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Drunken Angel: Matsunaga's motivation for attacking Okada

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    Ugetsu

    Looking back through previous threads there is an assumption I think shared by most of us here that the reason Matsunaga attacked Okada in the final, fatal fight was to earn some sort of redemption and to possibly save Miyo. Looking back, this isn’t something I picked up on my first viewing – on my second viewing I had read Richie, so I think I was looking out for this interpretation. However, its still not entirely clear to me that there was a direct connection between Miyo’s plight and Matsunaga’s actions.

    Now, reading through Prince, it seems that this is an interpretation he doesn’t accept. He doesn’t outline a motive, but says (page 84) that

    He loses his honor when Okada finally seizes his territory, and against Sanada’s wishes he leaves the clinic and provokes a showdown with Okada. During the fight, he is knifed and dies alone, leaving Sanada, in the film’s coda, to rage with frustration over the senselessness of his death.

    He seems to imply that Matsunaga chose a fatal fight with Okada purely to preserve his own honour (my own first interpretation), which suggests a complete failure by Sanada to change his ways, rather than (as we seem to assume), that he does partly redeem himself, with the ending an ironic acknowledgement that Sanada is unaware that he was partly successful.

    I’ll have to look again at this section for clues, but I’m wondering if perhaps the notion that Matsunaga was motivated by something more noble than his own honour is a meme created by Richie, than something that was actually intended in the film?

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    lawless

    I came to the conclusion that Matsunaga attacked Okada on behalf of Miyo as well as on his own account without reference to Richie. (I’ve read his book, but forgot his take on this.) Matsunaga already interceded once when Okada and the two minions who trailed Matsunaga when Okada was in jail came by looking for Miyo. He then tried to talk Sanada out of going to the police, saying he’d ask the big boss, who’d always been good to him, for a favor.

    Then when he goes to speak to the big boss, not only does he find him with Okada and their female companions, he’s telling Okada that he chose Matsunaga to run things in his absence because he’s dying and a patsy, and that he’s going to eventually throw him to the wolves. This opens Matsunaga’s eyes to what’s really going on; he goes and has a drink (and the conversation with the barmaid about leaving for the country), then attacks Okada at the apartment he used to share with Namae. I’ve always interpreted that as a continuation of his announced intention to get Okada off Miyo’s trail, except now that he knows that appealing to the big boss is futile, he’s doing it by attacking Okada.

    I don’t disagree that he’s also doing it for revenge. But there’s no reason why he can’t have more than one motivation. This could also explain why he’s only half an angel, with white paint on his front, but not his back. See this thread.

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    cocoskyavitch

    I appeal to both of you to fix the horrid Wikipedia page on the film. It needs love badly.

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    Ugetsu

    Don’t look at me, I’ve been banned from wikipedia 🙄

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    lawless

    How does one get banned from Wikipedia?

    Just tell me to go away if the story is too painful or embarrassing.

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    Ugetsu

    Its surprisingly easy to get banned! Or at least it was for me. And I didn’t do anything except make the mistake of logging in at work. I’m not sure whether it was because of everyone’s pc sharing the same IP address, or because they ‘accidentally’ used my account, but when two colleagues on the floor below me made somewhat rude alterations to the page on a particular football team, I got blamed and had my log in blocked forever 😡

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