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Essay on Japanese Samurai Film Genre

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The Seven Samurai directed by Akira Kurosawa uses many film techniques and features of the Japanese samurai film genre to engage and influence the viewing audience. The Japanese samurai film genre focuses on the physical martial arts, and is very similar to American westerns. These films are usually set in the Tokugawa era and the main characters are samurai, or Ronin. The Seven Samurai is a stereotypical Japanese samurai movie set in the Tokugawa era about a village full of farmers who hire seven samurai to protect their village from a group of bandits. Kurosawa has used many features of a typical samurai film in The Seven Samurai such as the use of the katana, the samurai were usually clean cut and are seen as socially superior and that the endings were usually described as ‘bittersweet’ as life goes on in the face of tragedy.

Sword fighting and the use of the katana is symbolic in Japanese samurai films. The katana is the main weapon that samurai use and they carry it on them no matter what they are doing, eating, sleeping and most importantly when they are in battle. In the film you never see any of the samurai without their swords and at the end there is a long shot of the four samurai’s graves showing the katana sticking out of each grave. This shows that all samurai carry their katana with them, dead or alive; they take tradition very seriously and never part with their swords. There is a scene in the film where Kambei draws his katana out from under his clothes when the farmers say that they are not going to help, when Kambei pulls out his sword the villagers cower and run back into line, afraid that they would be hurt. The katana and the use of the katana in fighting symbolises strength, honour and hope and is a major ...


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...dits die, and the village is saved however four of the samurai are killed in the process. In the end the farmers are happy and celebrating their triumph over the bandits and that is seen as the sweet part, the bitter part of the ending is the fact that four of the samurai have been killed throughout the movie. The three remaining samurai don’t feel like they have won, as Kambei said “we were the defeated, the farmers were the ones who have won”, however all the farmers are celebrating because they got rid of the bandits. The farmers don’t care about the samurai, they just used them. This feature of the Japanese samurai genre engages the audience as the films don’t just end with happily ever after, there is some tragedy and important people are injured or killed, this makes the viewer feel sympathy towards characters and enhances the film for the viewing audience.





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Essay on Japanese Samurai Film Genre - ... The katana is the main weapon that samurai use and they carry it on them no matter what they are doing, eating, sleeping and most importantly when they are in battle. In the film you never see any of the samurai without their swords and at the end there is a long shot of the four samurai’s graves showing the katana sticking out of each grave. This shows that all samurai carry their katana with them, dead or alive; they take tradition very seriously and never part with their swords. There is a scene in the film where Kambei draws his katana out from under his clothes when the farmers say that they are not going to help, when Kambei pulls out his sword the villagers cower and run back into...   [tags: film analysis, katana, sword] 632 words
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