Talk:The Last Samurai

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"The Last Samurai" is also an unrelated book by Helen DeWitt published in 2000.

There's an article about the above now. Point of interest: The movie's name was apparently translated into Finnish under the assumption that the word "Samurai" is in the singular. --Kizor 20:11, 12 November 2005 (UTC)


I added in a setting section.--KevinKao 07:16, 18 November 2005 (UTC)


I fixed up the main article and chucked the last bit about being filmed in NZ into a trivia section. --Woogums 13:18, 7 February 2006 (UTC)


I changed the link of the critique. The one supplied lead to nowhere. -- Mourning Electra 7:57, 22 April 2006

Singular or plural[edit]

Do we know on what person or group of people that the title is referencing? How do we know that it is plural (as the article suggests), when that all other languages with plural/singular distinction have it in singular? Andelarion 15:21, 4 January 2006 (UTC)

Removed. Andelarion 17:43, 13 January 2006 (UTC)

I disagree and am putting the sentence in question back into the article. There are many words in the English language that have identical plural and singular forms. A quick Google search gives a mere 950,000 results for "samurais" compared to 47 million for "samurai", a ratio of 2%. This is two few for "Samurais" to be the legitimate or most-common plural form. The plot of the movie also supports the sentence in question -- there are many samurai who together make up the last samurai. ThePedanticPrick 20:51, 8 February 2006 (UTC)
In the interview with Tom Cruise within the "Extras" portion of the DVD, he defines his character, Aldren, as indeed becoming the last remaining Samurai. Now, we can all agree that Tom Cruise is not perfect, however he was required to study the context and significance of this film. Moreover, if that statement is incorrect and therefore misleading, then I'm sure that the producers of this film would have edited such a blatant inaccuracy from the interview. I, too, wanted to believe that "samurai" was plural, but it seems that the U.S. film industry has once again made a very ethnocentric statement. Thus, out of respect for the accuracy of the intentions of the film makers, I will revert back, but briefly explain the issue. --Bakphp 05:01, 24 February 2006 (UTC)
If "Samurai" does not have a plural form and since the word is clearly a noun in the title, then it can only correlate to one (singular) person (noun). The "Samurai Class" which you edited into the article uses "samurai" as an adjective. "Samurai" refers to an individual when used as a noun, and can describe the class when used as an adjective. Beyond this unnecessary grammar analysis, the above explanation of what the official DVD of "The Last Samurai" advocate must be respected as the executive producer's original intention of the film. Please do not re-edit until further discussion on this page.--Bakphp 19:51, 26 February 2006 (UTC)
Your grammar analysis is grossly incorrect, Bakphp, and it is not true that "samurai" has no plural form. The plural form is simply identical to the singular form, so it is valid to read the title of the movie as referring to either many last samurai or one last samurai. Just like you can eat a bunch of fish, see 7 deer, you can wipe out the last 200 samurai. Is that clear yet? ThePedanticPrick 19:40, 27 February 2006 (UTC)
My supposition (note that I did not make a claim by using the word "If") on Samurai not having a plural form was based on the previous article edit explanation (Apparently "Samurai" in Japanese has no plural form). Being that the producers are English speaking, perhaps this supposition is not applicable. In which case we would return to the original explanation which I did include in the article that the argument of plurality does exist, but the official DVD rejects such a claim. --Bakphp 00:18, 28 February 2006 (UTC)
Sorry if the tone of my last message was inflammatory; I was actually going to explain in detail the various reasons for which I agree with your conclusion, just not the grammar analysis you use to support it. I must have just quit typing too early (stupid ADD!). First, returning briefly to grammar, I want to reiterate that it is not true that "samurai has no plural form"; the singular and plural forms are the same. Moving on, it is apparent to me that the producers most likely meant for the title to refer to a single person. If they had wanted it to refer to multiple samurai, they would have called it "The Last of the Samurai" or maybe even "The Last Samurais", though the second one is probably ungrammatical, as my google search (see above) suggests. Moreover, since Algren's rejection of his own culture and transformation into (for lack of a better word) a samurai is such a strong theme throughout the movie, and Algren is the main character, it would not make very much sense for the title to refer to the tribal band of rebellious samurai, who are mostly scenery throughout the story before being slaughtered at the end. The "last samurai" might, more likely, be Katsumoto (am I the only one who gets a craving for tonkatsu when I hear that name?), but this interpretation gives the Katsumoto character more relevance than the writers and directors did.
All that being said, I still think this issue is relevant to the article. The character's appropriation of Japanese culture has an interesting parallel with the film's (mis?)appropriation of Japanese culture. In bushido, Algren finds inner peace and redemption, while hollywood finds box-office sales, and according to the wikipedian below, appreciation by the japanese. Definitely an interesting subject for analysis. ThePedanticPrick 20:15, 8 March 2006 (UTC)
PS With his "Psychologists are bad, don't lie on a couch, jump up and down on it" stance, Tom Cruise has lost all credibility in my opinion. Maybe we can find someone who isn't barking mad to verify once and for all that yes, Algren is the last samurai? ThePedanticPrick 20:15, 8 March 2006 (UTC)

Also, Samurai as it tends to be used is an expression of an ideaology, not specifically as a plural people. For example, when someone says "They (plural) were Samurai", they're really saying that group was of the Samurai belief system. Similarly, think "They were Christian" or "They were Buddhist". But if someone said THE Last Samurai, it should be clear it's one person. "The Last Christian" is one person. "The Last Jesuit" would be one person. etc. 20:06, 18 June 2006 (UTC)

Jusitifable Claim?[edit]

From the article : Some of the Japanese, Asian American, as well as general viewing audiences were appalled or insulted by the seemingly ethnocentric notion that a Caucasian-American would so quickly be able to adopt an ancient art and ultimately become "The Last Samurai."

