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Japanese Films - The Zatoichi Series

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Zatoichi: Adventures of Zatoichi aka Adventures of a Blind Man
Kimiyoshi Yasuda
In the ninth movie of the Zatoichi series, the astounding blind swordsman/masseur Zatoichi uncovers a plot of murder and intrigue when he goes to Kasama Town to celebrate the New Year. Cornered and outnumbered, he will not stop in his fight against the corrupt local magistrate who exploits the town's merchants. In Japanese with English subtitles. Japan, 1965, 83 mins.
DVD | $37.95  


The Zatoichi Series


  Kitano's Zatoichi

The Blind Swordsman: Zatoichi / Sonatine
Takeshi Kitano
Takeshi Kitano reimagines a Japanese institution with this stellar entry in the Zatoichi canon. In The Blind Swordsman: Zatoichi, action follows the blind master swordsman, played by Kitano, as he helps two geishas seek revenge on the men who killed their parents. Dispatching enemies in a whirl of artfully choreographed, stylized violence, Zatoichi eventually comes face-to-face with the gang's mastermind (Tadanobu Asano, Ichi the Killer), a man as skilled as Zatoichi with the blade. Cartoonishly bloody and violent, Zatoichi also possesses a humorous heart, best typified by the tap-dance musical number at the finale. The DVD also includes Beat Takeshi's Sonatine, a brutal crime thriller about a world-weary yakuza who finds he's been double-crossed after travelling to stop a gang war. Featuring an introduction by Quentin Tarantino. The DVD is letterboxed, closed-captioned, and includes behind-the-scenes featurettes, interviews, Quentin Tarantino video introduction, bonus material, and more. Japan, 2004/1993, 210 mins.
DVD | $44.95  

  The Zatoichi Series

Zatoichi: The Life and Opinion of Masseur Ichi
Kenji Misumi
Also known as The Tale of Zatoichi, this was the 1st film in the famous "Blind Swordsman" series, with Shintaro Katsu taking his first bow in the role he would make famous. Zatoichi is drawn into an epic revenge match between ruthless gangs in the province of Shimosa. When one of the lords tries to enlist Zatoichi's services, the other gang boss hires a savage killer. Japanese with English subtitles. Japan, 1962, 96 mins.
DVD | $37.95  

Zatoichi: The Return of Masseur Ichi (The Tale of Zatoichi Continues)
Kazuo Mori
The 2nd thrilling film in the "Blind Swordsman" series, also known as The Tale of Zatoichi Continues. Masseur Ichi uncovers the crucial secret behind a distinguished lord whom he is hired to massage--he suffers from madness. Realizing the gravity of the situation, the lord's men seeks to silence the blind and seemingly defenseless Ichi. As usual, those who would underestimate this hero pay dearly, but Zatoichi almost meets his match in fearsome, one-armed samurai. Japanese with English subtitles. Japan, 1962, 73 mins.
DVD | $37.95  

New Tale of Zatoichi (Masseur Ichi Enters Again)
Tokuzo Tanaka
The 3rd Zatoichi film and the first in color. Zatoichi, the blind masseur and swordsman, has a chance meeting with swordsman Yajuro Banno, his former master. Delighted to see his former pupil, Banno invites him to visit his home, which he shares with his sister, Yayoi. She quickly falls in love with the kind and gentle Ichi, much to Banno's chagrin. Things turn out to be not what they seem as Banno is discovered to be involved in a kidnapping and extortion plot. Torn between love and justice, will Ichi's plans of marriage succeed or must he risk all to challenge his old friend and teacher to a duel to the death? In Japanese with English subtitles. Japan, 1963, 91 mins.
DVD | $37.95  

Zatoichi, the Fugitive (Masseur Ichi, the Fugitive)
Tokuzo Tanaka
This martial arts extravaganza was the 4th film in the famous Zatoichi series. The blind swordsman and masseur finds himself trapped between the charms of an old love and his never-ending struggle for survival when a bounty is placed on his head. In Japanese with English subtitles. Japan, 1963, 86 mins.
DVD | $37.95  

Zatoichi: On the Road
Kimiyoshi Yasuda
In the 5th Zatoichi movie, the blind swordsman and his companion are on their way to meet with a local gang leader who wants to hire Zatoichi as his bodyguard. A rival gang attacks them before they can reach their destination, but the clever swordsman and masseur negotiates safe passage. Things take a dramatic turn when he meets a servant girl fleeing a feudal lord who raped her. Zatoichi bravely agrees to help her get back to her family, knowing he will have to take on both gangs in order to succeed. In Japanese with English subtitles. Japan, 1963, 87 mins.
DVD | $37.95  

