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Kagemusha by Akira Kurosawa

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Kagemusha by Akira Kurosawa

Akira Kurosawa is known for such films as Ran, The Seven Samurai, and Dreams. He is regarded as a master of the Japanese films and has influenced many American film makers such as Francis Ford Coppola and George Lucas. In Kagemusha, Kurosawa illustrates the time period leading up to the Tokugawa Shogunate. He depicts the warring period that pitted Daimyo versus Daimyo. In this case, Ieyaso Tokugawa and Lord Nobunaga were on one side and a smaller clan, the Takeda Clan, and their samurai were warring over control of Japan. This film illustrated the social and political aspects of the Japanese feudal system. The Takeda Clan is fighting to keep control of its land holdings and its main rivals are the Nobunaga/Tokugawa alliance who are trying to subdue the upstart clans in the south. This film was very long, but if certain parts are showed, they can help to depict life in Japan during this time period. It shows examples of the hierarchy between Daimyo and retainer or samurai. It also shows the relationship between the different Daimyo. It serves as a good example that just because the Tokugawa clan consolidates power, that not all daimyo were loyal or obedient to the Shogun. It also shows a scene where Lord Nobunaga is influenced by the European culture and technology. This movie, although 3 hours long, can be a useful resource when teaching about the feudalistic society of Japan.