What is the jusitification or evidence for this claim? It needs a reference, otherwise its just conjecture. I live in Japan, and I have never met any Japanese person who has done anything other than praise the film. It was extremely popular here, and did good box office. One of my Japanese friends described it as "the first time Hollywood has tried to respect our culture and history". I also never saw any news items in the media claiming dissatisfaction. Saiing 13:43, 7 March 2006 (JST)

I'm not Japanese, but I find the implication that a white guy with bad hair was "the last samurai" a bit silly and annoying, although not so much appalling or insulting. If you like, I could express this opinion somewhere on the Web, and we could link to it to support the claim that "general viewing audiences were appalled or insulted" Since you live in Japan, perhaps you could ask some of the locals how they interpret the title -- multiple last samurai or just one last samurai. Then maybe you could ask them what they think about Tom Cruise claiming that his character is the last samurai. ThePedanticPrick 19:52, 8 March 2006 (UTC)

If you google "Last Samurai racist" then you'll find plenty of people that viewed the film as ethnocentric and racist. Many people may not agree with these claims but the excerpt in which you are commenting only states that such claims exist. Like Pedantic said, someone can link it to one of the many sites, if desired. --Bakphp 20:38, 8 March 2006 (UTC)
Sorry kids, have to add this in -- Did it ever occur to ANYONE that Katsumoto is the Last Samurai? That people are so quick to cry "racist" in this day and age that of course people will simply ASSUME its Tom Cruise? Cruise's character is obviously no more a Samurai than I am a Ninja. Plus, whatever Cruise said on the DVD commentary is meaningless, as he is clearly a buffoon. Thank you. ~Anonymous.

agreed, tom cruise is a bafoon and katsumoto could be interpreted as the last samurai at first. but given the fact that there was noticeable disagreement with this whole issue as soon as the movie was released, i am certain that the producers would have edited out cruise's blatant statements of being the last samurai if it was incorrect...unless of course, the producers are bafoons themselves. --Bakphp 21:33, 1 April 2006 (UTC)

If you recall the events surrounding Rising Sun, where a movie that merely had Japanese elements was screamed at for racism and such, largely by overtly PC western hysterics, we easily see that the outrage regarding the idenity of the Last Samurai is indeed the small minded acting rashly and harshly without thinking or even bothering to check the facts. Another example was the supposed racism of Ghettopoly, and upon investigation, as people marched and boycotted, the maker was a minority himself. I have seen far more people turn on the false opinion of this movie and so have added the following to at least let people know why they say it, and what it more likely is. Cruise is an actor, not the writer or the director, and thus his words have no relevance to this matter. One wonders if there would have been quite as much furor if Mr Cruise had stated on "War of the Worlds" that it was his character who was instrumental in figuring out that the aliens were being defeated by bacteria, and was thus responsible for saving the world. Would anyone have believed such a statement and then ranted as heartily as they have against this movie? Or would they have assumed that it was an actor assuming that because they are the headline name, they are also the core of the film and its very basis?

"However, the movie itself does not state that the Captain is "The Last Samurai" rather he is an observer who becomes embroiled in their ways. The fate of Katsumoto is the catalyst to the Emperor’s reversal of stance on closer ties with America, and Algren is just the messenger who delivers the sword that has served Japan for 900 years to reveal what he died for and what he hoped to achieve through this death. It is Katsumoto who is mourned for, even by the very troops responsible for his death, and throughout the film, Algren is usually referred to merely as “The American”. It is Katsumoto who is “The Last Samurai” and it is now widely believed that the outrage that surrounded the movies release was an overreaction, such as that surrounding “Rising Sun” where it was again assumed that a Japanese orientated movie made by western hands and with a strong western lead actor could not possibly portray the culture and people in a flattering light."

