When a large Imperial Army, under the command of Omura and Bagley confronts the samurai's forces to put down the rebellion, the samurai fall back to higher ground. Omura immediately orders the infantry to pursue them. The samurai lead them into a trap, setting a fire to cut off their escape routes. The samurai then unleash volleys of arrows on the infantrymen, killing many.


Drawing their swords, the samurai, Algren and Katsumoto amongst them, charge the confused and wounded infrantymen. A second wave of Imperial infantry follows behind and quickly joins the battle. After a savage melee that leaves many samurai and infantrymen dead, the surviving samurai resolve to make a final charge. They charge by horse, and up being cut down by Japanese cannons and then by another unit of infantrymen. During the battle, Bagley attempts to shoot Katsumoto but Algren throws his sword into Bagley, killing him, saving Katsumato's life. Against all odds manage to make it through the enemy lines, only to be cut down by Gatling guns the soldiers had brought with them. Katsumoto and Algren are badly wounded from the encounter. Katsumoto, obeying bushido in order to keep his honour, commits seppuku (ceremonial samurai suicide) with help from Algren, ending his life. The Imperial troops, many of whose comrades have also been killed, show their respect by bowing to the fallen samurai. Omura storms off the field in disgust at the behaviour of his subordinates and troops. Algren, who survives the battle heavily wounded, stays at Katsumoto's side. Japanese samurai in armor, 1860s. ... Alexander Hamilton defending his honour by obliging to duel Aaron Burr. ... “hara-kiri” redirects here. ...


Later, as American ambassadors prepare to have the emperor sign a treaty that would give the US exclusive rights to sell firearms to the Japanese government, an injured Algren offers Katsumoto's sword as a present to the Emperor and urges the emperor to turn away the American ambassadors' offer. The Emperor agrees and tells the American ambassador that the deal is not in the best interest of Japan. Omura objects and the emperor realizing he does not need to live in fear of Omura confiscates the estates and fortunes of Omura. Omura is greatly distressed at this, so the emperor offers him Katsumoto's sword to commit seppuku if the dishonor is too great to bear. Algren then returns to the samurai village where he was imprisoned earlier, and to Taka. For other uses, see Ambassador (disambiguation). ...


Cast

  • Tom Cruise as Captain Nathan Algren, a Civil War and Indian Wars veteran haunted by a massacre of Native American civilians. He has a penchant for languages and drinking alcoholic beverages, especially whiskey, to drown his guilt and sorrow. He decides to help the new Meiji Restoration government train its first Western-style conscript army for a hefty sum. During the army's first battle he is captured by the samurai Katsumoto and taken to the village of Katsumoto's son, where he soon becomes intrigued with the way of the samurai and decides to join them in their cause. His journal entries reveal his impressions about traditional Japanese culture, which almost immediately evolves to admiration.
  • Ken Watanabe as samurai Lord Katsumoto, a warrior-poet who was once Emperor Meiji's most trusted teacher. He is displeased with Mr. Omura's bureaucratic reform policies which leads him into organising a revolt against the Imperial Army.
  • Tony Goldwyn as Colonel Bagley, Capt. Algren's commanding officer in the 7th Cavalry Regiment, who was to train the Imperial Army. Algren dislikes Bagley for his role in the Sand Creek massacre of the Native Americans that Algren cannot get over. Bagley is then killed by Algren in the climactic battle.
  • Masato Harada as Omura, an industrialist and pro-reform politician who despises the samurai. Coming from a family that like many merchants was repressed during the days of Samurai rule, he assumes a great deal of power during the Meiji Restoration and takes advantages of Meiji's youth to become his chief advisor (wielding power similar to those of the Shoguns).
  • Shichinosuke Nakamura as Emperor Meiji. Credited with the implementation of the 1868 Meiji Restoration, the Emperor is eager to import Western ideas and practices to modernize and empower Japan to become a strong nation.
  • Shin Koyamada as Nobutada, Katsumoto's only son who is lord of the village that the Samurai are encamped in.
  • Hiroyuki Sanada as Ujio, one of the most dedicated and vicious samurai under Katsumoto. He teaches Algren the art of Samurai swordfighting.
  • Timothy Spall as Simon Graham, a British translator for Captain Algren and his non-Japanese speaking soldiers. Initially portrayed as a typical practical-minded Englishman, he later comes to understand the Samurai cause.
  • Seizo Fukumoto as the Silent Samurai, an elderly man assigned to follow Algren (who later calls the samurai "Bob") as he travels through the village. He bears a marked resemblance to Kyuzo from Seven Samurai.
  • Koyuki as Taka, Katsumoto's sister and the wife of the red-masked Samurai Hirotaro, whom Nathan Algren kills earlier.
  • Billy Connolly as Sergeant Zebulon Gant, a former cavalry soldier who served with Algren and talked him into coming to Japan. He is later killed in the opening battle by Hirotaro (Taka's husband).
  • Shun Sugata as Nakao, a tall judo and naginata skilled samurai, takes part in Katsumoto's rescue, and considers Algren ugly.

