Masahiro Shinoda

Samurai Spy

Samurai Spy

Years of warfare end in a Japan unified under the Tokugawa shogunate, and samurai spy Sasuke Sarutobi, tired of conflict, longs for peace. When a high-ranking spy named Tatewaki Koriyama defects from the shogun to a rival clan, however, the world of swordsmen is thrown into turmoil. After Sasuke is unwittingly drawn into the conflict, he tracks Tatewaki, while a mysterious, white-hooded figure seems to hunt them both. By tale’s end, no one is who they seemed to be, and the truth is far more personal than anyone suspected. Director Masahiro Shinoda’s Samurai Spy, filled with clan intrigue, ninja spies, and multiple double crosses, marks a bold stylistic departure from swordplay film convention.

Film Info

  • Masahiro Shinoda
  • Japan
  • 1965
  • 100 minutes
  • Black & White
  • 2.35:1
  • Japanese
  • Spine #312

Special Features

  • New, restored high-definition digital transfer
  • Exclusive new video 16-minute interview with director Masahiro Shinoda
  • Gallery of key characters in the film
  • New essay by film scholar Alain Silver
  • New and improved English subtitle translation

New cover by Eric Skillman

Purchase Options

Collector's Sets

Collector's Set

Rebel Samurai: Sixties Swordplay Classics

Rebel Samurai: Sixties Swordplay Classics

DVD Box Set

4 Discs

$79.96

Special Features

  • New, restored high-definition digital transfer
  • Exclusive new video 16-minute interview with director Masahiro Shinoda
  • Gallery of key characters in the film
  • New essay by film scholar Alain Silver
  • New and improved English subtitle translation

New cover by Eric Skillman

Samurai Spy
Cast
Koji Takahashi
Sasuke Sarutobi, spy
Shintaro Ishihara
Saizo Kirigakure, spy
Eitaro Ozawa
Shigeyuki Koremura, leader of spies
Kei Sato
Takanosuke Nojiri, lieutenant
Mutsuhiro Toura
Mitsuaki Inamura, spy
Tetsuro Tanba
Sakon Takatani, lieutenant
Eiji Okada
Tatewaki Koriyama, lieutenant
Seiji Miyaguchi
Jinnai–Kazutaka Horikawa, clan minister
Minoru Hodaka
Genba Kuni, magistrate
Misako Watanabe
Okiwa, dancer and spy
Yasunori Irikawa
Yashiro Kobayashi, Christian samurai
Jitsuko Yoshimura
Omiyo, orphan in Joshinji Temple
Jun Hamamura
Joshinji Temple priest
Credits
Director
Masahiro Shinoda
Screenplay
Yoshiyuki Fukuda
Based on the novel by
Koji Nakada
Cinematography
Masao Kosugi
Art direction
Junichi Osumi
Music
Toru Takemitsu

From The Current

Samurai Spy:
The Thin Line Between Truth and Lies

In the 1950s, the samurai film evolved definitively from the early narrative and visual conventions that had restrained it. Although they often worked outside the genre, Akira Kurosawa and Masaki Kobayashi were the principals in a first wave of direc…

By Alain Silver


Explore

Toru Takemitsu

Composer

Japanese composer Toru Takemitsu, known to Western listeners predominantly as the man behind the music in such iconic movies as Woman in the Dunes and Ran, was an acclaimed classical composer and music theorist well before he became one of his country’s most reliably brilliant scorers of film. A noted musical avant-gardist in midcentury Japanese intellectual circles, as influenced by jazz as by Debussy, Takemitsu first turned to feature film composing when he was commissioned (along with Masaru Sato) to write the hip, twangy-guitar-inflected score for the Ko Nakahira youth flick Crazed Fruit (1956). It wasn’t until a few years later, though, when his friend Hiroshi Teshigahara asked him to score Teshigahara’s short debut film, José Torres (1959), that Takemitsu’s career in movies truly began. The deeply sympathetic working relationship that they discovered on that project resulted in Takemitsu’s providing the haunting, instrumentally jarring themes for virtually all of Teshigahara’s subsequent output (“He was always more than a composer,” Teshigahara would recall. “He involved himself so thoroughly in every aspect of a film—script, casting, location shooting, editing, and total sound design”). Takemitsu became a go-to guy for many other major Japanese filmmakers as well, including Masaki Kobayashi (Harakiri), Akira Kurosawa (Dodes’ka-den), and Nagisa Oshima (Empire of Passion); his themes remain some of the most beautiful, spectral music ever written for the screen.