Zatoichi: The Blind Swordsman

Zatoichi: The Blind Swordsman

2 Seasons

The colossally popular Zatoichi films make up the longest-running action series in Japanese history and created one of the screen’s great heroes: an itinerant blind masseur who also happens to be a lightning-fast swordsman. As this iconic figure, the charismatic and earthy Shintaro Katsu became an instant superstar, lending a larger-than-life presence to the thrilling adventures of a man who lives staunchly by a code of honor and delivers justice in every town and village he enters. The films that feature him are variously pulse-pounding, hilarious, stirring, and completely off-the-wall.

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Zatoichi: The Blind Swordsman
  • Zatoichi’s Conspiracy

    Episode 1

    ZATOICHI #25
    Directed by Kimiyoshi Yasuda • 1973 • Japan

    Everything comes full circle when Zatoichi returns to his hometown. Unfortunately, he finds that a childhood friend has become a feared crime lord, keeping the locals in debt and bilking them of their rice. Capping off Zatoichi’s feature f...

  • John Nathan on ZATOICHI

    Episode 2

    The following is a 2013 interview with filmmaker and Japanese-culture scholar John Nathan, who shares his memories of actor and filmmaker Shintaro Katsu, star of the ZATOICHI series.

  • The Blind Swordsman

    Episode 3

    Directed by filmmaker and Japanese-culture scholar John Nathan, this documentary from 1978 takes a candid and unvarnished look at the professional and personal life of Shintaro Katsu, the star of the ZATOICHI series.

  • Serialized Success

    Episode 4

    In this interview, conducted in 2013, Asian-film critic Tony Rayns offers his thoughts on the popularity of the ZATOICHI series, its main character, and some of the key talents involved in making it.

  • Kareem Abdul-Jabbar on THE TALE OF ZATOICHI

    Episode 5