Kagemusha (Kurosawa, 1980) Oda Nobunaga: “Song of Atsumori”

Nobunaga Oda is informed, that his main opponent Takeda Shingen, who he thought to be alive, died months ago and was replaced by a double in a final ruse of war.

Oda reacts by performing the “Song of Atsumori”, a passage from a contemporary play, reflecting the nature of life as illusion, joining buddhist and shinto concepts. Its is said that this particular piece was a favorite of the historical Nobunaga.

The decoration points to Nobunagas political flirt with the Europeans and Christianity, which gave him access to western technology, especially muskets, that he employed ruthlessly against his enemies.

The contrast between western styled decoration and his most traditional reaction to the news about Takeda, aides not only in his characterization, but also points out the cultural conflicts, which were incited by the European influence during this period.

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