Yojimbo (1961)


Yojimbo (���, Yōjinbō?) is a 1961 jidaigeki (period drama) film directed by Akira Kurosawa. It tells the story of a ronin (masterless samurai), portrayed by Toshirō Mifune, who arrives in a small town where competing crime lords make their money from gambling. In Japanese 'Yojimbo' means 'Bodyguard'.


A ronin convinces each of two crime lords, Seibei and Ushitora, to hire him as protection from the other. The samurai, in the end pretending to be on Ushitora's side, convinces Ushitora to attack. After a series of battles in which most of the henchmen on both sides are killed but Ushitora is ultimately victorious, the survivors are then killed by the ronin. The title of the film translates as "bodyguard". The ronin calls himself Kuwabatake Sanjuro (meaning "Mulberry Field thirty-year-old"), which he seems to make up while looking at a mulberry field by the town. Thus, the character can be viewed as an early example of the "Man with No Name" (other examples of which appear in a number of earlier novels, including Dashiell Hammett's Red Harvest.).