The Last Samurai
The Last Samurai-Scene 11 – 17
The scene started off with a man by the name of Capt. Nathan Algren (Tom Cruise) laying on a floor wearing dirty garments and yelling out the name of a man that he had just killed before his capture. The Captain was captured during a fight between the Americans and the Japanese, but instead of killing the American, the Samurai leader Katsumoto (Ken Wantanobe) wanted him alive so that he could learn from his enemy’s ways. The Captain was staying in Katsumoto’s ex brother-in-law’s house with the now widowed young lady and her children. The lady was very un-accepting of the war hero at first, because he was the man who killed her husband, but as the story grew, she, along with the rest of her Buddhist tribe grew to like the American.
As the American got stronger and was given more rights by their tribe, he started to learn the art of Japanese language and symbolism. While he was learning the semantics of another culture, I noticed that he had completely forgotten his ways as an American soldier and instead, took on the way of the Samurai. As the ways of the Samurai embodied him, he grew emotionally and spiritually enough to the point of complete change of being. He was now willing to fight for the Samurais, and although they did not have all the weapons that the Americans possessed, they did have much more structure of discipline and self control.
The clip ends with the American apologizing to the young lady for the slaying of her husband. She accepts, and then tells him in Japanese that they ware each doing their duty, and that it was only karma that took her husband. I would have to say that it was the semantics of this Japanese culture that he was learning that intrigued me the most about this film. That is why I chose to tie in the concept of semantics with this movie clip, because its definition is very culturally-bound in a way that combines the study of words and meaning with the ways of the Japanese.
Semantics ties into this scene from its beginning when the Captain first gets a glance of how these natives speak, all the way though to the ways that they write and prepare for war. The Japanese had a very different way of structuring words than the American had ever seen, but as he started to take part in their teachings, the Captain started to be able to write and even speak in their native language. It showed briefly how the American learned to write in Japanese, but I think that the Captain’s role could have explained better on how he came to know their ways of writing than was displayed. As far as language is concerned, I think that the director did an excellent job portraying how the American war hero came to recognize and speak Japanese. Showing numerous scenes portraying how he caught on speech wise to what they were saying based on the different scenarios he was placed in.
In conclusion, I would have to say this was one of the best scenes in the movie, because it portrays how a young American war captive that is thrown into a culture much different than his own, quickly learns to appreciate their ways and even starts to take part in the training and cultural commitment they are accustomed to.