Tom Cruise (born Thomas Cruise Mapother IV on July 3, 1962) is an Academy Award-nominated, Golden Globe Award-winning American actor and film producer. ... Captain is a nautical term, an organizational title, and a rank in various uniformed organizations. ... Combatants United States of America (Union) Confederate States of America (Confederacy) Commanders Abraham Lincoln, Ulysses S. Grant Jefferson Davis, Robert E. Lee Strength 2,200,000 1,064,000 Casualties 110,000 killed in action, 360,000 total dead, 275,200 wounded 93,000 killed in action, 258,000 total... Combatants Indian Nationss Colonial America/United States of America Indian Wars is the name generally used in the United States to describe a series of conflicts between the Americans and the Indian Nations. ... Former crewmembers of the battleship Missouri pose for photos shortly after the Anniversary of the End of World War II ceremony, held aboard the famous ship. ... Photographs of the My Lai massacre provoked world outrage and made it an international scandal. ... Native Americans are the indigenous peoples from the regions of North America now encompassed by the continental United States, including parts of Alaska. ... This article does not cite any references or sources. ... Whisky (or whiskey) is an alcoholic beverage distilled from grain, often including malt, which has then been aged in wooden barrels. ... The Meiji Restoration ), also known as the Meiji Ishin, Revolution, or Renewal, was a chain of events that led to enormous changes in Japans political and social structure. ... This article does not cite any references or sources. ... This article or section is in need of attention from an expert on the subject. ... This article needs additional references or sources for verification. ... Japanese culture and language Japans isolation until the arrival of the Black Ships and the Meiji era produced a culture distinctively different from any other, and echoes of this uniqueness persist today. ... Ken Watanabe , born October 21, 1959) is a renowned Japanese actor who performs on stage and television, and has received an Oscar nomination for his work in film . ... This article needs additional references or sources for verification. ... Anthony Howard Goldwyn (born May 20, 1960 in Los Angeles, California) is an American actor. ... Distinctive Unit Insignia, US 7th Cavalry The United States 7th Cavalry Regiment is a United States Army cavalry regiment, whose lineage traces back to the mid-19th century. ... Masato Harada (原田眞人 Harada Masato, alt. ... This page is about the Japanese ruler and military rank. ... Nakamura Shichinosuke II, (中村七之助二代目)(b. ... Emperor Meiji ) (November 3, 1852 — July 30, 1912) was the 122nd emperor of Japan according to the traditional order of succession, reigning from February 3, 1867 until his death. ... Shin Koyamada (Japanese: 小山田真; born on March 10, 1982 in Japan) is an American actor, film producer and martial artist. ... Hiroyuki Sanada , born October 12, 1960 in Tokyo, Japan) is a Japanese actor. ... Timothy Leonard Spall OBE (born February 27, 1957) is an English BAFTA award-nominated film, stage and television actor. ... Seizo Fukumoto (福本 清三 Fukumoto Seizō) is a Japanese actor. ... Koyuki (小雪; full name Koyuki Katō [加藤小雪], born 18 December 1976 in Zama, Kanagawa-ken) is a Japanese model and actress. ... William Billy Connolly, CBE, (born 24 November 1942) is a Scottish comedian, musician, presenter, and actor. ...

Reception

The film received an enthusiastic reception among the moviegoing public in Japan, with box office receipts higher in that country than in the USA. [1] Critical reception in Japan was generally positive. Tomomi Katsuta of The Mainichi Shimbun thought that the film was "a vast improvement over previous American attempts to portray Japan", noting that director Ed Zwick "had researched Japanese history, cast well-known Japanese actors and consulted dialogue coaches to make sure he didn't confuse the casual and formal categories of Japanese speech." However, Katsuta still found fault with the film's idealistic, "storybook" portrayal of the samurai, stating that "Our image of samurai are that they were more corrupt." As such, he said, the noble samurai leader Katsumoto "set (his) teeth on edge." [2] Headquarters in Tokyo Osaka Office Newsagents shop in Higashi-osaka Printing plant in Settsu The Mainichi Shimbun , lit. ...


