Sanjuro (A Homeless Guru as a Teacher and Role Model) is not a film about sword play and is not a samurai drama (all of this is surface structure).

It is a film about the fatal danger democratic societies face today: the danger of being overthrown by the right wing political powers.

In “Sanjuro” Kurosawa provides a penetrating psychological analysis of the right wing-conservative politicians using many Western analogies.

Kurosawa dedicates special attention to the analysis of the psychological condition of the young people who can be easy target of conservative propaganda.

From Sanjuro, the main character of the film we can learn a lot about the values alternative to the dominant orientation on power, wealth and war.

Kurosawa is teaching both, Mifune and Nakadai, the technique of swordplay

For Sanjuro “serious – instrumental, technical thinking” is never important. He prefers to be with his humanity and develop his understanding of life.

Rightwing plotters trying to destroy the democratic leader and seize power, use information bulletin board (the main medium of public information during that time) as political propaganda – like today’s corporate media use negative ads.

Sanjuro is caught while preparing to signal “time to attack”

After the victory over the rightwing plotters and saving (with Sanjuro’s help) the democratic leader of the clan (in the center), the young samurais prepared an honorable place for Sanjuro in their clan “until the end of his life”. But Sanjuro’s place is noticeably and scandalously empty. Why is that?

Kurosawa (in the center) prepares the scene with Sanjuro (to the left) and Muroto who judges Sanjuro by analogy with himself – as person who looks for job and is ready to impress his employers and promote himself for higher rewards. Indeed, who in our times can expect that a new employee, instead of trying to please his masters is risking his life to disinterestedly help those who need help, and thinking in democratic categories of justice, fairness, decency and equality, not career- and money-making?

Posted on April 26, 2010 –   Akira Kurosawa’s “Sanjuro” (1962) – A Homeless Pauper by Moral Reasons as a Role Model* by Acting-Out Politics