We’re back revisiting feudal Japan, on the road with Zatoichi, the blind swordsman/masseur/gambler/savior of the downtrodden. This time we find Zatoichi saving the life of a young artist, while protecting his son, and in the end going up against a samurai of equal prowess to his own. It’s full of adventure, beautiful scenery, excellent set design, and even a musical number. And do we think the ending sword fight is one of the best in samurai films? We dive deeper in the origins of the character and the film makers that brought him to life over 26 films and 100 television episodes.
His origins are to be found in a brief story by Kan Shimozawa, first published in 1948, most succinctly in only a few passages: “No one who saw him walking along with his shaved head and his long-handled sword at his side would ever have guessed he was blind. The man had an uncanny sixth sense . . . Blind though he was, Zatoichi was a master swordsman with a lightning draw: he had only to lay a hand on his sword for an opponent to shrivel in fear.” Those sentences encapsulate the narrative essence of the Zatoichi films, but they can hardly explain how Katsu and the filmmakers with whom he worked managed to turn Zatoichi into a personage of subtle and enduring power.
So settle in and get ready to enjoy “Zatoichi Challenged”.
And up next, we visit Venice of the early 1970’s for an incredibly spooky and weird film “Don’t Look Now”
Here’s the IMDB page for “Zatoichi Challenged”
And here’s the page for “Don’t Look Now”