14 November 2018 | monastery-83917
Kataoka's greatest role
In this version of Nemuri Kyoshiro starring Kataoka, there is one episode where Kyoshiro mentions his relationship to his Sword, the Muso Masamune. What he says is quite brief, and his statement is open to multiple interpretations.
What he says is that his Sword is Female. The first impression I got is that it has to do with Shintoism in its animistic belief of different spirits or dieties inhabiting certain objects. Compared with the Raizo version in which Raizo showed Kyoshiro as a lecherous womanizer, the Kataoka version is entirely different in that he instead shows aloofness toward women. That is in addition to his concern for women, as opposed to the Raizo version of ruthlessness. Along the way from Raizo to the version with Tamura Masakazu, the Nemuri character underwent an evolution in which Kyoshiro went gradually from ruthless to remorseful to compassionate.
In one episode with Kataoka, Nemuri even blames himself for the death of a Woman even though it's not his fault at all. That is, when assassins from the Satsuma clan attacked him, the Woman was an innocent bystander who got killed Indirectly during the Swordfight. If it was the Raizo version, Nemuri would have cared not the slightest whit about the Woman's death. This seemingly drastic change in Nemuri's character seemed to have begun in the Tamura Masakazu version and reached its culmination with Kataoka Takao. Evidently, the Female-Spirit in his Sword which the Kataoka version mentions has much to do with his newly-found conscience.
What makes for actor Kataoka's charismatic appeal is that he masterfully conveys the
serene impassiveness of a master swordsman totally unafraid to die, yet without looking wooden. If you really think about it, it's a tough balancing act to appear serenely impassive but without looking wooden. In a sense, this is what actor Leonard Nimoy successfully portrayed with his Spock character, that is, an alien who suppresses his emotions but without looking wooden. Actor Kataoka runs in somewhat the same vein, but also different because in this case the cold impassiveness of Kyoshiro is Not suppression of emotions but rather a Swordsman's total acceptance that he can die at any moment.