Zatoichi: Zatoichi's Flashing Sword
Kazuo Ikehiro
The 6th in the series. Fleeing brutal gangsters, Zatoichi is embroiled in a feud between completing yakuza bosses. He declares his allegiance to the benevolent Tsumugi and Yasu responds by raising the stakes, deploying bribery, extortion and murder to gain control of a strategically important river. With Naoko Kubo, Mayumi Nagisa, Ryutaro Gomi and Yutaka Nakamura. In Japanese with English subtitles. Japan, 1964, 82 mins.
DVD | $37.95  

Zatoichi: Zatoichi and the Chest of Gold
Kazuo Ikehiro
In this 7th film in the series, Zatoichi, the blind gambler and masseur, is caught in a cross-fire of greed and ambition and must clear his name and his long-time friend, the benevolent yakuza chief, who was framed in a gold robbery. On top of that, he is also being hounded by a maniacal, bullwhip yielding Ronin who is desperate to challenge the blind swordsman. In Japanese with English subtitles. Japan, 1964, 82 mins.
DVD | $37.95  

Zatoichi: Fight, Zatoichi, Fight
Tokuzo Tanaka
The 8th Zatoichi film. Zatoichi must deliver an orphaned child to its father after the mother is accidentally killed in an ambush intended for the blind swordsman. Relentlessly pursued by assassins, Zatoichi must fight even more diligently than before because now he is protecting a child. A strange twist of fate awaits the swordsman though when he meets the child's father. In Japanese with English subtitles. Japan, 1964, 90 mins.
DVD | $37.95  

Zatoichi: Adventures of Zatoichi aka Adventures of a Blind Man
Kimiyoshi Yasuda
In the 9th movie of the Zatoichi series, the astounding blind swordsman/masseur Zatoichi uncovers a plot of murder and intrigue when he goes to Kasama Town to celebrate the New Year. Cornered and outnumbered, he will not stop in his fight against the corrupt local magistrate who exploits the town's merchants. In Japanese with English subtitles. Japan, 1965, 83 mins.
DVD | $37.95  

Zatoichi: Zatoichi's Revenge
Akira Inouye
10th in the series. When the blind masseur and master swordsman Zatoichi goes to visit the man who taught him the art of massage, he learns that his old teacher, Hikonoichi, has been murdered while traveling to Kyoto to receive the high rank of Kengyo, master masseur. When Zatochi discovers that Kengyo's daughter Osayo has been taken hostage in a brothel owned by a local gangster boss, he vows to rescue her and avenge his mentor's murder. Japanese with English subtitles. Japan, 1965, 84 mins.
DVD | $37.95  

Zatoichi: Zatoichi and the Doomed Man
Kazuo Mori
The 11th Zatoichi film. When the blind master swordsman/masseur Zatoichi is thrown in jail, he encounters a harmless con man facing execution for a crime that he didn't commit. Upon release, Zatoichi vows to help his new friend and track down the guilty party, which leads him to a surprising foe. In Japanese with English subtitles. Japan, 1965, 77 mins.
DVD | $37.95  

Zatoichi: The Blind Swordsman and the Chess Expert
Kenji Misumi
Number 12 in the series. A tale of friendship, bravery and discipline, this work details the further adventures of Zatoichi, who befriends a master chess player. Zatoichi gambles all of his money to pay for the medical services of a young woman wounded in a sword fight with Japanese gangsters attempting to rob them. Japanese with English subtitles. Japan, 1965, 87 mins.
DVD | $37.95  

Zatoichi: The Blind Swordsman's Vengeance
Tokuzo Tanaka
In the 13th film of the Zatoichi series, Zatoichi (Shintaro Katsu) defends a dying man against a group of young gangsters, when he's entangled in a plan to return some money to an isolated village, now overtaken by a band of guerrillas who must be neutralized. With Shigeru Amachi, Mayumi Ogawa, and Kei Sato. Japanese with English subtitles. Japan, 1966, 83 mins.
DVD | $37.95  

Zatoichi: The Blind Swordsman's Cane Sword
Kimiyoshi Yasuda
Number 15 in the canon. Once again the long suffering but incredibly noble and diligent samurai Zato Ichi is back. Swordplay and martial arts, artfully choreographed, make this a standout in the popular series. Japanese with English subtitles. Japan, 1967, 93 mins.
DVD | $37.95  

Zatoichi the Outlaw
Satsuo Yamamoto
In 16th film of the series, Zatoichi falls victim to a plot by a gambling house to drive its competition out of business, but when the master of the den of sin makes a grab for more power and exploits the area's oppressed farmers, the swordsman is ready to fight for justice. Also known as Zatoichi Breaks Out and Zatoichi Breaks Jail. Subtitled in English. Japan, 1967, 95 mins.
DVD | $37.95  

