This weekend I watched Kurosawa's samurai classic Kagemusha. Kagemusha is about the fall of the great Takeda clan at the end of the warring states period. The great clan warlord Takeda Shingen, who was feared even by Oda Nobunaga, was killed in 1573. But the clan generals fearing that their enemies Tokugawa Ieyasu and Oda Nobunaga would take advantage of Shingen's death and attack the Takeda, decided to hide his death. They employed a double or shadow warrior which is what Kagemusha means.
It was interesting to watch this movie since I have been reading about this time period. I just finished reading the book by Stephen Turnbull about the battle of Nagashino which was the decisive battle that essentially destroyed the Takeda clan.
In the movie, the clan fooled both Nobunaga and Ieyasu by employing the double for almost three years. However, Shingen's son, Takeda Katsuyori, was impatient and tired of living in his father's shadow. Against the will of his late father and against the advice of his generals, Katsuyori marched his army into Ieyasu's domain and attacked Nagashino castle. Iyeasu and Nobunaga came to the aid of the castle with almost 40,000 soldiers, including 3,000 soldiers with matchlock firearms. The Takeda were famous for their mounted samurai but they were no match for Nobunaga's guns. The Takeda mounted samurai were annihilated. The battle of Nagashino was a turning point in samurai history where the gun completely changed how samurai warfare would be fought.
The final scenes of the movie were pretty grotesque as the extent of the slaughter was revealed. The movie is long but pretty good, especially if you like Japanese history.