Reviews were harsher in the United States. Motoko Rich of The New York Times observed that the film has opened up a debate, "particularly among Asian-Americans and Japanese," about whether the film and others like it were "racist, naïve, well-intentioned, accurate — or all of the above." [3] Tom Long, critic for The Detroit News, wrote that "The Last Samurai pretends to honor a culture, but all it's really interested in is cheap sentiment, big fights and, above all, star worship. It is a sham, and further, a shame." Reviewer Todd McCarthy from Variety calls The Last Samurai “ rich in period and historical background,” a “physically impressive” film with costumes that are “rich in eye-catching detail but not self-consciously exotic.” However, he states that the film is “deficient in fresh dramatic and thematic ideas,” and that the end of the movie “feel[s] phony and tacked on as a contrived sop to conventional audience expectations.” [4]


Other actors have displayed some bitterness at having missed their chance to be cast as Captain Algren. Most notably, Steven Seagal stated: Steven Seagal (born April 10, 1952), is an American action movie actor, producer, writer, director, singer-songwriter, and activist. ...

I was raised in Japan. I was schooled in martial arts. I was given the title of master. They take a movie The Last Samurai. They have a five foot two inch little guy, whether he was straight or gay, I don't know. I don't care. He had never been to Japan. He doesn't speak Japanese. He has never held a sword. They make him the last samurai. [5] GAY can mean: Gay, a term referring to homosexual men or women The IATA code for Gaya Airport Category: ...

Soundtrack

Composed by Hans Zimmer, the score for The Last Samurai makes use of traditional Japanese instrumentation and compositional techniques, as well as the Western equivalent. The Taiko drum features prominently in the action cues. Vocal shouts and chants are featured in the "Red Warrior" cue. The score was nominated for several awards, including a Golden Globe (Best Original Score), and won an ASCAP award. Hans Florian Zimmer (born September 12, 1957) is an Academy Award, Grammy, and Golden Globe award-winning film score composer. ... It has been suggested that Japanese_Taiko_Drumming be merged into this article or section. ... The Golden Globe Awards are American awards for motion pictures and television programs, given out each year during a formal dinner. ... The American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers (ASCAP) is an organization known as a collecting society that protects intellectual property, ensuring that music which is broadcast, commercially recorded, or otherwise used for profit, pays a fee to compensate the creators of that music. ...


Track listing

  • A Way of Life
  • Spectres in the Fog
  • Taken
  • A Hard Teacher
  • To Know My Enemy
  • Idyll's End
  • Safe Passage
  • Ronin
  • Red Warrior
  • The Way of the Sword
  • A Small Measure of Peace
  • The End of the beginning

Miscellaneous

  • Although many of the film's cast members are Japanese, the production crew is almost entirely American, and most of the movie was filmed in New Zealand.
  • Although filmed in New Zealand, to give the appearance of a Japanese setting, actual shots of Mount Fuji were superimposed using CGI.
  • Several of the village scenes were shot on the Warner Brothers Studios backlot in Burbank, CA.
  • The movie is almost unrelated to the novel The Last Samurai written by Helen DeWitt.
  • The golden, circular ring painted on Ujio's black armor is in fact not a tribute to his previous movie Ringu, but is actually the Enso, the Zen circle, commonly seen in Hitsuzendo and various martial arts like Aikido.
  • Cruise has stated in interviews that Lord Katsumoto is the "Last Samurai" of the film's titles (against complaints of claiming an untrained Caucasian as the last of the samurai). His character is simply the focal point of the plot.
  • Although Cruise has stated that Katsumoto is the "Last Samurai", the title has spawned debate in some circles on the many references the title could have - there is the obvious Cruise or Katsumoto reference, but also the plural "Last Samurai"... as in the end of the warrior caste entirely.

Mount Fuji Mount Fuji , IPA: )   is the highest mountain in Japan. ... CGI may mean: Computer-generated imagery, a film-making technology Common Gateway Interface, a technology used in web servers CGI.pm, a Perl module used for dealing with it CGI Group, a Canadian headquartered information management company (formerly ) Computer graphics interface, a low-level interface between the Graphical Kernel System... The WB Shield, used from 2001 to late 2003. ... A backlot is an area behind or adjoining a movie studio with permanent exterior sets for outdoor scenes in motion picture and/or television productions. ... The Last Samurai (2000) was the first novel by American writer Helen DeWitt. ... Helen DeWitt (born 1957 in Takoma Park, Maryland, a suburb of Washington, D.C.) is a novelist. ... Ringu (リング, the Ring) is a 1998 Japanese horror mystery film from director Hideo Nakata, adapted from a novel by Koji Suzuki of the same name. ... Enso, the Zen Circle. ... Aikido ), translated as the way of harmonious spirit, is a modern Japanese martial art (gendai budō) developed by Morihei Ueshiba as a synthesis of his martial studies, philosophy, and religious beliefs. ... The 4th edition of Meyers Konversationslexikon (1885-1890) shows the Caucasian race (in blue) as comprising Aryans, Semites and Hamites. The Caucasian race (sometimes called the Caucasoid race) is defined by the Oxford English Dictionary as, relating to a broad division of humankind covering peoples from Europe, the Middle East...

