Lost honor leads to imperialism


Harsimran Makkad

The Last Samurai reveals various aspects of Japanese culture and beliefs. The story was based loosely on historically accurate people and conflicts. “I learned a lot about Japan and some of the many struggles that happened there,” freshman Shruti Mishra said.

“They say Japan was made by a sword. The old gods dipped a coral blade into the ocean; and when they pulled it out, four perfect drops fell back into the sea, and those drops became the islands of Japan.

“I say, Japan was made by a handful of brave men. Warriors willing to give their lives for what seems to have become a forgotten word: honor.”

These words form the first lines of the famous movie The Last Samurai, starring actor Thomas “Tom” Cruise. The film serves as an introduction for the upcoming unit of Imperialism in all Accelerated World History classes.

“We were a little ahead of schedule, so we thought that this would be a wonderful way to give everyone a break and let them relax before heading into exams,” teacher Mr. Andrew Ovington said.


Because the movie is rated R for violence, students received permission slips to be signed and returned by Dec. 18.

The Last Samurai is almost three hours long, so we are watching it over a period of four days – the two days right before Winter Break and the two days when we get back,” freshman Adam Meller said.

The film takes place in nineteenth century Japan, where the monarchy had decided to replace the samurai that had defended the nation for centuries with a more modern military.

They hired United States Civil War veteran Nathan Algren to train an army to wipe out the samurai. Later Algren is captured by the samurai and taught their history and way of life.

“I especially like the fighting scenes where they decapitate their foes. My favorite scene is when they overkill a samurai and shoot him approximately 26 times while he is charging at them with two swords in hand,” Meller said.