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History Headscratchers / TheLastSamurai

28th Jun '15 6:45:04 PM lorgskyegon
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**** Also, as a point of reference, "


to:

**** Also, Military assets were ''promised'' to Japan, to be given once the treaty was signed. Colonel Bagley said it himself "As soon as a point of reference, the Emperor signs the trade agreement, he gets the whole package."

1st Jan '15 11:58:39 PM StormKensho
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*** Agreed. Algren learning the basics with a katana after building skill with a similar slashing weapon is different than, say, a medieval Knight learning the katana after years of training with an arming sword or longsword. While straight-bladed chivalrous weapons have plenty of cutting power, their true strength lies in thrusting with the tip in order to penetrate armor and perforate the opponent. Conversely, katana are more than capable of thrusting, but their strength lies in its cutting power, where its edge can peel through human flesh through a simple twist of the hips.
1st Jan '15 11:45:02 PM StormKensho
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to:

*** And, just as there are redeeming qualities of Realpolitik, there are redeeming qualities to Confucian principles. Yes, right now China is the biggest pusher of Confucian principles in government, and it's got a dismal human rights record, but there are definitely redeeming factors in the concept that Western nations, like the United States, could definitely learn from and vice versa.
10th Sep '14 11:47:15 AM darkknight109
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*** Minor correction: The unarmed art would have been jiu-jutsu, not karate. Karate was developed in the Ryukyu Kingdom (present day Okinawa) and was not brought over to mainland Japan until shortly before World War II. It was never practiced by the samurai (and, for much of Japan's history, was looked down on as thuggish due to its peasant, distinctly non-samurai origins).
6th Apr '14 5:09:46 AM matohibiki
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** It's also important to remember that aside from the hired goons (whose skill is dubious at best), and the sparring in the village, Algren does ''not'' fight any trained swordsmen in the latter half of the movie. He is fighting men with bayonets, who've had roughly as much time to train as he has with the katana. The difference is that Algren has been a soldier for ''years'', on top of his katana and karate tutoring, while the army has had... Drilling and shooting and marching practice? Even if Algren was only average with a sword, it's no small wonder that he plows through the poor-to-below-average infantry.
25th Sep '13 8:54:11 AM 84788484
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*** I think the above troper's point was that while the technique may be different it still provided Algren a common foundation on which to build his skills rather than starting from scratch.
30th Jul '13 12:27:50 PM 84788484
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*** It takes roughly six months because the movie is trying to instill a sense of urgency to the whole thing... having Algren get captured, and emerge from the valley with grey in his hair and Katsumoto's nephews having grown to adulthood might have been an accurate reflection of the time it would take him to earn Katsumoto's trust and become a badass samurai-esque warrior, but it would put a severe damper on the whole "The arms deal that Omura is negotiating that will change Japanese culture is happening ''right now''" aspect of the plot. So events happen and expertise is acquired in a very short amount of time, like many-to-most movies do. It's a common storytelling device, not prejudice.
22nd Jun '13 1:03:19 PM TomoeMichieru
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*** The katana is a two-handed weapon designed to be powered mainly by the left hand, with hip and torso rotation providing most of the power. The sabre is one-handed, and although the katana can be used one-handed, it's optimized for two.
25th Mar '13 11:58:33 PM StormKensho
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** The cavalry sabre and katana both operate on the same principle: concise, controlled cuts and slicing techniques meant to quickly incapacitate or kill your opponent. And Algren's shown to already have a decent understanding of the techniques necessary to wield a sabre proficiently, which can translate well into kenjutsu when one is able to break down their similarities.
19th Feb '13 7:06:56 AM EDP
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* From what I've seen, Bagley's plan was to send a battalion to either draw out the samurai or determinate their position (both would have worked) and then use the howitzers to massacre them from distance, with the gatlings and massed rifle fire finishing the survivors when they would launch the inevitable charge uphill (the only smart thing to do in such a situation: charge and hope the horses are fast enough to get you into melee range). Omura being an arrogant incompetent, Bagley had to send in the first battalion before the gatlings were in place and waste most of his reserve in a bayonet charge that the samurai defeated by countercharging, so when the samurai charged on horse he ''had'' to deploy his remaining infantry in a line to slow down the samurai (most of his troops were still regrouping, so he didn't have enough men for an [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Infantry_square infantry square]] that would have stopped the charge then and there), with the results we've seen: first battalion unable to disengage, both infantry battalions defeated with heavy losses, and the infantry line overran (Bagley fully expected this, it was his way to go out with a bang, possibly taking Katsumoto down before the gatlings) but earned enough time to bring the gatling guns in line and load them, at which point the samurai were massacred.
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