--Bruce McLachlan 8:10, 1 June 2006

Your claim is still just an opinion that probably many (which by no means indicates a majority) may have as well. You're going to have to have a good source if you want to make such a blatant statement. I am being generous by not deleting the whole thing as being just an editorial. remember, this is an encyclopedia. as far as my source (the official DVD), you have to remember that the controversies errupted right after the movie came out. thus, the producer clearly had the option of editting out that part of the Cruise's interview. Yes, cruise is not the director or writer, but the director did permit those words to be included in the official DVD. Thus, it is an obvious assumption that the Director advocates such a notion.
You have no grounds to remove parts of a discussion, no matter how much they might conflict with your own opinions on the matter at hand. Hopefully you've since given up that radically ignorant notion of trying to censure others just because they come into conflict with your own ideals. You are also fully unaware of whom has control over what is ultimately included on the supplemental materials on DVD releases. 16:54, 17 October 2006 (UTC)
  • cough* Ummm... perhaps people should stop overthinking. At the end of the film, Algren is a Samurai (yes- he was), and every other Samurai in the world (so far as is known in the movie) is dead. Therefore, Captain Nathan Algren is the Last Samurai. You can try to overcomplicate this as much as you want, but at the base level, the name of the movie was chosen for incredibly obvious reasons. 19:57, 18 June 2006 (UTC)
To add, Algren also presents Katsumoto's sword to the Emperor, and humbling himself before the Emperor, he commits his life even to death to the service of Japan and specifically (of course) its Emperor. In every imaginable way, this is the very definition of Samurai. If it is clear that Katsumoto is dead, and that Algren is a Samurai, that makes Algren the Last Samurai. 19:57, 18 June 2006 (UTC)
And also to add, thinking that this element of the movie is racist is blatant disregard for the movie's meaning. In the end, the story is of human sacrifice, and the ability of a person to give of themselves for a greater cause. Algren could have been African, Indian, etc, and the message would have been the same. The fact that he happened to be a Caucasian was merely highlighting a person crossing the widest imaginable gap (a 'white opressor' giving up his ways and truly seeing the world through the eyes of those whom he would have opressed), as can be seen in any number of very uplifting movies dealing with race/ideals. 19:57, 18 June 2006 (UTC)
(nearly done) The contraversy, then, is about people's 'perception' of the movie, not the movie's actual content. The filmmakers (as can be seen from any 'making of', specifically the ones mentioned) made every effort to hire Japanese historians and culture experts as well as taking every opportunity to honor as much of Japanese culture as could be possible. No one involved in the production had any desire to make any racist statement at all, and I'm sure many of the principal people have issued statements to that effect. The discussion should be about 'perceptions', not about trying to shovel racist or unnecessary remarks at the movie. (as in: If Algren were a Japanese-American yet the story was the exact same, wouldn't people still be angry that a person of American nationality had become a Samurai at all? What if he had been *gasp* a woman!?). The attempt to discredit Algren as the Last Samurai really just seems to be part of the attempt to sneak racism into the movie on the part of viewers. 19:57, 18 June 2006 (UTC)

I'd echo the statement made by Saiing above. The critical statement in this article's introduction implies a groundless split between origins of positive opinions (held by non-Japanese and Asian-American audiences) and negative opinions (held by Japanese and Asian-American audiences who were often "unimpressed or insulted"). I was living in Kyoto when the film was released - Cruise even hosted a premiere party at Nijo Castle - and I've never seen a film so overwhelmingly adored as this was. As a teacher, I talked to literally hundreds of men and women of every age who loved "Last-o Samurai" with a fervor that stomped all over "Titanic" or "Lord of the Rings" at their respective heights in the US. None of them were professors of Japanese history, of course - it seems to me that the film bothered foreign scholars and enthusiasts of Japanese history much more than it did the Japanese public in general. (Myself included - I found a lot of it questionable, for reasons that puzzled my students whenever I brought them up. There's no way in hell, for example, that Taka and the women of the village would welcome Algren back after the rest of the samurai died on the battlefield.)

Compare this to the reaction to "Memoirs of a Geisha" - a film that received a thoroughly chilly reception in Japan. Gorilla Jones 04:06, 26 June 2006 (UTC)

I find that an incredibly sad state of affairs, and another example of exactly what the film is essentially about - destruction of Japanese culture by foreign influence. And the incredible thing is that as you observed, the Japanese public seems to think that this film somehow respects their culture! To me it shows that there is something seriously wrong with the teaching of history in Japan (and America - but we already knew that), but then, it's hardly surprising, since Japan bacame an American cultural dumping ground after WW2. The last samurai is a tragic joke, just like U571 and countless other Hollywood history rewrites - the factually nonexistant American becomes part of the public's true perception of the past - I'd rather they didn't even bother making this sort of rubbish. This film is like doing a version of the Battle of the Little Bighorn with the 7th Cavalry commanded by a Samurai. Laughable! Oops forgot this isn't a forum.....1812ahill (talk) 00:55, 2 November 2009 (UTC)

I think the reason why there is so much controversy whether or on the movie is racist because of people's opnion on the movie. First off, I think the movie is racist and encourages the stereotypical notion that the white guy can do anything, but better. For me, it is not so much of the title, but the content inside. I mean she woos the wife of a samurai he killed. I don't think he would get away with it that easily if that happens in real life. As the article said, it is a an old way to promote racism and clonialization. If the movie was set in Africa and the asian characters were replace with people from North Africa, you will hear a string of complaints from the AA community.

However, I can see why other people such as the general public in Japan praise the movie. They live in a society where almost everyone is asian and it is common for them to see asian couples on Television. In the U.S. it is different. For those out there, asian americans are different when compared to asians, therefore their opinions on things are going to be different. As I said eariler, people in Japan are used to seeing asians in the media while in the U.S., it is rare, especially asian american males. Furthermore, the Japanese public had a different expectation of the film in thinking that Hollywood doesn't respect Japan in films. However, when they watched the film, they realized how much the american film kept the beliefs, culture, and ideas of the samurai rather than adding modernize elements like the memoirs of a gesha have did. In America, however, asian americans expect the movie to be nothing more than a Hollywood movie that focuses more on Tom Cruise than the asian male characters. Furthermore, America is more aware of racism than Japan, so people are going to see it more clearly than those living in Japan. In other words, I think the way asian characters are treated in the U.S. media in the past is the reason of such negativity towards the movie from Asian Americans. --Doomzaber 21:41, 26 July 2006 (UTC)

