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Indiana University

Outreach

Video Lending Library

Japan

Program Title: the Samurai
EASC Code: JS-17
Series Title:
Region/Country: Japan
Language: English
Subtitles:
Subject:
Program Type: Documentary
Media Type: VHS
Director:
Producer: Bernard Guellini
Release Date:
Running Time: 52 min.
Color or BW: Color
Program Abstract: In Japan, there is still a great deal of admiration for the Samurai and their rigid code of honor. Much more than their role as warriors, they represent the very root of Japanese civilization. The Samurai offers an enthralling and colorful odyessey into Japan's history in which Samurai culture became the core of Japanese values. The film colorfully illustrates the Samurai's martial traditions and the manifestations of its ties to the Zen principles of Respect, Purity, and Composure.
Professor Kohei Irie of Tsukuba University says: "The Samurai warrior class realized that to keep power during the seven hundred years which they prevailed, they had to add intellectual and spiritual element to the act of war. And acquire a culture based on literature, art, and religion." The film contains memerizing images of horseback riders in spectular recreations of battles and in "Kendo", a sport using sticks as swords. The disipline, audacious spirit and self-control of the Samurai also emerges in the art of swordmaking or "Katana," in the tea ceremony, calligraphy and the art of flower arrangement. The Samurai also contains clips from features such as Akiro Kurosawa's The Seven Samurai which idealizes the art of conflict and pays homage to the Samurai's self control, their sense of strategy and their control over their opponents minds.
From the Edo period to the present, the martial arts have been used to shape and train model citizens. Despite the broad cultural changes in this ultra-modern and urbanized country, many people are nostalgic for the ancestral values of honor, truth and virtue and try to rekindle the spirit of the ancient Samurai warrior.
Data Entry Date: 7/12/2005