Kagemusha - The warrior's shadow

from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
German title Kagemusha - The warrior's shadow
Original title 影武者
Country of production Japan
original language Japanese
Publishing year 1980
length Japanese: 179 minutes
International: 159 (152 PAL) minutes
Age rating FSK from 12
Director Akira Kurosawa
script Masato Ide
Akira Kurosawa
production Akira Kurosawa
music Shinichirō Ikebe
camera Takao Saitō
cut Don Guidice
Thomas Stanford
Fredric Steinkamp

Kagemusha - The Warrior's Shadow ( Japanese 影武者 Kagemusha , literally: Shadow Warrior ) is a historical film by Akira Kurosawa . It is the 26th film and also the director's third color film. It was shot in Japan in 1980 and produced for the western market by George Lucas and Francis Ford Coppola .


Japan, 1572: There is a bitter blood feud between warring clans that have united in the two leagues around the cities of Kamakura and Kyōto . The army of the Takeda clan seems invincible, but the weakened Tokugawa clan uses its relationships with Portuguese missionaries to gradually equip its army with muskets , so that the Takeda are pressed for time.

The Shingen Takeda army besieged the Noda Fortress and managed to cut off the water supply. But someone in the fortress plays the flute every evening, and all parties to the fight pause to listen.

Prince Shingen is very superstitious . Months ago he pardoned an old pickpocket who was sentenced to death, out of fascination that this man is his perfect doppelganger, a "Kagemusha". His oracle tells him that he or this man should have died. The thief's death would have been legally defensible, but now he can no longer kill him; he must take advantage of this man, and he must win the war quickly, if he is to win at all.

Shingen Takeda goes to the castle and listens to the playing of the flute in order to infer the psyche of the trapped. He says: "If you still feel like playing the flute on the coming full moon night, the castle will hold, if not, it will fall." But on the full moon night he is a good target and is shot down, his doppelganger has to take his position clothe, since the samurai owe allegiance only to the patriarch himself. Prince Shingen dies of his injuries and, as ordered by him, his body is secretly sunk in Lake Biwa , and as requested, neither his own soldiers nor the enemy notice his death.

Initially intimidated by the strict morals in the house of a clan chief, Kagemusha develops into a great mime whom the concubines and grandsons believe to be real. He is generally kept away from appearances where he has to talk to strangers; you can't avoid it, he says in the style of the old general. “The mountain doesn't move.” But after a while the advisors make a serious mistake when they grant him too much autonomy: Kagemusha desperately wants to ride old Shingen Takeda's horse , but the animal shies away and throws it off in front of everyone. You can generally tell that he's missing a Shingen scar, he's been blown. Shingen's son Katsuyori, who hates him, immediately disposes of him and takes over the leadership of the clan and the alliance. He wants to prove himself and changes the defensive strategy in attack.

In the meantime, the Tokugawa allies have been arming themselves vigorously; this is shown in the battle of Nagashino , which actually played out similarly in 1575. When the Takeda clan attacks, he is completely shot down by the 3,000 musketeers of the Nobunaga-Tokugawa Alliance. When the battle is lost and the field is littered with corpses, the neglected Kagemusha jumps out of the embankment. He grabs the weapon and banner of a dead samurai and storms all alone towards the palisades of the defenders. Shots hit him, he wades through the river covered in blood between the corpses, when he saw the prince's flag swimming. He falls dying into the blood-red water. Drums pound a funeral march as the Takeda banner washes away.


"In a broad, epic style, the formally overwhelming film depicts the decline of an outdated, morally questionable social system - radical in its criticism of the system and the demand for a nonviolent society determined by humanity."

“The epic power of“ Kagemusha ”, the alternation of static compositions and the dynamics of the battle scenes can hardly be adequately described after the first inspection. "Kagemusha" is cinema in perfection: a cinema, of course, that will soon no longer exist because only a few have mastered it. "

- Hans-Christoph Blumenberg in Die Zeit on May 23, 1980


The film had a budget of $ 6 million. The box office income in Japan was around 4 million US dollars.


Kagemusha won the Golden Palm of the Film Festival of Cannes 1980 . He was also nominated for two Oscars (Best Equipment and Best Foreign Language Film).

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. Kagemusha - The Warrior's Shadow. In: Lexicon of International Films . Film service , accessed March 2, 2017 .Template: LdiF / Maintenance / Access used 
  2. ^ The time of May 23, 1980
  3. ^ Kagemusha (1980) - Box Office Mojo. Accessed July 31, 2019 .