Release Date: 07/11/1964
Released by:Daiei Films
Directed by:Tanaka Tokuzo
Plot Summary: Since the victory at Sekigahara gave him rule over all of Japan, Tokugawa Ieyasu has vigilantly sought to crush the Toyotomi clan. He finally declares war against the Toyotomi 15 years later in order to claim the bell of Hokoji temple in Kyoto. Hideyoshi`s widow, the lady Yodo and their son Hideyori prepare to defend against a siege at the `impregnable` Osaka castle. The winter campaign of Osaka began in November 1614.
Hideyori asked several daimyo who had been loyal to Hideyoshi if they would help support his army. However, since Hideyori is clearly losing, only a few come to his aid. Sanada Yukimura, who hates Ieyasu, and Goto Mototsuga are among them so that Hideyori`s army only has 70 – 80,000 men – mostly poor ronin. In contrast, Ieyasu has gathered 200,000 troops in his army as they cross the Chausu mountains in order to surround Hideyori.
As Ieyasu plans to lay siege to the castle and the troops inside, he orders Yotoji (his ninja commander) to send 3 additional ninja to join the other 3 who have already infiltrated the enemy`s ranks.
Inside the castle, Lady Yodo calls Ieyasu a demon for trying to kill them by bobarding the wing of the castle where she is staying. As the bombardment continues, Kirigakure Saizou swings into the courtyard and orders Lord Yukimura and his men to escape while he takes care of the enemy.
Saizou stops the enemy from killing the women who are hiding in one of the storehouses.
A year later, Osaka is relatively peaceful. While in Kishu, at Mount Takano Saizou speaks with Lord Yukimura and his son Daisuke about the future of the Toyotomi clan. Yukimura sends Saizou off to watch Ieyasu`s actions.
There are several scenes in which Yotoji tries to find out more information about Kirigakure or kill him and Yukimura Daisuke. In one of these, Saizou is followed in the town of Sunpu. Saizou manages to hide by ducking into a brothel. One of the women recognizes him ? she is Akane who he saved from the storehouse in Osaka castle a year earlier. Yotoji storms into the room looking for Kirigakure so Akane pretends that Saizou is one of her customers, hiding his face from the other ninja.
When the Ieyasu ninja reports back to his master, he says that he still knows nothing about Kirigakure. Ieyasu then orders Gunda – his trusted advisor – to watch Yukimura Sanada because he is more dangerous than the Toyotomi clan alone.
Saizou talks with Akane as she remembers what happened at Fort Shigino when Osaka castle was under siege. He offers her money to help her get out of the business but she refuses and only asks that he come to visit her.
That night, as Saizou walks alone outside of town, he is attacked by many of Yotoji`s ninja. He defeats most of them but is overcome by gas bombs. He manages to escape just before Yotoji can kill him. However, Akane is captured and interrogated by Ieyasu`s men. Refusing to answer their questions, she is threatened with acid burns. Just before her torturer`s pour acid on her face the room fills with smoke and Kirigakure jumps up through the floor to rescue Akane and takes her to safety with Yukimura`s men.
Gunda reports to Ieyasu that the Sanada clan has disappeared!
Saizou speaks with several of his fellow ninja. He says that Yukimura has ordered the assassination of Ieyasu. That will ensure that no one person controls all of Japan and the `age of the ninja` will return. They agree and one of the men volunteers to try to kill the daimyo using snake poison. Saizou says that if this man fails, they will all try. He also tells Akane that she should leave and stay away in order to stay safe.
As the ninja infiltrate Ieyasu`s castle, Yotoji detects his presence in the ceiling and thrusts his spear into the ceiling several times. The ninja is speared through the leg, but wipes that blade as it is withdrawn – leaving no blood on the blade. As he continues with the assassination, the wound leaks blood onto the floor and Ieyasu alerts the guards. The ninja is surrounded by steel bars and kills himself.
The next ninja is killed before he even gets into the castle. Now it is Saizou`s turn. He blows gas into the room and goes to kill Ieyasu. The man begs for his life and says that he is Ieyasu`s body double. Saizou then finds the warlord and stabs him. During his escape, he is surrounded and the real Ieyasu orders him captured and imprisoned.
Yotoji visits Saizou in captivity and asks him where Yukimura is. Saizou refuses to reveal that information and says that ninja will never go away no matter how hard people try to wipe them out. Yotoji then reveals a drugged Akane and she reveals the location of the other ninja.
Using the information provided by Akane, one of the other ninja – Hanayama – is captured and imprisoned in the cell next to Saizou`s. They manage to tap messages back and forth to each other and Hanayama says that Kakei will come to rescue them.
Gunda reports to Ieyasu on the lack of information about the whereabouts of Yukimura and the remaning ninja. Since they have not found the bodies and Kirigakure and Hanayama haven`t killed themselves, Ieyasu deduces that they must be waiting for rescue from the remaining ninja – Kakei.
Yotoji taunts Saizou by showing him the crucified body of Kakei. Saizou tried to tap a message to Hanayama, but he is dead.
Ieyasu orders food to be given to Saizou, but he appears to be dead. As the ninja`s body is buried, Akane is sad and feels guilty for revealing the information that lead to their deaths. The others leave and she prepares to commit suicide at the gravesite. As she places her knife to her throat, Saizou rises from his grave and explains that this is a special ninja technique. He tells her to go home but she says she wants to remain with him. Akane follows Saizou and they are both watched by Yotoji who reports back to Ieyasu on the survival of the ninja. Ieyasu is not surprised and orders his men to follow Saizo back to Yukimura.
Saizou drugs Akane and leaves her alone in the forest for her safety.
Yukimura is apparently killed by Ieyasu`s men. When asked if he is sure, Yotoji says that he saw the man with his own eyes. Ieyasu then attacks Osaka castle using the pretense of the Toyotomi clan`s rebuilding of the castle`s moats and stockpiling of weapons. The Toyotomi clan is close to defeat and Ieyasu notices the Sanada clan flags in the castle. Ieyasu berates Yotoji for not killing the real Yukimura and orders him removed from the camp. He is then requested by his granddaughter (who is related to the Toyotomi clan) to stop the attack. He refuses and the battle continues.
Yukimura survived the attack and orders Saizou to leave the castle and escape. Saizou says that he wants to stay and die like a man. Yotoji enters the castle and tries to kill Yukimura but is stopped by Saizou. In the fight, Ieyasu`s ninja is killed.
Lady Yodo and Hideyori are killed in the battle. Yukimura prepares to commit suicide, but Saizou talks him out of it and persuades him to escape in order to fight Ieyasu another day. They all escape via a secret tunnel.
Cast: ICHIKAWA Raizo as KIRIGAKURE Saizo
WAKAYAMA Tomisaburo as SANADA Yukimura
NAKAMURA Ganjiro as TOKUGAWA Ieyasu
ISOMURA Midori as Akane
NARITA Junichiro as TOYOTOMI Hideyori
DATE Saburo as HATTORI Hanzo