Historical background

The Last Samurai combines real but disconnected historical situations, rather distant in time, into a single narrative. It also replaces the key Western actors of the period (especially the French) by American ones. Finally, it portrays a radical conflict between ancient and modern fighting methods, but in reality all sides of the conflict (the Satsuma Rebellion, and before it the Boshin War) adopted modern equipment to various degrees. Many thematic, and visual elements of the film parallel the films of Akira Kurosawa, specifically Seven Samurai. Combatants Imperial Japanese Army Satsuma fief Commanders Ruler: Meiji Emperor CIC: Sumiyoshi Kawamura Saigō Takamori Strength 300,000 40,000 Casualties estimate ~60,000 dead soldiers about 30,000 dead The Satsuma Rebellion (Seinan Sensō 西南戦争, Southwestern War) was a revolt of the Satsuma clan samurai against the Imperial Japanese Army... Combatants Imperial faction: Satsuma, Chōshū, Tosa Tokugawa Shogunate Commanders Ruler: Meiji Emperor, CIC: Saigō Takamori, Army: Kuroda Kiyotaka Shogunate: Ruler: Tokugawa Yoshinobu, Army: Katsu Kaishu, Navy: Enomoto Takeaki, Ezo Republic: President:Enomoto Takeaki, CIC: Otori Keisuke, Navy: Arai Ikunosuke Casualties ~1,000 killed ~2,000 killed Campaign map of... For other uses, see Seven Samurai (disambiguation). ...


Military modernization and Western involvement

Training of the Shogunate troops by the French Military Mission to Japan. 1867 photograph.
Training of the Shogunate troops by the French Military Mission to Japan. 1867 photograph.
The French military advisers and their Japanese allies in Hokkaido during the Boshin war (1868-1869). Front row, second from left: Jules Brunet, besides Matsudaira Taro, vice-president of the Ezo Republic.

