The Last Samurai Essay

1057 Words Apr 17th, 2013 5 Pages
The Last Samurai

“The perfect blossom is a rare thing. You could spend your life looking for one, and it would not be a wasted life” (Zwick). These are the words of Katsumoto, an important samurai warrior. The movie The Last Samurai directed by Edward Zwick is about an American War Captain named Nathan Algren who is hired to train, lead and modernize a group of Japanese soldiers to defeat a rebellion of the country's remaining Samurai in 1876. Algren is captured by the Samurai and soon becomes part of the village he is being held hostage in. There, Algren learns from the Samurai and comes to respect them. He finds that his true warrior is becoming unleashed as he trains to become a Samurai with the very people we once called his
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Another example is the final battle that was between the samurai and the modernized army. As a whole, this battle can be seen as old Japan against new Japan. The samurai represent the old Japan because they are fighting for traditional customs and trying to keep things the way they are. The modernized army represents new Japan because they are using weapon technology from the west. The samurais are trying to protect old beliefs. They are devoted to the old ways that their ancestors followed. A third example is when Katsumoto, Algren, and all the other samurai ride horses into the city to go to the council. The reason for their visit was to protest about the modernization of Japan. The samurai did not like the fact that the Emperor is going to disturb old traditions for western ways. The samurai felt that their own ways are pure and that is what makes them truly Japanese. Another example is when the emperor refuses to sign the trade agreement. Emperor Meiji said this, “I dreamed of a unified Japan. Of a country strong and independent and modern... And now we are awake. We have railroads and cannon and Western clothing. But we cannot forget who we are. Or where we come from”(Zwick). He is refusing to sign the treaty because he wants to preserve the old ways of Japan (Zwick). Another major aspect of imperialism that appears throughout the movie is ethnocentricity, like how the Japanese did not like
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