Love and Honor is one of the 3 movies directed by Yoji Yamada. Twilight Samurai is my favorite more contemporary samurai picture and I really enjoyed Love and Honor. The period of all three movies, ( the third one being The Hidden Blade) is that time when the samurai class is started it’s decline. The gun has arrived and the “west” is knocking at Japan’s door.
In this story, Shinnojo Mimura, played so well by Takuya Kimura, is a mere 50 koku samurai, who’s job, with 5 other samurai, is to taste the Lord’s food to screen for poisons. At 50 koku, he has one vassal, and a very devoted wife. One day he becomes ill after eating an exotic seafood, and is in coma for about 3 days. When he wakes, he is blind. His family bickers about who will have to support him, so his wife goes to government official for help. The sleaze ball had offered help, and she naively goes to him at the urging of her in-laws. He promises help in exchange for services. She is very shamed, but when the Lord’s officials tell them that has been decided that he should keep his 50 koku, she feels she must continue for the love of her husband.
Meanwhile, the man decides he is not useless, but that he should follow his dream of becoming a fencing master. His teacher works with him and he developes a sense of his opponents moves.
He begins to suspect his wife is up to something and has his vassal follow her to one of her rendezvous. It is Mimura’s right to kill her, but he banishes her from his home, in the middle of the night. After suffering his vassal’s horrid cooking and have to subject his guest to the worst cup of tea, he agrees to take in a cook. But before that he discovers that the Lord had insisted on supporting Mimura as he was very grateful that Mimura sacrificed so much to save his life. When he finds out that his wife was duped he challenges the corrupt official to a duel.
These one on one duels are always the high point for me in any samurai movie and this one does not disappoint.
I recommend this movie and give it 5 acorns.