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The Tale of Zatoichi

The Tale of Zatoichi

The Tale of Zatoichi ( Zatōichi monogatari), directed by Kenji Misumi, is the first film of a classic Japanese samurai drama saga starring Shintaro Katsu as Zatoichi, a character created by Kan Shimozawa.

Plot

The blind masseur Zatoichi is hired by yakuza gang-leader Sukegoro (Eijiro Yanagi) as he thinks that war is inevitable with the rival yakuza Shigezo (Ryuzo Shimada). Zatoichi has a distinguished reputation as a swordsman and Sukegoro thinks he is money well spent. Shigezo responds by hiring a ronin of similar repute, Miki Hirate (Shigeru Amachi). Ichi is a meek and humble man who is commonly underestimated by most men, and looked upon suspiciously. His being a masseur, which was a position of low regard in feudal Japan, merely increases the hostility that is shown towards him. They even try to take advantage of his blindness in a gambling den, but from early on it is clear that Zatoichi draws strength from his disability.