When the Last Sword Is Drawn

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When the Last Sword Is Drawn
When the Last Sword Is Drawn.jpg
Theatrical poster for When the Last Sword Is Drawn (2003)
Directed by Yōjirō Takita [1]
Produced by Nozomu Enoki
Hideji Miyajima
Screenplay by Takehiro Nakajima
Based onWhen the Last Sword Is Drawn
by Jiro Asada
Starring Kiichi Nakai
Kōichi Satō
Yui Natsukawa
Takehiro Murata
Music by Joe Hisaishi
Cinematography Takeshi Hamada
Edited by Nobuko Tomita
Distributed by Shochiku
Release date
  • November 4, 2002 (2002-11-04)
Running time
137 minutes
Country Japan
Budget$4,000,000 [2]
Box office$2,487,338 [3]

When the Last Sword Is Drawn (壬生義士伝, Mibu Gishi Den, Legend of the Loyal Retainers of Mibu) is a 2002 historical drama film directed by Yōjirō Takita loosely based on real historical events. When the Last Sword Is Drawn won the Best Film award at the 2004 Japanese Academy Awards, as well as the prizes for Best Actor (Kiichi Nakai) and Best Supporting Actor (Kōichi Satō). It received a further eight nominations. [4]



The film tells the story of two Shinsengumi samurai. Saitō Hajime (played by Kōichi Satō) is a heartless killer. Yoshimura Kanichiro (played by Kiichi Nakai) appears to be a money-grabbing and emotional swordsman from the northern area known as Nambu Morioka.

The main storyline is set during the fall of the Tokugawa shogunate, but it is told in a series of flashbacks as Saitō and another man reminisce. The themes include conflicting loyalty to the clan, lord, and family.

More than just swordplay, it is the story of a man willing to do anything for the good of his family, even if it means never being able to see them.


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  1. Infobox data from 壬生義士伝 (in Japanese). Japanese Movie Database . Retrieved 2009-05-16.and Mibu gishi den (2003) on IMDb
  2. "Box office / business for When the Last Sword is Drawn (2002)". IMDb.com. Retrieved 2016-11-16.
  3. "Mibu gishi den". Boxofficemojo.com. Retrieved 2016-11-16.
  4. "Awards for Mibu gishi den (2003)" (in Japanese). Internet Movie Database . Retrieved 2009-05-05.