Last Samurai Reflection

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The last Samurai, directed by Edward Zwick, was released in December of 2003. It tells the story of an American Army officer who is hired by the Emperor of Japan to train the imperial army and put down a pending samurai rebellion. The story is fictional which is to say it is very loosely connected to real events. However, according to Mr. Zwick it was his intention to give the audience a feel for the tug-of-war between controlling interests in japan during this time period. It’s also important to mention that the Mr. Zwick went to great lengths to hire a cast and crew from Japan that would further the goal of creating a movie that looked and felt authentic to that time period. He relied heavily on those individuals to educate the crew as well…show more content…
The Meiji had taken control of the country and the focus of the time was modernization. The military was not a capable one and technology was lacking. The emperor began looking to western powers like the United States and Great Britain as a model for growth. In the years leading up to these drastic changes the Emperor had ruled via advice from a group of men that had helped put him back in power (Columbia University, 2009). These military leaders were samurai and the character Katsumoto is based on them. The movie doesn’t go too in-depth but as time goes on and the emperor began to make more of the decisions without advice from the samurai. They were given a back seat and eventually relieved of they’re elite status, their swords were effectively taken from them and they became no different from the rest of Japan. Some cut off their topknots and gave up the title of samurai while others did not (Columbia University, 2009). It was in 1877 when the holdout samurai fought and lost with the nations newly formed army in the Satsuma rebellion. This is no doubt the piece of Japanese history that inspired The Last…show more content…
This was discussed by the film team when trying to decide how to equip the warriors in the movie. Zwick was of the opinion that this would be another good way to help the audience understand that there were two very different ideas fighting for the future of Japan. He thought that the samurai in the movie should represent the old ways of Japan and that would help focus the audience to the struggle between old and new. It also allows Zwick to show the Americans attitude towards the Japanese during the time period. On more than one occasion, the samurai were referred to as savages with bows and

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