The kind of military modernization described in The Last Samurai was already largely achieved by the time of the Boshin War ten years before, in 1868. At that time, forces favourable to the Shogun were modernized and trained by the French Military Mission to Japan (1867), and a modern fleet of steam warships had already been constituted (Eight steam warships, Kaiten, Banryū, Chiyodagata, Chōgei, Kaiyō Maru, Kanrin Maru, Mikaho and Shinsoku formed the core of the Bakufu Navy in 1868). The Western fiefs of Satsuma and Chōshū were also already highly modernized, supported by British interests and expertise. Even the appearance of Gatling guns in Japan goes back to that time (the Gatling guns were invented in 1861, and deployed during the 1868-1869 Boshin War by both sides, at the Battle of Hokuetsu and the Naval Battle of Miyako). Modernization had already advanced at a fast pace during the Bakumatsu period, many years before the installation of the Meiji Emperor. Image File history File linksMetadata Download high-resolution version (1162x409, 375 KB) Summary Training of Japanese Bakufu troops by the French Military Mission to Japan. ... Image File history File linksMetadata Download high-resolution version (1162x409, 375 KB) Summary Training of Japanese Bakufu troops by the French Military Mission to Japan. ... Jules Brunet, former French advisors, and Matsudaira Taro. ... Jules Brunet, former French advisors, and Matsudaira Taro. ... Combatants Imperial faction: Satsuma, ChōshÅ«, Tosa Tokugawa Shogunate Commanders Ruler: Meiji Emperor, CIC: Saigō Takamori, Army: Kuroda Kiyotaka Shogunate: Ruler: Tokugawa Yoshinobu, Army: Katsu Kaishu, Navy: Enomoto Takeaki, Ezo Republic: President:Enomoto Takeaki, CIC: Otori Keisuke, Navy: Arai Ikunosuke Casualties ~1,000 killed ~2,000 killed Campaign map of... The French military mission before its departure to Japan. ... The French military advisors and their Japanese allies. ... Enomoto Takeaki (front, right) and the leaders of his loyalist troops in Hokkaido, 1869. ... Combatants Imperial faction: Satsuma, ChōshÅ«, Tosa Tokugawa Shogunate Commanders Ruler: Meiji Emperor, CIC: Saigō Takamori, Army: Kuroda Kiyotaka Shogunate: Ruler: Tokugawa Yoshinobu, Army: Katsu Kaishu, Navy: Enomoto Takeaki, Ezo Republic: President:Enomoto Takeaki, CIC: Otori Keisuke, Navy: Arai Ikunosuke Casualties ~1,000 killed ~2,000 killed Campaign map of... Media:Example. ... Minamoto no Yoritomo, the first shogun of the Kamakura shogunate Shōgun )   is supreme general of the samurai,a military rank and historical title in Japan. ... The French military mission before its departure to Japan, in 1866. ... Kaiten The Japanese warship Kaiten (回天) was a warship of the troops loyal to the Shogun during the Boshin war in Japan in 1868. ... BanryÅ« The Japanese warship BanryÅ« (蟠龍)was a ship of the Bakufu Navy, and subsequently belonged to the troops loyal to the Shogun during the Boshin war in Japan in 1868. ... The Chiyodagata (Jp:千代田形) was a gunboat of the Tokugawa Navy, and Japans first domestically-built steamboat. ... Chogei Chogei (長鯨) was a transportation ship belonging to the troops faithfull to the Shogun during Japans Boshin War. ... Kaiyō Maru (Japanese: 開陽丸) was one of Japans first modern warships, powered by both sails and steam. ... Kanrin Maru (Japanese: 咸臨丸) was Japans first sail and screw-driven steam warship. ... Part of the fleet of Enomoto Takeaki off Shinagawa. ... Shinsoku The Shinsoku (神速) was a Japanese warship belonging the troops loyal to the Shogun during the Boshin War. ... For the James Clavell novel, see Shogun or for the TV Miniseries. ... Satsuma is the name of a town in Japan, Satsuma, Kagoshima, the surrounding district, Satsuma District, Kagoshima, the former province, Satsuma Province, which is now the western half of Kagoshima Prefecture on the island of Kyushu, a revolt, the Satsuma Rebellion. ... ChōshÅ« may refer to any of the following: Nagato Province ) in Japan ChōshÅ« Domain ) in Japan The wrestler Riki Choshu ) Category: ... An 1865 Gatling gun. ... The Battle of Hokuetsu (Japanese:北越戦争) was part of the Boshin War, and occurred in 1868 in the northwestern part of Japan, in the area of modern Niigata Prefecture. ... The Imperial navys revolutionary ironclad Kotetsu was the object of the Naval Battle of Miyako. ... The late Tokugawa shogunate or last shogun (幕末; Bakumatsu) is the period between 1853 and 1867 during which Japan ended its isolationist foreign policy called sakoku and modernized from a feudal shogunate to the Meiji government. ... Emperor Meiji ) (November 3, 1852 — July 30, 1912) was the 122nd emperor of Japan according to the traditional order of succession, reigning from February 3, 1867 until his death. ...


Although Commodore Perry is credited with opening Japan to foreign contacts in 1854, American involvement in Japan was minimal thereafter. In depth interaction, mainly commercial in nature, only started from 1859 with the Harris Treaty, and from 1861 American waned due to the demands of the American Civil War (1861-1865). The main powers involved with the modernization of Japan up to the 1868 Meiji Restoration were the Netherlands, (initiation of a modern navy with the Nagasaki Naval Training Center and the supply of Japan's first modern ships, the Kankō Maru and the Kanrin Maru), France (Construction of the arsenal of Yokosuka by Léonce Verny, the 1867 French Military Mission), and Great Britain (in supplying modern equipment, especially ships, to a variety of domains, and in training the Navy with the Tracey Mission). Matthew Calbraith Perry (1794-1858). ... The Treaty of Peace and Commerce between the United States and Japan was signed July 29, 1858. ... Combatants United States of America (Union) Confederate States of America (Confederacy) Commanders Abraham Lincoln, Ulysses S. Grant Jefferson Davis, Robert E. Lee Strength 2,200,000 1,064,000 Casualties 110,000 killed in action, 360,000 total dead, 275,200 wounded 93,000 killed in action, 258,000 total... The Meiji Restoration ), also known as the Meiji Ishin, Revolution, or Renewal, was a chain of events that led to enormous changes in Japans political and social structure. ... The Nagasaki Training Center, in Nagasaki, near Dejima. ... The Kankō Maru (Jp:観光丸) was Japans first steam warship. ... Kanrin Maru (Japanese: 咸臨丸) was Japans first sail and screw-driven steam warship. ... Categories: Cities in Kanagawa Prefecture | Japan geography stubs ... François Léonce Verny François Léonce Verny, (December 2, 1837-May 2, 1908) was a French engineer who directed the construction of the Japanese arsenal of Yokosuka, as well as many related modern infrastructure projects from 1865 to 1876, thus helping jump-start Japans modernization. ... The Tracey Mission was a Naval mission of the Royal Navy sent to Japan in 1867-1868. ...


