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Zatoichi in Desperation (1972)

Shin Zatôichi monogatari: Oreta tsue (original title)
Not Rated | | Action, Adventure, Drama | 21 February 1973 (USA)
After accidentally causing an old lady's death, Zatoichi seeks out her daughter to atone for the tragedy, consequently getting into all sorts of trouble.


Shintarô Katsu


Minoru Inuzuka, Kan Shimozawa (story)


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On the road, Zatoichi meets a dying pregnant woman and delivers the child moments before she passes. Honor bound, he sets out to find the next-of-kin who he discovers have their own problems.

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Two of Japan and China's greatest heroic swordsman find themselves caught in a plot to protect a young child. But will national distrust and simple misunderstanding keep the two kindred spirits apart?

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Zatoichi meets an infamous blind leader of a gangster organization as he contends with a gloomy ronin widower.

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Zatoichi tries to unrest the mob rule over a small village all while the gang leader's bodyguard is actually the Yojimbo, secretly taking the gang down from the inside. Will the two heroes realize in time that they are on the same side?

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Zatoichi runs afoul of some evil fugitives, working for a corrupt law official.

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Zatoichi is tricked by a crime gang into killing a man. Realizing his mistake, he sets out to protect the dead man's sister, who is conflicted in accepting his help.

Director: Kenji Misumi
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In a town where debt-ridden peasants are being ruthlessly exploited, Zatoichi is forced to take sides between a cruel yakuza boss and his seemingly altruistic rival.

Director: Satsuo Yamamoto
Stars: Shintarô Katsu, Rentarô Mikuni, Kô Nishimura
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After an artist is threatened by the yakuza into creating valuable but highly illegal pornography, the law aims to execute him. Zatoichi, having been honor bound to protect the man and his family, must now run against the law.

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Zatoichi, while fighting off the usual group of gangsters, meets the apprentice of the swordsman who created his blade, who relays bad news about the sword.

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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

Promising to make a delivery for a dying man, the blind swordsman Zatoichi comes across the usual crime gangs but also meets a blind monk who brings into question his use of violence.

Director: Tokuzô Tanaka
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Zatoichi's trek through 88 temples to atone for his violent past is interrupted as he stumbles into a village terrorized by a violent yakuza boss.

Director: Kazuo Ikehiro
Stars: Shintarô Katsu, Michiyo Yasuda, Kunie Tanaka


Cast overview, first billed only:
Shintarô Katsu ... Zatoichi
Kiwako Taichi ... Nishikigi
Kyoko Yoshizawa Kyoko Yoshizawa ... Kaede
Yasuhiro Koume Yasuhiro Koume ... Shinkichi
Jôji Takagi Jôji Takagi ... Tokiwa Kamijo
Asao Koike Asao Koike ... Boss Mangoro Kagiya
Katsuo Nakamura ... Ushimatsu
Masumi Harukawa ... Ohama
Naoe Fushimi Naoe Fushimi ... Old Woman
Yoshihiko Aoyama ... Tokujiro Awa
Hideji Ôtaki Hideji Ôtaki ... Sukegoro Iioka
Jûkei Fujioka Jûkei Fujioka ... Inokichi
Teruo Matsuyama Teruo Matsuyama ... Ihachi
Kazuko Tajima Kazuko Tajima ... Hanasato
Rokku Furukawa Rokku Furukawa


Star Shintaro Katsu sits in the director's chair for this psychedelic and unremittingly bleak entry in the Zatoichi series, which is unlike any other in its grind-house grimness. A tale of innocence corrupted by sadistic, sleazy criminality, the film is propelled by Easy Rider-esque editing and a trippy seventies funk score by Kunihiko Murai. Written by Anonymous

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Release Date:

21 February 1973 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Zatoichi in Desperation See more »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Color (Eastmancolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


Only film in the original series directed by Zatoichi himself, Shintaro Katsu. He would go on to direct one more in 1989. See more »


Follows Zatoichi and the Fugitives (1968) See more »

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User Reviews

Another entertaining entry in the long running Zatoichi series.
26 July 2004 | by InfofreakSee all my reviews

'Zatoichi In Desperation' was the 24th movie in the long running and very popular martial arts series starring Shintaro Katsu as Zatoichi the blind master swordsman and masseur. Zatoichi, for those that don't know is a ronin (a wandering samurai), very quiet and unassuming with a wry sense of humour, but an absolute killing machine when crossed! In this episode he encounters an old woman while crossing a bridge, and after a brief conversation with her, she tragically falls to her death. Upset, Zatoichi sets off to a nearby town to look for the woman's daughter Nishikigi to break the news to her. He eventually finds her working as a geisha and learns she only needs to pay a debt of fifty ryo to buy her freedom. Zatoichi becomes obsessed with raising the money and in doing so ignores the hardships experienced by the local fisherman caused by the local evil boss Mangoro. But when Mangoro kidnaps Nishikigi everything comes to a head in a brutal climax, and Zatoichi must save her and his own life. I can't claim to be any kind of Zatoichi expert, but he's a most intriguing character, and Katsu plays the role masterfully. I highly recommend 'Zatoichi In Desperation'.

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