Also known as The Tale of Zatoichi, this was the first 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.
Born on March 2, 1921, Kenji got his start in the early 1950s, serving as an assistant director to Teinosuke KINUGASA, which included work on the Oscar-winning Gate of Hell. (The film also won the Grand Prix at Cannes.)
Beginning with his first film, Asa Taro Garasu in 1956, Kenji made almost 50 films in just under twenty years. During his tenure at Daiei in the 1960s, he was one of the studio’s three biggest directors, along with Tokuzo TANAKA (Sleepy Eyes #1, #10) and Kazuo IKEHIRO (Sleepy Eyes #4, #9, #12), however, his visual style eclipsed many of his contemporaries and earned him the nickname “Little Mizoguchi.” His work in the Zatoichi series, as well his 14 films with Raizo ICHIKAWA (which included three Sleepy Eyes of Death films and the Ken trilogy), established Kenji as a Master Jidaigeki (Period Samurai Films) Director in Japan.
After the collapse of Daiei, Kenji moved to television for a short period. In 1972, he returned to films and was given the task of… read more
Watch 18 films in the Zatoichi series on Hulu.com just search Zatoichi or Criterion Collection. I really enjoyed it, some beautiful imagery, I loved the shot with Zatoichi and Tane with the moon in the background. Great story, great characters, good drama and action, loved the camera work also. Can't wait to view the rest of the series, Thankyou Criterion for putting them up on Hulu.