Meiji restoration

Reception by the Meiji Emperor of the Second French Military Mission to Japan, 1872.
Reception by the Meiji Emperor of the Second French Military Mission to Japan, 1872.

Following the Meiji restoration in 1868, the early Imperial Japanese Army was essentially developed with the assistance of French advisors again, through the second French Military Mission to Japan (1872-1880). An army of conscripts, mostly peasants replacing the former samurai class, was put in place with French assistance for the first time in March 1873. These troops were further modernized and their officers trained in military academies set up by the French, and would intervene against former samurai in the Satsuma rebellion in 1877. The Haitorei edict in 1876 all but banned carrying swords and guns on streets. Image File history File links Size of this preview: 800 × 580 pixelsFull resolution (1746 × 1266 pixel, file size: 626 KB, MIME type: image/jpeg) Faithful reproductions of two-dimensional original works cannot attract copyright in the U.S. according to the rule in Bridgeman Art Library v. ... Image File history File links Size of this preview: 800 × 580 pixelsFull resolution (1746 × 1266 pixel, file size: 626 KB, MIME type: image/jpeg) Faithful reproductions of two-dimensional original works cannot attract copyright in the U.S. according to the rule in Bridgeman Art Library v. ... Colonel Munier, commander of the Second French Military Mission to Japan. ... Year 1872 (MDCCCLXXII) was a leap year starting on Monday (link will display the full calendar) of the Gregorian Calendar (or a leap year starting on Saturday of the 12-day slower Julian calendar). ... Media:Example. ... The Imperial Japanese Army (: 大日本帝國陸軍 Shinjitai: 大日本帝国陸軍 Dai-Nippon Teikoku Rikugun) was the official ground based armed force of Japan from 1867 to 1945 when it was Imperial Japan. ... Colonel Munier, commander of the Second French Military Mission to Japan. ... Link title This page meets Wikipedias criteria for speedy deletion. ...


The Satsuma rebellion

Saigo Takamori (seated, in Western uniform), surrounded by his officers, in samurai attire. News article in Le Monde Illustré, 1877.
Saigo Takamori (seated, in Western uniform), surrounded by his officers, in samurai attire. News article in Le Monde Illustré, 1877.
Both sides used guns at the final stand of the Battle of Shiroyama.
Both sides used guns at the final stand of the Battle of Shiroyama.

The Satsuma Rebellion, the historical event described in The Last Samurai, was even more one-sided than in the movie, although the military techniques employed by each side were less contrasted. It occurred in 1877, ten years after the Boshin War, and ten years after the establishment of the Imperial Japanese army. The Imperial troops sent a huge force of 300,000 soldiers under Kawamura Sumiyoshi, modern in all aspects of warfare, using howitzers and observations balloons, to the island of Kyūshū to fight Saigō Takamori. Image File history File links Download high-resolution version (1228x911, 1264 KB) Saigo Takamori with his officers, from Le Monde Illustre, 1877. ... Image File history File links Download high-resolution version (1228x911, 1264 KB) Saigo Takamori with his officers, from Le Monde Illustre, 1877. ... Saigō Takamoris statue in Ueno park Saigō Takamori (西郷 隆盛 Saigō Takamori, 23 January 1827/28 - 24 September 1877), one of the most influential samurai in Japanese history, lived during the late Edo Period and early Meiji Era. ... Saigo Takamori (seated, in Western uniform), surrounded by his officers, in samurai attire. ... Image File history File links Download high-resolution version (1425x965, 2599 KB) Battle of Shiroyama, 1880 painting. ... Image File history File links Download high-resolution version (1425x965, 2599 KB) Battle of Shiroyama, 1880 painting. ... Combatants Imperial Japanese Army Samurai of Satsuma Commanders Sumiyoshi Kawamura Saigo Takamori† Strength 300,000 troops 300-400 samurai Casualties 15,000  ? The Battle of Shiroyama took place on September 24, 1877, in Kagoshima, Japan. ... Combatants Imperial Japanese Army Satsuma fief Commanders Ruler: Meiji Emperor CIC: Sumiyoshi Kawamura Saigō Takamori Strength 300,000 40,000 Casualties estimate ~60,000 dead soldiers about 30,000 dead The Satsuma Rebellion (Seinan Sensō 西南戦争, Southwestern War) was a revolt of the Satsuma clan samurai against the Imperial Japanese Army... The Imperial Japanese Army (: 大日本帝國陸軍 Shinjitai: 大日本帝国陸軍 Dai-Nippon Teikoku Rikugun) was the official ground based armed force of Japan from 1867 to 1945 when it was Imperial Japan. ... Count Sumiyoshi Kawamura ), (18 December 1836 - 12 August 1904), was an admiral in the Imperial Japanese Navy. ... Saigō Takamori 23 January 1827/28 — 24 September 1877), one of the most influential samurai in Japanese history, lived during the late Edo Period and early Meiji Era. ...