Your belief that this film is racist under the lines that a "white man can do anything better than anyone else" is absolutely ridiculous. That's like saying a film about a black man going into a tribe of savage white people can hunt better because he's aware of what he is doing while the savages act on their primitive instincts. The claim of racism has nothing to do with that. The film may be historically and factually inaccurate, I'll concede to that. It may be far fetched to believe that a foreigner would be accepted as a Samurai even if he was never given such a title under such easily questionable circumstances. There are, however, no racist connotations contained throughout the film, unless you want to personally accept the fact that a country's own people were turning against themselves (liken it to members of the Jewish community dividing and calling each other "kikes" - while technically racist in what outsiders would perceive, it is essentially members of the same race undergoing infighting). The levels of ignorance that have seeped so predominantly into the art of critique are almost astounding. The way many people have simply jumped onto the bandwagon of those calling this film "racist" makes me sick to my stomach. 16:54, 17 October 2006 (UTC)

I watched this film last night (actually I couldn't be bothered with the last few minutes but I got the general idea). In general the film is very bad indeed. It has much in common (I thought) with Dances with Wolves and The Postman. In fact they are almost indistinguishable. I didn't think that it was particularly racist, but it was, like so many American films, somewhat ethnocentric and, like so many American films (and a fair number of UK ones), very very crap. On Sunday I watched And God Created Woman, and that's little better although slightly more thought-provoking perhaps. (talk) 07:33, 29 September 2009 (UTC)

You are not the best critics of the movie. Trying to infer underlying tones such as racism and pretending Tom Cruise was the best Samurai on the battle field. Obviously this is not the case. This movie is about an American who finds beauty on the ways of the Samurai and overcomes the hatred of the old japanese culture. If there are a few things that aren't realistic enough for you, stick to watching grass grow. There is nothing terrible about this film, but nice try at sounding cultured. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Dovemb (talkcontribs) 23:23, 5 May 2011 (UTC)


Anyone else notice that no matter which side Tom Cruise was on, he always played the underdog? People always root for the underdog JayKeaton 16:38, 8 May 2006 (UTC)

Its an inherrent part of these formulaic hollywood films: good guy is hard done by, good guy undergoes some transformation (usually shown with a montage), good guy wins over the bad guys.

Except for Rain Man. Of course Rain Man is not quite the standard formulaic Hollywood flick. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 21:53, 16 March 2009 (UTC)


In the U.S., some audiences, "particularly among Asian-Americans and Japanese," were unimpressed or even insulted, by the seemingly "racist, naïve" notion of a "white man teaching the rapidly modernizing Japanese how to honor their past," and ultimately become The Last Samurai.

We need specific people saying those things. See: [[1]] or [[2]]. The Yahoo Groups link just says that there were negative reviews. That means the Yahoo Groups link is a secondary source, not a primary source. The quotes from Tom Long and Tomomi Katsuta are primary sources - they are not summaries / generalizations about reviews, they are reviews. Also, the Yahoo Groups link doesn't support the idea that Japanese and Asian-American audiences held those specific views about this film - that they were "unimpressed or often insulted" - it merely says that there was heated debate over whether the several films mentioned were good or bad. You need to find a primary source, which would be people engaging in that actual debate, and quote it. (Tom Long, for the record, is neither Japanese nor Asian-American: see [3].) Gorilla Jones 05:42, 21 July 2006 (UTC)

  • Hey, great job on that, Bakphp. I think your point is much more strongly expressed now, and the article is better for it. Gorilla Jones 03:00, 23 July 2006 (UTC)


May someone add the main character, Nathan Algren, is a fictional free inspiration of the French officer Jules Brunet? This is not the first time that Hollywood obfuscates or exploits facts (remember U571). Thanks ! — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 16:10, 16 February 2012 (UTC)


Very, very unprofessional. This comment, which I have deleted from the actual article, is not only rude but rather vulgar. Whoever this was, please don't do it again.--Aznpride05 23:16, 21 September 2006 (UTC)

I try to clean up things here and there - note there seems to be some parts of simple grammar/spelling mistakes - really need someone to proof-read this again. -- 12:51, 6 September 2007 (UTC){imnothere

Nathan's Fate[edit]

Ok, the end of the film does insinuate that Nathan survived the battle. But shouldn't the possibility of him dying(as stated in the narration at the end of the film that some said he had died) be noted in the article?

Why? The film shows him finding his way back to Taka and nothing in the presentation of that ending is straight-forward and un-stylised, which to me is a clear indication that the intention of the film makers was to say that he did survive his wounds and found Taka and lived happily until the timely end of his days. (Instead of dying in the battle like he should've, but that's just personal opinion.) Magnulus (talk) 19:15, 6 July 2008 (UTC)

Comparisons to Dances With Wolves[edit]

Did anyone else see the comparisons to this movie? I found an interesting imdb forum post on this. [4]

Choice bits:

When I watched the Last Samurai my first thought was, wow this is just like Dances with Wolves. That movie is about an american who is captured by a foreign force of traditionalists in a country with a different culture, and who later acculturates so strongly into that culture that he abandons his old values and fights the injustices in his own country. There may be other simularities. Maybe the creators of the Last Samurai ripped ideas from Dances with Wolves?

