Toshio Masuda directs this swashbuckling historical drama based on the real life triumphs and tribulations of Nakaiya Jubei, a pioneering merchant who eagerly developed contacts with the West. The film opens in 1858, when the shogunate government signed the Treaty of Kanagawa with the U.S., ending Japan's two century-long seclusion from the rest of the world. In order to keep the foreigners from infiltrating the general public, the Shogun ordered that the village of Yokohama -- a safe distance from Japan's capital, Edo -- be created as an international port. Immediately sensing an opportunity, Jubei (Kinya Kitaoji), a successful Edo merchant, opens a big flashy emporium in the burg. At first, Jubei meets resistance from some xenophobic ronin, but he swiftly dispatches with them with a combination of wit and a killer left-hook. Yet when the political winds change, Jubei finds himself coming up against much more powerful opponents. As he gets charged for violating trade laws, the merchant throws his support in for an assassination attempt against an ultra-conservative court member. The plot is successful, but Jubei finds himself a target for revenge. Doe-eyed TV actress Hitomi Kuroki plays Jubei's wife, who becomes undone by such Western poisons as beef and red wine.
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