The Japanese Ministry of Information, under the militarist government, commissioned director Kenji Mizoguchi to make this film as a morale booster for the WWII war effort. But it was a commercial failure, being released in Japan one week before the attack on Pearl Harbor. The military and most audiences found the first part of the film to be too slow and serious. However, the studio and Mizoguchi both regarded it as so important that Part 2 was put into production, though Mizoguchi was forced to insert some close-ups of the stars which are totally absent from Part I. The film was finally shown in America in the 1970s.
From ~1:40 to ~1:44 an appropriate dialog sequence occurs starting with three men walking a path with one saying "Counselor, the decision has come" and ending with "we need have no fear." That same sequence is duplicated at ~2:22 to ~2:26 with the additional dialog at the end "I want you two to return to Edo at once and inform our brothers there that I will be arriving shortly." This duplicate is out of sequence with the story.