I thought the same thing. Although I love both movies, I call The Last Samurai .... "Dances with Samurai"

I felt like it was more similar to Lawrance of the Arabia. A man who is in love with another culture and becomes in some way an inspiration and a leader to them.

Interesting observation.... Except that Laurence of Arabia is actually a true story, unlike this dross. 1812ahill (talk) 01:05, 2 November 2009 (UTC)

I wouldn't so much call him a leader but rather an "akicita"--a warrior or soldier who defended the group and became one the them.

I saw some similarities with "Little Big Man" in that the protaginist finds self-respect in a traditonal culture which is contrasted with the then current North American culture. In both movies, American culture is depicted as a culture based upon crass capitalism with Tom Cruise hustling rifles at a carnival and Dustin Hoffman hustling patent medicine. Both men lose all self respect and turn to drink, with Dustin Hoffman ending literally in the gutter. Only when the become part of tradional communities do they regain their self-respect and sense of purpose. Both movies also depict the massacre of Indians by the 7th cavalry at Wounded Knee - which was the important background for understanding Tom Cruise's loss of self-respect and pivotal in Dustin Hofffman's life also. In both cases the protagnoists seek and achieve revenge for the massacre in the final battle scenes of the movies. One might also look at some of the similarities of Native American culture and traditional Japanese culture where the values are depicted as different from Western culture but also in some important ways, of a higher order. (talk) —Preceding undated comment added 17:41, 20 May 2013 (UTC)

Minor Change[edit]

I changed the line from "Bagley flees the field", to "Bagley withdraws from the field". I wouldn't exactly call it fleeing. He was in the right, and Algren was in the wrong, as the US Servicemembers were there strictly as noncombatants advising the army. However, as the Japanese General himself refused to fight, Captain Algren and Sergeant Gant, through a sense of loyalty to "their men", remained behind to fight, in direct defiance of US and international law. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talk) 15:20, 21 April 2007 (UTC).

Nakamura Shichinosuke double-casted?[edit]

I'm probably terribly wrong, but it a soldier in the Emperor's army convincingly seems to played by Shichinosuke Nakamura. I couldn't find any reference to such in IMDB, much less in the ending texts. The soldier is visible right after the leaders of the two sides have met before the final battle, when the camera goes through imperial troops. The time on DVD is 01:49:58. Would someone know a way to be certain whether he is Shichinosuke Nakamura or not?

US Critical Reception is Misrepresented[edit]

Contrary to the article's assertions, Last Samurai actually received quite favorable reviews in the US. The film holds a 66% "fresh" rating at critic aggregator Rottentomatoes ( and a 7.8 rating at ( It was also hailed by several critics as "one of 2003's best [films]." The article should be amended to reflect that the film actually received, on the whole, a positive reception from US critics. -PassionoftheDamon 08:18, 14 November 2007 (UTC)

Algren's reference to Battle of Thermopylae[edit]

It's very important to the film and it has to be included in the "plot" section. Capt Algren pointed out that there is a chance, just like the Spartans, can win against overwhelming odds. The tactics & the use of terrain were also demonstrated in the movie. TheAsianGURU (talk) 19:54, 24 January 2008 (UTC)

Promo Picture[edit]

Around the edges of the promotional picture are the kanji for "Bushidō, "武士道". I don't see a way to incorporate this into it, but I think it would be helpful for anyone who didn't know what the kanji means. モーモー?talk to moo 00:40, 2 January 2009 (UTC)


In the "cast" section of the article, we can find the following:

"Shun Sugata as Nakao, a tall judo and naginata-skilled samurai"

There seems to be a problem with it, namely the "judo" part. As Kano Jigoro, at the time the movie takes place, hadn't even begun his jujutsu training, to say nothing of creating his own martial art of judo, Nakao obviously can't be skilled in judo. I didn't edit the article, however, because I'm not sure if it's an error in the article or merely an anachronism in the movie itself. If the former is the case, it should be corrected. If the latter - I think it would make sense to add a comment that Nakao's being skilled in judo is an anachronism. Oddtail (talk) 20:15, 29 March 2009 (UTC)

Dead Link[edit]


This link goes to a suddenlink search engine so it can not be used. If someone can find the actual source, then they can put it in.Thesniperremix (talk) 08:55, 18 September 2009 (UTC)

Problems with Reception section[edit]

I've made some changes. Using a source describing receipts to show the Japanese public really loved it isn't proper - receipts prove receipt figures. Also it's really bad to say that American reviews were less positive than Japanese ones (again uncited) when the comment on Japanese reviews is that they were generally positive. So US reviews were less than generally positive. No, that doesn't work. Start again.

Metacritic and RT scores can't be disputed and are just stated as fact.

It still has some problems including the generalisation that critical reception in Japan was "generally positive" - I think we need a source for that and then to attribute the comment to that source. Otherwise that comment should be pulled too. John Smith's (talk) 22:40, 16 December 2009 (UTC)


I'm writing a report on The Last Samurai that depicts the accuracies and the inaccuracies of the movie compared to the actual Meiji era. If someone could sort out a page showing those, I'd be glad to help them with anything they need here at Wikipedia. Thanks. Qotsa37 (talk) 12:32, 30 April 2010 (UTC)

Katsumoto is not the daimyo[edit]

"Before they can be adequately trained, Algren is ordered to take them into battle against a group of samurai rebels led by samurai daimyo Katsumoto (Ken Watanabe) to protect Omura's investment in a new railway." Fixed that. Katsumoto is leading the samurai rebellion but he's not the daimyo. The daimyo (master) of those samurai is the Emperor of Japan (the Mikado).Kuky88 (talk) 09:41, 15 May 2010 (UTC)

Military modernization and Western involvement section = nonsense[edit]

'Although Commodore Perry is credited with opening Japan to foreign contacts in 1854,', you are kidding me right? The English & Portuguese had opened up Japan to Western involvement back in the 1600's!

