Samurai Banners

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Samurai Banners
Directed by Hiroshi Inagaki
Produced by
Screenplay by
Based on Furin kazan
by Yasushi Inoue
Music by Masaru Sato[1]
Cinematography Kazuo Yamada[1]
Edited by Yoshihiro Araki[1]
Mifune Productions[2]
Distributed by Toho
Release date
  • 1 February 1969 (1969-02-01) (Japan)
Running time
165 minutes[2]
Country Japan

Samurai Banners (Japanese: 風林火山, Hepburn: Fūrin Kazan) is a Japanese samurai drama film released in 1969. It was directed by Hiroshi Inagaki and is based on the novel Furin kazan by Yasushi Inoue.[1]


Yamamoto Kansuke (Toshiro Mifune) is a general of warlord Takeda Shingen (Yorozuya Kinnosuke), whose titular red banners are his trademark.[3] Yamamoto has a ruthless but effective approach to battle and politics, and advises Takeda Shingen on almost everything he does, including the assassination of Suwa Yorishige (Akihiko Hirata). Of Lord Suwa's household, Princess Yu (Yoshiko Sakuma) refuses to commit suicide, and the film comes to center on a love triangle between the lord, his general, and the princess.

The film ends with the fourth Battle of Kawanakajima, in which Yamamoto erroneously believes his battle tactics have failed and commits a pincer attack, but is killed in action before the battle is won.



Samurai Banners received a roadshow release in Japan by Toho on 1 February 1969.[2] It received a wide release in Japan on 1 March 1969.[2] The film was Toho's top grossing film of the year and the top grossing film among domestic releases in Japan in 1969.[2]

The film was released in the United States by Toho International under the title Under the Banner of the Samurai on June 24, 1969.[2] It was later released to home video as Samurai Banners.[2]



  1. ^ a b c d e f Galbraith IV 2008, p. 255.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g Galbraith IV 2008, p. 256.
  3. ^ Galloway, Patrick (2005). Stray Dogs & Lone Wolves: The Samurai Film Handbook. Berkeley, California: Stone Bridge Press. pp. 134–137. ISBN 1-880656-93-0. 


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