How To Train Like A Spartan Warrior In Lockdown

If there’s one silver lining about being in lockdown it’s that there’s extra time. There’s time to develop new routines and carving out a part of your day for exercise is a great habit to add into your schedule. If you’re someone who prefers to work out at home you can still push yourself in the same way that you would in the gym and there’s the opportunity to get creative with how you train and push yourself to the limit like the Ancient Spartans did.

The stuff of legend, Spartan soldiers were known for their resiliency and bravery. They trained under extreme conditions and turned themselves into the ultimate warriors. So, what went into Spartan training and how can you embody it in a lockdown workout?

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Delving Into The World Of Jizai Okimono And Japanese Art

Japan is known for having some of the most unique art in the world. Building on centuries of feudal culture, Japanese art has its own style. A famous example of Japanese art is jizai okimono, which translates to ‘move freely decorative object.’ Jizai okimono involves the crafting of articulated sculptures. Beginning in 17th century Japan, the art form is highly specialised and fascinating. But what are the origins of jizai okimono and how has it evolved in modern times? Continue reading “Delving Into The World Of Jizai Okimono And Japanese Art”

How The Shining Knight Challenges Medieval Traditions As A Transgender Superhero

In terms of LGBT representation, comics are a progressive medium. There are a number of characters who highlight the community in a positive way. In recent years, there’s been an increase in transgender superheroes and one that’s worth looking into is The Shining Knight. With a background in Arthurian legend, the character has represented the traditional virtues of manhood and bravery. I’m examining how The Shining Knight has evolved with the times and become a gender fluid role model. Continue reading “How The Shining Knight Challenges Medieval Traditions As A Transgender Superhero”

Supernatural Superheroes: Madame Xanadu

Gothic and comic culture deserve to be celebrated side by side because of how similar they are. Both communities are welcoming and encourage people to be creative. Supernatural Superheroes is a series that’s dedicated to telling the story of a gothic comic character. Madame Xanadu is a superhero with a strong connection to the paranormal. With her origins in Arthurian legend, the character has spent centuries protecting humanity. Read on to discover how Madame Xanadu can be linked to Manchester’s past and its future.

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How The Oni Transformed From A Japanese Demon Into A Pop Culture Icon

Japanese folklore is filled with all types of creatures, with one of the most enduring being the oni. Considered to be a type of yokai, oni took the form of giant, supernatural trolls. Their demonic appearance gave them an evil reputation. Oni have been identified as bringers of chaos, delighting in the punishment of mortals. The connection to the darkness has translated into pop culture, as oni have appeared in art and literature. However, their role has changed over time to reflect modern interpretations. Continue reading “How The Oni Transformed From A Japanese Demon Into A Pop Culture Icon”

Why Is The Sukajan Jacket An Icon Of Japanese Fashion?

Like everything in pop culture, fashion has a unique look and distinctive story. What started out as counterculture has evolved into the mainstream. Souvenir jackets have followed a similar pattern, transforming from controversial fashion statements to cult classics. Originating in Japan, sukajan jackets have an interesting history. There has been debate over the origin of the name, with some claiming it to be a mix of ‘Sky Dragon Jumper’ in Japanese. Others believe the name to have come from Yokosuka, an area where American soldiers were stationed. Either way, the story of the sukajan needs to be told. Continue reading “Why Is The Sukajan Jacket An Icon Of Japanese Fashion?”

Katana And The Representation Of Female Samurai

Japan is associated with a lot of images, with the samurai being the most famous in my opinion. The image of a noble warrior living by the code of bushido has become a romanticised ideal. Samurai lived and died by their duty, but men weren’t the only people who could take up the sword. Female samurai existed as well. Called onna-bugeisha (female martial artists), they belonged to the same class as male samurai and were allowed to carry weapons to protect their household.

I think the best comic representation of a female samurai is Katana. The character’s backstory is rooted in tragedy and it follows the tropes of family honour, revenge and sacrifice. Katana is a reflection of the fearlessness of the onna-bugeisha, so I’m looking into her importance as a superhero. Continue reading “Katana And The Representation Of Female Samurai”

Medal Of Honour: Alvin York Review: A Celebration Of Valour

World War I is remembered as one of the most brutal conflicts in human history. Thousands of people were slaughtered and many soldiers gave their lives to protect their country. One of the bravest soldiers, Alvin York, received the Medal of Honour for his actions. York was a man who believed in peace, though he did what he thought was necessary to serve his men. His story is told in the pages of Medal Of Honour: Alvin York. Written by Chuck Dixon, the comic was created in collaboration with the Association of the United States Army (AUSA) to remember York’s valour. Continue reading “Medal Of Honour: Alvin York Review: A Celebration Of Valour”

Investigating Vietnamese Identity With Karma And Her Status As An Important Superhero

Over the past few decades, Vietnam has become one of the most revitalised countries in the world. The Vietnam War left its mark and the political landscape changed forever. A comic character that represents the struggles of the Vietnamese is Karma. She was among the boat people who fled the country after the rise of Communism. As a culturally important superhero, Karma is a representation of Vietnamese resilience. A founding member of the New Mutants, Karma is one of the most believable X-Men characters. Continue reading “Investigating Vietnamese Identity With Karma And Her Status As An Important Superhero”

What Makes Sunfire A Symbol For Post-WW2 Japan?

Japan features some of the most distinctive superheroes in the world, particularly in the Marvel Universe. The most famous is Sunfire, a mutant who stirs the same national pride as Captain America does in the USA. Shiro Yoshida has been a part of the X-Men, Avengers and Big Hero 6, highlighting his prominence. The character’s backstory has turned him into a symbol for post-WW2 Japan and I’m looking into Sunfire’s history to see what makes him so important.
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