Kenji Misumi

The Tale of Zatoichi

The Tale of Zatoichi

The epic saga of Zatoichi begins. As tensions mount between rival yakuza clans, one boss hires a formidable but ailing ronin as his clan’s muscle—while the other employs a humble, moral blind masseur named Ichi. With its lightning-fast swordplay, sleight-of-hand dice games, and codes of honor upheld and betrayed, this first chapter sets the stage for all the Zatoichi adventures to come. And Shintaro Katsu brings author Kan Shimozawa’s blind swordsman to vivid life, making the character excitingly, indelibly his own.

Film Info

  • Japan
  • 1962
  • 96 minutes
  • Black & White
  • 2.35:1
  • Japanese

Available In

Collector's Set

Zatoichi: The Blind Swordsman

Zatoichi: The Blind Swordsman

Blu-ray Box Set

9 Discs


The Tale of Zatoichi
Shintaro Katsu
Masayo Banri
Ryuzo Shimada
Boss Shigezo of Sasagawa
Gen Mitamura
Hanji of Matsugishi
Shigeru Amachi
Miki Hirate
Chitose Maki
Ikuko Mori
Michiro Minami
Eijiro Yanagi
Boss Sukegoro of Iioka
Toshio Chiba
Kenji Misumi
Produced by
Ikuo Kubodera
Original story by
Kan Shimozawa
Minoru Inuzuka
Chikashi Makiura
Edited by
Kanji Suganuma
Original music
Akira Ifukube
Art direction
Akira Naito

From The Current

Tony Rayns on the Meaning of Zatoichi
Tony Rayns on the Meaning of Zatoichi

Asian-cinema expert Tony Rayns unpacks the significance of Zatoichi’s name and the strict social hierarchy that the character so gleefully upends.

On the Road with Zatoichi
On the Road with Zatoichi

He massages, he gambles, and he’s great with a blade. Who is this blind swordsman, anyway?

By Geoffrey O'Brien