Saigō Takamori's rebels numbered around 40,000 in total, until they dwindled to about 400 at the final stand at the Battle of Shiroyama. Although they fought for the preservation of the caste of the samurai, and officers often wore samurai cuirasses, they did not neglect Western military methods: they used guns and cannons, and all contemporary depictions of Saigō Takamori represent him wearing the uniform of a Western general. At the end of the conflict, running out of material and ammunition, they had to fall back to close-quarter tactics and the use of swords, bows and arrows. In a parallel to the movie, they also fought for a more virtuous form of government (their slogan was "新政厚徳", "New government, High morality"). Episode chronology Last Stand (Part 2 of 2) is an episode from Season 5 of the science fiction television series Stargate SG-1. ... Combatants Imperial Japanese Army Samurai of Satsuma Commanders Sumiyoshi Kawamura Saigo Takamori† Strength 300,000 troops 300-400 samurai Casualties 15,000  ? The Battle of Shiroyama took place on September 24, 1877, in Kagoshima, Japan. ...


In contrast to the Boshin War, no Westerners are recorded to have fought on either side of the Satsuma rebellion. Specifically, Saigō Takamori did not fight side-by-side with foreign soldiers during the Satsuma Rebellion. During the Boshin War, Saigō may have been supported by British and American military advisors,[6] but the only documented case of foreigners actually fighting for a Japanese cause was that of the French soldiers supporting Enomoto Takeaki. Enomoto Takeaki at the time of Republic of Ezo in 1869. ...


Further foreign assistance

A third French Military Mission to Japan (1884-1889) was later sent. However, due to the German victory in the Franco-Prussian War, the Japanese government also relied on Prussia as a model for their army, and hired two German military advisors (Major Jakob Meckel and Captain von Blankenbourg) for the training of the Japanese General Staff from 1886 to 1889. Other known foreign military consultants were the Italian Major Pompeo Grillo, who worked at the Osaka foundry from 1884 to 1888, followed by Major Quaratezi from 1889 to 1890, and the Dutch Captain Schermbeck, who worked on improving coastal defenses from 1883 to 1886. Captain de Villaret (front row, center), of the Third French Military Mission to Japan, with his officer students of the Ichigaya Military Academy. ... Combatants Second French Empire North German Confederation allied with south German states (later German Empire) Commanders Napoleon III Otto Von Bismarck, Helmuth von Moltke the Elder Strength 400,000 at the beginning of the war 1,200,000 Casualties 150,000 dead or wounded 284,000 captured 350,000 civilian... Motto: Suum cuique Latin: To each his own Prussia at its peak, as leading state of the German Empire Capital Königsberg, later Berlin Political structure Duchy, Kingdom, Republic Duke1  - 1525–68 Albert I  - 1688–1701 Frederick III King1  - 1701–13 Frederick I  - 1888–1918 William II Prime Minister1,2... Klemens Wilhelm Jacob Meckel; (28 March 1842 - 5 July 1905) was a general in the Prussian army and foreign advisor to the government of Meiji period Japan. ... Osaka )   is a city in Japan, located at the mouth of the Yodo River on Osaka Bay, in the Kansai region of the main island of HonshÅ«. The city is the capital of Osaka Prefecture. ... Schermbeck is a village in the district of Wesel, in North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany. ...


Japan did not use foreign military advisors anymore between 1889 and 1918, until again a fourth French Military Mission to Japan (1918-1919), headed by Commandant Jacques Faure, was requested to assist in the development of the nascent Japanese airforce. French Military Mission to Japan 1918-1919. ...


Westerners fighting alongside Japanese

Jules Brunet fought for the Shogun in 1868.
The French Navy officer Eugène Collache fought in samurai attire.
The French Navy officer Eugène Collache fought in samurai attire.