Far too US-centric and deliberately hiding the historical facts.Twobells (talk) 10:59, 22 June 2011 (UTC)

Indented line

As of the 1980's, american school books usually spoke of Commodore Perry in regards to 'gunboat diplomacy' in which the USA apparently sent diplomatic and commercial offers to the japanese, backed up by the looming threat of american warships. Text books make it sound like the other nations had not gotten very far with the japanese in regards to getting them to open their ports to forgieners. It was recounted in one I read how during a party in which a small steam powered train was put on demonstration to impress the japanese one of the japanese diplomats became so overwhelmed with either joy or amazement at the device that he started hugging all over one of the america officials. So it seems we credit Commodore Perry for truely getting the japanese to open up to trade agreements and the like with a combination of intimidation and bribery of a sort. If that holds true or not currrently in american school books I am uncertain. - 2s1m — Preceding unsigned comment added by Two Suns One Moon (talkcontribs) 19:27, 9 August 2011 (UTC)

The film contains indeed historic errors. The fire arms were known to the Japanese since the the 16th century. The first europeans to arrive in Japan, the Portuguese, introduced fire arms which were used by local warlords to defeat their regional enemies. Japan became unified and the so called Japanese middle age ended. The following centuries were the period of Japanese isolation, in which only the Dutch and the Chinese were allowed to have a trading post in Japan. The isolation period ended in the 19th century by American threat with gunboats. It's in the 19th century that saw American involvement in Japan, but the fire weapons were already known and used. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 13:23, 20 January 2015 (UTC)

Plot rewrite[edit]

I would like to know why User:TheOldJacobite keeps reverting my rewrite of this article's plot summary. He reverted my first revision due to length. After I cut the summary down to 700 words, he reverted it for the second time citing that it was a "completely unnecessary" change. Another user undid his revision, and he has now reverted it for the third time, stating "No attempt was even made to justify that much longer and overlinked version." I am relatively new to Wikipedia and unfamiliar with the intricacies of the policies, so I would like to ask whether this user's reversions are justified, or whether my revision is violating some sort of policy. --Guest206125 (talk) 20:26, 20 November 2013 (UTC)

WP:FILMPLOT says that film plot summaries should be 400-700 words long, and longer entries are only justified if the film itself is particularly long or complex. That is not the case here. I trimmed the plot to an acceptable length and was reverted with no explanation. You should also read the entry at WP:OVERLINKING. ---The Old JacobiteThe '45 20:36, 20 November 2013 (UTC)
My summary is 700 words, which is within WP:FILMPLOT's stated limit. Your summary of the plot has numerous issues with prose, and gives attention to elements that are not especially critical to the film's story, such as the ninja attack, the characters of Simon Graham and Zebulon Gant, and Nobutada's death. Also, it barely touches on Algren's initial captivity in the village and the way in which his adoption of the way of the samurai allowed him to heal his emotional pain, which is important for understanding why he chooses to ally with the samurai in the film's climax. I feel that my revision addresses these issues and describes the elements that are the most important. It is assuredly not perfect, but I feel that it's a better foundation. Too, with regards to WP:OVERLINKING, please answer me two questions: Considering that my revision has what seems to be a small number of wikilinks, several of which are to the articles of the major characters' actors, how is it in violation of the policy? And if my revision does violate the policy on links, why is it better to revert it entirely rather than to edit it and change wikilinks as necessary? --Guest206125 (talk) 20:55, 20 November 2013 (UTC)
Your version was too long. The 700 word limit is designed, as I already said, for longer or more complicated films, which does not apply here. The summary should mention all the characters, but there need not be links to the actors because we already have those in the cast section. The summary should discuss, in brief, the major events of the film, without commentary or discussion of motives, and without excess detail. ---The Old JacobiteThe '45 22:25, 20 November 2013 (UTC)
The existing summary is, really, not very good, and Guest's summary is much better to read. I'm not sure why there seems to be a number of random excuses thrown out to avoid using some or all of their content. Wikipedia is about collaboration, so damn well collaborate. Nick (talk) 23:50, 20 November 2013 (UTC)
What "random excuses" are you referring to? He has not addressed any of the substantive criticisms I have made, which are based on policy. If there are factual errors, they can be fixed without dramatically expanding the length of the article or introducing unnecessary links. ---The Old JacobiteThe '45 02:06, 27 November 2013 (UTC)
Seriously? "Dramatically expanding?" Your version is 681 words and mine is 700. How does that constitute a dramatic expansion? And for the second time, how does an alleged problem with formatting constitute a valid reason to revert the entire content of my edit? I suggest you address my points. --Guest206125 (talk) 07:14, 27 November 2013 (UTC)
Could I get you two to write something together on the talk page here, agree to it and then one of you stick it into the article ? Quoting policy about length, or overlinking, when the major difference is the actual text isn't an acceptable reason for rollbacking edits. I would suggest if you think 700 words is too long and you want the plot summary reduced to 681 words, you edit Guest's text by 19 words, likewise if you think it's overlinked, I suggest you remove excess links. Reverting without answering questions here is absolutely out of order and it will get you blocked. This is a collaborative project, as I said before, bloody well collaborate. Nick (talk) 11:44, 27 November 2013 (UTC)
Well, if that's all he has to say on the subject, then I'm shortly going to resubmit my version with a few minor changes to links and such. --Guest206125 (talk) 19:41, 29 November 2013 (UTC)
I am happy with the current revision of the article. I apologize for my testiness. ---The Old JacobiteThe '45 01:42, 30 November 2013 (UTC)

