Kagemusha - L'ombra del guerriero


1 The mountain does not move

The motto of Takeda:
Fast as the wind,
quiet as the forest,
fierce as fire,
immobile like a mountain.

2 Nobunaga

Nobunaga learns of Shingen's death.
"Life is a dream, a deceptive image; it cannot last forever."

3 Signs

The spirit of the late Shingen tries with signs in the sky to prevent his son Katsuyori from advancing with the army.

4 The fall

Battle of Nagashino in 1575. The Takeda Army is shot down by 3,000 gunmen with Tanegashima-Arkebusen.

Movie Data

Title: Kagemusha – Shadow warrior
Original title: 影武者 Kagemusha
Published: 1980
Length: international version 160 min.

Director: Akira Kurosawa
Script: Masato Ide
Music: Shinichirō Ikebe
Camera: Takao Saitō
Cut: Don Guidice, Thomas Stanford, Fredric Steinkamp

Nakadai Tatsuya: Shingen / Kagemusha
Yamazaki Tsutomu: Nobukado Takeda
Kenichi Hagiwara: Katsuyori Takeda
Nezu Jinpachi: Sohachiro Tsuchiya
Otaki Hideji: Masakage Yamagata
Ryu Daisuke: Nobunaga Oda
Yui Masayuki: Ieyasu Tokugawa


In Japan's Sengoku period, Takeda Shingen, daimyō of the Takeda clan, meets with his brother Nobukado, and an unnamed thief whom the latter met by chance and spared from crucifixion due to the thief's uncanny resemblance to Shingen. The brothers then agree that he would prove useful as a double, and they decide to use the thief as a kagemusha, a doppelgänger (twin stranger).
Later, Shingen's army has besieged a castle of Tokugawa Ieyasu. One evening when Shingen visits the battlefield he is shot by a sniper who has mapped Shingen's previous movements in the camp. Mortally wounded, he orders a withdrawal and commands his generals to keep his death a secret for three years. Shingen soon dies with only a small group of witnesses. Meanwhile, Shingen's rivals Oda Nobunaga, Tokugawa Ieyasu, and Uesugi Kenshin each contemplate the consequences of Shingen's withdrawal of his army still not knowing of his death.
However, Katsuyori, the son of Shingen, is incensed by his father's decree of the three year subterfuge, which delays his inheritance and leadership of the clan.
In a fit of overconfidence, the kagemusha attempts to ride Shingen's spirited horse. When he falls off, those who rush to help him see that he does not have their lord's battle scars, and he is revealed as an impostor. The thief is driven out of the palace in disgrace, and Katsuyori takes over the clan. Oda and Tokugawa, sensing weakness in the Takeda clan leadership, are emboldened to begin a full-scale offensive into the Takeda homeland.
Now in full control of the Takeda army, Katsuyori leads the counter-offensive against Nobunaga, resulting in the Battle of Nagashino. Although courageous in their assault, wave after wave of attacking Takeda cavalry and infantry are cut down by volleys of Tanegashima fire from Oda troops deployed behind wooden stockades, effectively eliminating the Takeda army.