The Pursuit Of Peace: The Story Of Wolverine And Itsu

In recent years, Japanese culture has found its way into the mainstream western comic industry through Marvel and DC. Marvel has done an excellent job of presenting the nuances of the Japanese way of life in characters such as Silver Samurai and Sunfire. And much of this influence is attributed to the work of Chris Claremont and Frank Miller in the 1980s, with their revamp of Wolverine into a failed samurai looking to reclaim his honour.

Wolverine’s connection to Japan is essential to understanding who he is, and his appreciation for the country has manifested through the women he’s loved. One of Logan’s greatest loves was Itsu, a character who shaped a significant portion of his life.

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Overcoming Social Anxiety And Delivering My First Public Presentation On Comics

Living with a mental health disorder is different for every person. Whether it’s anxiety, depression or bipolar disorder, everyone’s experience is unique to them. Everyone has their own coping mechanisms. As someone who experiences social anxiety, my coping strategies revolve around surrounding myself with pop culture because it’s what I’m passionate about. It’s what makes me happy. It reminds me that there are things worth fighting for.

Comics have played a huge role in improving my mental health. They’ve inspired me so much that I decided to do the worst thing that people with social anxiety can experience: put myself in a room with complete strangers and talk openly. More than that, comics inspired me to take the plunge with my first public presentation at the Doki Doki Festival in Manchester! Continue reading “Overcoming Social Anxiety And Delivering My First Public Presentation On Comics”

What Makes Devil May Cry’s Vergil A Modern-Day Samurai?

Samurai and the code of Bushido are entwined with the soul of Japan. The image of a stoic, katana wielding warrior is famous throughout pop culture, highlighting the timelessness of figures from feudal Japan like Minamoto no Yoshitsune and Tomoe Gozen, fighters who embodied all the virtues of Bushido.

Many fictional characters have been modelled on the image of the samurai, with one of the most interesting being Vergil from the Devil May Cry franchise. Stoic, powerful and complex, Vergil is a modern-day samurai that has redefined the term for a new generation. Continue reading “What Makes Devil May Cry’s Vergil A Modern-Day Samurai?”

Bushido: The Way Of The Samurai Review: Learning How To Be A Warrior In Japan

I’ve been fascinated with Japanese history for a while now, particularly with the samurai and their code of Bushido. They dedicated themselves to ‘the way of the warrior’ and lived by its principles in the pursuit of a perfect death. After reading Bushido: The Way Of The Samurai I feel like I’ve got a broader view of what Bushido stands for. Here are my review of a book that charts the history of one of Japan’s most enduring belief systems.
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Growing Up In A Family Of Samurai: An Interview With Michiko Hashiba

Japan attracts visitors from all over the world, with many being drawn to the country because of the samurai. Japanese history is entwined with warriors who followed a strict code of honour, devoting their lives to duty. There were many proud samurai and one of the most famous was Toyotomi Hideyoshi. A capable general and politician, Hideyoshi was considered the second ‘great unifer’ of Japan. He rose to prominence during the 1500s and founded the Hashiba samurai line.

I’m fascinated by samurai history, so I couldn’t help but be excited to interview a descendent of Hideyoshi.  I’m pleased to present a conversation with Michiko Hashiba about what it means to come from a family of samurai. Continue reading “Growing Up In A Family Of Samurai: An Interview With Michiko Hashiba”

Pop Culture, Cosplay And Japanese History Unite At A Successful Doki Doki 2018

In the pop culture world, there are a variety of festivals that cater to different niches. Pop culture has a habit of infiltrating every culture and one of my favourite events of the year is the Doki Doki Festival in Manchester. A celebration of Japanese culture, Doki Doki brings together people from all walks of life. Anime, manga, comics and history are housed under one roof. The 2018 event featured a diverse set of talks and stalls, ranging from Japanese woodcut prints to cosplaying.
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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”

5 Must-Read Wolverine Comics That Will Make You Appreciate Japan

When it comes to the representation of Japan in comics, Wolverine is the ideal character for providing a Western perspective. The Land of the Rising Sun is an essential part of Logan’s backstory, and I’ve waxed lyrically about how important Japan is to his identity. Many stories have been told about Wolverine and Japan, showing the divide between man and beast, ronin and samurai. The Comic Vault is listing five key stories that will give you an idea of how Wolverine fits into Japanese culture. Continue reading “5 Must-Read Wolverine Comics That Will Make You Appreciate Japan”

How Does Silver Samurai Break The Mould For Traditional Japanese Imagery?

Samurai are traditionally depicted as brave warriors who value honour and duty. They were known to serve their masters loyally, to lay down their lives and sacrifice everything in the pursuit of Bushido. Marvel has done a great job of emphasising Japanese culture, with the Silver Samurai representing a traditional image. The identity has been used by two characters, though it has been linked with dishonour, due to Kenuichio Harada starting off as a villain. Over time, Harada looked to regain his honour and The Comic Vault is looking into the history of the Silver Samurai to see how the identity contrasts with conventional Japanese imagery. Continue reading “How Does Silver Samurai Break The Mould For Traditional Japanese Imagery?”

Analysing The Relationship Between Wolverine And Mariko Yashida

Wolverine has faced many challenges in his long life, but he’s also found love on several occasions. Logan has loved many women, with one of his most enduring relationships being with Mariko Yashida. Their relationship is essential to understanding who Wolverine is as a person because Mariko is a physical representation of his relationship with Japan. The Comic Vault is taking a look into the nature of their dynamic in order to see how Mariko inspired Wolverine to become a better version of himself.

Continue reading “Analysing The Relationship Between Wolverine And Mariko Yashida”