"Last Samurai"

Essay by klaration September 2006

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Modern day American culture, being a wild mix of fast paced experiments and revived traditions, stands strong extending it influence all over the world. The share massiveness and extreme variety of its incarnations can hardly be catalogued or iterated. However young it's presence is ever obvious.

In contrast, some other cultures still present to this day had many more years to evolve and establish themselves. Some have perished some deeply rooted in its peoples mind and hart. Perhaps none of them is as unique and vivid in its traditions as that of Japanese people. However often people from other European and American countries tried to understand and integrate its subtle differences they still find it mysterious and fascinating.

One of the cinematographic attempts to explore Japanese culture and history has been a film "Last Samurai." The protagonist (Captain Nathan Algren) in the story is an American soldier, a veteran of the Civil War and master of warfare.

The world of battles is in his blood and his talent at winning battles makes him a seasoned pro. However in his last year he lost his way and finds himself inapt to the world of no action or doing dirty job for local politicians trying to exterminate Indian population for their lands. In his eyes it is not the war but genocide. Yet it is the only fighting he finds it is hard for him to exist as a simple civilian, when all he can be is a vigilant warrior.

In the movie he finds himself captured by Japanese Samurai. Lead by general Katsumoto - who believes that Japan is being manipulated by Westerners and that Emperor has lost his touch with traditions, these cast warriors fight as rebels to prove their point. They know that premature and rapid modernization...