No mention of assanation attempt?[edit]

The horde of men Omura sent, that night time ambush during the NOH performance, is not mentioned here..... — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 09:09, 22 April 2014 (UTC)

Requested move 18 August 2016[edit]

The following is a closed discussion of a requested move. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section on the talk page. Editors desiring to contest the closing decision should consider a move review. No further edits should be made to this section.

The result of the move request was: Not moved. No such user (talk) 08:51, 25 August 2016 (UTC)

The Last SamuraiThe Last Samurai (film) – I'll go with whatever the consensus is, but I do want to put forward the argument that there is no primary topic for the term "The Last Samurai," and therefore a disambiguation page is appropriate. The book "The Last Samurai," which shares a title with but otherwise bears no relationship with the movie released three years later, is considered a masterpiece of contemporary literary fiction.[1][2][3][4] I do wonder if this might be a case of a topic being important in film being granted a prejudiced precedence from the Wikipedia community vs. a topic being important in literature. I don't mean to suggest that the book should take its place as the primary topic, but simply that the threshold "there are two topics to which a given title might refer" applies in this case. What does everyone think? Countercouper (talk) 15:21, 18 August 2016 (UTC)

  • Oppose: You make a fair argument for the move. However, in the threshold situation you refer to "...two topics to which a given title...", precedence is usually lent to common usage, per WP:PRIMARYTOPIC. The film would seem to be much more likely to be what people are searching for when searching 'The Last Samurai', thus the current scenario with the film taking precedence (with the hat notes) would make sense to me. I don't deny that the novel is a masterpiece, certainly, but we're going for common usage here, for better or worse. To quote WP:PRIMARYTOPIC: "A topic is primary for a term, with respect to usage, if it is highly likely—much more likely than any other topic, and more likely than all the other topics combined—to be the topic sought when a reader searches for that term." Anyway, that's my two cents. Waggie (talk) 17:06, 18 August 2016 (UTC)
  • Oppose: the film is clearly the WP:PRIMARYTOPIC, looking a page views across the last ninety days the Cruise film recieves on average 1893 views a day, the novel only 89 a day, and the Japanese film only 84 a day. Ebonelm (talk) 17:30, 18 August 2016 (UTC)
  • Oppose per Ebonelm, figures show this to be the primary. Randy Kryn 17:42, 18 August 2016 (UTC)
  • Reluctant Oppose – I would feel that the novel and earlier movie deserve equal treatment in a dab page but my feelings got crushed by raw numbers. When a topic gets orders-of-magnitude more traffic than another, it cannot be denied WP:PTOPIC status. New York, on the other hand… Face-smile.svgJFG talk 00:45, 22 August 2016 (UTC)

The above discussion is preserved as an archive of a requested move. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section on this talk page or in a move review. No further edits should be made to this section.

White savior narrative in film[edit]

IP editor (talk · contribs · WHOIS) persists in removing the link white savior narrative in film from the "See also" section as seen here. This is in spite of reliable sources identifying the white savior trope in The Last Samurai, including Professor Hughey's sociological book The White Savior Film. Per WP:SEEALSO, the "See also" section is for linking to tangentially related topics, and the relationship of this film to the trope is clearly evidenced. It should not be removed because someone does not like it. Erik (talk | contrib) (ping me) 19:18, 1 September 2016 (UTC)