Zatoichi Challenged!
Kenji Misumi
Number 17 in the series finds wandering masseur and swordsman Zatoichi sharing a room in an inn with a gravely ill woman and her young son. In her dying breath she pleads with Zatoichi to take her son to his father in Maebara. The boy's father is discovered to be confined and forced by a local gangster to work in an illegal trade. A mysterious master swordsman stands in the way of his rescue. Will Zatoichi risk his life for the helpless boy and his innocent father? Served as the inspiration for Blind Fury, starring Rutger Hauer. Japanese with English subtitles. Japan, 1967, 187 mins.
DVD | $37.95  

Zatoichi: The Blind Swordsman and the Fugitives
Kimiyoshi Yasuda
The 18th Zatoichi film. This samurai drama pits Zatoichi (Shintaro Katsu) against a band of ruffian outlaws. Zatoichi is caught in a sinister web of torture and extortion as local bandits and gangs brutalize the countryside. "The action simply takes your breath away with its speed, surprises and detail" (The Hawaii Herald). With Yumiko Nogawa, Kayo Mikimoto and Kyosuke Machida. Japanese with English subtitles. Japan, 1968, 82 mins.
DVD | $37.95  

Zatoichi: The Blind Swordsman Samaritan
Kenji Misumi
In the 19th film, the fight for justice takes on a personal dimension for the famed blind swordsman when his sister Osode sells herself to pay off her brother's gambling debt. This tragic turn of events is the result of an evil plot, designed by a yakuza boss who desires the charming Osode. Zatoichi's crusade for justice has now become a matter of his own family's honor. Japanese with English subtitles. Japan, 1968, 84 mins.
DVD | $37.95  

Zatoichi Meets Yojimbo
Kihachi Okamoto
In the 20th Zatoichi entry, enjoy Shintaro Katsu and Toshiro Mifune as they reprise some of their most famous roles! Zatoichi, the famous blind swordsman, returns to a once peaceful village only to find it overrun by gangsters who have hired the infamous mercenary bodyguard Yojimbo to protect them and the stolen horde of the government's gold. It's a battle of wits and sword-fighting ability as Zatoichi takes on the gangsters, hired assassins and government spies before finally facing Yojimbo. Japanese with English subtitles. Japan, 1970, 116 mins.
DVD | $37.95  

Zatoichi: The Festival of Fire
Kenji Misumi
In the 21st installment, blind masseur/master swordman Zatoichi (Katsu Shintaro) continues his endless journey across the Japanese countryside and comes upon a village where the women are bought and sold at auction like livestock. As he navigates the environs, he stumbles upon a secret organization whose leader is also blind. The leader takes a special interest in Zatoichi, guiding him on the path of destiny and the duty of the sightless. In Japanese with English subtitles. Japan, 1970, 96 mins.
DVD | $37.95  

Zatoichi Meets the One Armed Swordsman
Kimiyoshi Yasuda
In the 22nd movie we travel the Japanese countryside with the legendary blind masseur who is also a skilled and deadly swordsman, where Zatoichi heeds a man's dying words and protects his dying son, who is also under the protection of a wanted swordsman. In Japanese with English subtitles. Japan, 1971, 94 mins.
DVD | $37.95  

Zatoichi at Large
Kazuo Mori
In this, the 23rd movie, after a woman dies in childbirth, the blind masseur/master swordsman Zatoichi takes the child to his aunt. There he finds trouble with the yakuza and with the baby's father, who blames Zatoichi for his wife's death. The 23rd film in the Zatoichi series. In Japanese with English subtitles. Japan, 1972, 90 mins.
DVD | $37.95  

Zatoichi in Desperation
Shintaro Katsu
Shintaro Katsu directs and stars as the blind masseur/master swordsman in the 24th film in the long-running Zatoichi series. After being the blind witness to a murder, Zatoichi visits the victim's young daughter who works in a brothel. Feeling on obligation to the girl, Zatoichi tries to buy out her contract and ensure her freedom. But when the girl learns of the bounty on the swordsman's head, greed gets the best of her. In Japanese with English subtitles. Japan, 1972, 92 mins.
DVD | $37.95  

Zatoichi's Conspiracy
Kimiyoshi Yasuda
On the 25th of his many journeys, the blind swordsman Zatoichi (Shintaro Katsu) comes upon a village from his past where he is greeted by various people from his past, including a childhood friend who is fleecing the residents of its valuable reserves. Zatoichi's loyalties are tested when he is asked to mediate between the two parties. In Japanese with English subtitles. Japan, 1973, 87 mins.
DVD | $37.95  

Zatoichi: Darkness Is His Ally
Shintaro Katsu
Shintaro Katsu reprised his most recognized role for one last time in the 26th and last entry in the Zatoichi canon, written and directed by Katsu, as well. A slick, big budget affair, Zatoichi follows the nomadic, blind masseur/samurai swordsman on his continued adventures through the Japanese countryside. The DVD is letterboxed, and includes liner notes by Ric Meyers (Inside KungFu Magazine) and an art gallery. In Japanese with English subtitles. Japan, 1989, 126 mins.
DVD | $37.95