The last samurai relationship to history

The Last Samurai - Wikipedia

the last samurai relationship to history

The stuff of legends and Hollywood movies, Japan's samurai are known for tradition and swordsmanship. But their last defender came to symbolize a conflict over modernization. Conner, Getty Images. History Magazine. In The Last Samurai he is "The Silent Samurai," whose wordless . social and economic periods in modern history, and it ties directly to some. The Last Samurai was simultaneously released in Japan and as it is based on the history of their ancestors, their land and their culture, even.

While various rumours regarding Algren's fate circulate, Graham concludes that Algren had returned to the village to reunite with Taka. Algren was born in the United Kingdom but is a naturalized American. Following a dismissal from his job, he agrees 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 culturewhich almost immediately evolves to admiration. He is displeased with Mr. Omura's bureaucratic reform policies which leads him into organizing a revolt against the Imperial Army.

Shin Koyamada as Nobutada, Katsumoto's son who is lord of the village that the Samurai are encamped in and befriends Algren.

“The Last Samurai”: Shortchanging Japanese history | Historical Histrionics

Katsumoto, the leader samurai, advises Nobutada to teach Algren in the Japanese way — Japanese culture and Japanese language. Algren dislikes Bagley for his role in the Washita River massacre of the Native Americans that Algren cannot get over. His facial hair is very similar to the way Custer wore his and is intended to evoke that image.

Bagley is killed by Algren in the climactic battle When Algren throws his sword into his chest. Masato Harada as Mr. Omura, an industrialist and pro-reform politician who dislikes the old samurai and shogun related lifestyle. He quickly imports westernization and modernization while making money for himself through his railroads. Coming from a merchant family that was like many repressed during the days of Samurai rule and cause for his extreme dislike for their nobility, 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.

the last samurai relationship to history

His image is designed to evoke the image of Okubo Toshimichia leading reformer during the Meiji Restoration. Masato Harada noted that he was deeply interested in joining the film after witnessing the construction of Emperor Meiji's conference room on sound stage 19 where Humphrey Bogart had once acted at Warner Brothers studios. Credited with the implementation of the Meiji Restoration, the Emperor is eager to import Western ideas and practices to modernize and empower Japan to become a strong nation.

His appearance bears a strong resemblance to Emperor Meiji during that 's rather than during the s, when The Last Samurai takes place. Hiroyuki Sanada as Ujio, one of the most dedicated, loyal and fierce samurai under Katsumoto. He teaches Algren the art of Samurai sword fighting, none too gently but eventually grows to respect him. He is one of the remaining samurai to die in the final charge in the last battle. Initially portrayed as a typical practical-minded Englishman, he later comes to understand the Samurai cause.

This character is shown to have some resemblances also to the real-world Corfiote photographer Felice Beato. Seizo Fukumoto as Silent Samurai, an elderly man assigned to follow Algren who later calls the samurai "Bob" as he travels through the village.

Ultimately, the Samurai saves Algren's life and speaking for the first and only time, "Algren-san! He bears a marked resemblance to Kyuzo from Seven Samurai. Billy Connolly as Zebulon Gant, an ex-soldier who served with and is loyal to Algren, talked him into coming to Japan. He, along with Algren, train the imperial army before confronting the samurai. He is later killed in the opening battle by Hirotaro Taka's husband. Shun Sugata as Nakao, a tall jujutsu and naginata-skilled samurai, who takes part in Katsumoto's rescue, and is later killed in the final battle.

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This section does not cite any sources. Please help improve this section by adding citations to reliable sources. Unsourced material may be challenged and removed. American Location Manager, Charlie Harrington, saw the mountain in a travel book and encouraged the producers to send him to Taranaki to scout the locations. This acted as a backdrop for many scenes, as opposed to the built up cities of Japan. Several of the village scenes were shot on the Warner Bros.

Matthew Perry not the one from the sitcom essentially forced Japan in the Treaty of Kanagawa, which opened up trade with the US.

Other countries quickly followed suit, and because Japan was not equipped in the ways of western country dickery, most of these treaties were completely unfair.

This caused more unrest in Japan as you might imagineand people began to fight over whether they should maintain an old system of government or whether a new one should take hold and start fixing things. In a rebellion against the shogunate in power succeeded in taking hold, putting a 15 year old emperor on the throne. They then began to change up how Japanese society was run.