It is not about not liking it, it is not about simply removing links willy nilly as you try to make it look so. The article that 'tangentially' 'relate' to this film not only is controversial but fails to even hide it's partiality, it's deliberately pushing an agenda in a place which is supposed to be an encyclopedia, not a political platform.
First of all, you quote this professor Hughey's book as an academic consensus, as if it is a widely and universally recognized fact while it isn't. Also, the only other link to 'prove' the 'white savior narrative' in the said article is but a The daily beast(great source , really..) article quoting the outrage of some japanese americans over the film. It even tries to include the natives's 'shock' when this mythical outrage can be proved inexistant by just looking at the lack of japanese articles on the specific subject and by a quick google search ( this might also help ). This is one of the reasons why the presence of this link is naught but inappropriate. Moreover and i will keep telling it, this is (again) not a political platform where you battle over whose vision of the world is right. I have been looking and you seem to vehemently shove this article down the throat of any film that spark 'debate' (mostly in the american political sphere but it leaks worldwide thanks to the web). You have included films such as The Matrix, Avatar, Stargate on the sole basis that the progressive side of america was outraged that whites are doing.. anything. This racial debate is, once again, centered around america. It is apart of the american political sphere and while i perfectly understand you've chosen a side in this debate it does not belong in wikipedia. An encyclopedia is a place of neutrality and i shouldn't remind you of the delicacy of keeping said neutrality intact when politics are involved, this controversial article isn't one bit neutral(the talk section in it is boiling like the balkans before WW1).
So, to resume. I do not usually edit stuff. I do it mostly when i can afford to. This internal link is like a guy yelling about government control at parties. Most peoples don't care and don't want to be a part of it. Please keep your crusade and your narrative in the article you cherish so much, this isn't the place. - (talk · contribs · WHOIS)
A lot of people remove these links "willy nilly" because they're uncomfortable with the subject matter and do not want to see it mentioned anywhere. You are also inappropriately dismissing Hughey's work; in regard to Hughey and The Matrix on white savior narrative in film, the admin Drmies's closing decision was that "monographs and articles from university presses are almost by definition highly authoritative". Furthermore, Hughey's book has been well-reviewed by those in his field. His approach is academic and empirical. Also, I have been making lists and was adding links to them in "See also" sections before this topic. Here is my suggestion, to add the text that is seen at Stargate (film)#See also to put the film in context of the trope. Erik (talk | contrib) (ping me) 12:09, 23 September 2016 (UTC)
  • (talk · contribs · WHOIS), it's really the other way around. These "politics" aren't being pushed in the article by an individual editor if they are verified in reliable publications. One can cry "PC!" all one wants, but if the sources are good then the information is of encyclopedic value, and claiming the opposite is POV pushing--and that's beside the pretty blatant lack of WP:AGF you demonstrate. If you think this motif is unwarranted you're going to have to do more than yell "you're biased". Drmies (talk) 14:37, 23 September 2016 (UTC)
It is clear we have different views on what makes a source reliable, im sure we both have different experiences. I believe universities presses aren't a sure value on matters like this one (yale, mizzou are a good exemple). That aside, im not here to argue and i am no admin. The current modification has the merit of clarifying the subject before one click on it so let's roll with it. If anything, ill agree that this link will get deleted a lot, others already tried sooo.. (talk · contribs · WHOIS)

In general, the "See also" section is meant to include links to articles not linked to in the rest of the article that would be linked if the article were brought up to GA status. In other words, if a reasonably detailed discussion of the film would mention the "white savior narrative", a link might be appropriate.

In cases where the connection is not immediately obvious, an explanatory note is a good idea, such as the one Erik has been including. However, the current note can only make the connection apparent by referring to material not obvious in the article.

IMO, the best way to resolve the current situation is to determine if a sourced discussion belongs in the article. If sources supporting the connection are strong enough, such an addition would be an improvement. If not, the bare link in "See also" is off-topic. The question, IMO, is the strength of the source(s). Some random blogger mentions it? That's trivial. Journal articles on the sociology of film regularly cite this film as a primary example of the trope? It should definitely be here. I'm guessing this one is somewhere in between those extremes. - SummerPhDv2.0 14:34, 23 September 2016 (UTC)

I don't believe this is a strong example of the trope. TV Tropes lists it as an example of the "Mighty Whitey" trope, which is a supertrope of (contains) the white savior trope, but even under that classification, it only states, "The Last Samurai has many elements of this." The full text is here, under Film examples. If you'll notice, that article also lists Avatar and Dances With Wolves as examples of the trope. However, only Avatar is a good example of the "white savior" subtrope of the "Mighty Whitey" supertrope. As you can see, of these three movies, only Avatar gives the white hero enough power to become the savior of the traditional peoples; he becomes their best fighter and leads them to a victory over the colonial invaders. The article goes on to say that Dances With Wolves, which you'll note as being cited on this talk page as having many similarities to this film, is a "weak example at best," due mostly to the fact that Kevin Costner's character "acquits himself well in battle, but not significantly better than his fellow tribesmen, and he was already a professional soldier before joining them." In The Last Samurai, Algren does not become a godlike warrior like the white savior Sully in Avatar. He is not even respected by all of the samurai, and he only once "defeats" his trainer, but that should actually be considered a tie. Algren does act as an advisor-general alongside Katsumoto in the battle, but that is not because he is the savior of the samurai, it is because he is familiar with the colonial army's tactics and weaponry, from his history as a man who helped train them. If you'll remember, the samurai do not win their battle; they lose. Algren kills his personal nemesis, Colonel Bagley, but he does not kill the General, Omura. For these reasons, The Last Samurai is not a great example of the white savior trope. Though elements of the "Mighty Whitey" supertrope are present, including 1) a white person "going native" after living with them, 2) the native General's daughter falling in love with the white person, and 3) the white person fighting alongside the natives against a foreign invader, The Last Samurai does not include the key elements of the white savior trope, which are 1) that the white person becomes the best fighter among the natives, marking him as The Great White Hope (because without him, they would definitely lose), and 2) that the natives win their battle against the invaders. Satou4 (talk) 13:24, 31 December 2017 (UTC)

Editors need to follow sources when discussing content and not follow their own opinions. Yours and mine are not applicable here. The book The White Savior Film includes The Last Samurai and explains the reason for doing so. We should leverage that. Erik (talk | contrib) (ping me) 15:54, 31 December 2017 (UTC)
Ah, I see. So my opinion must be published in a book for it to have value. Well then, I suppose I'll start typing up an ebook and publish it on Amazon. Otherwise, I'm just another fool who won't listen to the opinions of others. Satou4 (talk) 10:26, 1 January 2018 (UTC)