Historically, the only major case of foreigners taking an active role in a Japanese civil war is that of the French military advisers under Jules Brunet (initially members of the 1867 French Military Mission), who joined the forces favourable to the Shogun under Enomoto Takeaki, during the Boshin war. They were deeply involved in the military organization of the Shogunal forces, and fought (several of them were heavily wounded) almost to end of the conflict. A few days before surrender, when the situation had become desperate, they left on the French frigate Coëtlogon which had been waiting at anchor in Hakodate. Some of these French officers did wear the samurai attire (such as the French Naval officer Eugène Collache), although most officers in the armies of the Bakufu, as well as of course their French colleagues, wore French military uniforms. 1868 photograph. ... 1868 photograph. ... The French military mission before its departure to Japan. ... Minamoto no Yoritomo, the first shogun of the Kamakura shogunate Shōgun )   is supreme general of the samurai,a military rank and historical title in Japan. ... Image File history File linksMetadata Download high-resolution version (505x970, 409 KB) Summary Representation of Eugene Collache in Samurai attire. ... Image File history File linksMetadata Download high-resolution version (505x970, 409 KB) Summary Representation of Eugene Collache in Samurai attire. ... Eugène Collache in samurai attire. ... The French military mission before its departure to Japan. ... Enomoto Takeaki at the time of Republic of Ezo in 1869. ... Combatants Imperial faction: Satsuma, ChōshÅ«, Tosa Tokugawa Shogunate Commanders Ruler: Meiji Emperor, CIC: Saigō Takamori, Army: Kuroda Kiyotaka Shogunate: Ruler: Tokugawa Yoshinobu, Army: Katsu Kaishu, Navy: Enomoto Takeaki, Ezo Republic: President:Enomoto Takeaki, CIC: Otori Keisuke, Navy: Arai Ikunosuke Casualties ~1,000 killed ~2,000 killed Campaign map of... For the bird, see Frigatebird. ... View of Hakodate from Mountain Hakodate (函館市; -shi) is a city and port located in Oshima, Hokkaido, Japan. ... Eugène Collache in samurai attire. ...


Notes

  1. ^ [1]
  2. ^ [2]
  3. ^ [3]
  4. ^ http://www.variety.com/ac2004_review/VE1117922542?nav=reviews&categoryid=1657&cs=1
  5. ^ Ed Condran. "The Steven Seagal interview", The Steven Seagal interview, 2006-06-13. Retrieved on 2006-06-13. 
  6. ^ This is a claim made by Jules Brunet in a letter to Napoleon III: "I must signal to the Emperor the presence of numerous American and British officers, retired or on leave, in this party [of the southern Daimyos] which is hostile to French interests. The presence of Occidental chiefs among our enemies may jeopardize my success from a political standpoint, but nobody can stop me from bringing to Your Majesty information she will without a doubt find interesting." in "Soie et Lumière", p.81 (French)

Also the Latest General of the time era was Kashimoto. For the Manfred Mann album, see 2006 (album). ... June 13 is the 164th day of the year in the Gregorian calendar (165th in leap years), with 201 days remaining. ... The French military mission before its departure to Japan. ... Napoléon III of France, born Charles Louis Napoléon Bonaparte (20 April 1808 – 9 January 1873) was President of the French Republic from 1848 to 1851, then from 2 December 1851 to 2 December 1852 the ruler of a dictatorial government, then Emperor of the French under the name...


See also

The o-yatoi gaikokujin (Japanese: お雇い外国人 — hired foreigners, foreign employees) were foreign specialists, engineers, teachers, mercenaries and more, hired to assist in the modernization of Japan. ... This article needs additional references or sources for verification. ... Statue of Ōmura Masujirō, at Yasukuni Shrine. ... The French military mission before its departure to Japan, in 1866. ...

External links

Wikiquote has a collection of quotations related to:
The Last Samurai
Preceded by
"The Cat in the Hat"
List of Box Office #1 Movies
December 7, 2003
Succeeded by
"Something's Gotta Give"

  Results from FactBites:
 
Last Samurai (152 words)
The Last Samurai was filmed in Japan on Oct 2002, for a period of one week.
The Last Samurai is directed by Edward Zwick and is set in Japan in the 1870's.
Tom Cruise is met with many angry Samurai Warriors who find his presence to be a threat to their way of life and the samurai warrior code.
The Last Samurai Movie Review at Hollywood Video (1996 words)
The Last Samurai is an intensely fierce film—fierce in story, fierce in ideas, and with fighting so fierce and tightly choreographed you'll wince at its speed and accuracy.
A final insult to the samurai tradition was the decree that the warriors were to turn in their swords, the weapons that had been handed down for generations and were the heart and soul of the warrior ethos.
It's worth noting that the samurais, for all their admirable courage and honor, were really the reactionaries in feudal Japan, the representatives of an authoritarian system, standing in the way of political change, women's rights, and land reform, as well as a modern military.
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