This is the movie that introduced the legend of Zatoichi and its star Shintaro Katsu, ushering in a new era of the Japanese samurai film. Practicing his trade as a masseur in a small province, Zatoichi finds himself caught in a turf war between rival yakuza gangs. Aware of Zatoichi's reputation as an undefeatable swordsman, yakuza leader Sukejoro tries to hire him - unsuccessfully - as a mercenary. But it's too late. The other gang leader, Shigezo, hires a warrior with an equally fierce reputation to challenge Zatoichi. Thus the legend of Zatoichi begins with intensely choreographed battle scenes and an expertly crafted story.
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