Bushi inspecting his blade prior to combat "Twilight Samurai"  The movie...

There was a very interesting moment in the movie - did you spot it?

I must admit that I didn't - the first time I saw the movie.  Eventually I caught it and then had great fun to learn that one of our associates, an accomplished Japanese koshirae maker who does not study swordsmanship was very impressed with the scene too!  We felt like members of a very exclusive club and our impression of the movie skyrocketed too.

As the main actor is polishing his swords in preparation for a duel that he does not want to have and does not feel prepared for a little gem of real warrior lore takes place.

He throws his sword's mekugi in the water bucket.  In the scene, the camera zoomed in on a small thin toothpick-like mekugi floating in the water. The scene went silent.  For some this was an "artful" moment.  For those of us who study the Japanese sword and/or bushi history, the moment resonated loud and clear.

In preparing for a duel to the death, the bushi knew that the mekugi would swell and would become more tightly fit making it stronger in the face of the stresses of combat and the forces applied to the blade when cutting.

It is good to know that with all the noise that surrounds us today about budo and training that every once in a while we get a hint about something authentic that is being lost to history.  In another scene below, the main character has a duel with a bokuto to protect a friend.  Sadly his resounding victory here would eventually thru a confluence of events, position him for a duel to the death.  I like this phone because his left elbow is tucked in.

twilight samurai