This is a VERY obscure question, but I figure if anyone knows the answer it’ll be someone on the SDMB.
This week, for the first time, I saw Akira Kurosawa’s film SANJURO. About halfway through the film, the nonconformist samurai (Toshiro Mifune) announces his plans to invade a neighboring fortress. “Attack when you see the building burning,” he tells the other samurai. Two highborn ladies of the court are shocked, and suggest a less brutal signal: “Can’t you send some camellias down the stream instead?” Mifune reluctantly agrees, to spare the ladies’ sensibilities. The ladies then begin to bicker about whether the camellias should be red or white: “White’s prettier.” “I prefer red,” etc. Without a word, Mifune walks over to a wall of the chamber painted with Japanese ideographs, and, as the ladies babble, he begins tracing one symbol over and over with his finger–meanwhile doing the funniest “slow burn” since Edgar Kennedy.
A hilarious scene–but I was wondering what the symbol is that Mifune traces with his finger while trying not to explode? I’m sure that it’s part of the gag. Anyone know this movie and can read Japanese?