Whereas lords in the country had previously owned tracts of land and had groups of samurai loyal to them for fighting purposes, land now became nationalized and the social hierarchy changed. No longer were occupations restricted to a certain class, commoners were allowed surnames, and with the idea of an imperial army growing out of conscripts, the idea of samurai began to get outdated very quickly.

Most samurai were encouraged to take up other professions. They received a certain amount of income from the government — this could either be taken in monthly, decreasing amounts, or in a lump sum — but this would let them maintain a lifestyle.

The samurai could have numbered into the hundreds of thousands. In addition to all this insult, in samurai were officially banned from wearing swords, which was like a final slap in the face.

In addition to this social change, the government also adopted a policy of adopted from the west. The last article in their Charter Oath stated that they would learn from the west to strengthen their country. As a result they hired men from various countries to help them in specialization of technology, military, etc.

These men were given contracts of about three years and paid at an incredibly high rate. In addition, they were not taught the language, but would pass their knowledge on through a translator to men who would then pass the information on to a larger group. They were not only American, and it should also be noted that their military tactics were largely gained through the French and Germans.

Immediately, the premise of this movie becomes incredibly shaky. It should also be noted that these experts that were brought in were never intended to become part of Japanese culture, and were almost being exploited for Japanese benefit.

A clever bit on the side of the Japanese, who were interested in becoming a superpower without compromising their culture or people.

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Today, Japan is one of the most homogenous nations. Then I will laugh at you and point. If based on the Satsuma rebellion, why is it nothing like the rebellion? For example, the samurai did not decide they were too proud or honorable to use guns and instead insist on fighting the army with swords, bows and arrows.

No matter how the effect might come off in the film, you are still left with the ridiculous notion that these men could come off as equals or win in a battle against guns.

the last samurai relationship to history

How could he run down a bridge with a sword raised and have the soldiers miss him? The samurai used more modern weapons. Part of his loss had to do with is forces losing their more modern weapons. Apparently the costume designers were aware of this, but the film was trying to make a point.

the last samurai relationship to history

The armor of traditional samurai warriors does look impressive, but they had moved on to more modern garments. In fact, Saigo, who had been part of the Meiji government before effectively retiring inwore his uniform when he fought. This makes me so incredibly angry. Not to mention that Algren mopes along in his journal trying to act sophisticated, while he in truth is just incredibly racist toward Native Americans and ruins everything.

More on this later. Why did this movie use ninjas. Why would her brother force her to take care of the man who killed her husband? Why would the screenwriters have her fall in love with the man who killed her husband? This is beyond ludicrous, and I despise every moment of it. Making Taka soft-spoken and demure, at least to Algren, is okay as far as a Japanese woman might treat a stranger.

the last samurai relationship to history

But to keep her like this throughout the film, denying her far more lines, thoughts, feelings, and a three dimensional character, and reducing her to a woman who falls in love is not okay. Taka deserved more development, far more lines, and the opportunity to stand up against her brother, who she caved to earlier in the movie.

Either that, or they should have taken out the romance plotline altogether and not forced us to watch a woman fall in love with the man who killed her husband. I would like to know, then, how in the course of a winter he manages to become on par with the great swordmasters of the village, and how he is able to fight off ninjas.

Thousands of his men got killed over a nine month expedition, from January to September He tried to ask for peace several times over the course of this fighting, but the government continued to persist, disturbed by what this powerful samurai victory could mean, and who Saigo might become if he succeeded.

Finally, the government offered him the chance to surrender, but surrender at that point would have been dishonorable and he had to fight to the end. Without their modern weapons, he and rest of his followers were easily killed by the larger and more equipped army. It did not happen in the span of week.

It did not happen on snap decisions. This rebellion and fight between different factions in Japan was the result of complicated and rich relationships. Over-simplification and the white element of history This is my main complaint about the film. I do care that it was dumbed down to what it was, and it became about a white guy.

In the end, these samurai are completely honorable. They fight because they have to, and when they are mowed down by automatic weapons, the Japanese conscripts are so moved that they kneel down and honor the men. The samurai had a good reason to be upset and perhaps even to rebel. Their way of life was threatened, they were afraid, their money was lessened.