More Spoilers on "Last Samurai"
There was I time I was thinking like that, but in the meantime I can now understand why the current ending is important and better than anything else: You see, in the end Tom Cruise's character wasn't a Samurai. He just learned a little about the way of the Samurai, he was accepted and he accepted them. The honor of dying a crucial death on the battlegrounds wasn't for him, because just having a death-wish is not enough, what he truly sought was just peace and in the end he kinda achieved it by different means altogether. It was for Katsumoto, the true Samurai, who got the honourable death he' always desired. The last Samurai isn't Tom Cruise, but Ken Watanabe!