I’m a huge fan of Toshiro Mifune and the whole samurai movie genre. My travel DVD collection is packed with a few dozen films depicting ancient Japan and battles between tragic sword-welding heroes and villains. Mifune seems to always plays an out-of-work samurai, or ronin, looking get by however he can. The movie plots go to great lengths to describe Japanese society at the time, depicting the vast numbers of unemployed warriors roaming the streets in search of honorable employment.
Laying on my bunk the other night I was watching a particular scene in Samurai Banners, that depicted an unemployed Mifune plotting as to how he was going to secure a job with one of the local lords. I was immediately struck with the parallels between that scene and the direction that the current security contract business is heading.
Before long the entire security contracting business will undergo a sea change and tens of thousands of gun-slinging contractors are going to find themselves without work, ronin if you will. I’ve often wondered what will happen to them, where will they go? If you look at Japanese society after the battle of Sekigahara in 1600 I think that you may find a lot of the answers to those questions. Some will always find work, others will turn to alternative professions and trades, and still others will use their skills for personal profit and crime as in Robert De Niro’s movie, Ronin. Interesting parallel I think.