I watched The Last Samurai last night and rather enjoyed it. It wasn't as stupid as I had expected. Tom Cruise, whom I have not been crazy about since he got all weird and hostile about psychology and postpartum depression, not to mention all that couch-bouncing and Katie-control, did a reasonably good job. At least there wasn't any gratuitous sex. Not that I have anything against sex, but it would've been wrong for that movie. There were many exciting and satisfying fight scenes. Of course it was a very, if not overly American movie, and almost no mention was made of the significant contributions made by other Western nations at that time. The scenery, which was was very beautiful, turned out to be mostly New Zealand!
It was very sad that the time of the Samurai had to end, but it really was necessary. It's too bad the government of that time treated them so disrespectfully. Apparently they were given tiny little pensions that they couldn't live on, and those pensions were later commuted into small lump sums. Although many of the leading entrepreneurs and businesspeople of that time were former Samurai, so many thousands were dispossessed of both livelihood and dignity.
If there are any Japanese people checking out my journal from time to time, please tell me what you thought of The Last Samurai.