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”
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.
Continue reading “Pop Culture, Cosplay And Japanese History Unite At A Successful Doki Doki 2018”
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”
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”
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?”
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”
Wolverine is a character that has been continuously redefined over the years, with his link to Japanese culture being a major part of his backstory. Japan is a place of great love and tragedy for Wolverine, and Old Man Logan: The Scarlet Samurai, written by Ed Brisson, brings an older Wolverine back to the Land of The Rising Sun to face the past. Logan is forced to confront an old love, which makes for one of the most emotional graphic novels I’ve read for a while. I was hyped to read the story and I’m glad to say it didn’t disappoint. Continue reading “Old Man Logan: The Scarlet Samurai Review: An Emotional Story Of Lost Love In Japan”