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5 pages/≈1375 words
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MLA
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Visual & Performing Arts
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Movie Review
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English (U.S.)
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Samurai Representation Movie Review Writing Assignment (Movie Review Sample)

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Write a 4-5 page (1250 to 1500 words) essay that answers the following question. Be sure to integrate into your essay all that you think is relevant from this and previous lessons: Who was the better representative of what it meant to be samurai: Katsu Kokichi (from the book Musui's Story) OR Sasahara Isaburo (from the film Samurai Rebellion)? Be sure to use examples from what you have seen and read in this course to illustrate your answer.

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Representation of a Samurai
Introduction
Through the history of the land, Samurai emerged as the central figures in defending the sovereignty of the state, tasked with serving the rulers and the people and through observation of a strict unwritten code of honor. The pinnacle of their role was attained during the infamous Age of Wars, these acting as professional soldiers, peacekeepers and government officials who were able and always ready to exercise deadly force when called upon or whenever they came against an adversary. One of the most potent virtues of a samurai is justice, requiring them to decide the course of conduct by employing unwavering reason, and with this determine and stick to firm action. Samurai warriors were also supposed to have the courage of doing what is right and at the same time be polite and have good manners and courtesy. With the man having been invested the power and command to kill, he was expected to show an equal measure of restraint and have benevolence. Honesty and sincerity a driving force for them dictated that men should not be servants of money and wealth, but should instead show simplicity in life. Above all, honor and loyalty guided their every action, a sense of honor, personal dignity of much concern, this meaning every one of these professionals feared disgrace, while loyalty dictated that a samurai should remain loyal to those to whom he is indebted to. In literature, both Katsu Kokichi (from the book Musui's Story) and Sasahara Isaburo (from the film Samurai Rebellion) are drawn as Samurai warriors, but only Sasahara Isaburo is shown to act within the guidelines of a samurai.
Samurai representation
In the film Samurai Rebellion, Sasahara Isaburo is shown to be vassal Masakata Matsudaira, who is the daimyō of the Aizu clan, this making it his duty to obey and respect him as his superior. At the early stages of the movie, Isaburo remains loyal to his daimyō, following his every given order. When his elder soon Yogoro is ordered to marry the daimyō disgraced ex-concubine, though he is against the idea he eventually gives his consent. Here, Isaburo is torn between personal daimyō responsibility and his vision of his son and following the duty and a path for a Samurai. Being in a marriage forced by duty means he is married to a woman who he does not love and his wife Suga does not also love him. Trapped in this condition, he is thus well aware of how frustrating life can be and would not wish for his son to be trapped in such circumstances, this is the main reason why he and Suga are opposed to the marriage. Moreover, when he enquires the reason why the soon-to-be daughter in law was disgraced and cast out of daimyō’s household despite having a son, no explanation is given to him. Despite all the uncertainties and secrets surrounding the marriage, being a samurai dictates that he is bound by honor to honor the wishes of his superior. He, therefore, decides to go against his desires and those of his family and consent to the marriage, thus indicating his staunch belief in the samurai code.
Throughout the film, Isaburo is shown to lead a simple life like that dictated by the samurai code. He is not driven by a desire to get rich, this is shown by his decisions not to pursue monetary opportunities but instead chooses a quiet life where he acts as a guide and a father figure for his family. Through the many challenges he is confronted with, he chooses to show restraint and not result into violence, a battle he would easily win in many instances considering he was the best swordsman in the represented society. Here he showcases restraint and critical reasoning, choosing not to bulldoze his way but rather opt for a more honorable manner of making his desires known. This is especially seen when the heir to Matsudaira dies to leave Ichi’s son the sole heir to the throne.
Due to his pride, the daimyō is unwilling to raise an heir without a mother and therefore recalls Ichi, a move that does not augur well with the characters, particularly because love had developed between her and Yogoro, a union further cemented by the birth of Tomi. Here, it can be argued that Isaburo goes against the nature of a Samurai by refusing to allow Ichi remarry his daimyō. However, I disagree with this as, by his refusal, Isaburo acts within the boundaries of a samurai, deciding the best possible path through rectitude and courage and character. A samurai is expected to reason and choose the best possible path, these determined by reason and understanding of what is right or wrong, and given the fact that it is morally wrong for a person to separate an established family, I believe his actions to deny Matsudaria Iche is justified. This analysis is justified by the fact that the individuals representing the Aiso Lord acknowledge that it is wrong but must act according to protocol.
Attributes of a samurai are further shown by Isaburo when he decides to stay and fight for what he believes to be right. This takes courage considering he is aware that the daimyō will send many soldiers to subdue him, but he is nonetheless prepared to stand by his decision and fight for his honor and that of the family. Moreover, when he faces his friend the guardian of the gate, he is unwilling to fight him. Being a close friend and one with whom they share mutual respect, Isaburo would rather not fight him, but bound by a code of duty, the two are forced to fight, indicating a loose adherence to the attributes of a samurai. Ultimately, though Isabur is eventually murdered, he remains true to the values that constitute a samurai, where only his loyalty changes but he remains true to all the other elements of the samurai figure.
On the other hand, the same cannot be said of Katsu Kokichi. From his autobiography, it is clear that Katsu Kokichi never strived to build honor for his name and essentially never cared whether he would be disgraced or not. Such carelessness show he never cared for the samurai code of conduct and consequently concluding that he was not a genuine samurai. In ancient Japan, a samurai was educated and knowledgeable people, skilled in martial arts and also in educational matters. However, Katsu Kokichi refused to gain formal education and had to be...
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