The Last Samurai Essay

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Pages: 5

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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The western or imperial japanese does not like the long hair of the samurai. For example, when the samurai are in the city for the council meeting, a group of modern soldiers spot a samurai with a traditional knot of hair. They confront him and ask him, “How long are you going to keep up this "samurai" pose?” (Zwick). Then they beat him and cut off his knot. This knot is very important to samurai. The Japanese passed a law forbidding the knot and the right to carry a samurai sword. The knot is a symbol that identifies them as a samurai, along with their sword.The kamishimo, which is a formal samurai outfit, is one of the only remaining symbols of a samurai. This shows ethnocentricity because the soldiers think they are a larger, more powerful group than the samurai and that they can beat them at their will. Secondly, a strong example of ethnocentrism is when the modern soldiers feel superior because of their weapons. They believe that their guns are no match for the samurai swords. In the movie, Colonel Bagley says, “The rebels don't have a single rifle. They're savages with bows and arrows” (Zwick). This shows ethnocentricity because Bagley thinks the samurai are savages because of their bows and arrows. Lastly, the the samurai way of viewing the Americans and the American way of viewing the samurai were both examples of ethnocentricity because of their views on customs and the way they do things. For example,