1980 film directed by Akira Kurosawa

Kagemusha is a 1980 film about a lower-class criminal who is taught to impersonate a dying warlord in order to dissuade opposing lords from attacking the newly vulnerable clan.

Directed by Akira Kurosawa. Written by Akira Kurosawa and Masato Ide.


  • A serious illness can change even a man's heart.

Takeda Shingen

  • I am wicked, as you believe. I am a scoundrel. I banished my father and I killed my own son. I will do anything to rule this country. War is everywhere. Unless somebody unifies the nation and reigns over us, we will see more rivers of blood and more mountains of the dead.
  • To occupy Kyoto, to fly my flags in the capital, has been my long-cherished dream. But... if something should happen to me, do not pursue that dream. Remember: my death must not be made known. Keep it a secret, for at least three years. Guard our domain. Never move from it. Do not move! If you ignore my order and set out to attack, our Takeda clan will be no more. Heed my words! This... is my final wish.

Takeda Nobukado

  • I know it is difficult. I was for a long time the lord's double. It was torture. It is not easy to suppress yourself to become another. Often I wanted to be myself and free. But now I think this was selfish of me. The shadow of a man can never desert that man. I was my brother's shadow. Now that I have lost him, it is as though I am nothing.
  • The shadow of a man can never stand up and walk on its own.

Oda Nobunaga

  • [Giving battle instructions to his messengers on horseback] Tell the gunners to shoot the horses first. The Takeda cavalry cannot fight without horses.


Takeda Shingen: Even with this resemblance, Nobukado, he is so wicked as to be sentenced to crucifixion. How could this scoundrel be my double?
Kagemusha: I only stole a few coins. A petty thief. But you've killed hundreds and robbed whole domains. Who is wicked, you or I?

Yamagata Masakage: How old are you, sire? Fifty-three, as I remember.
Takeda Shingen: Why?
Yamagata Masakage: And you still behave like a five-year-old child. People gather, scatter, they go left and right following their interests. That is not surprising. But then I find you like this. With such a narrow mind, you must not dream of rulership. Go back to your own domain. You are a mountain monkey. You should be gathering nuts in the mountains of Kai.

[the double's aides are worried that others will find out he is an impostor]
Yamagata Masakage: Little Takemaru was a problem, but the horse is worse. It can tell. Only the late lord could ride it.
Baba Nobufusa: If the double falls off, everyone will suspect.
Takeda Nobukado: Lord Shingen has been ill. He must refrain from riding.
Yamagata Masakage: Good idea.
Hara Masatane: There are many other problems. We must be careful to keep the late lord's intentions.
Atobe Katsusuke: Tonight he will have to meet the late lord's mistresses. How will he be with them?
Yamagata Masakage: Our master has been ill. He must refrain from riding.

Takemaru: Why are you called a mountain, grandfather?
Kagemusha: [Unaware of the legend behind Shingen's nickname] "Mountain"?
Takemaru: Everybody calls you that. Where is the mountain? Is it because we have this mountain in our garden?
Tsuchiya Sohachiro: [Quickly intervening to cover for Kagemusha's ignorance] You know the master's banner. What is printed there?
Takemaru: [Reciting the slogan on the Takeda clan's banner] Swift as the wind... Quiet as a forest... Fierce as fire... Immovable as a mountain.
Tsuchiya Sohachiro: The lord is that mountain. Both in battle and at home, he is steadfast, like a mountain. When his army advances, first the horsemen attack, swift as the wind. Second, the lancers raise a forest of spears, advancing with silent resolve. Third, more horsemen engulf the enemy ranks, as mercilessly as fire. And the lord is always behind them, watching over them, immovable as a mountain. That is why our army, from general to foot soldier, can fight so resolutely... Immovable as a mountain. The lord is that mountain. So we call him "the mountain."

Yamagata Masakage: [A rainbow appears, causing the advancing Takeda army to halt] My lord, what do you think that light is that is barring your path?
Takeda Katsuyori: [Gives it a quick glance] A rainbow.
Yamagata Masakage: You're wrong! It is your late father's instructions not to proceed. He's telling you to stay in your domain and guard it. Those were your father's last words. If you do that, nothing can harm us.
Takeda Katsuyori: Harm? An ominous word. Since the time of our ancestors, the Takeda have never run from a fight. [to his army] Forward!... Forward!


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