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Ichi is a blind woman who roams about town with her shamisen (a three-stringed Japanese guitar), but she has exceptional sword skills with which she fights off yakuza and other villains.


Fumihiko Sori


Kan Shimozawa (story and characters), Taeko Asano (screenplay)
1 win. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Haruka Ayase ... Ichi
Shidô Nakamura ... Banki
Yôsuke Kubozuka ... Toraji Shirakawa
Takao Ohsawa ... Toma Fujihira
Gô Rijû Gô Rijû ... Kihachi
Mayumi Sada ... Mitsu
Tetsuo Yamashita Tetsuo Yamashita
Ayumu Saitô Ayumu Saitô
Tôru Tezuka Tôru Tezuka
Kumiko Tsuchiya Kumiko Tsuchiya
Shirô Namiki Shirô Namiki ... Kataoka
Tetta Sugimoto Tetta Sugimoto ... Blind man
Megumi Yokoyama Megumi Yokoyama ... Toma's mother
Eri Watanabe Eri Watanabe ... Ohama
Yoshiyuki Yamaguchi Yoshiyuki Yamaguchi


Following the footsteps of the blind masseur and swordsman Zatoichi comes Ichi, a woman and a daughter who travels the land as a 'goze' or visually impaired woman who plays the traditional three-stringed shamisen. This woman, however, has a hidden talent. She not only has the command of a lightning-fast blade, but also uses it in terms of justice and a quest for her long-lost father. Matching her skill is a man whose swordsmanship is only bested by his internal inhibition. Written by aghaemi

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for sequences of bloody violence, and brief sexuality | See all certifications »






Release Date:

25 October 2008 (Japan) See more »

Also Known As:

I tyfli samurai See more »

Filming Locations:

Shonai, Yamagata, Japan See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital



Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


Ichi: I do not know what I cut because I am blind.
See more »


Version of The Blind Swordsman: Zatoichi (2003) See more »


Lyrics by Natsumi Kobayashi
Composed by Ryosuke "Dr.R" Sakai
Arrangement by Yoichiro Kakizaki
Performed by SunMin
See more »

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User Reviews

The Rarest Type of Flower, Beautiful Because of It's Flaws.
29 April 2017 | by prabhunsterSee all my reviews

In all honesty, the original reason I decided to watch this movie was the keywords, "Blind Swordsman." in the synopsis. I envisioned a film about epic sword fights and superhuman feats. This is one case where I was glad that I was wrong.

Don't get me wrong, there are still enough (well-choreographed) fight scenes to entertain the average joe. But the fight scenes are by no means the bulk of the movie. I appreciated that the fight scenes were deliberate, that is, each specific fight was justified with reasoning behind it, whether it be a plot device to further the story or give some small insight to a character's past. There wasn't any fighting' for the sake of fighting'

The wandering protagonist, Ichi, is a Goze (a blind woman who barely scrapes by, working as a wandering musician). Unbeknownst to most, she also happens to be a master swordsman of unknown origin. All we see is a laconic, emotionally repressed young lady who has found one singular purpose in life, a journey of sorts. Although she tries to avoid conflict with others, she also is willing to maim/kill anyone without hesitation or regret if they obstruct her path or pose a threat. She takes neither pride nor shame in killing, but she doesn't lack morality. It may just appear that way since her persona is buried so deep that she appears to be a hollow/soulless shell at times.

Although undesired, she carries a certain allure about her which attracts attention.. A blind swordswoman with such exceptional skills is enough to make anyone curious/scared.

Although the movie may sound very dark, the theme is well-balanced with an appropriate amount of humor. This is due to the introduction of a good-hearted, but overly confident man, Toma, who joins Ichi on her quest. Toma recognizes Ichi's amazing fighting skill and feels some sense of emasculation. He claims to be "quite the swordsman" himself but his demonstrated technique says otherwise,

The characters play well off of each other, given their extremely polarized personalities. It allows for the occasional playful moment in an otherwise serious and dramatic movie,

Throughout their journey, Ichi and Toma learn about each other, as well about themselves. The overriding themes of character development, self-realization, and overcoming one's inner demons are the true essence of the movie.

That said, their journey has its ups and downs but due as a series of events unfolds, they quickly find their lives more and more in the balance, building to an amazing climax.

Overall, I really liked the movie. It's common knowledge that this premise is not original, but the form it takes is what makes this movie special. At times, it's both easy and difficult to relate to Ichi, but once you hear her full story, you'll likely gain some perspective into this flawed but beautiful person. A rare, delicate flower which will eventually bloom into something amazingly breathtaking. And yet, this flower is also capable of death, unbeknownst to many. When a flower is at conflict with itself, what will happen when you approach it?

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