G.I. Samurai

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G.I. Samurai
Directed by Kōsei Saitō
Produced by Haruki Kadokawa
Takeshi Motomura
Written by Ryo Hanmura (novel)
Toshio Kamata
Starring Sonny Chiba
Music by Kentaro Haneda
Distributed by Toho
Release date
  • 1979 (1979)
Running time
139 minutes
Country Japan
Language Japanese
Budget $9,000,000

G.I. Samurai (戦国自衛隊, Sengoku jieitai (Time Slip) and Sengoku Self Defense Force) is a 1979 Japanese feature-length film focusing on the adventures of a modern-day Japan Ground Self-Defense Force (JGSDF) team that accidentally travels in time to the Warring States period (戦国時代, Sengoku jidai). The film stars one of the top male Japanese actors Sonny Chiba and was based on a novel by Ryo Hanmura, a well-known writer of historical novels and science fiction.


On their way to a manoeuver, a wildly mixed group of Japanese soldiers with a tank, an APC, a patrol boat and a helicopter suddenly find themselves stranded 400 years in the past and under attack by samurai forces. Their designated leader, Lieutenant Yoshiaki Iba (Sonny Chiba), befriends and joins forces with Nagao Kagetora, the war leader of lord Koizumi. Seeing the stranded soldiers' war machinery in action, Kagetora persuades Iba to aid him in his struggle for supremacy in Japan.

In the meantime, however, Iba finds himself facing the desperation of his men who want to return to their own time. Some make contact with the locals - one of the soldiers, Mimura, even finds himself a consort who keeps following him - whilst others freak out, running away in a desperate attempt to return home, or rebelling against rules and restrictions and try to live a pirate's life. Finally, his force shrunk from 21 men to 11, Iba manages to calm his troops by telling them that by fighting history and thus creating a time paradox they might be able to return home. Iba joins Kagetora and fights by his side.

Finally, Iba and the soldiers face Takeda Shingen's forces in battle. But their trust in their advanced weaponry costs them dearly: Shingen's forces outmanoeuvre them at every turn, the soldiers lose all their vehicles and major weapons, and five of them die on the battlefield. In a desperate attempt, Iba forces his way to Shingen's command post and kills him in a sword duel.

As Iba and his remaining men go to join Kagetora in Kyoto, the latter is put under pressure by his family and the Shogun Ashikaga Yoshiaki to get rid of Iba. Reluctantly conceding, Kagetora intercepts Iba's group at an old temple. But as Iba prepares to kill Kagetora for his betrayal, he is shot by him. The other soldiers are killed by Kagetora's archers, and Mimura's consort delivers the coup-de-grace to her lover.

Kagetora shows remorse by burying Iba and his men with all due honors. In the end, only one of the soldiers survives, who had left the group to help a boy and his family, whose father had been killed.


Shōwa period characters[edit]

Sengoku period characters[edit]


Initially, the producers approached the Japan Ground Self-Defense Force (JGSDF) for props and vehicles, but the army cut their support after reading that soldiers go AWOL in the script. For that reason, old and sometimes out-dated equipment (like M3 submachine guns) had to be used. The tank featured in the movie was even built entirely from scratch.

The vehicles, including a tank and a helicopter, continue to run despite there being no replenishing fuel supply in the 16th century – a logical problem which was resolved in the remake.


Name of the movie in different languages[edit]

  • Japanese: "Sengoku Jieitai"
  • English: "G.I. Samurai"
  • French: "Les Guerriers de l'Apocalypse"
  • Spanish: "Eclipse En El Tiempo"
  • Croatian: "Vrijeme je stalo u 5 i 18"
  • German: "Time Slip - Tag der Apokalypse"
  • Norwegian: "Tidsstorm"
  • Russian: "Провал во времени"
  • Cantonese:"Zin3 Gwok3 Zi6 Wai6 Deoi6"

Home media[edit]

In the UK, the film was bundled with Golgo 13: Assignment Kowloon and The Bullet Train in The Sonny Chiba Collection Vol. 2 Region 2 DVD set by Optimum Home Releasing.[1]

See also[edit]


External links[edit]