武士の一分 (Bushi no ichibun) or Love and Honor completes the samurai trilogy of the director Yoji Yamada, following The Twilight Samurai in 2002 and The Hidden Blade in 2004. The movie is adapted from the novel with the same name written by Shuuhei Fujisawa. Love and Honor tells a story of a samurai serving as a poison taster in the castle. One day, he tastes a poisonous food and becomes blind. Fortunately, he could still hold his rank and gets annual income thanks to the generosity of the lord he serves. However, it comes with a price to pay as he somehow lost his beloved wife and thus his honor. What would he do to redeem his love and honor?
The movie tells a story in Japanese traditional way, simple and beautiful. Takuya Kimura, a familiar face in Japan for his career as a member of pop group SMAP, perfectly portrays the role of a blind samurai. He earns himself the Japanese Academy Award nomination, but later declines the nomination because he doesn’t want to compete with another Japanese big name actors. Another good actor that I couldn’t fail to mention is Takashi Sasano who portrays the role of a loyal servant of the blind samurai. He could well balance the comical elements and dramatic elements in the movie. It’s no wonder he won the Best Supporting Actor Award at the Japanese Academy. The film also won the Best Lighting and Best Cinematography, making it 3 wins out of 12 nominations.
All in all, the movie tells different story of samurai in stylish Japanese way. The story is simple yet powerful.
4 Stars out of 5 – recommend to Japanese drama movie lovers, you would definitely love the film.