Peter A Goldsbury
The same is true of Tom Cruise in The Last Samurai. It is curious that Sanada Hiroyuki appears in both films, and in a vaguely similar role: as the upholder of traditional Japanese values as these are popularly understood. The depiction of the 47 Ronin story in Japanese literature, including drama, is worth a study in itself.
One of my students did his graduation thesis on the Titanic disaster, considered as a vehicle for presenting dramatic fiction.I have four Titanic films and all of them are different. I also have three film versions of Melville's Moby Dick and all of them deviate in interesting respects from what Melville actually wrote. With a film like Troy, you have a double issue, for the film in which Brad Pitt plays Achilles has been criticized from deviating from Homer's account of the Trojan war, but his account is highly fictional to begin with.
Yeah, it was funny, years ago I came across a decent nihonto in a lovely old handmade sword box with an ownership attribution beautifully brushed on the top. What was funny is that it said the sword was owned by one of the "loyal 47 ronin" and used a name from one of the versions of the Chūshingura kabuki (I think -- it was a while ago). So it was clearly a "fake" attribution but the story has such a life of its own that the fictionalized versions are better known and sometimes considered more accurate than the known history.
Then there's the entire Musashi legend that was so, well, expanded by Yoshikawa. And just a month or two ago a student of mine came by with a copy of the Hagakure explaining to me how very informative it was to him about the nature of Japanese samurai culture.
Hobbsbawm in action...
And in virtually every bad movie ever made here with Japanese swords, I cringe every time someone draws the sword. The effects folk put in that god-awful metal "screeetch" sound. Argh!!!!! Your sword isn't working right!!!!!!! Nails on a chalkboard for me.